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EDIT OR Linnea Lagerstedt editor@wessexscene.co.uk DEPUTY EDITO R Macey McDermott deputy-editor@wessexscene.co.uk H EAD O F DESI GN Benjamin Smyth design@wessexscene.co.uk H EAD O F I MAGERY Mary Frances Rose image@wessexscene.co.uk ONLINE & MARKETING MANAGER Lauren Green online-manager@wessexscene.co.uk HEAD OF EVENTS AND OUTREACH Luke Boulton events@wessexscene.co.uk S UB-EDITO RS

Alice MacArthur

Rebecca Williams

Farida Yusuf

FE AT URES EDITO R Katie Byng-Hall features@wessexscene.co.uk OPINI O N EDI TO R Tom Collyer opinion@wessexscene.co.uk POLITICS EDITO R Sam Pearson politics@wessexscene.co.uk SCIENCE & TECH EDITOR Lisa Stimson science@wessexscene.co.uk LIFE S TYL E EDI TO R Megan Gaen lifestyle@wessex scene . c o . uk T RAVEL EDI TO R Laura Prost travel@wessexscene.co.uk SPOR TS EDITO R Kai Chappell sport@wessexscene.co.uk PAUS E EDITO R Emily Dennis pause@wessexscene.co.uk

L , i s f o r t h e way you look at me… Appearance and attraction has a huge impact on the way we live our lives. Studies have shown that conventionally attractive people are more likely to be hired for certain jobs, earn more money and are perceived as more competent and confident. That being said, movements of inclusivity, representation and self-love have been gaining traction over the past decade, and things are ever changing. It is crucial that we break down notions of conventional attractiveness that are grounded in racism, ableism, and fatphobia. You can read about how pretty privilege affects us all over on page 19. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve battled with severe self-confidence issues. I based my self-worth in my appearance and I never thought I was pretty enough or thin enough to be worthy of anything. It has always had a crippling effect on my life, and I know I am far from alone. Self-confidence issues affect so many people worldwide, so we hope this magazine which offers multiple perspectives and personal experiences of how our appearance affects our lives can offer some solace. On page 12, you can read a personal account of how body image can affect self confidence. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental health condition characterised by extreme preoccupations of one’s appearance and flaws, to learn more, head to page 29. A person’s appearance can have an effect on your attraction to them, but the formula for love is a lot more complicated than that. To learn about how and why we love, head to page 26. Love is pure, and love is beautiful, but it can also be incredibly hard. We have certain preconceived notions of what our love lives should look like, but in reality, nothing is ever like we imagine it to be. To read about the hardships of love and dating during the coronavirus pandemic, head to page 10. The way we love is also unfortunately politicised, making it the subject of bigotry and hatred. You can read about one person’s experience with bi-erasure and biphobia over on page 5. Before I leave you to read the upcoming pages, I want a few things to be clear. In this space, we believe that all bodies are beautiful and that love is love. Your appearance does not not define who you are. You are incredible, you are strong, you are important and you are loved. In the words of pop culture icon Hannah Montana, ‘nobody’s perfect’, so give yourself a break once in a while.

Your Editor,

LINNEA LAGERSTEDT Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this magazine belong to each author alone - Wessex Scene is a neutral publication which aims to publish views from across the student body. To respond with an opposing opinion, please contact opinion@ wessexscene.co.uk or join our Opinion Writers’ Group.

N EW S & I NVESTIGA TI O N S

news/investigations@wessexscene.co.uk

FRONT COVER IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE Brodie Brown

Alishia Markwell

Ruby Wood

AlyssaCaroline Burnette

APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


FEATURES 04 SELFIE-ESTEEM: THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON BODY IMAGE

LIFESTYLE

05 MY EXPERIENCE OF BI ERASURE 06 THE HARMFUL TREND OF FAST FASHION 08 BREAKING FREE FROM THE TOXICITY OF PERFORMATIVE FEMININITY

LOVE AND GHOSTING: DATING DURING COVID

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MY RELATIONSHIP WITH... BODY IMAGE AND SELF-CONFIDENCE

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POLITICS 14

MEGHAN MARKLE: BREAKING THE ROYAL MOULD

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ANGELA MERKEL: FOCUS ON HER SPEECHES, NOT HER STYLE

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DO BARE SHOULDERS BELONG IN PARLIAMENT? WHO CARES?

TRAVEL

OPINION WHAT IS PRETTY PRIVILEGE? 19 SOCIAL MEDIA AS A MIRROR FOR 20 SELF-PERCEPTION ATTRACTION AND DATING 21

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SUMMER LOVIN’: THE ALLURE OF HOLIDAY ROMANCES

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A PARADISE LOST: BALI AND THE DECADENCE OF AN IDYLLIC NATION

THE RIDICULOUS SCHOOL 22 UNIFORM RULES IN THE UK

SCIENCE & TECH THE FORMULA FOR LOVE 26

SPORT

THE EXPRESSIONLESS FACE 28

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THE SEXUALISATION OF FEMALE ATHLETES

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DOES PLAYING A SPORT MAKE YOU MORE ATTRACTIVE?

WESSEX S CENE. CO . UK @ WE S S E XS CE NE WESSEX SCENE

WHAT IS BODY DYSMORPHIC 29 DISORDER? MY EXPERIENCE

PAUSE A CASANOVA’S GUIDE TO THE ART OF DISTRACTION

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101 WAYS TO BE A BIT MORE HOT TO TROT

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F B . C OM / W S C E N E @OF F IC IAL W E S S E X S C E N E 3


FEATURES

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SELFIE-ESTEEM: THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON BODY IMAGE

ocial media and body image will always be inherently linked, even though most of us would prefer that they weren’t. Social media content has changed from the written word of Tweets or Facebook statuses to visual content such as selfies on Instagram and clips on TikTok, meaning we show our faces and bodies to the rest of the world. But with internet trolls and anonymous users commenting on posts about how a person looks, it takes its toll. Self-doubt creeps in and people start to believe the horrible things these trolls are writing under their posts, and then their body image is distorted. Body image is our personal perception of ourselves physically, and our consequent thoughts towards our bodies. There are four factors that determine our self-perception of our bodies: • • • •

Perceptual (how we perceive ourselves) Affective (how we feel about our bodies) Cognitive (what we think about our bodies) Behavioural (how behave because of our body image)

But how we think about ourselves in all of these ways does not always reflect reality. How we see the self in our mind’s eye can be distorted, and social media is one of the major culprits causing this distortion. Everyone is aware of what social media is, but recently these sites have become an even larger part of most of our daily lives (particularly as it’s been our only way of communicating with others during the pandemic). Endless scrolling through post after post, seeing other people dressed up and seemingly happy all

the time, makes us feel bad about ourselves. Especially on sites such as Instagram and TikTok that are comprised of photos and videos, making us visually compare ourselves to others and inflict self-judgement. These constant comparisons to social media stars and influencers make us feel negatively about our body image. Social media is full of these posts: happy and full of life. You are unlikely to see the down days of people’s lives on their accounts. Everyone wants to show the best sides of themselves when they post a picture for the world to see. Therefore, we all have this view that the perfection we see on social media is how other people live their daily lives, and it’s us who aren’t following the latest trends or having the ideal body shape or size, or what society has made us believe is perfect!. What we all must remember before judging ourselves and letting our self-esteem take a knock based on society’s definition of perfection, that you shouldn’t believe everything you see on social media. Social media itself has become distorted because of this constant striving for perfection. It puts pressure on us, the users, and makes us believe that we can only post content if we meet the criteria that has been set for us. Post what you want to post. If any users criticise you or your appearance in the comments section, as hard as it is, try to ignore them, then delete the comment and block that person. It’s also important to follow accounts that have a positive effect on your mental health, not ones that make you question your own body image or self-worth. Nobody has the right to make you feel any less than what you’re worth.

WORDS BY MEGAN GAEN IMAGE BY HUGO WEBBER

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APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


MY EXPERIENCE OF BI ERASURE

‘Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include the belief that bisexuality itself does not exist.’

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was so reluctant to call this article my experience. I am a bisexual, yes. I am attracted to both men and women, but my sexuality has always seemed quite irrelevant and invisible. To most of the world, I’m straight. However, I realised that my reluctance to claim this experience as my own was the whole point of why I’m writing this. Frankly, I don’t feel ‘gay enough’ to call myself bi openly. I have only ever been in heterosexual relationships. I am currently in a relationship with a man that I have been for two years, and he’s the best thing in my life. Whilst I am bi, there seems to be a sense of ‘what’s the point?’. To that end, I also don’t feel like I really belong to the LGBTQ+ community. I have been to Pride before, but that was more as an ally with my other bi friends. There doesn’t seem to be much space for invisible bisexuals like me to be a little bit less invisible. Yet again, I just don’t feel ‘gay enough’ to fit into the community, despite the fact that bisexual is in the LGBTQ+ name right alongside lesbian and gay. The weird thing about being bi is that people will always try and put you either side of the line. I’ve seen this with a lot of my bi friends: If you’re a woman dating a man, you’re straight. If you date another woman, then you’re gay. If you date another man after the woman, then it was just ‘a gay phase.’ It’s like the only way people can understand us is if we choose either way, but that is erasure.

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There’s also a ridiculous stigma that bisexuals in relationships are more likely to cheat, and this comes from both sides. Many purely gay or straight people are reluctant to be in relationships with bisexuals because they either don’t like the idea that their partner may have been with someone of the opposite sex, or they are worried that they will stray. There is no reason why bisexuals are more likely to cheat than heterosexuals or homosexuals. Cheating happens in all kinds of relationships. As long as I’m in a fulfilling relationship, I’m not missing out on my sexuality in any way at all. There’s also the idea that bi men don’t exist, and I’m not even going to dignify that by explaining the reasons why it’s wrong. Bisexuality is a spectrum, with all my bi friends having different preferences. For my part, I’d say it’s about a 70/30 split in favour of men. I just about prefer men, but I would very happily date women. I have friends who are more inclined towards homosexual relationships, and even friends who are bisexual but heteroromantic. We are all bi and all as valid as each other. I’m quite a shy girl from the countryside, and I’m not very outspoken or brave. The prospect of embracing my sexuality and shouting it from the rooftops is quite scary to me, especially when I know it’s going to be met with people trying to explain me or put me into a box. Love is love after all, and I happen to be attracted to both men and women. It’s not hard to understand if people actually try.

WORDS BY REBECCA WILLIAMS IMAGE BY BENJAMIN SMYTH 5


THE HARMFUL TREND OF FAST FASHION WORDS BY BRODIE BROWN IMAGE BY FREEPIK.COM

Over the past year, there has been an abundance of fashion trends – from flared trousers making a comeback, to the more seasonal puffer jackets. These passing fads have been fulfilled by the rise in fast fashion brands.

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hat is fast fashion? It is a term used to describe how brands capitalise on current trends by allowing mainstream consumers to purchase trendy clothes at an affordable price. It’s a win-win for consumers and bigname companies – right? Although it may seem like a good thing, fast fashion is very harmful, for both the environment and workers. Out of all of the earth’s polluting industries, fast fashion is placed second in terms of emissions, just below oil, showing the extent of its detrimental nature. The UN has highlighted the horrifying fact that 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry. As well as cheap toxic dyes and materials being used which can pollute local environments and oceans, there is huge waste due to consumers throwing away clothes as soon as they are not in trend anymore. Most production workers are also grossly mistreated, with 80% of them being women, and only 2% earning a living wage. The trend of fast fashion is definitely not new, but it has increased in popularity over the past year. It has been hard to avoid fast fashion brands promoting large discounts on their sites, particularly over the first lockdown in the spring. These brands were evidently profiting from us being inside and spending our days online, trying to make people aim to solve their boredom by buying under-priced clothing. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping, but we cannot ignore how harmful fast fashion is. Yes, it’s nice to refresh

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our wardrobes as the seasons and trends change, but this is outweighed by the horrible treatment of workers within the garment industry, and the detrimental effects on the environment. A recent example of this was the Pretty Little Thing Black Friday sale, when the brand offered deals of up to 99% off, with some garments costing less than 10p. It goes without saying that this was an unreasonably low price point, which makes you wonder how the brand can afford to flog their goods for such low prices. It’s unlikely that the trend of fast fashion will die down anytime soon. But it’s worth noting the more admirable alternatives to getting your dosage of retail therapy. For instance, second-hand shopping, whether online or in charity shops, is growing in popularity. Not only does it remove consumers from fast fashion, but it’s also a way of bagging genuine, vintage pieces. This is especially topical, with recent trends harking back to fashion from previous eras, such as the bold colours and practicality of 80s fashion. Whilst fast fashion brands are aiming to replicate these vintage fashion trends, nothing can beat a genuine, good-quality piece found in a charity shop. You can also donate or sell your old, unwanted clothes, which would decrease the waste produced by fast fashion consumption. According to the European Parliament, on average, Zara puts out 24 collections per year, making people more likely to feel the incentive to purchase more clothes in order to fit in with the latest trends. Rather than doing this, we should instead think of what we already have in our wardrobe, and make use of these clothes. According to TRAID, around 23% of Londoner’s clothes are unworn. This is an incentive to make us shop mindfully and consider the consequences of our need to follow fashion trends. Fast fashion is a harmful trend that needs to be stopped.

APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


WESSEX SCENE

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APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


BREAKING FREE FROM THE TOXICITY OF PERFORMATIVE FEMININITY WORDS BY ALYSSA-CAROLINE BURNETTE IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE

CW: Suicidal Ideation

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he women in my family never leave the house without makeup. Not even for a run to the grocery store or when being rushed to the hospital. No matter the circumstances of the outing, one thing remained constant: the necessity of using cosmetics as a shield. Although it was never explicitly stated, at a young age, I internalised the message that pretty is the price you pay to exist as a woman in this world. I learned that makeup could be a form of protection: something you wear to keep people from seeing the 'unattractive' self beneath, something to shield yourself from other people's judgement. As a child who loved my pet chickens more than dress-up, who would rather swim with sharks than play Barbies, no one ever told me I was ugly. No one ever told me I had to wear makeup. But I heard it beneath the remarks that women made to one another - 'I haven't put on my face today', 'I can't let anyone see me like this!' - and in the references to giving birth while wearing a full face of makeup like armour. That was how I absorbed the message that ugly was the worst thing any woman could be. So I wondered if self-loathing was inevitable. I wondered if I would one day care what WESSEX SCENE

I looked like, if hating yourself was an automatic switch that had to flip for every girl. And for me, it did. A battle with severe eczema decimated my confidence. People with the best of intentions often asked me if I had been a victim of a car crash. Everywhere I went, people stared at my inflamed skin as if I was the bearer of some contagious, disfiguring disease. So I learned to hate myself, to dread every class picture, and every moment when my eyes met the mirror. I learned to define myself as the 'worst thing any woman could be.' I learned how to mask my own self-hatred. In college, I woke up a full hour and a half before my earliest class of the day and every day, I spent that hour and a half blowing out my hair and shielding my insecurities behind concealer and lipstick. I wore high heels to class every day and pointed to my aching feet as proof of my socially acceptable womanhood, fully believing that beauty is pain. I hoped that investing in my appearance might distract people from my eczema and hoped that perfect grades would distract me from my pain. While I battled suicidal ideation every time I scored less than a first on an essay, I perpetuated the toxic belief that as long as I looked pretty, I was okay. 9


Years later, after surviving a traumatic and abusive relationship (and discovering feminism), I learned that there are worse things than going out without makeup. There are worse things than being perceived as 'ugly'. As trite as it sounds, what’s on the inside matters most, and covering your pain with makeup doesn’t make anything okay. It doesn’t make you better, stronger, or prettier than anybody else. In fact, performative femininity is toxic because it perpetuates the patriarchal ideology that women exist to be objectified and sexualised. When you make an active effort to look 'pretty' or 'feminine' for anybody but yourself, you play right into that toxicity. The truth is that women don’t owe performative beauty or femininity to anyone, and you don’t have to conform to traditional representations of womanhood in order to be taken seriously. What matters most is who you are on the inside and that person should be someone who knows her own worth and likes who she is.

adherence to patriarchal beauty standards leads to acceptance and validation, it can be hard to know if your relationship with femininity is really your own. I do believe that you can enjoy being feminine without conforming to toxic beauty standards. It just takes a little bit of critical thought. For example, my favourite colour is pink and I think I own every eyeshadow palette Too Faced has ever made, but I don’t wear makeup all the time anymore. I don’t enjoy traditionally feminine aesthetics because I believe it will make me more acceptable to other people. In an active effort to distance myself from my own former toxic behaviour, I’ve also gone out in public barefaced on a number of occasions, and shockingly, it didn’t make me hate myself!

Now when I do wear makeup, it’s because pretty eyeshadow palettes make me happy or because I love the way a certain lipstick matches my sweater. However, with or without makeup, I still sometimes struggle It takes a long time to unlearn the culture with wondering if I'm 'pretty enough' but of performative femininity that girls absorb I've learned to stop letting these thoughts like osmosis. It takes strength to evaluate define my choices, my self-image, or my your choices on a regular basis and ask self-worth. At the end of the day, what yourself, 'Am I doing this because this matters is that everything I do or don't wear makes me happy? Or because I’ve been is ultimately for me. brainwashed to believe it makes me happy?' When we are conditioned to believe that

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APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


LIFESTYLE

LOVE AND GHOSTING: DATING DURING COVID

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s a kid, I always had this romanticised idea that I would meet someone, fall in love and that would be that. It would be easy and heartbreak would just be this thing other people talked about. Now as a 23-year-old, my experience has been anything but. Pre-corona, I was used to meeting friends of friends or people on the dance floor. Tinder was just an app for mind-numbingly swiping through pictures and enjoying that momentary confidence boost when you get a match. It wasn’t for actually talking to men. But with the haze of alcohol and the joys of lockdown boredom (as well as Tinder’s passport feature being free), I broke my usual swipe-only routine and talked to a few guys – shocker! With the passport feature, I set my location back to my university city, still stuck in the idea that I don’t want to date anyone from my hometown, and started to talk to a few guys – some were even successful. In fact, as someone who’s never made it to the second date with someone, it was very successful. Post-lockdown, I found myself back at university for a few weeks to pack up my house and on a first, second and even third date (COVID safe and outside, of course). Starting the ‘talking stage’ during coronavirus was one thing. It almost seems easier than before with everyone stuck at home and sharing this mutual experience that we’re all collectively going through being the perfect kickstart to a conversation. But what do you do when it comes to a date? With no pubs or restaurants open, the classic first date idea is a no go. And so begin the park walks, sometimes with a bottle of some sort of booze, feeling very much like you’re back in your teen years drinking in a park and not in your 20s trying to start a relationship. It forces you out of your comfort zone and to be more creative with dating ideas, and again it seemed easier to form an authentic connection with someone.

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Despite all the caveats of dating during lockdown, I managed my most successful dating experience. However, not only did coronavirus make it harder to communicate and develop a connection, but it also evidently made it easier for the classic ghost. No risk of accidentally bumping into them at a club or at the shops and limited options to meet up to have that conversation, so ghosting becomes the prime option. Whether it’s because I’m bored of a guy or because I’ve started to develop feelings and panic (my most unfortunate trait), I’m used to always being the person doing the ghosting or sending the classic ‘I’m just not in the right place for a relationship now’ message. Lockdown dating introduced me to my most successful dating experience and simultaneously my first experience of being ghosted. Funny how they go hand in hand. A few months down the line and coming out of a second lockdown (mine was even longer courtesy of getting coronavirus a week before lockdown was announced), I’m pretty bored. I’ve swiped and swiped on Tinder – I even downloaded Hinge for about a day – but with the difficulties of dating right now and this still romanticised idea of meeting someone in person, I’ve let the talking to guys on dating apps go. It’s cliché, but I believe people come into our lives at exactly the right moment for a reason. Maybe mid-pandemic will be that time, maybe it won’t. But for the moment, swiping right (but mostly left) will be a fun past-time I’ll continue.

WORDS BY MEGAN CROSSMAN IMAGE BY BENJAMIN SMYTH

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MY RELATIONSHIP WITH... BODY IMAGE AND SELF-CONFIDENCE CW: Eating Disorders, Diet Culture, Weight Loss

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’ve had a tough relationship with my body since I was about 15. I went to a girls’ secondary school, and it was a breeding ground for self-criticism; the best diets and the latest eating disorders were a frequent topic of conversation which seemed pretty much impossible to evade. This manifested as an incessant preoccupation with body image in my mind, which quickly led to a crippling lack of self-esteem which I haven’t been able to shake since. I’ve never had an eating disorder per se, but I’ve always had a complicated relationship with food – I love it, but sometimes eating it fills me with so much guilt that I feel sick. In the past year, I’ve been trying to change this by not beating myself up for eating unhealthily every now and again, but it’s easier said than done when I’ve been so obsessed with my weight for years now. This isn’t helped as one of my go-to responses to emotional situations is to over-indulge on food as a distraction, but it never actually helps and just makes me feel worse afterwards. Even though I know this, old habits die hard. I can’t seem to stop myself engaging in self-destructive behaviour, even though all I can think about a lot of the time is my desire to lose weight. This is massively exacerbated by continually comparing myself with others. This is a trend which started in school, and has carried over into pretty much every other environment I’ve been in since. I’ve developed a toxic inner voice, constantly attacking me with little jabs and put-downs, and I can’t seem to shut her up.

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I’ve become hyper-aware of other women around me – I always look at their bodies on TV and in movies to try and work out whether or not they’re thinner than me. I even do it with women I pass on the street. There’s literally nothing constructive about this whatsoever, but I do it constantly, and I have no idea how to stop.

APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


This comparison is a huge source of guilt for me, because I’m a big advocate of self-love, embracing individuality and cheering on other women. I think everyone should love themselves and appearance shouldn’t be a factor in that, but every time I analyse another woman’s body alongside my own, I feel like a massive hypocrite, and can’t help feeling like I’m betraying my own body-positive ideals. I guess I’m proof that it’s very possible to fail to practise what you preach.

After all this time, I still essentially judge my worth based on my appearance. Catching sight of myself in the mirror can cause a crash in confidence, especially when I’m feeling bloated that day or treated myself to a takeaway the night before. Discussions about body image, calories or working out can severely affect my mood for entire days, even if they’re just menial topics for everyone else, and they happen in safe spaces with friends I trust.

In previous years, I was intent on the fact that I’d never be satisfied until I looked exactly like the stick-thin models on Instagram, even though my bones are structured entirely differently to theirs, and I don’t have time to work out 24/7. In fact, I have felt a lot better about the For me anyway, I need to find inspiration from reality of my body type since unfollowing somewhere within myself rather than through sothose models – why surround yourself called role models, because studying girls who look the way I want to is just disheartening, and, with toxic influences if not completely on bad days, soul-crushing. And yes, I do still feel necessary? I used to try and convince myself that all this comparing was giving me inspiration to lose weight and somehow transform into a supermodel. I used to have a folder of screenshots of girls’ washboard abs and tiny waists on my phone because I thought it’d force me to start doing 500 crunches a day and stop eating chocolate. The whole idea is absolute rubbish.

the need to be inspired to become healthier and lose weight, because, tragically, that’s the only way I can see myself being able to truly love myself. For a long time, I lacked confidence in pretty much every area of my life. Now, after working through those insecurities, I’m pretty self-assured about various areas of my life, but I can’t say I’m confident about myself overall because of my body image.

Nowadays, I’m working simultaneously on embracing my body more, but also still wanting to lose weight, although perhaps a bit less than I used to. I can foresee this being an inner conflict I’ll have to battle for years to come; insecurity has become part of my daily life. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but I’ve come to the realisation that to be really comfortable in my skin, I need to be at least a little closer to my ideal. I don’t have as much self-hatred as I used to. That gives me hope that I may be able to love myself someday.

WORDS BY KATIE BYNG-HALL IMAGE BY STEPHANIE GHESQUIER VIA PIXABAY

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POLITICS

MEGHAN MARKLE:

BREAKING THE ROYAL MOULD

Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

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f there was one word to describe Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, it would be ‘unconventional.’ For better or worse, it’s their unconventionality which has captured public attention and since forced them out of the Royal family. Between her activism, age, nationality, career and skin colour, these are all things which have singled Meghan Markle out as breaking the royal mould.

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Harry and Meghan began dating in June 2016, announcing their engagement in November 2017 and getting married in May 2018, with a fanfare of negative press. She was different, and the age-old institution of the monarchy doesn’t have a good track record for dealing with different. Neither do the British tabloids. Comparisons between Meghan Markle and Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, were sadly inevitable. William and Kate’s fairytale wedding and conventional family have always played within the rules and never disappointed anyone. But there is notable hypocrisy in the media for their coverage on these two women.

APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


In 2017 while Kate was pregnant with their third child, Express ran an article titled ‘Kate’s morning sickness cure? Prince William gifted with an avocado for pregnant Duchess,’ after Prince William was gifted an avocado by a child whose mother was also suffering with intense morning sickness. However, during Meghan’s pregnancy in 2019, the Daily Mail ran an article titled ‘How Meghan’s favourite avocado snack - beloved of all millennials - is fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder.’ The specific attack on millennials is also ridiculous considering that Meghan is actually one year older than Kate. Even more ludicrous are two articles both run by the Daily Mail. Regarding Kate: ‘Pregnant Kate tenderly cradles her baby bump while wrapping up her royal duties ahead of maternity leave…’. Regarding Meghan: ‘Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump? … Is it pride, vanity, acting - or a new age bonding technique?’ Looking at them side by side reveals the blatantly unfair narratives surrounding royal wives. What really shocked me this year was media treatment of Meghan after the news that she had suffered a miscarriage in July. Meghan published an article in The New York Times to try and raise awareness, but this was slammed as a cry for attention and good press to help her image. The criticism she received over this was abhorrent. It also brings to mind something said by Lord Spencer during his eulogy to his sister Princess Diana in 1997: ‘She talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment that she received at the hands of the newspapers. I don’t think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down.’ The question is, why, 23 years later, have we not learned from Diana’s death? What is it about Meghan that has divided opinion so strongly? Unfortunately, a lot of this we can put down to her skin colour.

But why does it matter? Harry will never be King and nor will his children. But even if Harry or his children were to be King one day, it is baffling why people are so threatened by the idea of a monarch who isn’t 100% white. If anything, a bit of diversity in there might help the monarchy in the 21st century – let’s not forget that monarchies are very much the exception in today’s world. Other than her ethnicity, Meghan has broken the mould for a lot of other things. Thankfully, we seem to have finally moved on from narratives about American divorcee actresses (unfortunately too late for Wallis Simpson), and while it may have raised some eyebrows, it is refreshing to see someone from the real world. Whilst a lot of noise was made about Kate Middleton being a commoner, she comes from an upper middle-class family with ties to the aristocracy. Meghan Markle is real. As such, she also has form for being an activist and politically minded. The Royal family has a policy of public neutrality on all political topics. Their impartiality and insistence that they be above such matters is seen as vital, and a break from this represents a constitutional crisis. The couple came under fire this year when they released a video urging people to vote in the US Presidential election, calling it ‘the most important election in our lifetime.’ Whilst the video itself did not state which way people should vote, it has been suggested that their intent was to back Joe Biden over Donald Trump. Meghan has previously criticised Trump for being ‘misogynistic’ and ‘divisive’, so we know where her allegiances likely lie. The fact is, they’re gone now. For whatever reasons, they were driven out and we now won’t know what benefits we might have seen from someone so different in this institution. It seems that the case for modernisation and diversity in the crown has been set back again. Let anyone marrying into the Royal Family beware; things haven’t changed at all.

Meghan Markle is mixed-race. This was a shock to an institution which has never had much diversity but her skin colour was just something that people rejected being at the heart of the British Royal family.

WORDS BY REBECCA WILLIAMS IMAGE BY BENJAMIN SMYTH

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APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


ANGELA MERKEL: FOCUS ON HER SPEECHES, NOT HER STYLE If any female political leader decided to inadvertently make a fashion statement, simply by picking a certain dress or pair of shoes, then this has to be reported by the press. This then becomes the leading report of the day, not the statement they have made. Take Theresa May, for example, there are countless reports about her choice of heel during her time as Britain’s Home Secretary and Prime Minister. Leading magazine, Tatler, even wrote an in memoriam article, when she left 10 Downing Street, for her shoes. Would this have ever happened to any of her male counterparts? Certainly not.

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ermany’s Chancellor for 15 years, Angela Merkel is one of the most powerful politicians, and most powerful women, in the world. As a woman in politics, she has had to break through many glass ceilings to get to and maintain the position she is in today. One of the key things she had to do to get where she is now was to define her signature style so that people focused on what she had to say, rather than what she wore. Early on in her career, Merkel was mocked for her frumpy style and unkempt hair. Then, when she had her first ministerial post, as Environment Minister, she noted herself that more people were concentrating on her shoes than what she was saying. From this point onwards, Merkel defined her signature style, which she has remained true to until this day: a bob haircut, a jacket and sensible trousers. The only variety in appearance you will see is the colour of the jacket. This ‘uniform’ she wears means that nobody comments on her attire, seeing as it is unchanging every time; there are no noteworthy surprises. Because of this consistency in her look, now people must focus on her words, instead of her wardrobe. Though her political position should immediately command respect and therefore the attentive ears of the public, not to mention the world’s media, because she is a woman, she has had to take additional precautions to ensure this does actually happen. This is a sad reality for women in politics.

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Then, if you take the look of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his scruffy hair has become his signature style. But, as exemplified by Angela Merkel, if a woman looked this way, they would be ridiculed and not taken seriously in politics. Women in politics are held to a different standard than their male colleagues. The fact that people like Angela Merkel have had to define a simple and continuous style so as to bore the public and press to actually listen and write about what she says is mad. It was a smart move by her and has worked in her favour, considering she is the leader of Germany and has been for 15 years, but the fact she had to do this in the first place is a true injustice. Why should her gender and clothes take focus away from her words and opinions? It shouldn’t. She is simply a successful politician and world leader, who has important things to say - that should be enough.

WORDS BY MEGAN GAEN IMAGE BY KRISTOF ROOMP VIA FLICKR

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DO BARE SHOULDERS BELONG IN PARLIAMENT? WHO CARES? Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

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ack in February of 2020, Tracy Brabin, a 58-year-old Labour MP and Shadow Culture Secretary, wore an off-the-shoulder dress to a session in the House of Commons. While it may have occurred to her to be a slightly off-the-wall fashion choice, I doubt she could’ve foreseen the obscene hate she’d receive off the back (or shoulder) of her decision. The infamous dress is a black, below-the-knee number, with sleeves covering Mrs Brabin’s upper arms, and a drooped neckline exposing one of her shoulders. I’d say the dress is rather flattering, but after footage aired of her wearing it in the Commons, she received aggressive backlash from critics, many of whom branded her a ‘tart’ because of her attire. Mrs Brabin even tweeted herself that she had been compared to a ‘slut’ who had ‘just been banged over a wheelie bin’. The slurs she was subjected to are truly disgusting, over something that simply reminds people that female politicians have shoulders like everyone else. Since the general election in January of 2020, 34% of the Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons are women—the highest proportion in Parliament’s history. However, this incident proves that they are still subjected to another level of scrutiny which their male peers don’t have to endure before they can be respected as politicians.

to undermine her status as the country’s leader in a way which would not have had the same impact if it had been addressed to a male politician, for whom attacking their appearance can be a way to make a jibe, but it would not threaten the public’s general perception of them. What’s most alarming is that this condemnation came from a woman—the Kensington and Chelsea MP at the time, Emma Dent Coad—showing that no matter how intelligent or independent we are, even we women haven’t been able to escape society’s misogynistic trope of attacking other women’s appearances above all else. A good mind is all a politician needs to be able to make sound decisions and speak for the people representatively, but female politicians are constantly judged more by their appearance than their brains. Basically, who cares if Tracy Brabin wore an off-theshoulder dress in Parliament or not? The only thing that should matter for MPs when they enter the House is their ability to listen, think and speak, not what they decide to wear. It’s the day when female MPs are judged primarily on what comes out of their mouths rather than what they’re wearing that misogyny will truly be dead in the world of politics.

I’d love to say I’m shocked by the response Mrs Brabin received to her fashion choice on that day, but unfortunately not. It seems to be impossible for certain people to make judgements about women in the public eye without considering and subsequently tearing apart their appearance, and female MPs are evidently no exception. The sexualised language used against Mrs Brabin reveals the underlying misogyny which continues to manifest itself in the minds of much of the population; rather than saying she looked silly or unprofessional, the instinct was to condemn her assumed lack of sexual virtue. This misogyny is further illustrated in the fact that calling her a ‘slut’ is what her critics deemed to be the most severe form of insult. Theresa May was also subjected to constant comments regarding her appearance while she was Prime Minister. In one instance in 2017, a Labour MP tweeted an image implying that Mrs May’s political views had made her physically ‘ugly.’ This ‘ugliness’ was evidently intended

WORDS BY KATIE BYNG-HALL IMAGE BY CHRIS MCANDREW, CC BY 3.0 VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS 18

APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


OPINION

WHAT IS PRETTY PRIVILEGE? WORDS BY GEORGIA DEVITA IMAGE BY FREEPIK.COM

Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

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rom a young age, it was made clear that I didn’t fit conventional stereotypes of what made someone ‘pretty’. I was often described as funny, smart, interesting, but never pretty . While other girls were being celebrated for being ‘cute’ and ‘pretty,’ I was being celebrated for my personality or intelligence. ‘Pretty’ is, of course, subjective, but regardless of that fact, stereotypical beauty revolves around being slim, white, able-bodied and cisgender. The more qualities you possess that fit into these categories, the more likely you are to be seen as pretty, and to subsequently benefit from that prettiness. Pretty privilege works in many ways and can differ depending on what spaces you enter. As a white, cis woman, there are spaces in which I might be perceived as more attractive than a person of colour, or someone who is gender non-conforming. However, being short, fairly chubby, and disabled will impact how I am perceived in different spaces. Different privileges intersect, and attractiveness is just one of many privileges. Whiteness is heavily tied to attractiveness. Whiteness is something that provides people with more opportunities because they’re seen as more attractive. The interconnection of race and beauty has long-since been established, and people of colour are heavily impacted by colourism and westernised ideals of beauty. You simply have to take a look in a magazine to recognise that whiteness is valued over other ethnicities.

In my experience, weight and body shape have always impacted my life and how people see me. I’m sure most people have felt at times that they look too chubby, or wish that they had a slimmer physique, and can relate to my experience. Growing up as a fat kid, I always felt like the odd one out amongst my mostly slim friends. Although my childhood and teenage years were littered with namecalling, body-image issues, and yo-yo dieting, I’m lucky to have made it out the other end reasonably unscathed (thank you, Tracy Turnblad, ‘Fat’ Amy, and Lizzo). Obviously, I don’t blame my pretty friends for always getting the attention of the cute boys in class or for winning ‘best hair’, or ‘best outfit’: it wasn’t their fault. This isn’t a call-out to all the conventionally pretty people out there, even if I envy you sometimes. No one should feel bad about the way they look and as someone who has experienced first-hand how it feels to be picked apart because of your appearance, I’m not going to inflict that on someone else. What’s important is understanding that if you are not in a position where you know how it feels to be picked on or made to feel insecure about the way you look, then you are not in a position to deny pretty privilege or any privilege for that matter. The acknowledgement and understanding of your different levels of privilege are fundamental to eradicating ignorance and making society a more welcoming environment for all people regardless of the way they look.

Pretty people are granted different and oftentimes, better opportunities than those society deems as less attractive, and that just isn’t fair. Research shows that white, cisgender, slim, conventionally attractive people are more likely to succeed in school and workplace environments. Employers are more likely to want to hire pretty people, and attractive students are more likely to receive higher grades, be more popular and be perceived as smarter. People who are attractive are less likely to be found guilty and are sentenced less harshly in court.

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SOCIAL MEDIA AS A MIRROR FOR SELF-PERCEPTION Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

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ithout realising it, social media slowly seeps into our thoughts and makes its way into our perspective time and time again. A platform, which should broaden your outlook and allow you to positively connect with peers, more often than not has the opposite effect, leaving your sense of self-worth to narrow and diminish at the hands of a few photographs and/or statuses. What we fail to recognise is that people who post on social media are personas of themselves – an over-glorified version of what really contributes to their lives. It is merely a space for showing off our thoughts, achievements, and desires to others in the hope of instant gratification, in which we rely on other people to boost our self esteem and general mood. Not only is it causing an incredibly unhealthy mindset towards our own internal perception, but also to our bodies. The body positivity movement is certainly nothing new, but lately I see a shift in its sentiment. I suddenly see a sea of model-perfect influencers on my newsfeed, who have clearly planned their outfits, hair and makeup and have taken literal hours out of their day to get the pictureperfect post, branding themselves under this movement.

These influencers often get paid to be presented in a certain light. They have the time to eat healthily and go to the gym five times a week. They get gifted makeup, luxury trips and other products that make their lifestyles appear rosier from the outside looking in. This is their job. The harsh truth is that brand deals are a form of marketing, in which the aim is to sell. ‘Normal’ working-class citizens who stress-scoff packets of hobnobs and simply do not have the time or money for multiple trips to the gym and salon simply do not sell products – and that fills me with great sadness. What needs to be realised and reiterated is that the ‘ideal’ body image changes over time. You can try to live up to what society currently views as acceptable, but ultimately as that perception is achieved, another ideal will enter and the whole self-loathing and self-hatred cycle spins all over again. Nowadays, I make sure that the people I associate myself with on social media – whether they be friends or celebrities – all spread messages of positivity and highlight the importance of individual difference on self-worth. No one body type is particularly ‘Instagramable’ or ‘Instaworthy’ because ultimately who you are is enough for that to be possible – if you have a body it is worthy of being posted about, should you want that of course.

During the first lockdown I made the decision to uninstall Instagram from my phone. Out of all the forms of social media I have, Instagram is by far the most negatively impactful. What was once a platform to share quotes, pictures of pets and pretty sunsets has become a breeding ground for consumerism and brand deals, hosted by seemingly glamorous and ‘perfect’ influencers. It is not the body type or the look of the people featuring in posts that bothers me – I strongly believe that all people of varying body shapes and sizes should feel empowered in their own skin – it is that they are displaying an unattainable lifestyle to others, particularly the younger generation, who will then become fixated on being exactly who they see on their screens, rather than being the best version they can be.

WORDS BY ELLIE GRIFFITHS IMAGE BY FREEPIK.COM

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APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


ATTRACTION AND DATING WORDS BY SAM PEGG IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

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ooks matter when it comes to dating. As much as we don't always want them to - they do. We live in a world obsessed with the perfect body, the perfect face, and in general, the perfect appearance. The obsession with perfection is inescapable. Tinder, Bumble, Grindr. The list goes on of dating apps that have members choosing others primarily on attractiveness alone. Many chances of relationships are halted under the guise of 'lack of attraction' and so, while we have a select few advocating that all that matters is someone's personality, for a lot of people looks matter in some shape and form and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Most of us when asked what our type is will give an answer choosing 'desirable' physical attributes that a person may have. Sometimes it's hair colour, eye colour, physique, height or in some cases a smile, a laugh and even dimples. All of these are based on physical attributes that we have limited control over. Although the question on types is open-ended, it's perfectly acceptable to say 'someone who makes me laugh' or 'someone with intelligence', but still a large number of people will say something physical at some point. So, when we say a physical attribute, we are confirming that in some essence looks and physical attraction matter - but in the process we often feel shame about it. However, we shouldn't feel shame, because there's a difference in saying 'I only date attractive people' to 'there has to be some sort of attraction'.

The second statement is about personal preference. It isn't you saying someone has to be constructed physically perfect, but that there has to be something about them that draws you in but isn't limited to what has been defined as beautiful by society. It's about putting personal preference over wider opinions, and this attractiveness matters because it's personal to you - it doesn't change depending on what others think. The person stays attractive to you, even if others don't see it. Attraction like this then is something we need to normalise and accept because this sense of attraction is malleable. The guy with huge muscles and a sixpack may always be attractive even if they treat you horribly, but then there's something else about someone who has a caring-heart or great sense of humour that makes them more attractive because of these traits. Their attractiveness isn't limited to their physical appearance but also influenced by their emotional quantity. We need to normalise the fact we started speaking to someone because we found them attractive as long as we are not actively excluding others on appearance alone. There needs to be a balance that considers what we find attractive about someone physically and how we connect with them emotionally. When these two facts are in equilibrium, there's less superficiality involved and room to let things grow in meaningful ways. Be proud that you're attracted to your partner, especially so if others may not see it, because it's what you see that matters!

The first statement is superficially hollow that most likely defines attractiveness as the generic plastering of beauty we find in Instagram models and TV adverts. It qualifies looks as being the most important aspect of dating and leaves little room for emotional connection through personality. It's mostly said by people who have an unprecedented amount of narcissism that, trust me, are not worth your time. WESSEX SCENE

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THE RIDICULOUS SCHOOL UNIFORM RULES OF THE UK Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

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chool uniforms are an integral part of the British school experience. At the end of every August, your mum will pull out your shirts and jumpers to see if they still fit after being hidden in your wardrobe for nearly 2 months. Either they do and you’re good to go, or the sleeves are two inches too short and you’re doomed to spend your last day of summer following your parents around the shop, trying to find something that does account for your growth spurt over the summer.

which school uniform rules are enforced is something I do find issue with. Oftentimes, schools have very strict rules concerning school uniforms and it sometimes appears as if they spend more time enforcing these than teaching. At many schools, the day begins with teachers sending pupils with the incorrect uniform to spend the day in isolation, or even worse pupils are sent home and told to come back when their uniform is correct. It’s hard to get over the ridiculousness of sending a child home because their uniform is incorrect. How exactly is a missing tie meant to impact a child’s ability to learn? By being so strict with school uniform rules, schools ignore that for some pupils it may not always be possible to abide by these rules. In 2015, the Department for Education surveyed 1,183 parents about uniform costs and found that the average annual expenditure for one child was £213. For low-income families, this is an incredibly high cost to factor into a yearly budget. Families having to scrape by so they can afford to buy the specific PE kit a school has requested their pupils wear seems entirely unjust. In justification of these strict rules, schools argue that such guidelines prepare pupils for the world of work. In most areas of employment, there are either strict dress codes or a uniform policy. Schools explain that by enforcing these strict guidelines now, pupils will be better prepared for them later. They argue that the consequences of not following these rules will be greater in the world of work. Of course, it is important to prepare pupils for what will be expected of them in later life. However, I think the very strict manner in which these rules are enforced is completely wrong. The main purpose of schools to learn and taking away a child’s opportunity to do this is wrong. Uniform rules are linked with the idea of what is considered professional and smart when presenting yourself to someone. This idea is heavily outdated. I do not believe what someone wears and how they look will impact the quality of work. In the same sense, a child’s ability to learn is not impacted by whether they remembered their tie that morning or not.

Fundamentally, I believe there is no issue with the existence of school uniforms. If anything, the ease of knowing what to wear everyday and not having to worry about what standing out in comparison to what other kids are wearing is a benefit. However, the strict manner in

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WORDS BY MACEY MCDERMOTT IMAGE BY EDWARD OLDFIELD

APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


TRAVEL

SUMMER LOVIN’: THE ALLURE OF HOLIDAY ROMANCES

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here’s something about that special feeling you get when you’re on holiday. You’re away, living your best life and all bets are off. Normal life seems to be eons away, and actions don’t have consequences. That medium-ugly boy whose glance you keep catching across the room all of a sudden looks like Harry Styles and you are in love. Holiday romances have a tendency to feel so much more passionate and intense than those you experience at home. Whether it is the knowledge that in just a few days you’ll part ways or whether it is the breathtaking scenery, something about it feels special. For better or for worse, when you come back to reality, you’ll always have that story in the back of your head, the what if ’s and the what now’s. Will I ever see them again? Do I even want to? Would it be the same? In my experience, what makes a holiday romance so intense is the ability to just say f*ck it and go for it. There are no inhibitions, if you give it a go and they reject you, you move on and that’s that. I mean who cares? The beauty of this newly gained confidence however, the ability to say whatever you’re thinking because in that very moment all bets are off, can create something beautiful. A whirlwind of passion that almost feels like love. It’s crazy how quickly you can form a connection with someone if you just try to let them in. Travelling will easily leave you struck by awe, but sharing that awe with someone

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who in other circumstances you’d never have gotten to know makes the experience tenfolds better. The relationships you form are somehow deeply intimate despite not really knowing each other. I’ve shared my deepest and darkest insecurities and fears with people whose last names I didn’t even know because in those moments, the surface level identifiers that take us through everyday life don’t matter. Holiday romances can for a split second give you the chance to peer deep into the soul of another human being, and even if you may never see them again, that is enriching. Don’t get me wrong, there’s also a lot to be said about the downsides of the throws of passion when you’re away. Whether it’s pesky parents or trying to find a place for intimacy in your 12 bed shared hostel dorm, it’s not always easy. Kissing in the rain quickly gets cold and sex on the beach is definitely not as fun and effortless as the movies portray it to be, trust me. The brief relationships you have are romanticised when probably, they’re not quite as amazing as you remember, but there’s still something to be said about the lack of inhibition you get. I think all our lives would be better if we took that self-confidence, that willingness to open up and be vulnerable in front of a complete stranger and brought it into our everyday at home lives. Stay safe and be careful, but the next time you’re starting to feel those butterflies in your stomach, embrace your inner Natasha Bedingfield and release your inhibitions. Take a leap of faith and just go for it, what’s the worst thing that could happen? WORDS BY LINNEA LAGERSTEDT IMAGE BY PRAWNY VIA PIXABAY 23


A PARADISE LOST: BALI AND THE DECADENCE OF AN IDYLLIC NATION

WORDS BY LAURA PROST IMAGE BY FREEPIK.COM

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ince 2016 Bali has been a hotspot for tourism and seasonal surfers. Once a little Indonesian island that served as a scapegoat from reality, Bali has lost its original mystery and charm over the years, reduced to being labelled as a ‘floating garbage island.’ All the wonder Bali could offer has been forgotten due to the consequences of tourism. But has it changed the image of Bali and the urge to visit it?

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Two years ago as I dreamt away along the coastline of Bali and the resplendent shores of Dreamland Beach and Seminyak of getting the best experience of the whole summer, the surroundings were not as I remembered them to be in 2015. With surf sessions at sunrise, it felt like just yesterday when every stroke excavated plastic, bottles clicked against fins, whilst surfboards dragged fish nets — the concept of surfing in Bali had drastically changed and after a few steps on the shore, the horizon was barely visible, crowds were suffocating the beaches as the noise of flourishing tourism muffled the sound of ocean tranquility. The appearances I once knew felt like a vague dream. Commerce was making it impossible to turn a blind-eye to the burgeoning demands of tourism, with businesses booming and Bali getting a spot on APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


the map. But for visitors the attraction and enchantment was an illustrious mirage, it felt as though each time somebody left they took a piece with them and left even more behind. Driving endless hours in a tuk-tuk down the coastline and eating through Sage Café’s menu felt like a dream turned into reality, whilst subconsciously pretending not to see the evolution of dystopian change around you. Hiking through rice terraces and passing natives, the subsequent interactions with locals lead to an increased comprehension of the population’s mourning for their dying heritage. Due to the rise of garbage in the oceans, the endless flow of plastic interferes with the locals ability to reach clean water spots whilst disturbing the evolution of wildlife. The irresponsibility and the culture of tourism has had the greatest influences on destinations with turquoise oceans and white sand beaches and Bali was a preeminent destination of both. Appearances attract but also separate us from understanding the origins and customs of our destination, causing us to miss the true value regions hold and the necessity for preserving it. Bali throughout the last decade has turned from unreachable paradise to weekend-getaway. As the power and accessibility of photography develops further, Bali has devolved to being one amongst many, its unique attributes lost within the tumultuous environment of photoshop. All the while social media makes what was a place for the few, now viewed by all — those satisfied with the emotions this imagery evokes now seek out places elsewhere for similar and more affordable experiences. The original charm of Bali is now buried and lost amongst its fellow garbage islands and consequently, for tourists image and comfort are a primary concern — which, unfortunately, from my own experience, Bali can no longer offer. WESSEX SCENE

During my stay in Ericeira, the Portuguese surfing capital of Europe, I met people who had visited Bali before and claimed that they were not certain whether they would revisit the island. Citing high pollution and garbage islands floating in the most desirable and popular surfing spots as having ruined its magical appearance. Consequently, the once highly prominent destination might cease into oblivion as Bali will be replaced by more attractive and cleaner spots such as Costa Rica and Dubai. Due to the increased accessibility of various other destinations, Bali might be forgotten if the current situation does not improve. Locals along Bali’s east coast have shown an unyielding determination to restore their island to the former glory that it was praised for in 2016. The annual beach clean-up, generous donations and collaborations with non-profit organisations have had a great influence on Bali’s path towards healing. Such local initiatives are not unique to Bali, and other vulnerable places such as Maya Bay in Thailand that are suffering the consequences of tourism are implementing their own local programmes and investing in the preservation of local habitats when it is not the primary concern of the government. The siege of tourism takes longer to repair than initially thought but weekly beach clean ups have done more than anyone could have hoped. Bali is healing with the tremendous help of local volunteers and seasonal surfers, who go above and beyond to restore the valuable reefs and corals in Bali so the ecosystem there can recover. Surfers thankful for Bali’s amazing conditions and mellow waves all realise the unequivocal necessity to save Bali from its floating garbage mountains, so that future generations can also see Bali for its true island paradise.

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SCIENCE & TECH

THE FORMULA FOR LOVE sport of choice is going to the gym and who spend time getting hardcore gains often find themselves in uncomfortable situations with people leering at them when they’re just trying to improve their strength. Therefore it seems that engaging in sports makes you more attractive. But is the same said for those whose sport requires them to have a different physique? For example, rugby players that specialise in the scrum must have a very different body type to those who have to run faster. Are those players seen as less attractive? Coming from a house that religiously watches any and all rugby and is full of intrigued heterosexual women, that isn’t the case. Compliments on play and slight objectifications over looks are a constant spiel. Body type here seems to make no difference to whether a person is attractive, and it is instead due to something else.

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hile lots of sport fans are there for the thrill of the action, it is often commented about how ‘fit’ the players are, almost as though that in itself is a pull to the game. With that being said, is it true that playing a sport makes you more attractive? Or is it just the case that those watching sports are just really feeling it? Firstly, we must establish what are commonly found to be attractive qualities. It is thought that people with a good sense of humour attract a lot of attention as this is seen as a pleasurable feature. It is a bit difficult for those who are playing sport to show off their personality in that way, albeit it is possible in score celebrations and interviews. Voice pitch is also something that can be a subconscious pull towards possible mates, but is something that can’t really be heard during sports, with grunts and cheers not really being indicative of a person’s voice. So with subtleties of personality and features other than how a person looks being undetectable during play, why do people get so worked up about sports players? Maybe it is purely based on how they look. The ‘perfect’ image for a man is often thought to be chiselled muscles and tanned, golden skin. Many who play sports have to keep up a good physique in order to be at the top of their game. Those whose

However, sports players are just generally seen as being attractive. What gives? If it isn’t due to their physical attributes that they’ve gained through partaking in sports, then what could it be? Perhaps it is from the idea that those who play sports are generally happier. As we all know by now, exercise releases endorphins which gives you lots of serotonin and makes you happy. Happy people are less stressed etc. and have positive attributes in that case that makes them more attractive. Additionally, seeing people play sports gives the premonition that they are committed and engaging people, and those who appear more interesting always seem more attractive. Since they have a hobby that they are into and regularly play, it makes the person seem more interesting ergo attractive. While having hot bods makes people seem more attractive (and there are many who play sports who have such a physique), it isn’t the be-all and end-all. Those who engage in sports appear more friendly and outgoing, and that in itself is a very attractive way of appearing. In these cases, playing a sport makes you very attractive.

WORDS BY LAUREN GREEN IMAGE BY HUGO WEBBER 26

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WESSEX SCENE

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THE EXPRESSIONLESS FACE S

elf-confidence is an issue for everyone; there is always a feature you wish you could change. Do you want a smaller nose, longer legs, more defined abs? Cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular, with around 27,000 people in the UK undergoing a procedure in 2019. One of the most popular procedures is Botox, but what does this mean? Although Botox is often associated with fewer wrinkles, it is used to treat a range of health issues including chronic migraines, eyelid spasms, overactive bladders, incontinence, stiffness of muscles and excessive underarm sweating. Botox was first used medicinally in the 1970s and was unavailable cosmetically until 1990. Derived from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, Botox is a neurotoxic protein which prevents nerve activity in the muscles, resulting in targeted muscle paralysis. Whilst you may not recognize C. botulinum by name, this bacterium is present in a variety of settings from soils and lakes to within the intestinal tracts of mammals. There are many commercial preparations of the Botulinum toxin, but Botox is the most common and is known as OnabotulinumtoxinA. Our nervous systems are complex structures that are easily damaged and altered. Neurotoxins are one example of how we can alter how our nerves

communicate. Many nerves within our body will produce acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) to relay messages to other cells and muscles; these nerves are known as cholinergic neurones. Acetylcholine is crucial for muscle movement, as well as having a key role in learning, memory and mood. The botulinum toxin type A binds to cholinergic neurones and prevents the release of acetylcholine. The toxin is engulfed by the neurone via a process called endocytosis and then separately packaged inside a bubble to prevent it spreading out. Once the toxin is inside the neurone, it will affect other proteins within the neurone, and prevent the release of acetylcholine. This prevents signalling between cells, so muscles do not contract. Muscles are now relaxed and in a state of paralysis. This explains why people with Botox often have a blank expression – their muscles are unable to contract and their forehead is ‘frozen’. Similar to other procedures, both medicinal and cosmetic, Botox comes with side effects. Not everyone will experience a side effect and the severity varies. One of the largest concerns is that Botox has the potential to migrate through the body from where it was initially injected. As a neurotoxin, this could cause devastating effects on the nervous system, preventing the function of other important muscles. More common side effects include muscle weakness around the injection site, blurred vision, bruising or redness where the injection was administered, and muscle stiffness. Anxiety is another side effect often overlooked. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which has a role in controlling our moods; research has shown an increase in acetylcholine levels can have anti-anxiety effects. Botox decreases levels of acetylcholine, however this side effect is temporary. Disclaimer: If you are considering any cosmetic surgery, please consult a medical specialist beforehand and thoroughly research the procedure.

WORDS BY LAUREN GREEN IMAGE BY EDWARD OLDFIELD

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APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


WHAT IS BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER? MY EXPERIENCE WORDS BY RUBY WOOD IMAGE BY FREEPIK.COM TW: Body dysmorphia

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ody dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is defined by the NHS as a mental health condition, where a person is preoccupied with flaws in their appearance, and it takes a toll on their day-to-day life. It can have serious consequences on your work, relationships, and social life. It’s a disorder that is concealed by normal ideas of insecurity, meaning I’ve felt afraid to open up about it. The seriousness of the intrusive thoughts is often ignored. The Mind charity notes that it has an adolescent onset, normally at the age of 13, thus people may dismiss the symptoms as related to hormones and coming of age. But body dysmorphia can be debilitating and shouldn’t be disregarded. BDD has links to other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, OCD and self-harm. Like with many other mental illnesses, it doesn’t always come alone. Studies have shown that it’s a complex disorder and can be caused by a variety of factors. Both biological and environmental factors can contribute to the development of BDD, such as genetic predisposition and neurological factors. The scientific evidence of causation highlights the complexity of this mental illness. My first memories of BDD were in primary school, where I would compare myself to the other children and often felt overwhelmingly sad due to my appearance. I used to cry when my mother got out a camera; my little sister would pose, and I would avoid it with every bone in my body. When I was 12, a boy used to refer to me as a ‘hippo’ and this humiliating comment triggered shockwaves in my brain. I thought I was fat and ugly, and started to wish every day that something would change. A symptom of BDD that I displayed was checking myself in the mirror constantly. I couldn’t count the times in a day that I would sneak away from my social life or school life to the bathroom and just stare at myself. I was constantly confused with my appearance as every time I looked at myself, my facial features or body had morphed into someone new. Not only that, but I thought that I was repulsive and just wrong. There was never a moment where my brain was quiet.

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My experience with BDD was a destructive time in my life. I abused my body, either starving it or drinking ‘fitness’ drinks to attempt to gain control. I also wore a lot of makeup and prayed that it would make me fit in. I thought that I would be unlovable because of my appearance and dreamt of one day having enough money so that I could pay for plastic surgery, so I could be content with myself. This constant despair with my looks caused me to sink into periods of depression and anxiety. It broke down a lot of relationships in my life and that’s what inspired me to change. A combined effort of CBT and school counselling led me to recovery. It helped me understand the addictiveness of these thoughts and that the only way to start moving on was to challenge and ignore them. Understanding the root causes of this disorder helped me understand how I was feeling and for once, I didn’t feel alone. Recovery is hard, but every day I get closer to loving myself. Thanks to scientific research into BDD, I’m currently living a much better and healthier life, and I’m doing things that I never thought would be possible. If you are suffering from body dysmorphia, know that it is treatable and you don’t have to suffer alone. Booking an appointment with your GP is the first step.

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APPEARANCE & ATTRACTION


SPORT

T H E S E X U A L I S AT I O N O F F E M A L E AT H L E T E S T

o some extent, athletes always have and always will be sex symbols. The chiseled bodies, the fame, the money, what more could you want? But what differentiates male and female athletes is the ways in which the sexualisation of female athletes inhibits them from doing their job and being valued for it. The hypersexualisation of women and misogyny go hand in hand. David Beckham might be called sexy in the tabloids when spotted with his top off, but he’s also recognised as a prolific and proficient footballer. Women however are sexualised in any and all contexts, because our sexuality and sexual appeal is placed above any other signifiers. Our bodies and our appearance is frequently named, if not explicitly then implicitly, as our chief attributes in life. So while a male athlete is allowed to be both attractive and good at his job, female athletes are reduced to what their sport does for the male gaze. Sexism exists everywhere in sport. From ring girls and cheerleaders to the fact that any sports league in which women play has the precursor ‘women’s’ because the default is always male, sport—like the world in which it exists—is patriarchal and thrives on hypermasculinity. The credibility of women’s sports is already diminished by its forceful existence in parallel to men’s, but the overwhelming sexualisation of female athletes is incredibly harmful to any fair sportsmanship. Female athletes are looked at like models because there’s an inherent assumption that they’re not good enough to function as athletes on their own. When the women’s American football league first launched, there was one condition to it being televised: unlike the heavy protective padding of men’s American football, the women were forced to wear bikinis, moving the focus of the game off the sport and the incredibly hard work put into it by the athletes,

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and onto their appearance. Not only is it hard for the athletes to compete properly and do their job, but it objectifies them, ultimately discouraging others from trying their hand at the sport. What’s the point in putting all that sweat, blood and tears into your athleticism if at the end of the day, you’ll be reduced to some Sports Illustrated cover model? The game in itself is ridiculed by the tiny costumes they are forced to prance around in as men ogle their bodies, all the while thinking about the ‘real’ men’s football they’ll watch later in the day. Not only are they sexualised, but if women in sport fail to live up to the expectations of a sexy female body, their achievements in the sector are minimised. Take Simone Biles for example, one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time. After posing for the covers of Vogue and Time Magazine, she was flooded with hate comments over her broad shoulders and strong abs. They said that being too muscly is masculine, and that nobody will want a woman like that. She should slim down if she wants anyone to like her. The thing is, that strong chest and those strong shoulders make her the best at the game, and that is sexy. Her power is sexy. But most importantly, she doesn’t exist for you. She doesn’t need to be sexy to be of value. Neither does any other woman. It is not our sole purpose in life to serve the male gaze, and until the sexualisation of female athletes stops, women’s sport will never be taken seriously.

WORDS BY LINNEA LAGERSTEDT IMAGE BY CHARLOTTE CONNELLY

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DOES PLAYING A SPORT MAKE YOU MORE ATTRACTIVE?

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hile lots of sport fans are there for the thrill of the action, it is often commented about how ‘fit’ the players are, almost as though that in itself is a pull to the game. With that being said, is it true that playing a sport makes you more attractive? Or is it just the case that those watching sports are just really feeling it?

religiously watches any and all rugby and is full of intrigued heterosexual women, that isn’t the case. Compliments on play and slight objectifications over looks are a constant spiel. Body type here seems to make no difference to whether a person is attractive, and it is instead due to something else.

Firstly, we must establish what are commonly found to be attractive qualities. It is thought that people with a good sense of humour attract a lot of attention as this is seen as a pleasurable feature. It is a bit difficult for those who are playing sport to show off their personality in that way, albeit it is possible in score celebrations and interviews. Voice pitch is also something that can be a subconscious pull towards possible mates, but is something that can’t really be heard during sports, with grunts and cheers not really being indicative of a person’s voice. So with subtleties of personality and features other than how a person looks being undetectable during play, why do people get so worked up about sports players?

However, sports players are just generally seen as being attractive. What gives? If it isn’t due to their physical attributes that they’ve gained through partaking in sports, then what could it be? Perhaps it is from the idea that those who play sports are generally happier. As we all know by now, exercise releases endorphins which gives you lots of serotonin and makes you happy. Happy people are less stressed etc. and have positive attributes in that case that makes them more attractive. Additionally, seeing people play sports gives the premonition that they are committed and engaging people, and those who appear more interesting always seem more attractive. Since they have a hobby that they are into and regularly play, it makes the person seem more interesting ergo attractive.

Maybe it is purely based on how they look. The ‘perfect’ image for a man is often thought to be chiselled muscles and tanned, golden skin. Many who play sports have to keep up a good physique in order to be at the top of their game. Those whose sport of choice is going to the gym and who spend time getting hardcore gains often find themselves in uncomfortable situations with people leering at them when they’re just trying to improve their strength. Therefore it seems that engaging in sports makes you more attractive. But is the same said for those whose sport requires them to have a different physique? For example, rugby players that specialise in the scrum must have a very different body type to those who have to run faster. Are those players seen as less attractive? Coming from a house that

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While having hot bods makes people seem more attractive (and there are many who play sports who have such a physique), it isn’t the be-all and end-all. Those who engage in sports appear more friendly and outgoing, and that in itself is a very attractive way of appearing. In these cases, playing a sport makes you very attractive.

WORDS BY EMILY DENNIS IMAGE BY FREEPIK.COM

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33


PAUSE

P

A CASANOVA'S GUIDE TO THE ART OF DISTRACTION

eople always ask me how I can be so romantically enchanting when absolutely nothing about me is remotely attractive. For a long time, I promised to keep my first-date moves to myself so as not to put myself in competition with other admirers, especially if they’re actually good-looking. However, since I remain unscathed in this flirty, dirty, dance of dating, literally shouldering through crowds of people who have been bewitched by my unwavering sexual magnetism, it may be time to bestow my wisdom unto the masses. So, what are my secrets? How have I so effortlessly mastered the art of attraction? My friends, from one ugly person to another, you are asking the wrong question. The art of distraction is an occult craft known only by those who need it most. Only a few among us with limp handshakes, awkward smiles, and mediocre talents have been included in this esoteric science until now. How can your date find you unattractive if they haven’t noticed you? When you don’t allow any unimpressive feature of your looks or your personality to come to light, you can’t be reproached for it. With a simple sleight of hand remark, a well thought out outfit, or a little bit of confidence, that date of yours will have no idea who they just shared two hours with (which in your case is a good thing!). So, here are my top 3 tips on how to get them to call you back, without being fully confident as to why:

1) Only talk about your date. People love nothing more than to let you into their quirky little worlds, which has always been convenient for me because my world only seems to inspire drowsiness and torpor. They don’t want to know that you collect rocks on the weekends; no one wants to know that you collect rocks on the weekends; they want you to know that they collect rocks on the weekends. Ask them about their job, how they make their hair look like that, how they feel about the weather. This not only makes you a great listener but the realisation that they still don’t know a single thing about you will shroud you in mystique, making you irresistible.

2) Wear camouflage. It’s all too easy to mismatch colours, forget your coat, or dishevel yourself to the point where your outfit ruins the entire night. My solution has always been to have as little of an outfit as possible without breaking the law (there’s nothing sexy about crime). Blending into your surroundings will take some of the judgment off your physical appearance as you will be one with the trees on your woodland walk, one with the tables and counters at the bar, one with the sofa for your movie night in (best invite them to your house for this.) This ambiguity about your actual appearance will create a veil of sensuality that your date can press but never pierce.

3) Learn magic tricks Your flat jokes and unfortunate breath will be no match for a bunch of flowers that... came out of their ear?!?! They will not have time to focus on your subpar conversation skills and unfortunate choice of perfume when a deck of cards is gracefully flying across you as if independent from your command. Everybody wants a little bit of magic on their date, and what could be more magical than defying what they know about the laws of logic? Practise this lifestyle with responsibility and grace for many hearts will be broken as you weave your way through a myriad of people with a newfound thirst that will never be quenched.

WORDS BY ELIZABETH SORRELL IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE

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APPEARANCE APPEARANCE&&ATTRACTION ATTRACTION


101 WAYS TO BE A BIT MORE HOT TO TROT Y

oung singles! Do you want your appearance to be attractive? Do you want more people to fawn over your dazzling beauty? Do you want people to be able to count your sensuality in hands? Follow this guide to find out how to be exactly everyone’s prize steed!

1. Say nay You want? You don’t want? It doesn’t matter! Spewing negative reactions to questions will increase your attraction. Skipping out on activities makes you seem mysterious, ergo sensual. If you don’t want to use your words, push your lips out, blow with a bit of spittle and shake your head. Gallop away. They’ll know what you mean.

2. Be led to water but don’t have a drink Famous sayings exist for a reason. What you take from them can alter depending on what you want them to say. To become more hot, you must allow yourself to be taken to the water, aka the place of life. You must allow people to show you how to live, but don’t surrender yourself to a vulnerable position. Remain strong, even if you’re well thirsty. You own your decisions. Just say nay. Stay dehydrated. Be confident.

5. Stand up when it counts Get those haters off your back by rearing and standing up for yourself. Everyone will fall at the sight of your mightiness and with that terrified awe comes attraction. People won’t know what to think when they look at you - it’s so wrong, but oh so right. Not sure when to buck up and go for it? Pick the time when everyone is most relaxed, when it’s unexpected. You’ll get their attention, and with it, you’ll capture their hearts.

6. Enjoy the ride We all know attraction is a rollercoaster ride of excitement and hormones and hope. Being yourself, horsing around, having fun - that’s what it’s all about. That’s all it’s ever been about. Saddle up, it’s gonna be a walk into the sunset from now on. Editor’s note: 7 - 101 have been removed from the list as they are all just different varieties of apples and not actually advice. WORDS BY EMILY DENNIS IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE

3. Jump higher Don’t set your sights so low. Those who chose to step over a stile fail in life. Leap further. Raise ambitions. Those who can do the double jumps are always rewarded. Damn do you look impressive when you achieve so much, and settling for a second rosette will only make you look like a loser.

4. Lick salt cubes Maybe taking a page out of the giraffe’s book from Zoo Tycoon, but salt blocks are sensuous and can improve your appearance. There is nothing worse than a hungry fellow, nor one whose tongue is coated with the day’s mucus. Kill two birds with one salty stone and lick away. Just be careful if it makes your tongue too rough, nobody likes a roughtongued lover. Unless they do. Salt is also very good for coating wounds, so to add to your attraction appeals, go around and lick people’s sores. You’ll gain friends and followers, while also showing off your kind-hearted nature.

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