Instagram is a place well known for well posed selfies and artistic content. It is also well known that Instagram are fond of blocking certain hashtags, rendering them unsearchable, especially when it is linked with content that goes against community guidelines. People are up in arms with their decision on their latest ban, Instagram have made the hashtag #Curvy totally unsearchable on their popular app but you can still search search tags like #CurvyBabe and #CurvyWomen etc.
Instagram believe that #Curvy was used to violate their nudity policy but #Skinny is still allowed?
I don’t understand why they can ban a hashtag for one body type and not the other.
The real kicker is, there are loads of other tags that haven’t been banned, which are arguably more likely to contain potentially offensive content on the app. Hashtags such as #fatpig or #fatfuck are allowed, which are often used on #thinspiration posts.
#vaginas, #dildo, and #clitoris are still searchable, but #nipple & #thighs isn’t.
It all seems a little bit messed up, doesn’t it?
There are many different body types but instagram doesn’t seem to care about that.
The blatant discrimination against body types is adamant. This kind of censorship only hurts people’s body image and their perceptions of body image, you can’t allow thinspiration posts to be shared but not allow body positive posts. What kind of message is that giving off to people?
I’ll tell you what. A very, very harmful one.
The thought of getting a cervical check has always terrified me. In Ireland, once you turn 25 you are offered a free cervical check by the state, which is a fantastic service that I personally think should be offered to men in the form of a prostate and testicular check. When you turn 25 you usually receive a letter in the post, urging you to book an appointment with your GP to avail of your free check. Most people would see this as procedure and book an appointment a.s.a.p.
Not me, I had smear fear.
The thought of exposing my lady parts of a local nurse or doctor was enough for me to put the letter in a drawer, buried beneath old bills, so it could be are far out of sight and out of mind as possible. Sure enough, a few months later I received another letter from the Cervical Check Screening Programme, urging me to look after my health and book an appointment. Again, I swiftly buried the letter under other stress inducing pieces of paper. In my mind, this was easier than dealing with actually booking an appointment and making sure my health was in check.
A friend of mine regularly scolded me for not booking an appointment, she ensured me the cervical check was not a big deal and that I should just book it and get it over with. Even though I knew she was right, I just couldn’t do it. Every time I thought about booking it, I chickened out. I decided to resort to Google to sooth my fears and worries about getting checked out (DO NOT DO THIS, THIS IS A BAD IDEA) I delved into the murky waters of online forms in search of answers and of course, it only made me feel worse than I had felt beforehand.
Note to self: Google is not a doctor.
Eventually, I had to sit down and take a long hard look at myself. Why was I so worried? What was really holding me back? I had to admit to myself that my fear was mostly the thought of feeling embarrassment and the fear of what I might find out. What if my the nurse laughed at me when I removed my pants? What if it really hurt? What if they find out something is wrong with me?
Worrying about being laughed at or feeling embarrassed may seem like silly things to worry about in hindsight but at the time, they were big concerns of mine. I was letting my fear of embarrassment and fear of what might happen, hold me back from taking care of my health.
I had convinced myself to book an appointment after I realised that 15 minutes of feeling embarrassed was a small price to pay, for potentially saving my own life. I researched the different GP’s in my local area that carried out cervical checks and finally settled on one that I was happy with. I recommend researching a GP to book for your cervical check, especially if you are not comfortable booking one in your own town/area. I asked around about what GP was the best and what nurses were comforting and reassuring.
On the day of cervical check I felt strangely calm, I think once you confirm to yourself that nurses and doctors do this sort of thing all the time, you feel more at ease about the situation. After what felt like a lifetime sitting in the waiting room, I met with my nurse. She was a friendly, chatty woman, she took my details and gave me a rundown on how a cervical check is carried out. She explained how the samples are tested and the recent rule changes and guidelines they have to follow. I could feel myself becoming more relaxed, as I am the kind of person who prefers to know as much information as possible before delving into something I’ve never experienced before.
After she explained what a cervical check entails, she asked me if I had any questions or concerns. I told her that I was pretty nervous about the experience and she said the worst part is usually the anticipation. Soon after I was led to an examination bed where I undressed my lower half, while standing behind a curtain. Once I was undressed, I placed a sheet across my lower half and awaited the dreaded cervical check. It was now or never!
My nurse told me that she was going to explain each step she was taking, so I would know exactly what was going on. She said if I wanted her to stop explaining, to let her know. I can honestly say, the worst part of the check was exposing myself to the nurse. I won’t lie to you, there is nothing pleasant about showing your hoo-ha to a stranger in a medical scenario. Nothing at all.
I will admit that after the awkwardness of that situation had passed, the rest was not as bad as I thought it would be. The nurse inserted an instrument called a speculum into my vagina (ahem!) which basically is a device that is used to hold your vagina open, then she used a small, specialised brush to gently remove a sample of cells from the cervix. This takes less than five minutes and feels weird but it wasn’t painful for me personally. The nurse informed me that some people can find it painful but it usually just causes some slight discomfort. The sample she took was sent to a laboratory to be checked and now I have to wait for four, painstaking weeks to get my results.
If results come back as normal, you continue to get a cervical check once every three years. If results are considered abnormal, you may need another free smear test or a more detailed examination of the cervix using a type of microscope. This test is called a colposcopy. If there are cell changes on your cervix they can be treated to prevent them developing into cancer cells.
According to womenshealthclinic.ie
A colposcopy is a examination that is carried out the same way as a smear test. A doctor or nurse will look at the cervix using a type of microscope called a colposcope. During the exam, a liquid or dye may be applied to the cervix to help identify any changes to the cells.
I am really glad that I finally took the time to book a cervical check, I am very anxious while awaiting my results but at least I can say that I am taking the steps necessary to take care of my health. After all, a few moments of feeling awkward is a small price to pay in the long run. I urge any women out there who are putting off booking a cervical check, to just go and do it.
Procrastination has never benefited anyone. Take the time to take care of yourself, your life could potentially be saved by one of these quick and free examinations.
For more information check out CervicalCheck.ie
Today I went to my local cinema to see a film called Song of the Sea. Over the past few days I have read a few articles about the film and I decided that I must see it as soon as possible. I went into the film with high expectations, as this film was created by Tomm Moore & Cartoon Saloon, who are Academy Award nominees for their work on this film, Song of the Sea & The Secret of Kells.
I don’t usually do film reviews on this blog but Song of the Sea deserves to be talked about.
The film stars a 10 year old boy named Ben (voiced by Moone Boy’s David Rawle) who lives in a lighthouse in rural Ireland with his Dad Conor (voiced by Brendan Gleeson) and his mute 4 year old sister Saoirse. Ben’s Mother, Bronagh, enriches his life with stories of Irish mythology and legends, under mysterious circumstances she disappears after giving birth to Saoirse.
The family do their best to carry on living their lives without Bronagh but Ben can’t help but resent Saoirse and Conor spirals into depression without his beloved wife. On Saoirse’s birthday, Granny (Fionnula Flanagan), comes to visit the Lighthouse. She disapproves of the family living so far from the main land. After an incident where Saoirse left the house in the middle of the night and ended up on the shore shivering, Granny takes the children to Dublin, to live with her.
What Granny didn’t realise, was on the night of the incident, Saoirse discovered a sealskin-coat hidden in her father’s closet. That night when she wore the beautiful white coat, the sea was calling to her and once she was submerged in the water, she became a selkie. Which is a mythical Irish creature who can transform from seal to human form once they leave the sea waters.
This is where the story really begins, as we delve into an adventurous and heartwarming plot, filled with mythical creatures, fairies and hauntingly beautiful musical scores that compliment the enchanting animations we see on screen. The music in the film is the result of a stunning collaboration between Bruno Coulais and Irish musicians, Kila.
The faeries believe that Saoirse has the power to save them and lead them to Tír na nÓg.
Animated films have always claimed a special place in my heart and this film was no exception. In fact, i’d go as far as to say that this film effected me on a deeper level because I could relate to it. Being a person who was born and raised in the beautiful Island of Ireland, this animation made me feel more profound than any other animation I’ve ever seen before. It made me feel proud to be Irish. It made me want to share it’s culturally rich story with my future children.
This film may be aimed at children initially but it is complex and rich enough for adults to appreciate also. With themes of loss, death and acceptance, this film speaks to anyone who is willing to delve into the story. The exquisite storytelling allows the film to really shine through stories of Irish legends like Mac Lír and Macha, we learn about love and the importance of letting go. Song of the Sea is a testament to Irish lore and the art of storytelling.
One of the most compelling aspects of the film is the animation. I’ve a real appreciation for animated film and I am almost reluctant to admit that this film brought me to tears at times, just through the art of animation alone. I think that new 2D films do not get enough credit. In a world obsessed with life like imagery, we forget that some of the greatest animations of all time were done by hand and didn’t rely on technology, but storytelling, to make them come to life.
The rich colours that danced across the screen and the enchanting Celtic inspired imagery was breathtaking to say the least. This stunning film made me laugh, cry and be proud to be Irish. I highly recommend Song of the Sea to anyone who is living and breathing right now. I honestly can not express how beautiful this film is, you have to see it with your own eyes.
The animated art work is a trip for the senses, the musical score is a lullaby for your soul and the storytelling will resonate in your heart for years to come.
Song of the Sea is a masterpiece in Irish cinema.
I am always on the look-out for new beauty products to try out. I recently came across Faith in Nature products while browsing a health food shop. I usually buy my skincare products from health shops and Faith in Nature shampoo & conditioners happened to be on offer on that day.
The shampoo and conditioner cost about €7 or more each but the offer was buy one get one free so I decided to buy them and see if the were worth the cost. I must admit, I do think €7 is a little steep for a single shampoo or conditioner but most vegan beauty products don’t come cheap.
The first thing I noticed about the products was the fact that they were cruelty free and 100% vegan, I do my best to buy products that are as ethical as possible. I also love that most vegan products have more natural ingredients in them. The Lavender and Geranium Shampoo and Conditioner smell divine! If you love the scent of essential oils, you will love these products.
I find that natural hair care products smell a lot more luxurious and fragrant than other brands, these products leave my hair smelling lightly of lavender and essential oils. Mmmmm!
The shampoo & conditioner are both paraben free and have no artificial colours or fragrances. The packaging looks pretty and if you are concerned about the environment, you’ll be happy to know what the bottles are biodegradable and are made from recycled material.
I’m enjoying using these products to keep my hair smelling fresh and feeling good. I would definitely purchase this set again, the shampoo and conditioner are good quality products that I look forward to using each time I wash my hair. I would recommend Faith in Nature’s hair care products to anyone who is searching for cruelty free options to add to their hair care routine.
The essential oils make my hair feel lovely after I dry my hair and the light lavender scent is really pleasant. I love that these products are light and don’t weigh down my hair.
The reason why I chose the Lavender & Geranium set is because I loved the smell of the products and Lavender has some really wonderful benefits for the skin and for the soul.
On the Faith in Nature site they explain that Lavender is great for skin and hair care. It is, amongst other things, rejuvenating, soothing, antibacterial and has sedative properties. It regularises the sebum (oil) production in skin and scalp, is suggested for hand care, cracked skin and is effective after sunburn. It has a calming and relaxing aroma.
What’s not to love about that!?
Check out the Faith In Nature site for more information.
Bisexual erasure is term I recently learned, I’ve always known it was a ‘thing’ but I never knew a term had been coined to describe the tendency to dispute a person’s bisexuality. There is a ‘B’ in LGBT but I feel like bisexuals get the short end of the stick in the community sometimes.
Personally, I have been told by other members of the LGBT community, as wells as those who identify as heterosexual, that bisexuality doesn’t exist. I must admit, hearing these words hurts more when it comes from another member of the LGBT community. It hurts more because as a community, I feel like we should try harder to understand and accept each other for who we are.
According to the popular website Urban Dictionary, bisexual erasure is described as:
The tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, the news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include denying that bisexuality exists.
There have been many bisexual characters on T.V and in films over the past few years. Even though these characters identify themselves as bisexual, other characters often refer to them as homosexuals. There is a big difference between being homosexual and bisexual.
Bisexuals prefer both male & female, while homosexuals prefer their own gender.
I think one of the reasons for the confusion about bisexuality and the questioning of it’s legitimacy, is because many people use it as a pit stop before coming out.
Most people feel that it is a lot easier to say that they are bisexual, than admit to themselves and others that they are homosexual. I have many homosexual friends who’ve claimed to be bisexual at first, to ease themselves into coming out. That isn’t their fault at all, it’s societies fault.
It does however, make bisexuality seem illegitimate at times.
Calling bisexuality a “phase” or “just being greedy” is also extremely inconsiderate and ignorant. Even some of my favorite show’s have had bouts of bi erasure in their scripts. Willow Rosenberg, from Buffy The Vampire Slayer was referred to as a being gay because she dated Tara. Willow also had a deeply loving relationship with a male character named Oz, in previous seasons.
Yet, she was never referred to as a bisexual character.
Or take the popular Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, where main character Piper Chapman is referred to as a “former lesbian”, despite her past relationships with men.
True Blood actress Anna Paquin shut down Larry King after he questioned her bisexuality, referring to her as a “nonpracticing bisexual”. Skip to the 11 minute mark for her response!
So let’s get this straight (pardon the pun!) women who identify as bisexual are not straight when they are dating a male, nor are they lesbians when dating a female. The logic applies to bisexual men also, of course. Bisexuality is a legitimate sexuality, regardless of what the media and social norms may lead people to believe.
Bisexual people have a lot to deal with, we get told that we are liars and are more likely to cheat on our partners because we like both sexes, which is just preposterous. We are not ripping off our pants at the sight of every person we meet on the street, like everyone else we have our preferences.
I suggest checking out this fantastic article about Bisexual Women Discussing Their Long-Term Relationships With Men. Not to disappoint you but we’re not closet lesbians and we shouldn’t have to defend ourselves as part of the LGBT community.