Thursday, December 15, 2011

sexual debates.

So my last post on sex got a lot of views and some comments too – not something that happens very often on this blog. Thank you to everyone who commented: it’s nice to feel like I’m engaging in a conversation, rather than just talking to myself in cyberspace. Generally, controversial topics like sex and sexuality will garner more comments than, say, my inane waffling about college and shoes, but thank you all nonetheless!

Feel free to continue to comment on this or the previous post and let me know what you think – do you agree or disagree? Is a ‘slut’ a real thing nowadays? Or is it just a word used to put down women’s sexuality?

One lovely anonymous commenter posted a link to Christina Aguilera’s song Can’t Hold Us Down on Youtube. What an empowering (and catchy) song! It matches my views perfectly and, let’s face it, Xtina puts it more eloquently than I ever could:

If you look back in history
It's a common double standard of society
The guy gets all the glory, the more he can score
While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore

I don't understand why it's okay
The guy can get away with it, the girl gets named
All my ladies come together and make a change
And start a new beginning for us, everybody sing!


Monday, December 12, 2011


I saw the following on one of those ubiquitous Facebook ‘like’ pages the other day:

That slut that will never learn until she gets a good kicking.

This kind of thing makes me really sad. People throw around words like ‘slut’ and ‘tramp’ and it’s terrible. It’s complete double standards. You rarely hear men being described as ‘sluts’. You hear ‘man whore’ but it’s used in a positive light for the most part.

It’s awful when girls describe other girls as ‘sluts’. You can sleep with whoever you want and you can do it as often as you want. If you practice safe sex, great. If not, that’s a real shame, but it doesn’t make you a slut. If you sleep with every boy you meet, so what? That’s your personal choice and it shouldn’t be up for public speculation.

If you sleep with a boy who’s already in a relationship, you’re not a slut. It’s not a particularly nice thing to do, but it doesn’t make you a slut. I read a quote a while ago that said, ‘Since when is a woman responsible for a man’s self-control?’ It’s a good question. It doesn’t justify you sleeping with someone who’s in a relationship, but it at least highlights that a big part of the issue was that the man or boy had little or no self-control. You are not a slut.

Girls are constantly vilifying other girls. Stop it. We still live in quite a patriarchal society, and we probably always will. Surely we should celebrate each other as women and girls and not spread vitriol and hate against people we are jealous of or people whose behaviour we deem ‘immoral’? Lying is immoral, stealing is immoral, killing is immoral. Having sex is not immoral.

I think that Ireland especially is still quite stunted in terms of being able to openly discuss sexuality. We talk about it now, we say the word without blushing or stuttering, but we still think that one night stands and multiple sexual partners are bad things. They’re not. Sex is an enjoyable act. Do it, enjoy it, have fun with it. As long as you’re being safe, using a condom as well as whatever other form of contraception you want, do it.

Sex, sexuality, and sexual orientation are personal. They are fluid. Some people are gay, some people are bi, some people don’t feel comfortable in the gender role assigned to them by society. Some people have sex with girls, some people have sex with boys, some people have sex with both. No one should feel as though they have to fit the mould for a ‘good’ person. It’s all very arbitrary and old-fashioned. Ignore it. Do what you want. Do what’s right for you. Don’t feel like you have to behave a certain way to please other people and to meet other people’s ideas of what you should be.

Friday, December 02, 2011

co-op, erasmus, and other sources of stress.

This has been a trying week, though it shouldn’t have been. Sometimes I falter under a pressure that I only imagine has been applied. But things are good. Things are falling into place. (Some other things are falling out of place but that’s neither here nor there.) I have news and I have clothes and I have ambition and motivation and lots of other –ations.

This semester of college is done and dusted. The last twelve weeks have gone by so fast. I loved everything about these past three months and I wish that I could go back next semester and resume the life that involved lectures and tutorials and Out in UL and going on adventures and training myself to buy actual food and not eat crisps for dinner (at least not every day anyway). But next semester is bringing more brand new experiences: Co-Op.

For those of you who don’t know what exactly Co-Op is (and I know there are many – me, for example), here’s a brief, vague, and not very informative lowdown: Co-Op is Co-Operative Education and is a compulsory element of almost every course in University of Limerick. In layman’s terms, it’s work experience. For one semester (or more), you join the real world, gain some experience  and maybe some pocket money if you’re lucky.

I mentioned before that I have been attending interviews for Co-Op. (Well, one. Which I didn’t get.) I’ve been getting antsy for the last couple of weeks, wondering why I haven’t been called for every interview available. (That’ll be the narcissism kicking in. Or the insecurity. I can’t tell.) The main reason for the overall lack of interviews is that many of the placements in the humanities sector are only made available later in the year. While some people have had their Co-Op sorted for weeks, the kind of places that are interested in my CV are taking a leaf out of my book and leaving last to no one. (That was a poor attempt at making fun of my talent for procrastination. Except that procrastination isn’t remotely funny. Procrastination kills. Probably.)

Today, though, I interviewed for two different placements: the first was for an education programme in Ennis; the second, an over-the-phone interview for a media group in Dublin. (That’s one thing that I love about my course, New Media and English – it could lead me anywhere!) I’ll miss UL: I will miss the people and the fun and the 1970s-style architecture that UL’s critics love to complain about.

Another compulsory aspect of my course is Erasmus/ Study Abroad. Erasmus is generally for courses which have a culture or language component. Trying to sort out Erasmus on top of the stress of trying to sort out Co-Op was no mean feat but – finally, and with great delight – I can now announce that in September I’m heading off to the very beautiful University of West Scotland for a whole semester of haggis and tartan and other stereotypical, fun things like that. I am so excited!

In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of essays and an exam to contend with. Then Christmas and holidays and spending time with family and friends.

Are you all excited? What’s Santa bringing? :)