five young gay men at a pride celebration
author: alex n, film, LGBT+, pop culture, reccomendation, recommendation, review

Does the Perfect Gay Rom-Com Exist?

Boshemia columnist Alex Nolan is on a quest to find the perfect gay romcom.

I love classic romcoms. Give me every iteration of Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Drew Barrymore and Kate Hudson you can and I’ll still eat it up. Those films are great because they make you feel good. Queer romances, however, tend to be on the depressing side. Someone dies or goes through something horrific, and while there’s a place for these stories, it can be a slog. So where are the fun light-hearted flicks? Do they exist? I’m gonna take a dive into Netflix/my catalogue of ancient DVDs and see whether I can dig up a good old gay movie that’s gonna make you smile.

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art, Creative, feminist art, opinion, pop culture, Topical, voices of resistance

Art + Feminism // Wikipedia, Representation & Art

Can you name five women artists? Off the top of your head, no Googling or asking a friend. Put that smartphone away, please. No cheating. Take a minute. It is okay if their names do not fly to the forefront of your mind immediately. I’ll wait. If you can name five women artists, go ahead and do something for me. Bring that phone back out and tweet, Instagram, or post to Facebook (or whatever social media platform you dig right now) their names using the hashtag #5womenartists. Challenge others to do the same. Toss the question into conversations. Surprise attack people with it. Try, “the service at this restaurant was great, but I wish the food had been better. By the way, can you name five women artists?” or “I love you, too, but can you name five women artists?” Continue reading

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art, guest writer, Personal Essay, photography

Nudity Redefined // Feminism and the Male Gaze in the Nude Portrait

by Selina Macias (@afrogyps). Photography by Victoria Dewey (@tori_ventures). 

Patriarchal ideology has long defined how we perceive feminine nudity, modesty, and sensuality. Through this male gaze, the nude self-image of women becomes distorted and controlled, and traditional masculine interpretations of modesty become a means of restraining the female body. American poet and feminist Adrienne Rich declared that feminism ultimately implies the awareness of this distortion of male-created ideologies and how women think and act out of that recognition; in Rich’s view, feminism is an attempt to reassert female perspective to counter male-dominated ideologies. With this philosophy, I decided to redefine nudity for myself with a feminist approach, through portraits.

When I approached photographer and friend, Victoria, to do a nude photoshoot with me, I wanted to use this opportunity of expression to experiment with how I have come to understand nudity for myself,  outside of the negative connotation society has latched onto it. Nudity is not the obscene, cry for attention that many perceive it to be but rather an act of bravery in being able to showcase oneself proudly, candidly, and vulnerably before those who do not wish to explore its various dimensions.

It is common cultural practice that women are held to a higher moral caliber than men; thus when women threaten the virtuous guidelines in which they are inexplicably incarceratedlike adherence to monogamy, modesty, and submissionthey are often chastised. Notice that these judgments all derive from the objective discomfort with female sexuality. It is not fair to take the primary, divine aspect that inevitably emulates from women, and use it as a form of repression to assert control.

“I think if you criticize someone’s right to express themselves however feels comfortablebe it modesty or vulnerable expressionthen you are most likely projecting some sort of personal insecurity or a mindset that is not about acceptance and inclusivity,” Victoria explains. Nudity celebrates the physical and emotional bearance of a person. It indicates where they are and how they look and feel in that moment. In these pictures, I view my body as a serene, humble haven over my soul radiating in raw, imperfect glory.  

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photographs by Victoria Dewey

If we really want to talk about functioning outside patriarchal ideologies, I daresay that a sense of modesty emits from nudity. “The human form is incredibly versatile, and for as much as conservative society tends to romanticize the notion of modesty, especially for women, I generally find nudity to be the purest representation of emotional vulnerability there is and I’m highly sceptical of anyone who views nudity as strictly taboo/inappropriate,” Victoria asserts. For millennia, religious and political institutions have utilized the term in a manner that has almost exclusively targets women. The idea implies showing less skin to prevent arousal of bystanders (men). In the twenty-first century though, it is time to alleviate this word from this stifling interpretation.

Modesty is not merely a state of dress or undress, but about yielding oneself to others. Submitting oneself to the refinement of their craft to inform to the best of their ability is a kind of modesty. Presenting oneself uncovered, undefined, and unapologetically is also modesty. These facets represent interpretations of modesty and nudity. Both concepts are intertwined with the intention to offer the self without boundaries, essentially, fostering connection from human to another.

I fully acknowledge that there is certainly a way to do everything with social grace. I am not condoning girls to take off their clothes, pucker their lips, poke out their chest and claim that to be art, nor do I berate those who choose to portray themselves that way. I am saying that however a woman decides to express herself, sensuality will inevitably radiate. It is an irrepressible, alluring power that diffuses from our spirits and we should not be reprimanded for its eminence in our expression.

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guest writer, LGBT+, Personal Essay

Ode to an Ever-Changing Wardrobe

by Robbie Masters. Robbie is a writer and fine artist based in Bristol, UK. Their work addresses questions of transgender identities, mental health and sexual politics through a queer feminist lens, drawing upon their personal experience as a queer, femme survivor. 

There’s a grumbling in the basement; in my stomach; in the depths of my mind. There’s a protective cocoon of quilt and down. The faint smell of warm computer dust mixes with the vinegar from a newly opened packet of Chipsticks. Carpet burn has ruined yet another pair of school trousers and scuffed black shoes have no place in this world. Grass stains tell tales; proving that I’ve seen the ground up close. Trip, graze and tumbledoes it hurt? 

The TV picture wiggles at the other end of the room as signal fades in and out. There are crumbs everywhere. A printer noisily chokes out a piece of ink-saturated paper with Barbie’s new clothes on, ready to be folded and glued down with Pritt stick. As I carefully shape the rigid orange dress around her tiny naked waist, lumpy breasts and slippery smooth legs, I am blissfully unaware that I will one day go to the same trouble to put my own outfits together. 

The dressing-up box is a distant memory. Years of rooting through hand-me-downs mean that I know what I’m looking for. I don’t always find it, but I’m drawn to a bargain. There, on the sale rail, is a white wide-neck top. It speaks of beaches and cleavage. It’s in the men’s section, but it’s different somehow. For the first time I feel a flutter of risky autonomy. I’ll buy it. I won’t wear it too often—I think it may be a tad girly. I’ll buy it. 

I’m flustered after being told I’m in the wrong changing room. Shoulders restrict me from getting my arms into seemingly endless sleeves. My calves make even the stretchiest of denim fall faint. A reluctant waistband digs where it shouldn’t, while the inside-leg seam grimaces and relinquishes its grip on the now-fraying undercarriage stitches. My bum won’t fit into these jeans.  

A charity shop scramble helps me figure it out, I spot a couple of things I adore. The gentle nudge from well-chosen friends gives me confidence to explore. A floral shirt meets a vintage bow tie, suit trousers worn high with braces or a belt. A cheap pair of high-street dungarees call my name. My darling fave comes with me for moral support and before I know it I’m buying them, wearing them and feeling adorable. There’s no turning backI’m cute now; I’m loveable.

Buy a few sizes up, learn to love leggings and discover the freeing swish and sway of a culotte, skirt or flowing maxi. Engage only with the top button of a silken blouse or a pattern akin to the most beautiful of flower gardens. Forget the clothes that have been designed for your body type those fuckers don’t know you. A new length of hair and carefully painted face combine with my newfound drapery to form what I think you might call confidence. The colours give it personality, with blushing flowers and matching rosy lips breathing life into the whole ensemble. Is this what it’s like to feel pretty? A deep sigh says that I can do this. The world tells me I can’t.

The box of bow ties still sits among my hoarded possessions, a reminder of my journey to queerness. Drawings of me from my first year of university depict a character I likeone my friends are fond ofbut not one I identify with. Shirts still hang in the wardrobe, caressing a Moss Bros suit bag that holds the handsome two-piece that once saw the success of graduation, a summer wedding and a string of job interviews with the happiest of outcomes. Thanks Mum. 

I split myself for a while. I lived in separate boy mode and girl mode, blending the two to an extent, but always travelling with one tucked away in the depths of a wheeled suitcase or screwed up in a rucksack. 

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Robbie Masters

‘If you’re coming round, are you alright to change first? My housemates are in’.  I may as well have cut myself in half. I was hiding again. 

I pushed boundaries and burnt my comfort zone to the ground. I took clothes to my beloved charity shops. I shopped and shopped again. Many a selfie I took. I cried when I glimpsed the mirror and my face wouldn’t complete the look. I cut myself shaving. They told me to be careful but I took care not to care. I tried to be pretty and society mocked me for it, but my friends and family kept me strong. My partner loved me all along. 

I’m wearing pyjamas to the shops again. The worst happened, but my clothes no longer cared. Clothed or naked, rock bottom felt the same. I’d still feel the pain of a body betrayed. 

With help I found new ways to love myself. My body learned to twitch with tension, commanding respect and rejecting repression. I found sanctity in a laser and honesty in my nightmares. My world was upside down, but my skin looked great and my hair stayed glossy. I fought for survival and sought to forgive myself. My love lent me a jumper to keep me warm. My mum sent me a sunshine-yellow scarf to brighten my spring. With the promise of a shopping trip I can weather the storm, I think. 

My facial hair wriggled and fell out at my command. I put on weight and I liked it. I ate a lot and I loved it. My clothes still fit, because I bought them too big. My boobs are larger than ever. I’m pregnant with emotion and I’m full of shit. My clothes are different, but I’m coping just the same. I’m wrapped in a duvet, still fighting off the shame.

‘Ode to An Ever-Changing Wardrobe’ originally appeared in the BODIES issue, available here.
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author: sarah q, bodies, Personal Essay

In Media Res: Notes from My Eating Disorder Relapse

TW: eating disorders, body image

[NB from Q: This was written about 2 months ago in the midst of an ED relapse – it was barely even written for the blog, but we’ve decided to share it anyway. I’ve since “recovered,” so let’s all agree to view this as a historical relic]

 

My perception of my own body has been distorted from a young age, a side effect from being brought up in a household that viewed bodies as inherently shameful. When I was 21 I finally found clothes that fit right after a bunch of friends took me shopping and convinced me that I wasn’t actually a size 14, and no, not all clothes are supposed to look baggy.

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author: elisha, raising a feminist

Raising a Feminist // the Guilt of Solo Motherhood

Boshemia regular Elisha Pidcock’s latest instalment of her feminist parenting column, Raising a Feminist.

“I am the worst mom ever,” I think to myself as my child cries at the dinner table over her uneaten Spider Man Spaghetti-O’s, pleading with me to let her sit in front of the tv while she eats.

It has been a long day between working two part-time jobs and planning for my upcoming Ethological Research project at Uni. I feel very alone and lost in this moment. I think that motherhood is increasingly difficult, that doing it alone makes it even more difficult, and that I just want to give the best life possible to my child; but in this moment the best seems like a magical concept that is unattainable.

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author: sarah q, comedy, news, opinion, politics, pop culture, Topical, Uncategorized

How To Not Take A Joke // On Michelle Wolf, Smokey Eyes and Outrage

Political comedy has become a little stagnant recently. When the current US administration is such a joke it’s hard to make proper jokes about it. There was one evening in late night when literally every single late night host made the same joke. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Seth Meyers and Samantha Bee, but sometimes when the jokes aren’t predictable, they’re just sad. Political comedy needs some better material; there are only so many Trump jokes you can make, we need to start attacking the rest of the squad and really ruffling some feathers.

On an unrelated note, did anyone watch The White House Correspondents Dinner?

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