SEX ED FROM CELEBS
The latest revelations by the stars on sex & relationships topics
The rapper Lizzo, age 32, an ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Project for young people, says…
“‘There’s a completely unrealistic standard for your face & body. People are struggling with their self-image & self-confidence.
It’s happening to young people everywhere, so let’s talk about it.’
Lizzo’s journey began in a dark, ‘scary’ place: ‘When I was a teen, I remember waking up and wanting to be someone else, change my body, my hair texture, the colour of my skin.
It scares me that now there are tools that cash in on those insecurities. They feed the monster.
I thought: “If I’m going to continue living in this body, I have to find a way to like myself.”Everything changed when [on social media] I started following people who looked like me. I used to follow people who were society’s beauty standard. Looking at them I felt I needed to change my appearance.
But not only is this body fat & this body positive, but this body’s normal’”
WORDS Lizzo Is Dove’s New Brand Ambassador: “I Have Nothing To Hide. Take Me as I Am” (Fashion, 21/4/23) IMAGE Elle
MORE FROM LIZZO
• “I control social media. Social media does not control me”
• “When social media came in, I was like: ‘Are people really that perfect?’ My friend said: ‘Everybody modifies. These photos are altered.’
A child is going to look on the internet & believe everything they see. That’s why the selfie talk is so important.
I hope I can post the kinds of materials I post, showing my body and my rolls or whatever. And people are just like: ‘OK. Beautiful picture. Next.’ Instead of: ‘Oh my gosh, a full-figured body. How strikingly political!’ It don’t gotta be all of that! That is where I’m going with body-normative-speak.
I had to learn to find people who look like me, women who have bodies like mine, Black girls, girls who have hair like mine and smiles like mine. I believe that has greatly improved my relationship with social media.
A young person can learn that before it gets out of control – and that will make so much of a difference”
• What’s your No 1 rule with beauty standards? “I am the beauty standard”
Actor Marcia Gay Harden, age 63 – mum to Eulala, 24, and Julitta and Hudson, both 19 – explained why she took part in a Drag Isn’t Dangerous telethon fundraising to fight American anti-LGBT+ legislation, saying…
“What drives me is because it’s right and what’s happening right now is wrong.
This is so fear-based and it’s spreading that kind of fear and hatred among other people. I believe this country will fight that.
What drives me is – my children are all queer.
My eldest child is non-binary. My son is gay. My youngest is fluid.
And you know, they are my kids and they teach me every day”
MORE FROM MARCIA
🌈 “My son is gay. I just want to make sure he gets to have a family when he wants one”
🌈 “The only thing dangerous about drag is how hot these Queens are!
[Supporting] LGTBQ+ basically means [supporting] all of us! Our nation, our neighbours, our children, artists, our singers, our dancers, our better leaders, CEOs, writers, spiritual leaders, basically our humanity.
Gay is here to stay. Drag is here to stay”
🌈 WORDS Marcia Gay Harden Reveals “All My Children Are Queer” During Drag Isn’t Dangerous Telethon (People, 8/5/23) IMAGE Wonderwall
Actor Kate Winslet, age 47, in accepting the Leading Actress Bafta award for the Channel 4 drama I Am Ruth – in which she stars with her daughter Mia Threapleton, age 22 – said…
“I Am Ruth was made for parents & their children, for families who feel they are held hostage by the perils of the online world, for parents who wish they could still communicate with their teenagers but who no longer can.
And for young people who have become addicted to social media and its darker sides: this does not need to be your life.
To any young person who feels they are trapped in an unhealthy world: please ask for help. There is no shame in admitting that you need support. It will be there – just ask for it.
To people in power & people who can make change: please criminalise harmful content.
We don’t want to lie awake terrified by our children’s mental health.
Please eradicate harmful content – we don’t want it. We want our children back.”
She added about the award: “If I could cut this in half, I would give the other half to my daughter Mia Threapleton. We did this together, kiddo.
There were days when it was agony for her to dig as deeply as she did into very frightening emotional territory and it took my breath away.”
Crying, Mia blew kisses to her mum onstage before calling out: “I love you.”
Kate also thanked director Dominic Savage for his “delicate handling of real painful stories that really do happen to women. It is not only powerful but brave & important. We need this, we want to be heard. Thank you for creating this space for us to tell our stories”
WORDS Kate Winslet uses Bafta speech to call for action on “harmful” social media (Evening Standard, 15/5/23) IMAGE Joe Maher/Getty Images
Dr Alex George, age 32 – Love Island contestant in 2018, appointed UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador in 2021 & author of A Better Day: Your Positive Mental Health Handbook – said last month of his body-positivity Channel 4 show Naked Education…
“When I lost my brother to mental illness I promised myself I would stop at nothing to prevent other families living with empty seats at their dinner table. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would mean doing things differently.
I am annoyed at myself because we created something incredible with Naked Education, and I let the opinions of a minority of people (who almost certainly hadn’t watched the show) distract from what a life-changing program this is.
What is wrong is having young people hurt themselves because of how they look, develop eating disorders & live a life of suffering.
What is wrong is being a doctor in A&E and healing the wounds of a young girl who has harmed themselves again. Tears rolling behind my mask as I thought about the injustice of it all. Why are we doing this to our children? Those images never leave my mind.
To make a real change in the world you have to rock the boat. If that means upsetting some people so we don’t continue on this dreadful trajectory of mental illness, so be it.I am proud of Naked Education. Thank you to all our brave & inspiring contributors. I think you should watch this series”
WORDS @dralexgeorge IMAGE Love Island
WHAT OTHERS SAID ON INSTAGRAM
• This programme is powerful, amazing & necessary. Our young people need to know that the body standards fed to them as “normal” are false. We want them to feel comfortable & proud to be who they are. The friction is a sign of progress
• My husband and I in our mid-30s think it’s important for teenagers & for [parents] trying to bring up young children to feel good in themselves
• Naked Education should 100% be shown to/discussed with teens either at home or in school. Anyone who has complained or commented negatively needs to get a grip & look at their own views on nudity & body image
• Honestly think it should be shown in schools to show children what real bodies are & that we are all beautiful
“Singer Ariana Grande, age 29, asked fans to be ‘less comfortable’ about remarking on her and other people’s bodies after social-media scrutiny of her recent apparent weight loss.
In a 3-minute TikTok video, she said she had a body that is ‘paid such close attention to’ and that people were ‘comparing my current body to the unhealthiest version of my body. I was on a lot of antidepressants & drinking on them & eating poorly and at the lowest point of my life when I looked the way you consider my healthy, but that in fact wasn’t my healthy.
I know I shouldn’t have to explain that, but I do feel like maybe having an openness and some sort of vulnerability here will [mean] something good might come from it. Healthy can look different.
You never know what someone is going through. Even if you are coming from a loving and caring place, that person probably is working on it or has a support system that they are working on it with.
You never know. So be gentle with each other and with yourselves.’
Stressing that ‘there are many different kinds of beautiful’, she suggested fans should avoid making even ‘well-intentioned’ remarks about how ‘healthy, unhealthy, big, small, this, that, sexy, non-sexy’ people may look.
‘There are ways to compliment someone or to ignore something that you see that you don’t like, that I think we should help each other work towards,’ she said. ‘We should aim toward being safer, and keeping each other safer’”
WORDS Ariana Grande calls for fans to stop body shaming (BBC, 12/4/23) IMAGE Wegow
MORE FROM ARIANA TO HER FANS
“You are beautiful no matter what weight, no matter how you like to do your make-up these days, no matter what cosmetic procedures you’ve had or not, or anything.
I just think you’re beautiful and wanted to share some feelings”
Model, mum of 2-year-old son Sylvester Apollo and My Body author Emily Ratajkowski, age 31, when asked if she would date women, replied…
“I would love to. Waiting for the right one to come along.
I’ve always been someone who’s more attracted to vibe than specifics of physicality.
So sometimes it’ll just randomly hit me & I’ll be like: ‘Whoa, I’m attracted to this person!’
I’m proud of myself. Younger version of myself would have probably settled for some mid dude just to have a [boyfriend]. Glad I’m not in that era anymore”
In November, after news of her divorce broke, she said about her bisexuality:“Sexuality is on a sliding scale. I don’t really believe in straight people”
🌈 WORDS Bisexual Emily Ratajkowski “waiting for the right girl” after Harry Styles fling rumours (Daily Mirror, 10/5/23) IMAGE WWD
MORE FROM EMILY On being pregnant: “I’m completely & undeniably helpless when it comes to almost everything surrounding my pregnancy: how my body will change, who my child will be. But I’m already learning from this person inside my body. I’m full of wonder“
”Motherhood has made me re-evaluate what’s important to me, like: what do I want to teach my son?”
“I want my son to have an example of a mom who is happy.I think a lot of women in your early 20s – because it’s sort of like you’re sexualised & coming into your sexual being; you’re an adult, you know, but you’re still really young – have a really kind of sick relationship with your body.
Mine especially was that way because I was commodifying my body and it was my living and also like how I became famous, and it became my career & my whole identity.
I didn’t want to just be a body. And [writing My Body] was kind of born out of a depression essentially. And being like: ‘Wait, this has not made me happy.’I wanted to give this one-dimensional kind of caricature of myself that had been out in the world a voice”
“Actor Matthew McConaughey, age 53, is opening up about the importance of consent – and it’s something everyone should hear…
‘I remember my dad talking to me – and I shared this with my son – but he said a very, very cool thing.’
His father explained that whenever there is intimacy with a partner, there may come a point when there is a sense of hesitation or a desire from one party to stop.
‘He goes: “And if you stop, sometimes after you stop, she may go: ‘OK, well, now let’s go.’”
And he goes: “Don’t go further. Say: ‘Hey, nuh-uh. If we get back together [in the future] and it all just flows and goes further, great. But that’s all for now.’”
If both people are just flowing, if it’s all green lights, you go as far as it’s comfortable. But if you feel someone, you know, tense up, it’s like: “Hey, we don’t have to; we got time.”’
Although Matthew acknowledged that it can be hard for young people to realise that sex ‘can wait’, he believes it’s incredibly important to be in tune with your partner during sexual encounters.
At the end of the day, Matthew says, it’ll be better for both people to wait until later on, when it ‘flows all naturally’.
It sounds as if Matthew’s father was truly ahead of his time when it came to teaching lessons about consent – and as Matthew shares his story, it’ll hopefully continue to make a difference in people’s lives!”
WORDS Matthew McConaughey’s Dad Taught Him A Valuable Lesson About Consent During Sex, And It’s Something Everyone Should Hear (BuzzFeed, 23/4/23) IMAGES Getty
🌈 Trans TikTok star & influencer Dylan Mulvaney, age 26, has sparked a backlash from rightwing Americans against Bud Light beer and Nike plus calls for boycotts of Maybelline make-up over their brand partnership with her…
“‘During the pandemic I was at home living with my family and asking myself: “Dylan, do you feel like a boy?” and “Who am I without [my] career?”
I finally asked myself questions about gender. I had never asked myself those dark questions because when I was 4, I tried coming out to my mom as a girl – but it just wasn’t a thing then. Being trans was very taboo.
I come from a very conservative part of California – and not even my family’s fault, it just wasn’t really in the cards for me.’
So on TikTok in 2020 Mulvaney did comedy-style videos, threw a gender-reveal party for herself and documented the first day of her transition: ‘That video got some negativity because a lot of it was me talking about stereotypes that are placed on women.’
From buying her first set of boobs to discovering tampons & pads and throwing the ultimate slumber party, Mulvaney candidly shares the good, messy and vulnerable parts of her girlhood journey.
On her younger self: ‘I wish that little feminine Dylan would have celebrated more things like playing with Barbies and dressing up. There was a sweetness there that I think got taken away for a while because of how sad I was that I had to let so many of those things go. And now I’ve never been happier because they’re back. In a way, they’ve always been there, but we had some cleaning up to do’”
Dressed in a ballgown she told a crowd earlier this month: “Whether you’re a parent or a child or you’re young or old or you’re trans or you’re not, we are all just trying our best here, aren’t we?” then sang the Stephen Sondheim song No One Is Alone: “Hard to see the light now. Just don’t let it go. Things will come out right now. We can make it so. Someone is on your side”
🌈 WORDS Dylan Mulvaney Gets Candid About Girlhood With Her 6 Million Followers (Girlboss, 2022)
🌈 Actor Daniel Radcliffe, age 33, spoke with 6 trans and non-binary kids at a roundtable organised by LGBT+ suicide-prevention charity The Trevor Project…
“‘I always knew I was a boy because that was a thing I grew up knowing.
There are some people in the world who are not trying to engage in this conversation in any kind of good faith.
I think a lot of the time it’s just because people don’t know a young trans person, so there’s this theoretical idea about this in their head.
There are also people who have a slightly condescending but well-meaning attitude of: “People are young and it is a huge decision.”
I would love to hear from all of you about why we can trust kids to tell us who they are.’
Last November Radcliffe fired a thinly veiled shot at Ms Rowling’s tweets from June 2020 in which she ridiculed an article’s description of women as ‘people who menstruate’ and tweeted: ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
At the time, Radcliffe said: ‘To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you.’
Stating that ‘transgender women are women’ he said: ‘I felt very, very much as though I needed to say something when I did because, particularly since finishing [Harry] Potter, I’ve met so many queer & trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that.
And so seeing them hurt on that day I wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way’”
🌈 WORDS Daniel Radcliffe tells trans children that adults concerned about gender transitioning are “condescending” and should “trust kids to tell them who they are” – as Harry Potter star makes another apparent dig at JK Rowling – includes 1-minute video clip (Daily Mail, 11/4/23) IMAGE Michael Schwartz
Desperate Housewives child star Madison De La Garza, age 21 – the half-sister of Demi Lovato – talks about the impact of reading abusive online comments about her weight when she was 6…
“The whole joke of my character, Juanita Solis, was that Gabrielle (played by Eva Longoria) was this thin, beautiful model – and her daughter [me] turned out to be quite the opposite.
I would spend a crazy amount of time reading through comments [about me online] – just horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible things, and this was when I was 6, 7, 8 years old. They said things like they wanted me to die because of what I looked like, ‘ugly fat cow’ and ‘I hope you get cancer and die because you’re so fat.’
These comments affected my mental health and ultimately played into my developing an eating disorder at a young age.
My first memories of trying to starve myself, I was 7 years old.
A lot of it came from reading the comments. My mom had no idea that I was seeing these things because I was very, very sneaky about it.
I was very good at hiding and throwing away meals and saying I ate them.
Production staff went out of their way to tell me I was beautiful and looked really pretty that day, or that outfit looked really cute on me. The wardrobe on the show was very aware of making me feel comfortable. And Eva went out of her way to make me feel special.
I’d like to say that things are different now but I don’t know if people are being more compassionate or don’t want to get caught. I worry that maybe things are just a little less anonymous, which is why people aren’t risking saying those things as much”
WORDS Desperate Housewives child star developed eating disorder due to horrendous trolling when she was just 6 years old (Metro, 14/4/23) IMAGE YouTube
Rapper Cardi B, age 30, on #consent & the Dalai Lama incident…
“In a video that went viral, a young boy at an event in India asked the Dalai Lama: ‘Can I hug you?’ Motioning to his cheek, the Dalai Lama, age 87, said: ‘First here.’ The child kissed him and gave him a hug.
The Dalai Lama kept hold of the boy, saying: ‘I think here also’ then planted a kiss on his lips. ‘And suck my tongue,’ the Dalai Lama said, sticking out his tongue, forehead to forehead with the student.
The boy quickly stuck out his own tongue and went to move away while the Dalai Lama laughed and pulled the boy in for another hug as the audience laughed.
Many called the incident ‘inappropriate’, ‘scandalous’ and ‘disgusting’. The office of the Dalai Lama said in a statement: ‘His holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras.
Sticking out your tongue is a traditional Tibetan sign of respect or agreement and also a greeting.
Child rights activist Shola Mos-Shogbamimu tweeted: ‘This is NOT playful banter & so inappropriate to use “affectionately plants kiss” alongside “suck my tongue”. Hugs are fine not this. Don’t normalise molestation of kids – don’t care how revered the Dalai Lama is I’m not OK with a child sucking a grown man/woman/anyone’s tongue’”
Cardi B tweeted: “This world is full of predators. They prey on the innocent. The ones who are most unknowing, our children.Predators could be our neighbors, our school teachers, even people wit [sic] money, power & our churches.
Constantly talk with your kids about boundaries and what they shouldn’t allow people to do to them”And: “[sic] from the time you start potty training your kids you should tell them DONT LET nobody touch your privates, enter the bathroom wit you and don’t keep no secrets away from mommy”
WORDS Dalai Lama: The significance of “tongue greetings” in Tibetan culture (Independent, 11/4/23) IMAGE LaPresse
Activist and Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates, age 36…
“A 14-year-old girl told me 10 boys had messaged her, pressuring her to send them nude pictures, in a single night. That landscape of what teenage girls are navigating is completely new.
What’s wild about the Andrew Tate conversation is that an Ofsted report found that 79% of girls said sexual assault was common in their friendship group – but we’re having this separate conversation about online misogyny.
Dress codes are a good example of where cultural norms feed into manosphere extremism.
We’re seeing schools where girls are being sent out of lessons, or sent home, because of skirt length, because of their shoulders, collarbones
or bra strap showing. In some cases the rhetoric is about distracting boys or making male teachers uncomfortable.
Schools are sending the message to kids that girls’ bodies are powerful and dangerous in a way that boys’ bodies aren’t; that girls are responsible for covering themselves up to avoid harassment rather than boys being taught to respect women.
But it’s also true that there are boys standing up against this stuff. And girls who are politicised, aware of feminism, advocating and starting campaigns – that wasn’t the case 10 years ago.
If you’re a parent – particularly of a teenage boy – who’s concerned about women-hating material, don’t panic. Any parent asking: ‘What can I do?’ is ahead of the curve.Try to cross that digital culture gap. Have a look at men’s rights pages on Reddit. Sign up for comedy meme accounts on Instagram. Type something innocuous about women on YouTube then pay attention to the 5 or 6 videos that the algorithm serves up. Make a TikTok account and get a sense of that world.
Talk little and often – it’s more about opening up channels of communication that are supportive and non-judgmental than trying to shut things down. Give your child opportunities to ask questions & feel you’d like to talk stuff through”
WORDS Laura Bates: For teenage girls, escaping harassment, revenge porn and deepfake porn is impossible (Guardian, 7/3/23) IMAGE Laura Nylind
London mayor Sadiq Khan, age 52, on being a male ally to women…
“My experiences are a million miles away from those of women & girls.
I’ve never been touched up on the tube or been looked at in a lecherous way in the gym, had to choose a well-lit path home or carried my keys as a weapon.
With male allyship I’ve had great teachers, including my wife and 2 daughters.
Often girls stop sports because of how boys look at them.
Boys don’t always understand the consequences of their actions, but 85% changed their behaviour when they saw our 2-minute film to counter male violence, Have A Word.
We have to make misogyny a hate crime and sexual harassment a criminal offence. We have to teach boys how to respect girls”
We were excited to hear Sadiq on the Big Ideas panel at the WOW (Women of the World) 2023 festival!
And we love what he said on International Women’s Day:“Human rights are women’s rights. Women’s rights are human rights.It’s not complicated. It’s not controversial. It’s fundamental to women & girls everywhere”
EXTRA CREDIT! Read about the award-winning 2-minute Have A Word film here: Mayor of London addresses sexism with Have a Word campaign (The Drum, 14/3/22) IMAGE Southwark News
LBC radio presenter & body image activist Natasha Devon, age 42…
“Much of the backlash against the Channel 4 show Naked Education revolves around the claim it sexualises children. But the young people in it are teenagers, approaching or at the age of consent.
In the UK, 4 in 5 kids have watched porn by age 16-17. Most porn depicts hairless, very slender yet pneumatic women pretending to derive enjoyment from being throttled by an improbably muscular man with an even more belief-suspending penis size. This is what many young people think intimacy looks like.
Alongside this, they hear commentators declaring that the bodies on Naked Attraction are somehow ‘gross’. The message is: ‘Your body is disgusting.
No one wants to see it.’ Imagine the damage that could do when you are grappling with puberty, hormones & the general confusion that characterises adolescence.
According to the charity Be Real, 52% of British teens often worry about how they look. As someone who visits about 3 schools a week delivering mental health education, I think this statistic is on the low side.
Girlguiding says that more than half of girls aged 12-14 avoid school activities because of concerns about how they look. By age 7 girls have internalised the idea that society values them more for their looks than their abilities or character.
We are setting young people up for a life of inner turmoil, disordered eating and taking dangerous risks with surgery & so-called tweakments.
To those who say: ‘How is more nudity the solution to all of this?’, Professor Keon West of Goldsmiths University published a paper showing that body image improves when people are exposed to a diverse range of naked bodies.
Body image dissatisfaction has the potential to have an impact on every area of a young person’s life”
WORDS Naked Education pearl-clutchers, you’re wrong: Britain’s teens need to see more real bodies (Guardian, 14/4/23) IMAGE @mhfaengland
EXTRA CREDIT! Watch our video for parents on body image with the captivating Natasha Devon
🌈 Actor Ncuti Gatwa, age 30, who played gay student Eric on Sex Education, is the next Doctor on Doctor Who and just topped the latest Radio Times TV 100 power list…
“It’s really nice to have a gay character, a Black character, be at the forefront of this story on a show like Sex Education that has the reach it does on Netflix.
It matters, I hope, that other little Black boys around the world can be like: ‘Oh, Eric is like this, and it’s cool.’ It’s important that we allow different people to occupy these spaces.
[With diversity in TV & film] we can show other people’s lives & experiences and show like: ‘See? It’s not that scary!’
Sometimes you do need to be like: ‘Has this voice been heard? No.’
[DoctorWho] matters for people of colour, for marginalised people, who really gravitate towards the show because it’s about friendship, adventure, union and unity. The Doctor is able to turn into anything or anyone, so the possibilities are endless”
🌈 WORDS Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa has never publicly disclosed his sexuality – so stop assuming he’s gay (PinkNews, 21/2/23) IMAGE Courtney Phillip for A Book Of magazine
MORE FROM NCUTI
🌈 “You’re not just doing this for you, you’re doing this for other people that are looking up to you & your future kids”
🌈 “Teenagers are so progressive. I live with my best friend and his mum, who runs a salon in Tottenham. Whenever the young boys come in to get their trims, the conversations they have, they’re like: ‘Ah Mum, they’re non-binary, you can’t call them ‘him’.’ That’s the generation that’s going to save the world”
🌈 On the relationship Eric has with his Nigerian dad, who accepts his homosexuality: “A lot of times in black communities, people are scared – it’s not what they are feeling towards their child but what aunties & uncles are gonna say. Eric’s father is just scared for the world his son is going to inhabit.If you are from that culture & background, and are having a situation where you’ve got somebody gay or LGBTQIA+ in your family, and you’re struggling with it, you can watch the show and be like: ‘It’s fine to love and embrace my child’”
Singer Christina Aguilera, age 42, on her daughter Summer Rain, age 8, and co-founding the sexual wellness brand Playground…
“In this business, opinions come at you about your body, your sexuality, what’s too much, too little. A lot of it comes from male opinions & older businessmen’s opinions, which should have nothing to do with your body and self-image.
I try to be really conscious about what I put in my body, what my daughter sees me put in my body. We have conversations like: ‘What’s a tampon? What’s your period?’ She’s 8, but education is everything.
And breaking down the conversation in digestible components that are easy to understand helps us take the fear and stigma out of things.
Everything across the board as a female, especially pertaining to your body, should be something you feel good about sharing.
The vagina is the epicentre of everything for us. It goes through a lot, so we got to let it feel good.Exploring yourself should feel empowering & something we all feel safe doing.
We think of sex, sexual awareness, sexual health as something on the back burner that’s irrelevant. But it should be part of every woman’s beauty routine. It’s like a vitamin, an energy booster, a life enhancer”
WORDS Christina Aguilera Opens Up About Dealing With “Male Opinions” of Her Sexuality at a Young Age (Allure, 28/3/23)
MORE FROM CHRISTINA “It’s really important for me that I open up this conversation to my daughter & make sure she feels empowered early on to feel good about asking me any questions. Simplifying the information & just making it very matter of fact. This is not something we should be scared or ashamed of”
• “I want my daughter to know from Mom first that your body is the most important vessel ever. It’s your safe space. It’s for you. It’s your playground”
• “[It’s important to ‘know your audience’ and not ‘overwhelm developing brains’. Summer and my son Max Liron, age 15, will] decide how their body should be used, treated & respected”
• “If I can give women the courage to explore themselves, my job is done”
• “I’ve always loved talking about sex”
Former chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal OBE, age 61, on galvanising men and praising women…
“I’ve been impacted by women’s experiences all of my career.
As my mother was dying I massaged her feet and realised how small they were.
My mother was a mountain to me. It’s in her name that I continue to work.
Everything we deal with is about male power and control.
Make #misogyny a hate crime – 90% of violence against women & girls is done by men, and it’s a pandemic.
Masculinity is about strength but also being empathic, caring, protective. Men are struggling with this now. It’s about men standing up – and it takes us men to make that conversation happen”
IMAGE Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
We were excited to hear Nazir on the Big Ideas panel at the WOW (Women of the World) 2023 festival! We are always impressed by his passion & insight ever since hearing him at the 2019 Sex Education Forum conference, where he joked that his children didn’t listen to him anymore and memorably said:
“We are seeing a pushback against relationships & sex education (RSE). We’re now at the stage of saying: don’t let young people know gay people exist.
Young people want to be listened to and informed, and they want parents to be informed.
Parents and RSE-positive parents go under the radar because they don’t shout and scream. Good people need to get louder. They shouldn’t stand by and allow people to try and ensure that our kids be in the 19th century. Call them out.
I am on the side of the people doing the right thing, trying to educate the next generation. There is merit in doing so. Why bother? Because we have saved lives”
On 23/3/23 Nazir tweeted: “Uganda passed a sweeping anti-gay law that can bring punishments as severe as the death penalty & life imprisonment. I’m not gay but I will fight for your right to be who you are”
Rizzle Kicks musician & actor Jordan Stephens, age 31, on consent and pleasure…
“With sex education, demystify sex as quickly as possible and don’t be prudish. The less prudish the better.
My school was druggy and sexy. The girls were on it – they knew what they wanted.
The guys’ mentality was: you got to run around town & take take take.
I want young men to feel their sexual energy is worth more than society gives it. To understand the pleasure you can gain from giving someone pleasure.
Explain to boys: ‘You want enthusiastic consent but “yes” isn’t always consent.’
What did Oscar Wilde say: ‘Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.’
Society is obsessed with penetration, but what about a conversation around foreplay?
In teenage years it’s important to be open, so you can open up the concept of communication and say: ‘Sex with you is never rubbish, but here’s how it can be phenomenal. Also I would welcome guidance!’”
And on engaging boys… “Boys are often at odds with the world and unengaged.
For some boys Andrew Tate is a superhero. But superheroes can be a bit of a knobhead, like Bruce Wayne & Iron Man.
We have a responsibility to write different stories about strength. I want to hear about men being strong and vulnerable at the same time. I wish that, like with feminism, there was solidarity among men that didn’t come at the expense of women. Men have to work on sorting their own stuff out. It’s important that men do the work on themselves”
We were excited to hear Jordan on the panel Showing Up: Men And Allyship With Beyond Equality and in conversation with Oloni in The Big O at the WOW (Women of the World) 2023 festival!
EXTRA CREDIT! Read Jordan’s piece Toxic masculinity is everywhere. It’s up to us men to fix this (Guardian, 23/10/17)
Actor Brooke Shields, age 57, talked to her 2 teenage daughters about starring as a child prostitute in the film Pretty Baby at age 11.
Rowan, age 19, declared: “It’s child pornography! Would you have let us [do that] at the age of 11?”
Brooke replied “No” and broke down in tears. Later she said: “That was hard for me, to not justify my mom.
I could say: ‘It was the time back then’ or ‘It was art.’ But I don’t know why she thought it was all right.”
That’s a scene from the documentary Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields.
As a child Brooke was oversexualised, posing naked in Playboy aged 10 and at 15 starring in the
teen blockbuster Blue Lagoon and modelling Calvin Klein jeans (“You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing”).
Critics and fans chastised her working-class single mum Teri, who suffered from alcoholism, for not protecting Brooke.
Filming Pretty Baby, Brooke was forced to kiss Keith Carradine, who was 27. She gave a repulsed face and was yelled at by the director – but her mum didn’t step in. Carradine said: “This doesn’t count. It’s make-believe.” Brooke got through it by separating the sleazy onscreen version of herself from the real her: “I learned to compartmentalise at an early age. It was a survival technique.”
About being sexually assaulted by a friend when she was in her 20s she says: “I knew how to be disassociated from my body. I’d practised that”
WORDS 8 biggest revelations from Brooke Shields’ Pretty Baby documentary (Evening Standard, 28/3/23) IMAGE Jack Mitchell/Getty
MORE FROM BROOKE
• “The entirety of my life it was: ‘She’s a pretty face’ over and over and over and over again, and that always seared me”
• “I want to be an advocate for women to speak their truth. I’m more angry now [about the assault] than I was able to be then. If you’re afraid, you’re rightfully so. Situations don’t have to be violent to be scary”
• “Conversations [about objectifying women] are important to have for our young women. My daughters are beginning to find their own agencies. It took me until practically today”
AND A THOUGHT ON SHIELDS “This little child, Brooke, was being interrogated by hosts praising her beauty and her sensuality but also criticising her for being too sexual and for participating in what some people considered to be child pornography” – filmmaker Lana Wilson in Jezebel
Musician Ed Sheeran, age 32, on being a “binge dad”, having bulimia and body image…
“In this industry you get compared to every other pop star. I was in the One Direction wave, and I’m like: ‘Well, why don’t I have a six pack?’
And I was like: ‘Oh, because you love kebabs and drink beer.’
Then you do songs with Justin Bieber & Shawn Mendes. All these people have fantastic figures.
And I was always like: ‘Well, why am I so … fat?’
So I found myself doing what Elton [John] talks about in his book – gorging, and then it would come up again.
There’s certain things that, as a man talking about them, I feel mad uncomfortable. I know people are going to see it a type of way, but it’s good to be honest about them. Because so many people do the same thing and hide it as well.
I have a real eating problem. I’m a real binge eater. I’m a binge-everything. But I’m now more of a binge exerciser, and a binge dad. And work, obviously.
If I don’t cry in the next 40 minutes, that would be great”
WORDS & IMAGE Ed Sheeran Confesses: Tears, Trauma, and Those Bad Habits (Rolling Stone, 21/3/23)
MORE FROM ED “I went to a sport-orientated primary school. I had bright red hair, big blue glasses, a stutter. I couldn’t play sport because I had a perforated eardrum. You’re singled out for being different. I’ve kind of blocked out a lot of it, but I have a real hang-up about that. I think it plays into wanting to be on a stage and have people like you & stuff”
Author Judy Blume, age 85, whose novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970) has been banned for addressing periods. Deenie (1973) features teenage girls & masturbation and Forever (1975) discusses a teenager & sex in a serious relationship…
“There are laws being enacted where a librarian can go to prison if she or he is found guilty of having pornography on their shelves. Try & define pornography today and you’ll find that it’s EVERYTHING.
There’s a picture book I love, Julián Is A Mermaid. He likes to dress up in fancy clothes.
If you go back to the 80s, Heather Has Two Mommies was banned everywhere.
Well, there’s a lot of kids who have two mommies or two daddies, and that book is important! Today they’re considered pornographic by some legislatures.This is the real danger. We should have laws on the OTHER side! That’s why organisations that work to protect the freedom to read widely & freely are so important.
What are you protecting your children from? Protecting your children means educating them and arming them with knowledge, and reading & supporting what they want to read.
No child is going to become transgender or gay or lesbian because they read a book. They may say: ‘Oh, this is just like me. This is what I’m feeling and thinking about.’Or: ‘I’m interested in this because I have friends who may be gay, bi, lesbian.’ They want to know!
I just read a book that was wonderfully enlightening to me: Gender Queer. It’s probably the No. 1 banned book in America right now. And I thought: ‘This young person is telling me how they came to be what they are today.’ And I learned a lot, and became even more empathetic. That’s what books are all about”
WORDS Judy Blume Scoffs at Roald Dahl Books Being Rewritten for Offensive Language: “I Don’t Believe in That” (Variety, 31/3/23) IMAGE Sundance
MORE FROM JUDY “The only answer is for us to speak out or we will lose our way. Even if [parents] don’t let [their kids] read books, their bodies will still change & their feelings about their bodies will change. They have to be able to read, to question”
To foremost feminist activist Gloria Steinem – still phenomenal at 89! – a belated Happy Birthday for 25 March…
We’re thrilled that Gloria endorsed Outspoken by saying: “When parts of our bodies go undescribed, we often feel they are wrong or forbidden. Outspoken Sex Ed is a step toward universality and acceptance – for ourselves and for each other.”
Outspoken co-founder Leah Jewett interviewed her in 2016 for the Guardian/ Observer Q&A Gloria Steinem: “Do what you love so much you forget what time it is”.
Leah recalls: “Sinuously elegant – with a great warm confident smile and a black jumper pulled down over her hands teenager-style –
Gloria was gracious, interested, relaxed, approachable. In her soft-spoken, measured way she said she was happy to meet me.
I asked her a question from my daughter Dare, age 10: ‘When did you become a feminist, and how did you know you were one?’
Gloria’s laugh was maple-syrup rich and smooth, a way for her to pause and take stock. She replied: ‘It took an alarmingly long time because it wasn’t present in the culture when I was growing up. I thought I might be able to escape a female fate as an individual, but I didn’t understand it was possible to change the fate itself. That only became clear to me, thanks to other women, in the late 1960s, when I was in my mid-30s. So your daughter’s going to do much more than I did, because she’s smart and independent younger.’
Then Gloria said: ‘See you somewhere in the world again, I hope.’
To this day I wear 2 beaded bracelets Gloria designed that read ‘Imagine’ and ‘We are linked not ranked’”
IMAGES Caitlin Ochs/New York Times & Richard Saker/Observer Magazine
EXTRA CREDIT! Read our blog post Gloria Steinem and parent tips on that F word – feminism (8/3/22) and Leah’s piece Emma Watson, Gloria Steinem, and My 10-year-old Daughter (HuffPost 13/6/16)
Top Chef host & ex-supermodel Padma Lakshmi, age 52, on her daughter Krishna Thea Lakshmi-Dell, age 13…
“I always tried to give my daughter the language to defend herself so she’s got 2 or 3 sentences in her pocket.
When she went to preschool, right away I said: ‘If anybody touches you, or makes you feel uncomfortable, or makes you touch them, just say “no” really loud.’
I think most of us are so unaware that we’re kind of shocked that it’s even happening to us”
About having been raped at 16, and not being diagnosed with endometriosis until 2006:
“Nobody wants to stand in front of a room and talk about their vagina. But I was so angry about what had happened to me”
WORDS Padma Lakshmi: “Nobody wants to talk about their vagina. But I was so angry” (Guardian, 15/3/23) IMAGE @padmalakshmi Instagram
Singer Rihanna, age 35, marvels at the connection that rapper A$AP Rocky, age 34, has with their 9-month-old son…
“I’m just sitting on the sidelines when they’re together. I’m literally the girl trying to get into the boys club, waiting for my turn.
He is obsessed with his father. And I’m like: ‘Didn’t I give birth to you? What is going on?’
Their connection is undeniable. The second Rocky makes eye contact with him, he is on fire.
The whole thing they say about sons and moms, it’s a myth.
Sons and fathers is crazy. I realised that the validation you really need as a boy is from your father”
WORDS Rihanna Reborn: How A Megastar Became A Mother (Vogue, 1/3/23) IMAGE Inez & Vinoodh
🌈 Bestselling YA (young adult) fiction & LGBT+ issues writer Juno Dawson, age 41, on consent and being body positive…
“We need to have conversations with young people – and instil the idea of consent in even the youngest kids – by saying: ‘You’re allowed to make choices about your body.’
Autonomy is paramount.
My body can’t belong to the patriarchy – it has to be mine.
Patriarchy is noisy and insidious. How do we filter it and get rid of it?
Pressure about looks is crippling, and it’s getting harder for boys. It’s concerning when I see 13- and 14-year-olds at the gym…”
We were excited to hear the self-possessed Juno on the panel Feminist with Fillers? at the WOW (Women of the World) 2023 festival!
In Vogue Juno had written about the gender dysphoria, as a child, of wanting girls’ toys and being fixated with having long hair: “I never thought I was a boy. Boys were rubbish! Their clothes were dull and their toys didn’t even have hair to brush. But people told me I was a boy and, as I had never seen or heard of a trans person, I just accepted it. It didn’t stop me daydreaming, though. As I’d schlep around Tammy Girl or C&A with my mum and sister, I’d pick out a fantasy wardrobe and wonder how I’d wear my hair if I were a girl.”
And she told the Guardian:“It was not OK for a boy to like the Spice Girls as much as I did, but I couldn’t keep it in. In fact, the day I first told anyone I thought I was gay was the day I bought the single Stop in 1998. Barbie, Girls World Styling Heads and My Little Ponies were my catnip”
🌈 IMAGE Simone Padovani
Actor Emily Watson, age 56 – mother of Juliet, 17, and Dylan, 14 – on #MeToo & being a mum…
“The conversation on sexual assault has become louder and clearer over the last few years. You really have to pay due to those women who were the first ones who stood up and went: ‘This happened, join me.’ That was incredibly brave to start that ball rolling.
The conversation has been big, but has there been any change? It feels like this is a systemic problem that is baked into the way all our institutions are structured.
A lot of the [TV and film] audience are women, and a lot of those women are above the age of 25.
They want to see their lives reflected. They want to see the issues that they are interested in examined.
When my husband’s ill, chaos descends.
Trying to be a mum and work and meet everybody’s needs and make everything add up, that’s really hard. I’m not brilliant at it. But we’re wobbling on”
WORDS “There was cruelty and unpleasantness”: Emily Watson on school, stardom and sex scenes in her 50s (Guardian, 20/3/23) IMAGE Radio Times
🌈 NBA basketball All-Star Dwyane Wade, age 41, in accepting an NAACP award, addresses his trans daughter Zaya, age 15…
“As your father, all I’ve wanted to do is get it right.
I have sat back and watched how graceful you have taken on the public scrutiny and even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of the house every morning as yourself.
I admire how you have handled the ignorance in our world. I admire that you face it every day. To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement.
Thank you for showing me that there is more than just one way to communicate effectively.
You taught me that communication with my mouth isn’t enough. I have to also communicate with my 2 ears and my 2 eyes.
As your father, my job isn’t to create a version of myself or direct your future. My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes, your dreams.
Zaya, you have made me a better human just simply by being who you were born to be. Our baby girl, Zaya Wade.
Thank you for showing the world what courage looks like”
WORDS “She’s arrived”: Parents Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union celebrate 15-year-old trans daughter Zaya’s catwalk debut weeks after she finally had her name and gender legally changed after first coming out as trans aged 12 (Daily Mail, 8/3/23) IMAGE John Salangsang for US Weekly
Though we don’t endorse her stance on trans issues, these are interesting reflections from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, age 57, on her mindset as a young person…
“I didn’t feel like I fitted in. Aged 11 or 12 I looked very androgynous with short hair, and I was acutely anxious about my changing body and became aware it was attracting attention that I didn’t welcome, particularly from boys at school.
As an adolescent I questioned my sexuality, thinking: ‘Well, I can tell my friends are pretty. Does that mean I’m gay?’
I grew up to be a straight woman, but I’ve never forgotten that feeling of anxiety around my body”
WORDS JK Rowling questioned her sexuality as a teen as she continues to weigh in on transgender rights (Evening Standard, 10/3/23) IMAGE Sam Hussein / Getty
EXTRA CREDIT! JK Rowling: I knew views on trans issues would make Potter fans deeply unhappy (Evening Standard, 15/3/23)
🌈 Close film director Lukas Dhont, age 31, “grew up gay and sensitive in Dikkelvenne, near Ghent, and dreamed of becoming a dancer. At his school’s talent show at the age of 12, he performed an extravagant routine to Christina Aguilera’s Fighter. The bullying that followed was vicious and relentless…
The traumatic dance contest, the bullying, the sense of growing up queer, his father off on fictitious swashbuckling escapades – small wonder Dhont keeps returning to childhood in his work when his own was such a source of drama.
‘In the film we address violence: the wars on the inside, not on the battlefield,’ he says. ‘For me it’s necessary to talk about that loss of tenderness in a way that shows the full impact.
When we meet the characters Léo and Rémi, they are at the age when so many things can go wrong in that masculine universe.In puberty, there is this confrontation with a society that has norms and expectations around what it means to be a man – and it’s so much about not clinging, about being stoic.
Society ruptures something essential in these young men as they grow up. We tell them not to listen to what they truly desire. For many people, that moment is the start of loneliness and of struggles with mental health. It’s when suicide rates go up’”
🌈 WORDS & IMAGE “I’d love to do a queer Titanic. Well, a queerer one!” Director and Oscar contender Lukas Dhont (Guardian, 1/3/23)
A Barbie doll of space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, 54 – the BBC Sky At Night presenter and University of Leicester chancellor known for her work with the James Webb Space Telescope – is one of 7 custom dolls created to celebrate women blazing trails in Stem (science technology engineering maths) subjects. The dolls aren’t going on sale.
“When I was little, Barbie didn’t look like me, so to have one created in my likeness is mind-boggling,” says Dr Aderin-Pocock, who hopes the expanded range of Barbie dolls will help smash stereotypes.
“Since falling in love with the idea of space travel as a young girl, I have spent my career trying to show girls how fascinating space science can be.
I hope my doll will remind girls that when you reach for the stars, anything is possible.I want to inspire the next generation of scientists, and especially girls, and let them know that Stem is for them.
It’s such an honour to receive this doll that is celebrating my achievements. My daughter and I danced around the living room when we heard!”
Her daughter! We’ll never forget how Dr Aderin-Pocock at the 2014 WOW (Women of the World festival) gave the talk Women And Power with Baroness Shirley Williams with her young daughter at first asleep in a pushchair and then climbing on to her lap. It felt revolutionary that an acclaimed scientist talking about feminism would proudly have her girl onstage alongside her!
WORDS “Reach for the stars”: British scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock honoured with her own Barbie doll (Sky, 7/3/23) IMAGES Mattel/PA & Sarah Jeynes
Happy International Women’s Day on 8 March 2023 – a day to recognise women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements!
This year’s theme: #EmbraceEquity.
Equity and equality are both about fairness.
But this quick analogy explains the difference: equality means giving everyone the same-sized shoes. Equity means giving everyone shoes that fit them.
Equity is a way to get to equality. And equality is good for everyone!
Talk with your child about…
= What does equality means to you?
= What gender stereotypes do you see online, in films and books, at school, in life?
= How do gender stereotypes affect what girls & boys do and feel?
= What words are used most about girls (eg pretty, bossy) vs boys (eg strong)?
= Why do women need a special day?
= Is there an International Men’s Day?
= What female role models do you find inspiring?
= How have women helped to progress society?
= What’s changing for girls & boys, women & men, mothers & fathers in terms of school, work, politics, relationships with each other?
And #PowerOn, says UN Women, to give women & girls equal access to technology, end online violence and close the digital gender gap #DigitALL
IMAGE Alasdair McClellan for Vogue
Recently divorced doctor and dad-of-2 Toby Fleishman (Jesse Eisenberg) is told that his daughter Hannah (Meara Mahoney-Gross), age 11, sent a suggestive photo of herself to a boy at camp…
Camp leader: Your daughter Hannah took, uh, an unfortunate picture with her phone, and she shared it with a young man.
Toby (father): What? What kind of picture?
Camp leader: Well, it was a very suggestive picture. Um, the boy shared it with his friends.
Toby: He shared it with his friends. And what does “suggestive” mean?
Camp leader: Well, it was, uh… It wasn’t appropriate. I’ll let you discuss it with Hannah. But suffice it to say, it violated our camper code of conduct.
Toby: Yeah, I’m not really interested in the camper code of conduct. Is she OK?Camp leader: Yeah.
Toby: … And what’s happening to him? To the kid.
Camp leader: … Well, he’s not the one that took the photo, so…
Toby: Right. So nothing’s happening to him. He didn’t violate any of your policies or any of your rules?
[Later, to his daughter] I know there’s so little I can say to make this better, but…Listen to me. Honey, it won’t always feel this bad, OK?
WORDS & IMAGE Fleishman Is In Trouble (season 1, episode 5: Vantablack)
Recently divorced doctor and dad-of-2 Toby Fleishman (Jesse Eisenberg) realises that his son Solly (Maxim Swinton), age 9, watched porn on the family computer…
Solly (son): I-I don’t know why those things came up. They just came up.
Toby (father): It’s OK. Come sit down for a minute. Listen, there is nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of. Are you curious about girls?
Solly: I just wanted to know what it looked like underneath.
Toby: Yeah, no, I understand. Should I maybe get you a book for kids? Like, maybe with pictures?
Solly: No. I don’t want to see it ever again.
Toby: Yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. Of course not. Hey, it’s OK, buddy.
Solly: It’s not OK. I hate it.
Toby: I know. I know. Listen, um, I-I just want you to know that that’s not really what it’s like, OK? That’s like someone’s fantasy of what people might want. That’s not what it’s really like for two people to have sеx, OK?
Solly: Don’t say that word!Toby: Yeah. OK. I won’t say it
WORDS & IMAGE Fleishman Is In Trouble (season 1, episode 2: Welcome to Paniquil)
A new consent and rape storyline on the UK soap opera Coronation Street…
“After a night of drinking between friends and flatmates Aaron (James Craven) and Amy (Elle Mulvaney), he had sex with her while she was so drunk she was in no state to consent. Later she realised that what happened to her was rape.
Elle said: ‘Even though they were friends that doesn’t mean it’s OK for him to do what he wants – this shouldn’t be a grey area.’
James agrees: ‘Aaron’s biggest mistake is he doesn’t check in with himself and importantly with her that she’s OK with all of this. Initially there’s no sort of thought in his mind that he’s done anything wrong. He’s also trying to piece together what happened. He’s got this thing going on of:
did that really happen? It was so out of nowhere for him. He believes he hasn’t done anything wrong in this moment so if someone told him that, he’d be shocked.
Maybe if he’d had the education and he’d been spoken to about it and he was thinking about it a bit more he would have made a different decision. Because he’s had the alcohol and all the emotions are heightened to the max, it makes him vulnerable to getting himself in this situation.’
The show worked with the Schools Consent Project, a charity that educates young people to engage with issues around consent and sexual assault”
WORDS & IMAGE Coronation Street star James Craven reveals Aaron’s initial reactions and behaviour after raping Amy (Metro, 3/3/23)
THEN & NOW Actor Tracy-Ann Oberman, age 56:
“This is me aged two and a half. There was a fancy-dress party in the hotel [where we were staying] but my mum had forgotten to pack me anything to wear, so I had to put on my friend Antony’s cowboy outfit.
I’m doing a polite smile but I was really pissed off and thinking: ‘What the hell is this? I just wanted to be a princess!’
Now I love the costume, because it’s unusual to see a little girl as a cowboy; it looks like an emblem of my early doors feminism.
When I look at [the girl in] this photo, I want to put my arms around her and tell her that it is going to be all right, and: ‘You will happily put on a cowboy costume in 50 years’ time’”
WORDS Tracy-Ann Oberman looks back: “I’m thinking, What’s this? I want to be a princess!” (Guardian, 25/2/23) IMAGE Pål Hansen for The Guardian
Actor Michelle Williams, age 42, on #MeToo…
“I was raised in the 80s. Selfhood wasn’t put into young women. And now it is. I get to see it in my own daughter and I can’t take my eyes off her. It is a glorious miracle to behold that I never thought I would witness in my lifetime.
I thought I would have to teach my daughter how to subvert herself and crawl underneath the system to keep herself safe.
And instead the system has exploded and these young people act with compassion, integrity and righteousness.
I have the chills talking about it. These girls aren’t prey. These girls are already victorious.
I love to sit back and watch them in the world and know that it is safer and more inclined in their direction than it was for me”
WORDS “Girls today aren’t prey. They are victorious”: Michelle Williams on #MeToo, money and playing Spielberg’s mum (Guardian, 28/1/23) IMAGE Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello / Trunk Archive
Ironically the actor Paul Mescal, age 27, who became a heartthrob after starring in Normal People – with its great emphasis on consent – had a non-consensual experience with a fan. First he says:
“A woman said she had a naked picture of me, a screenshot from the show, as the wallpaper on her phone… It just felt very weird. I didn’t like it.
I can be pissed off with every person who has a naked picture of me stashed somewhere or I can just let it go.
Women have been objectified by men throughout history – and still are.
Nudity and sexuality in art and film and theatre are beautiful and important.”
Then about his recent experience with a fan who had asked him for a photo:
“As we posed for it, she put her hand on my ass. I thought it was an accident, so I like [moved away] but the hand followed.
I remember tensing up and feeling just, like, fury. I turned to her and said: ‘What’re you doing? Take your hand off my ass.’
The last thing I want to do is call somebody out in front of the theatre – it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved – but it was really not OK. It was so gross, creepy.
97% of fame is really nice – then 3% is somebody, like, grabbing your ass”
WORDS Paul Mescal: “I don’t want my life to change any more than it already has” (Evening Standard, 23/2/23) IMAGE Little White Lies
🌈 Planet Sex presenter and supermodel Cara Delevingne, age 30…
“Any person who’s queer has gone through a period of shame, or at least not understanding who they are and feeling like they don’t belong. That was something I’ve always felt. Doing Planet Sex brought back a lot of memories of how that was so prevalent in my childhood, my teenage years and my 20s.
Growing up, I didn’t really have an understanding of true, unconditional self-love. What stopped me from coming out was the shame I put on myself.
I was always queer, yes, but I lived a very straight lifestyle. I kind of started as bisexual, then I was pansexual. [About being LGBTQ+] I felt like: ‘I don’t know what letter I am!’
I am a ‘she’ right now. But I also like dressing up as a man and being a ‘he’. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself about what you are, who you are. Whether it’s masculine and feminine, it’s just who I am.
The constructs and binaries that are given are stupid. I’m proud to be a woman but I don’t have to sit in a box.
I’m definitely genderfluid. I love playing with what we’ve been given as those gender constructs. Being super femme, being super masc, mixing it all up in one big cauldron.
I want people to have the sort of conversations that are in the show. Hate and fear come from things that are not spoken about, or fears about questions”
🌈 WORDS Cara Delevingne on How Planet Sex Changed Her Life: “I Was Always Queer, but I Lived a Straight Lifestyle” (Variety, 14/2/23) and Cara Delevingne: “Being queer felt fluid and free” (BBC, 2/12/22) IMAGE BBC
🌈 “Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp, age 18, came out in a TikTok clip last month by lip-syncing a popular viral sound – ‘You know what it never was? That serious. It was never that serious. Quite frankly, it will never be that serious’ – with the caption:
‘When I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being scared in the closet for 18 years and all they said was “we know”’
His family has got his back. He revealed the heartwarming text he received from his grandfather: ‘Hey noah I became aware today of your public announcement that you are gay. I just want you to know that I love you the same and I’m happy for you to be open and to be yourself. Just be proud of who and what you are. Iris and I are supportive of your honestly and ability to express your true self! Love you to the moon and back.’
In his TikTok video, Schnapp referenced his Stranger Things character Will Byers – who in the latest season is hinted at having feelings for his best friend Mike – writing: ‘I guess I’m more like Will than I thought’”
WORDS Noah Schnapp Shares Text From His Grandpa After Coming Out as Gay (E! Online, 9/2/23)
IMAGE Aleksandar Tomovic for Vulkan magazine
“It’s so much harder to be alive now than in the 90s. That was a gentler time.
We didn’t know what hardcore porn was.
We had puberty without access to the internet”
WORDS Comedian Sara Pascoe – our iconic Advisory Board member! – in her show Success Story (12/2/23)
IMAGE Pål Hansen for The Observer Magazine
Olympic cyclist Bradley Wiggins, 42, was groomed by a cycling coach between ages 13 and 16 but “swept it under the carpet”.
He said: “Abuse becomes very normalised by the perpetrators and [you are] very, very unaware that is happening.
It’s not until later in life and particularly when I had my own children… [that] I suddenly realised what I’d been subjected to as a child.
We all have a responsibility as adults, parents, onlookers, coaches, teachers to recognise the signs… Rather than worrying [if] you’re intruding or intervening or the consequences of that… if you’re right, wouldn’t you rather just go in and take that risk? It’s OK to approach victims of abuse and speak to them.”
Wiggins warned that children can fear violence if they speak out and described how his need to escape his childhood problems drove him to train harder and “contributed to why I was so great at cycling”. He also “suffered violence from his stepfather”.“Lots of people that are great at something have a drive that kind of stems from adversity,” Wiggins said. “What we can do is change and accept it, learn to stop running away from it and help others”
WORDS Bradley Wiggins backs NSPCC child abuse plan as he reveals impact of own experience (Guardian, 10/1/23) IMAGE On the Champs-Elysées in 2012 with his son Ben, then aged 7