SEX ED FROM CELEBS
The latest revelations by the stars on sex & relationships topics
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 this month 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 this month at WOW (Women of the World) 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? this month 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