How to Survive “Re-Fresher’s” Week

You relaxed over the holiday break. You ate too much cheese, drank a bit too much champagne, spent time with your family, and caught up on sleep.

We get it. You’re ready to return to university and get back to your debaucherous self.

While we can’t stop you (but have you finished all your assignments?), we can provide you with a guide to survive the dreaded “re-fresher’s” week.

1. Take it easy and take it slow

When you first came to university, you were probably ready to get away from home. The freedom to cook your own mediocre ramen-based meals and drink until the sun comes up… it was romantic, wasn’t it?

If you do decide to go out, take it slow at a pub instead of a club. Remember to wash your hands religiously (it is cold and flu season, after all) and listen to your body.

You’ve put your liver through a lot this past semester. So, stop it. Don’t pre-drink a fifth of vodka and please remember to eat a balanced meal. Someone passed out on the street during Fresher’s Week is relatively funny; someone passed out on the street in mid-January will catch hypothermia and die.

2. Remember that this time, your classes matter

Gone are the days of first-week syllabi and second chances. Midway through the semester, your professors (and classmates, for those neglected group projects) are expecting quality work from you.

Don’t go out drinking on a Tuesday night when you have an 8 a.m. lecture on the Wednesday. Or, at least, stash some extra clothes at a friend’s house that’s nearby campus so you can stay over. And take a shower, please.

3. A night in can be just as fun as a night out

Look, frankly, it’s cold. One of the main reasons to go out during Fresher’s Week is to make friends, but it’s January, and hopefully you’ve made some friends by now.

Invite your friends around for a bottle of wine and a Netflix binge–every takeaway restaurant has a deal, so you have literally no excuse to leave your house.

4. Keep yourself controlled

Going home can be a stressor for a lot of people, and maybe you’re geared up and ready to get back to that “super fun, super cool uni life.” That’s all well and good, but not if it jeopardises your body, health or education.

The most important thing is to listen to yourself. If you feel ill, but your friend wants to take another shot, just decline it. Likewise, the world won’t end if you go home at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.


“Re-fresher’s week” is just a name. It’s nothing special, and while it’s lovely to catch up with friends, don’t put pressure on yourself to start the semester off on the wrong foot.

The 18 Most Iconic Moments That Made 2018 Into 20gayteen

2018 is coming to an end. It’s been a year full of ups and downs for the LGBT community (and the rest of the world, to be honest), but let’s focus on 18 iconic pop culture moments that made 2018 into 20gayteen.

  1.     Hayley Kiyoko coming up with the term “20gayteen”

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Thank you, Lesbian Jesus.

  1.     Miss Vanjie… Miss Vanjie… Miss Vanjie!!!

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Season 10 of Rupaul’s Drag Race was good, but would have been nothing without MISS VANJIE!!

  1.     Brockhampton releasing gay merch. Literally.

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It obviously all sold out in minutes.

  1.     Queer Eye blessing our screens

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And it’s already been renewed for a third season. The power of the Fab Five!

  1.     Janelle Monaé’s Pynk. That’s all.

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An ode to vaginas? We have to stan.

  1.     Britney Spears performing at Brighton Pride

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Moving was impossible and getting to Brighton was a struggle, but at least the Queen herself was there.

  1.     First ever openly gay K-Pop idol’s debut

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For those of you who don’t know, K-Pop idols have to follow some very strict rules. Most of them aren’t even allowed to date, never mind be openly homosexual. Holland is Korea’s first openly gay idol, and he’s releasing music without the support of any of the main entertainment companies. He made his debut with a song called I’m Not Afraid, which is quite fitting.

  1.     America’s first professional transgender boxer won his first pro fight

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Patricio Manuel was competing as a woman for a decade, and after coming back to the ring as a male boxer, he won against Hugo Aguilar. Here’s to many more wins!

  1.     We finally had a MASSIVE teen movie in cinemas, which was about a gay love story.

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Yaaaassss Love, Simon!

  1.  Courtney Act won Celebrity Big Brother.

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And then became the host of The Bi Life! What a queen.

  1.  SO many celebrities came out.

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Alyson Stoner, Reece King, Kevin McHale, Amandla Stenberg, Brendon Urie, Kehlani and so many more.

  1.  Speaking of Kehlani… Our queer angel is having a baby. And the dad’s bisexual!

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The singer surprised everyone with her pregnancy in October.

  1.  There was a lesbian wedding in a mainstream cartoon!

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Steven Universe’s creator knew it would be important for queer representation and visibility—and aren’t Ruby and Sapphire the cutest?

  1.  Harry Styles’ world tour

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He went on tour and spent pretty much every night dancing with rainbow flags, showing his support to the community, and saying things such as, “I mean we’re all a little bit gay, aren’t we?”

  1.  Queer superheroes!!

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Hi, Teenage Warhead and Yukio. You’re cute.

  1.  She-Ra and the Princess of Power

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Netflix’s She-Ra reboot features a same-sex couple, and they’re canon! What else would you expect from highly-acclaimed queer showrunner Noelle Stevenson?

  1.  The number of LGBT characters on TV reached a record high

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*20gayteen intensifies*

  1.  Pansexual became one of Merriam-Webster’s words of 2018

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If this doesn’t define 20gayteen, what does?

What a ride. What was your favourite moment of 20gayteen? And are you ready for 20biteen?

Violence in Video Games: A 2018 Look at “The Last of Us”

Let me start by posting this Forbes article that was published last year.

The gist of Erik Kain’s article—and of many other video game reviewers’ articles that have been published since the release of The Last of Us II trailer last year—is that the first trailer for newest instalment of the mega-hit post-apocalyptic video game is much too violent.

First off, I think the author’s worries about the tone of the new game are completely founded. The Last of Us is a game about learning to love and trust those around you after going through a terrible loss. It is emotional and devastating in the best way possible, and The Last of Us II seems like it is going to be much darker than the first.

Neil Druckmann, the game director for The Last of Us, said that the next instalment is a “…story about hate.” This doesn’t instil confidence that the game will have a happy tone. However, I feel that the majority of these articles miss the mark when discussing the violence of this game series.

The Last of Us is a game about parasites that infect humanity and turn them into cannibalistic monsters. Many, MANY main characters die (SPOILER: one of them is the main character’s tween daughter about 15 minutes into the game), and the game has a plethora of extremely violent imagery.

It is by no means a happy game.

So when I read articles condemning the violence in the most recent The Last of Us II trailer, I can’t help but think that the context of this series was simply not taken into consideration.

For instance, Julia Alexander’s recent article for polygon.com (Stop Using Violence To Sell Your Game), is a well written discussion about violence against women in video games. However, I see the newest trailer for The Last of Us as being empowering to women—not another example of misogynistic game play.

The only characters that have any lines in this trailer are women. This trailer, now that most of the characters have been named, passes the Bechdel Test (see Hollywood executives? It’s not that hard).

The main character is ripped. Like completely shredded. She doesn’t exist in this post apocalyptic world to be feminine eye candy for the male protagonists. She is realistically shaped to survive in the world she is in. However, who is she saved by? Not by a man, but by two young women (who are not white, but that deserves a whole other conversation about race in video games).

One is androgynous, another example of what real women can look like, and the other is defiant even in the face of defeat. Yes, her arm being broken is shown in graphic detail, but she gets right back up and kills two of her captors despite this. The women are subjected to violence because the world of The Last of Us is violent.

But are they shown to be victims? Do they cower in the face of violence like so many female movie and video game protagonists do?

No. They show that women, no matter if they are a villain, a pair of badass saviours, or a mysterious anti-hero, can survive an apocalyptic world just as well as any man.

We see the survival instincts of Tess, the fortitude of Ellie, and the spirit that makes The Last of Us such a beloved game. So, no—I am not worried about the tone of the next instalment of this series, because from what has been released so far, I can see what makes The Last of Us unique: the fight all people have—no matter their gender, age, race, or sexuality—to keep their humanity and stay alive in an incredibly violent world.

Keep an eye out for the new Last of Us game coming out in 2019!

The 10 Female Artists You Should Be Listening To

There may be a few successful women in music at the moment, but there still aren’t enough. And, let’s be honest, some of them suck anyway.

Here’s a list, in no particular order, of ten female artists and female-fronted bands you may not know, but you should definitely listen to. Oh, and they are all proud feminists and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community too, which we’re always here for.

King Princess

King Princess, born Mikaela Straus, is a 19 year old singer-songwriter from New York, who’s signed to Mark Ronson’s label. She’s smart, funny and incredibly talented. She’s also in the longlist for the BBC Sound of 2019 award (previously won by artists such as Adele and Sam Smith), so you may want to check her out before she takes over the world. Listen to 1950, which is probably her most popular song – Harry Styles even tweeted the lyrics to it!

Billie Eilish

Even if you don’t know Billie Eilish, you know Billie Eilish. The 16 year old (yes, 16) has the voice of an angel, and sells out venues in minutes. She is loved by big stars, such as Ellie Goulding and Julia Roberts, and hopefully will be loved by you too: listen to her latest single when the party’s over, but be careful, the video might freak you out a little.

Greentea Peng

She’s just so awesome. As you can guess from her name, Greentea Peng is a London girl. She has a beautiful jazzy voice, and looks too cool to be real. If you’re into chill music (or are a stoner), she’s the girl for you. Check out Moonchild, and if you’re not into trippy music videos, just focus on her voice.

Kim Petras

Kim Petras is the pop princess we all need. Although she is mostly known for being transgender and having transitioned at a young age, she makes some pretty great music too. Make your Y2K music video dreams come true and check out I Don’t Want It All.

PVRIS

PVRIS (resist the urge to call them puh-vuh-ris – it’s pronounced Paris) are a female-fronted rock band from Massachusetts. Their sound is unique and lead singer Lynn Gunn has an incredibly powerful voice, which sounds exactly the same when she sings live. Listen to White Noise and keep an eye out for them if you’re planning on going to Reading or Leeds Festival!

Willow Smith

You obviously all know Willow Smith. But, forgetting Whip My Hair, did you know she makes good music? She doesn’t release enough of her own, but is featured in a few of her brother’s songs. If you want a taste of what she sounds like, listen to Jimi, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Rico Nasty

Rico Nasty is a 21 year old rapper, mother, and legend in the making. Her music will make you feel like a boss, and she already has six mixtapes out, so your playlist will be on fire. Rico knows she’s weird and lives for it, which should only inspire you to be yourself as well. Check out her song Countin Up, but be careful: it will be stuck in your head for hours.

Yonaka

Yonaka are an alternative band from Brighton. They just toured Europe and the UK with Bring Me The Horizon, and will share a stage with them again at All Points East festival in May. Don’t worry, they don’t sound anything like BMTH, but hopefully the band will bring them the attention that they deserve. Listen to Creature and go wild.

Princess Nokia

If you need some music to boost your confidence, or just to dance along to, listen to Princess Nokia. The American rapper has a unique voice (which can sound very different from song to song) and talks about herself and her life in a candid way in all her songs. She seems to do what she wants, and it’s working out for her. Tomboy is one of her most popular songs, and will give you an idea of what she’s like.

Brooke Candy

Brooke Candy looks and sounds unique. Sia loves her (she’s actually kind of her mentor), so you should too. Brooke is also idolised by the gay community, and it’s clear she takes inspiration from drag queens with her makeup looks. And Brooke Candy is her real name, so you know she was born to be a star. Music wise, her song Nasty is a jam, and there’s nothing better than hearing her refer to a guy as hoe.

Are you a fan of any of these artists? And is there anyone you think should be on the list? Let us know.

The 5 Most Problematic Christmas Songs

I love the holidays. Honestly, probably more than the average person—the food, the family, the festivities; it’s all so dreamy and magical.

I’m also a huge fan of Christmas music. Year after year, I listen to the same Christmas soundtrack because it really gets me in the Christmas spirit.

However, this year, I’ve really started to listen to the lyrics of these songs and have realised something:

Some Christmas music is super problematic.

I’ve curated a list of the 5 most problematic Christmas songs and the reasons they make the holidays a little bit less jolly. I will be rating the problematic nature of these songs on a scale of 1-5 Santa heads.

1. Santa Buddy: Michael Bublé, 2011

Alright, Michael. We get it: no homo. Michael Bublé’s male-centric rewrite of the classic Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” changes the words in such a way that we couldn’t possibly think he was looking at Santa in an erotic way.

He does so by making Santa his buddy, his pally, his poppy (?) instead of his baby, by asking for a ‘65 convertible in a very masculine STEEL blue and not the original light blue, by requesting “Canucks tix” (aka, hockey tickets) because he is A Man Who Likes Sports and Don’t You Forget It. However, he still asks for Santa to come and “trim [his] Christmas tree”. Hmm….

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2. Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Dean Martin, 1953

If you were to name one particularly controversial Christmas song, it would be this one. It’s fun, catchy, and it’s been around for decades, but it’s highly problematic. It tells the story of a woman who has spent an evening with a man, but he begs her to stay as she attempts to convince him that she needs to leave.

But what is this song really about? While the lyrics play it off as a cutesy and flirty hard-to-get situation, what the song is really doing is perpetuating rape culture. With lyrics like “I simply must go,” “The answer is no,” and “Say, what’s in this drink?”, this song is actually quite problematic in its dismissive qualities of a woman attempting to remove herself from an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation.

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3. Do They Know It’s Christmas? 1984; 2014

It’d be easy to blame this song on simply being a symptom of the time it was releasedin 1984, speaking about starving Africans was actually quite forward thinking and woke.

But in 2014? A resung version starring big names like One Direction, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, and so many more? In 2014, should we still be perpetuating the idea that everyone in “Africa” (where, specifically. Africa is large and is made up of over 50 countries) is starving? The original hasn’t aged well, and the 2014 version really just shouldn’t exist.

Thank you for trying to raise awareness, Band Aid. Thank you for raising money for Ebola prevention. But lyrics like “Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow” isn’t necessarily accurate depiction of the entire continent of Africa.

“Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?” Yes, probably.

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4. Never Do a Tango with an Eskimo: 1955

According to this 1955 Christmas song by Alma Cogan, one must never dance with an Eskimo for several reasons, the main ones being that “once those Eskimoses start to wiggle with their toeses, you can bet your life you’re gonna get a chill,” and also that “once an Eskimosee starts to cuddle up so cozy, you’ll find your passion cooling, yes sirree.”

Good to know. But don’t worry, she does give us plenty of other races that we can dance with, such as “a Latin”, “a gaucho” or “an Apache.”

I have several questions. Why is Cogan picking on Eskimos? Why is this considered a Christmas song? Why does this song exist at all? Can we stop perpetuating negative stereotypes about entire demographics, please?

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5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: Michael Jackson version; 1970

Nothing says Christmas like infidelity! According to the song, a young Michael Jackson sneaks downstairs only to find his mother kissing Santa Claus, but no one believes that Jackson actually saw this happen.

While some people believe the song is about the mother cheating on her husband with Santa, others see it a bit more innocently; perhaps Santa IS dad, and mommy is simply kissing her Santa-suited husband. Either way, it’s caused some controversy among Christmas listeners. What do YOU think the song is about?

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Did we miss your least-favourite Christmas song? Let us know in the comments!

 

Why Does Asian Representation Matter in Film?

If there’s anything I’ve gathered from five years of studying film–and I’ve learned a lot– more than cinematography, mise-en-scéne, or the 180 degree rule, I’ve learned that representation matters.

This is very obvious when looking at pretty much any Asian character in film. Mainstream media is incredibly whitewashed and therefore, other racial or ethnic minorities tend to struggle to find any characters on-screen to relate to—it’s a subtle form of racism and xenophobia that has become socially acceptable.

The film industry is one of the largest in the world, so it make sense that the content we enjoy affects us significantly. One of the biggest issues surrounding TV and film is that the stories being told are overwhelmingly white.

On the flip side, Asian characters are not often depicted in film or TV as protagonists; instead, they are typically side characters without names or important narratives.

Elizabeth Gottshall, a former studio art and computer science student, was born in China, but was adopted and brought to Georgia in 1998.

Gottshall is incredibly passionate and outspoken about the representation of Asian people in film and media, often writing and sharing social media posts that bring attention to the misrepresentation of Asians in the media.

She notes that the Asian and Asian-American communities are most often the victims of whitewashing (meaning that white actors accept roles that are meant to be played by an Asian actor). Even when Asian characters are presented in films, they are incredibly stereotyped and misrepresented.

“The stereotypes aren’t just about being good at math and technology,” Gottshall explains. “For Asian women, a lot of stereotypes are based on Asian women’s appearance. [They] are frequently portrayed as very thin and most importantly, pale. This is a huge problem.”

One of the most interestingly bizarre stereotypes and film tropes surrounding the Asian community involves putting stripes of colour into Asian women’s hair.

It is a common trope that is used to make Asian women “stand out” and to Westernize them, often portraying them as fun and carefree. This trope is meant to combat the incredibly harmful and untrue stereotype that Asian women are “boring and submissive”, which is common stigma in media.

While it may seem niche, this hair colour is actually a frustratingly common trope used in films and TV. Twitter user @nerdyasians tweeted this image that further emphasizes this idea:

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But the stereotypes can be much more serious than hair colour.

“The most harmful stereotypes are about Asian woman being hypersexualised and only being there for white men to have sex with and dominate,” Gottshall said.

One of Gottshall’s most recent social media posts sheds light on a movement called #AsianAugust, a phenomenon that highlights films starring Asians and Asian-Americans. Some of the featured work this past August included The Darkest Minds, Dog Days, The Meg, Crazy Rich Asians, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Searching.

Variety Magazine explains that movements such as #AsianAugust show that “there can be more than one movie out at a time featuring diverse protagonists without hindering each other’s opportunity to succeed. They can even spark a ripple effect.”

Not only is it powerful that these films even exist, but they’re also films that ignore the stereotypes and stigmas that are so often put upon Asians and Asian Americans in media. They allow audiences to be exposed to characters which Gottshall calls “realistic and three-dimensional” that “Asians and Asian-Americans can relate to.”

While there is still lots of work to be done, the existence of films such as the ones presented in #AsianAugust—and their impressive amount of success—demonstrates that the film industry might actually be going in the right direction when it comes to fair representation of races.

Top 10 LGBTQ+ Television Shows You Need to Watch ASAP

Not sure what to watch when you should be studying for exams? Check out this list of the top 10 binge-worthy television shows featuring LGBTQ+ characters!

1: Queer as Folk

This 2000s-era show follows five men and their adventures in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The series, based off the UK show of the same name, is memorable thanks to the characters’ gritty storylines, frank discussion of HIV and drug use, and impactful sweet moments.

2: Noah’s Arc

This two-season show follows the lives of four gay black men in Los Angeles. With its city-esqe vibes and the portrayal of black gay men, Noah’s Arc broke the mould and created a new standard in gay storytelling. The cast are all people of colour, and the issues that these characters are faced with coincide with what minority gay men go through.

3: Degrassi Next Generation/Next Class

This long-running Canadian series continually covers difficult topics like mental illness, body dysphoria, drug abuse, and sexual assault. In a high school setting, each season showcases relationships, coming out, violence inflicted on LGBTQ+ teens and more. In total, Degrassi has had over 20 LGBTQ+ characters—each with their own stories that the community can relate to.

4: Grey’s Anatomy

This medical drama is an hour full of laughter, tears and love. Grey’s does an amazing job at creating relatable characters that are multi-layered and full of emotion. The show does an amazing job at showcasing diversity within its storylines, including strong and driven LGBTQ+ men and women.

5: South of Nowhere

This amazing show is about a girl named Spencer, who moves across America to Los Angeles while coming to terms with being a lesbian. With a great supporting cast, this teen show is the perfect blend of storyline, real-world issues and character-building, allowing viewers to feel closer to the characters and themselves.

6: The L Word

This is a show that will forever be ingrained in the hearts and minds of the LGBTQ+ community. Set in L.A., it is a gritty, yet fun, drama-filled portrayal of LGBTQ+ life, and the show tackles tough topics like infidelity, transphobia, discrimination, cancer and death.

7: Looking

This sleeper hit is based around the lives of four gay men in San Francisco. Each of the main cast shows diversity amongst gay men while not feeding into stereotypes. It follows the journey of main character Patrick, along with his friends, Augie and Richie, as they go through the trials and tribulations of relationships.

8: Glee

Glee uniquely mixes show tunes, top 40 songs and drama with real-life problems. The characters are extremely funny, relatable and diverse, and represent different racial and religious backgrounds and sexual orientations. Having roughly 10 LGBTQ+ characters with amazing storylines (and voices to die for), this show is a must-watch for musical lovers.

9: Sense8

From the creators of the Matrix trilogy, this boundary-pushing Netflix drama takes viewers on wild ride with a unique cast of multicultural characters. The show is beautifully filmed, and features strong LGBTQ+ representation, including interracial lesbian relationships and proud trans woman in the first season.

10: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The quirky show follows Kimberly Schmidt and her crazy adventures, and features gay, showbiz-loving black man Titus Andromedon as a lead side-character. This show gives viewers characters that are eccentric, funny and lovable, and Titus’ story grows with each season. If you’re looking for an easy watch that tackles many of today’s issues regarding race, politics and LGBTQ+ representation, definitely add this to your watch list.

Did we miss your favourite show? Let us know in the comments what we need to add to our Netflix queue!