Nobody wants to see your sex trophy before breakfast (Reposted)

Friends, Life, Relationships, Sex

A couple of months ago, in between late nights at the office and learning German, I wrote a guest piece for my friend and fabulous author (yes, I’m biased), Erin Lawless. It’s about parents who post every nanosecond of their newborn’s life on social media. It was/is, perhaps, a little controversial, but I quite enjoyed it all the same and so I’m posting it here as well.

I hope you enjoy it!

You can view the original post here: No one wants to see your sex trophy before breakfast or read it below.


“Would you all please stop! I don’t care anymore.”
I recently muttered these exact words at my phone one morning while absent-mindedly scrolling through Instagram instead of getting up.
You see, it appears that whenever I open Instagram, check Facebook, pull up Twitter or even get round to pinning something on my (admittedly neglected) Pinterest, there’s inevitably a baby picture staring back at me. If it’s not a baby picture it’s a “Week 34!” or a “This one doesn’t want to come out” pregnancy shot.
Alright, I get it. You’re pregnant / newly with-child / hanging out with your adorable newborn. And that’s cute. Once or twice. But there’s a limit to how many “Look at my amazing partner/husband/wife/baby and our cute new family” I can take (especially before breakfast).
Here’s one where it’s hiding from the ultrasound. #growingahuman
Isn’t he/she/it so cute?! #adorbs #lookslikedaddy
4am feed time. #tired #butshescute #mumlife
ENOUGH. I do not want to see swollen ankles or large bellies. I am bored of babies in onesies sprawled across a bed. And I’ve seen enough ultrasounds to be able to tell you that, it’s ok, you’re not going to have an alien.
But before you write me off as a callous, cold-hearted, childless bitch; hear me out.
I’m in my late 20s. I actively use social media. I have a wealth of friends and family with newborn kids (and judging by the number of pregnancy announcement Instagrams; it’s about to boom). My friends are having babies and that IS exciting. Some of my closest friends, ones I’ve known for over a decade, are making little copies of themselves. We’ve navigated first dates, first kisses, break ups, fan girl obsessions, proposals and weddings together. It’s only natural our lives have reached the point where we’re now being responsible for another life; be it human or cat.
And yes, announcing on social media is a quick and fast way to communicate the news of “Hey guys, we made an us!” (Alternatively: “We’ve been having lots of sex!!”) to as many people as possible with as little effort as possible. It’s especially useful when the people you want to inform are scattered around the globe. But – and here’s where I get up on my soapbox – I do not need you to document EVERY SECOND of your pregnancy. Believe it or not, once you’ve seen one pregnant woman, you’ve pretty much seen them all. They don’t vary wildly in form. It may surprise you, but I don’t particularly want to see your enlarged stomach. I don’t need to watch a time lapse of your body swelling up. And I really don’t want to see a labour shot(!).
It doesn’t end there either. Once baby has screamed their way into the world, my social media feed is plagued with shots, taken from multiple angles, in an array of microfashion, and filtered with Valencia. I don’t know how to tell you this but, I’m not especially bothered about seeing the 157th picture of your baby trying to smile (/fart).
I don’t want to banish infants from Instagram or free Facebook of baby farting faces (they can actually be quite hilarious). My simple plea is just that there’s a few less babies staring back at me when I log in. Your child is adorable but I don’t need to witness its every nanosecond. Just a small update now and then is fine. Especially if it’s funny – like they try to say “banana” and it comes out as a swear word, or you just happened to film them doing the most fantastic accidental forward roll into the cat while they tried to stand. I welcome those posts with open arms. (Mostly because they will keep me entertained during long and tedious days at work.) But please, stop clogging my newsfeed with your sex trophy.
If you really must broadcast every tiny development of your newborn (perhaps you have family/friends abroad who want to keep up with progress), consider creating a private Instagram account you share only with those who you know want to see every detail of your baby’s life or creating a Facebook list that you share only baby updates with. Spare the rest of us (ok, only the lonely, single, bitter ones of us) from having to trawl through numerous “Just too cute” and endless “Look at this beautiful bundle” moments. After all, I don’t fill your newsfeed with sunsets, cocktails, cats and epic holiday photos do I? Oh… Right.

50 Shades of No Way

50 shades of grey, Relationships, Sex, women

Unless you’ve been stranded somewhere devoid of internet and social contact for some time, you’re probably aware that this Saturday is Valentine’s Day. And you probably also know that it marks the release of a highly controversial “love story” – 50 Shades of Grey.

More like 50 Shades of No Way.
Admittedly, I’ve not read the books. But then, I’ve never had a desire to pick up something that I have been advised is, essentially, badly written erotica. When E L James’ paperback trilogy first hit bookshelves it was billed as “mummy porn”. Despite this, it was still possible to find it on store shelves not too far from kids’ magazines and young adult fiction. Before long it had become a worldwide phenomenon and then someone had the “brilliant” idea to turn it into a film. (As we seem to do with any wonderfully successful book appealing to women/young adults: cf Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Gone Girl).
I chose not to read the books and, unsurprisingly, I will be choosing not to see the film too. I’m not here to tell you why you shouldn’t see it but I am here to tell you that this is not the love story it is being billed to be. And I don’t understand why anyone would think it’s a great romantic Valentine’s Day treat.
It seems strange to me that, in a world currently fighting for gender equality, bridging the pay gap and getting outraged that women can still be labelled as “asking for a rape attack”, we’re signing up to watch a movie, which, just from my reading of reviews and watching one trailer, glamourises sexual abuse. Double standards much?

This is not ok.


Not. Ok.

It astounds me that things like the wonderful #HeforShe campaign is juxtaposed with the ludicrous advertising for 50 Shades of Grey. This movie is not about sexual or gender liberation, it’s about sexual exploitation. It’s not about love, it’s about power (and patriarchal power at that). And in a time where we are so obsessed with fighting for equality and giving people (women) a voice, how on earth did this piece of explicit exploitation creep past our checks and balances? If this Mr Grey character was an impoverished man, scraping together pennies here and there, I can’t help but feel there would be an entirely different story. Not just in the novel and film, but also in the media.

And yet, the media would have us believe that women everywhere are eagerly awaiting Saturday’s release. Amongst my peers, at least, opinion is (mildly) divided. However, most appear to lean on the side of “not interested”. Whether that’s because they don’t agree with it or just don’t think a movie could live up to a book (I’ve seen a few clips and it makes Twilight look like a brilliantly acted franchise) I couldn’t say. What I can tell you though is, personally, I’d rather watch grey paint drying than watch 50 Shades of Grey this weekend. Or, in fact, ever.

Proceed with Caution: Your Facebook Newsfeed indicates you are entering "Real Adulthood".

Friends, Life, Relationships

I have somewhat been neglecting my own blog of late. It is time to jump back in and put fingers to keyboard once again!

[I promise I haven’t been slacking! A little while ago I wrote a guest post for Erin Lawless, (if you’re into books, writing or historical figures take a read of Erin’s blog) and I’ve been writing online content for other organisations. While it’s (usually) fun, it does slightly zap the desire to come home and write in my own blog after a long day. And moving on…]

Is it me or is EVERYONE getting married/having babies/moving in with their long-term partners?! Over the last five years or so it seems that all my Facebook newsfeed has been filled with is engagement/wedding announcements, hospital scans – and later photos – of babies and cliche photos of friends sat on the floor with takeaway and wine surrounded by boxes celebrating their successful first step on to the elusive property ladder. (I thought there was a recession?)

By comparison, my own appearances in friends newsfeeds consist mostly (I assume) of pictures I’ve liked (often content I was responsible for creating at work so it doesn’t really count), videos, dreams and wishes for job contracts and holidays and the odd tale about life in a foreign country building a church. Plus the most appalling photos that I’ve had the misfortune to be tagged in. While my friends lives seem to be progressing quite nicely and as expected for a *deepbreath* still-clinging-on-to-mid-twentysomething, my life seems not so far removed (and simultaneously worlds apart) from the life I lived as a 22-year-old student in England. My life is hurtling towards 30 with complete disregard of the fact I’m missing vital components of being a REAL PROPER ADULT (which, I assume is what I become in a couple of years time when I hit the big three-oh).

What’s bought this on? Mostly the fact that one of my oldest, bestest friends has just announced, via Facebook, the impending arrival of pitter patter feet later this year and the (unrelated) fact that I am going to be an aunty in a matter of weeks.

I know every generation goes through that moment of sudden realisation that, contrary to their belief, they are not so much “getting” as are “actually” old. I’d like to throw it out there that coming of age is not turning 18 or 21. Coming of age is really when you realise you and your friends have responsibilities that, until recently, were the domain of “proper adults”, an area that was once only occupied by your parents.

However, this moment of revelation is happening somewhat differently for my generation than it did for the generation before us. My generation, which seems to be somewhere inbetween Generation Y and the Millennial Generation, are playing out their life events through social media in a big way (and the Millennial Generation are doing this on an even larger scale). Facebook has a lot to answer to for making me feel older than my 27 years.

There’s the obligatory “OMG!! WE’RE ENGAGED!!!! OMG!!” status updates (ok yes, when they’re from people that I didn’t even know were dating someone perhaps that is a sign I need to cull my Facebook of people I clearly never speak to) which make me question whether I should be looking for the love of my life rather than bumbling along merrily. The engagement announcement is often swiftly followed by the endless wedding planning updates (to a wedding I’m probably not invited to because actually we haven’t spoken to each other since that night in the Union bar where we met and discovered a mutual love of, heck I don’t even remember now).

Then I have friends who are parents. They update, tweet and blog about everyday life with their kids. It’s kinda cute and I guess it’s the modern day equivalent to the Baby Books our parents kept (well actually, mine didn’t keep a book for any of us). But honestly, it’s been about 5 years since my newsfeed started to get clogged with baby tales and frankly I’m a little bored of them all now. (No offence, I’ve just seen enough baby photos this year to last me into 2015.)

But here’s the thing – what if I wasn’t on Facebook/Twitter etc, would I even know half of these people are engaged/married/pregnant/living with children? Would I even care? Surely the ones that mattered I’d be in regular contact with and would know at least the expected trajectory of their lives. And I would hope that if I was in England and was really as close as I think I am to some of the friends I’ve stayed in contact with, I’d get a text or a call or even a letter/email informing me of the news before the whole world is told on Facebook. (NB to friends reading this, 1. if you have ever informed everyone of your big announcement via social media this isn’t actually a stab at you, I promise and 2. please don’t judge me if I do a similar thing at some point. I know social media is an easy way to contact a lot of people in one go and disseminate your news while trying to avoid the awkwardness created by people who think they are the last to be told these things.)

While social media has been great for me to keep in touch with good friends (especially since I upped and left my home country), it has also kept me in the lives of those with whom I am not so close. And I think it is this that has given increased emphasis on what my life at 27 (almost 28) years of age should look like and how it should measure up. I should, according to the people Facebook shares in my newsfeed, actually be in a career by now, earning a packet, paying off my student loan, married or with a long term partner or at least dating someone, thinking about children, travelling the world etc.

Theses are all things, if I go by social media updates, that, as a person in my mid-to-late-20s, I should be doing. Only for some time, about the only one of those I was actually doing was experiencing foreign climes. Now I can probably just about tick off ‘in a career’. The rest, not really happening.

But while my newsfeed is regularly full of this wedding or that baby or this family yes, that is the fuel for this rant, it is also filled with other news from other friends who are still single, still unbabied or still trying to figure out what they want to do with life. So actually I’m not alone and, no, not EVERYONE is doing responsible grown up things yet, even if they probably should be.

The question is, 20 years from now when my friends’ children are growing up, getting married and having babies of their own, will their parents – my friends – be instagramming Jessica as she walks down the aisle, tagging their children’s friends in a million photographs or tweeting about the absolutely brilliant Father of the Bride speech they just gave? Is it just that we are a generation obsessed with documenting everything online?