A recent study in JAMA Dermatology surveyed 3372 women in the U.S. on their pubic hair grooming practices. 83% reported some measure of “grooming” (defined as anywhere from trimming the hair to taking all of it off). 63% said they opted for complete removal at least once. “Grooming” was highest in both the 18-34 group and in white women.
The most common reason women reported for pubic hair removal? 59% cited “hygiene” as the leading factor in this decision.
But the perception that having pubic hair is somehow “dirty” is wrong.
Pubic hair is thought to have an evolutionary purpose.
According to Dr. Jennifer Gunter, a gynecologist, it functions as a protective cushion for a sensitive-skinned area and, like eyebrows, traps microbes and foreign invaders from getting into that sensitive area.
The vagina also has a self-cleaning mechanism, which is why vaginal douching is no longer recommended: it can destroy the natural balance of healthy bacteria and normal acidity of the vagina, leading to irritation and yeast infections.
Some cite that shaving and waxing can increase the risk of infection because these practices essentially make little cuts on the skin.
This allows a direct passageway to blood for vulvar bacteria, outside of the defense system of vaginal mucus. Group A streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staph’s resistant form MRSA all are common causes of skin infections.
Dr. Tami Rowen, an assistant professor at UCSF School of Medicine, has reported seeing grooming-related cases of folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle), abscesses, lacerations, and allergic reactions to waxing burns.
And a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 60% of women who removed their hair experienced some of these complications.
Complications were twice as likely for overweight and obese women, and three times more if they removed all their pubic hair.
Now, is this to say women shouldn’t remove their hair if they choose? No.
Human eyebrows also had an evolutionary purpose, but we can totally shave them off if we damn well please. And just because something may carry minor health risks does not mean we lack the right to do it.
We do all kinds of things to our bodies by choice that may involve some minor health risks, like waxing/shaving elsewhere, piercings, or tattoos.
But a YouGov poll showed that while only 56% of women ages 18-29 feel that they should remove their pubic hair, 72% do it anyway. We must get rid of false narratives perpetuated by society that dictate the choices we make.
“Hygiene” is only one of the reasons women give for removing pubic hair, but it is a harmful reason. It perpetuates a false stereotype that women who do not remove pubic hair are unclean. The argument that pubic hair is unhygienic is the patriarchy acting under the guise of science.
Your vagina is not dirty for existing in its natural form.
Do what you please with your body because you like it, and for no other reason.
These iconic words, spoken at the climax of the 1995 Bollywood classic Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), never failed to make me tear up as a teenager.
DDLJ is the story of Raj Malhotra (Shah Rukh Khan/SRK) and Simran Singh (Kajol) who both reside in the UK and fall in love on a trip across Europe.
They cannot marry, however, because Simran’s father has already decided she will marry Kuljeet Singh (Parmeet Sethi), his friend’s son, whom she has never met. Rahul then pretends to be Kuljeet’s friend and crashes Simran’s wedding preparations to try and win her family over.
I fell in love with DDLJ as a child.
I adored Raj and Simran. I admired Kajol’s unibrow. I recited the dialogues alongside the characters. Most importantly, I treasured the romance. Nothing could be purer than Raj’s love for Simran and what he was willing to do to win her father over.
On the face of it, DDLJ is the perfect rom-com. It presents an unlikely pair – opposites who attract and fall deeply in love – only for a parent to tear them apart. It makes you root for them and cheer out loud when they finally do unite at the end. Like millions of other girls, I also wanted a Raj who would be willing to fight the world to be with me.
Nothing could be purer than Raj’s love for Simran and what he was willing to do to win her father over.
However, as I grew older, rewatching it made me uncomfortable, and it took me some time to realize why.
Raj, it turns out, is the flag-bearer of the creepy guys you see at a store whom you avoid eye contact with because you know they’ll start following you around. He dangled Simran’s bra in her face five seconds after meeting her, and then kept pestering her even when she clearly told him, multiple times, she was not interested in talking to him.
Raj also lied to her about them sleeping together. After all, what girl doesn’t find it hilarious when she wakes up, disoriented, next to a stranger who jokes about sleeping together when she was too inebriated to remember anything?
Worse, when Simran starts to cry upon hearing this, he goes on a rant about how he couldn’t even imagine doing that to her because he knows that honor (chastity) means everything to a Hindustani girl.
What I despise more than Raj’s behavior is that like most Bollywood movies, DDLJ places Simran entirely at the mercy of the men in her life. Her father decided she is to marry a stranger, and before this happens she has to beg him to let her travel across Europe for one last hurrah.
Then, when she returns from a trip equivalent to the last meal, she is punished for doing something deeply unforgivable in her culture – falling in love.
Simran’s own fight and refusal do not produce any results.
As punishment, her wedding is moved up and she is taken to a village in India where her future husband lives. This is a man neither she nor her father has ever met. This is also a man shown to be an alpha male with no intention of staying loyal to Simran. Yet, the preparations continue.
Her future became dependent on Raj and his decision on whether she’s worth fighting for. Simran’s own fight and refusal do not produce any results.
The other women in the film also exist along the periphery. Simran’s mother supports her but is helpless because the only will that matters is that of her father. Simran’s sister teases her about Raj and helps facilitate their forbidden romance.
Simran’s aunt is there only for comic relief due to a potential romance with Raj’s single father. Worst of all, Kuljeet’s sister Preeti exists only as the punchline to a joke that is not funny. She falls in love with Raj who happily leads her along to hide his relationship with Simran.
Meanwhile, the decision to fight for Simran, our signature damsel in distress, is what makes Raj the hero. Thus, DDLJ takes a movie designed for female audiences, as rom coms are famous for, and makes it entirely about a man and his fight while the women are shown holding no agency over their lives. This only reinforces how marginalized brown women are in our real lives.
The movie is yet another reminder that the men in our life, be it our boyfriends or our fathers, are our priority.
The entire movie is a battle between the egos of two men. And like most Bollywood movies, the romance here would not be complete without the man literally fighting for love. Ironically, this aggression plays a role in convincing Simran’s father of Raj’s undying love.
What made me uncomfortable with DDLJ’s “romance” was, ultimately, that Simran had no choice. The grand gesture at the end of DDLJ is Simran’s father letting her hand go, telling her to live her life, only for her to immediately clasp onto the hand of another man.
DDLJ is not a bad movie. I would go to the extent of calling it a pretty good movie. It’s funny, emotional, and really panders to the Indian diaspora at the expense of the British (something the anti-colonialist in me appreciates).
The movie is yet another reminder that the men in our life, be it our boyfriends or our fathers, are our priority.
However, I don’t rewatch it for the romance because it reminds me of something deeply abhorrent in our culture; that we as women hold no agency over our lives, but especially over our love lives.
We are all Simran, begging our fathers to let us be free once before they marry us off to whoever they decide is suitable. We are all Simran as she pleads with her father to let her go; to let go of our hands and our lives. We are all Simran, now tied to another man, as our ambitions and dreams remain nameless and unimportant, all secondary to the concept of marriage and men.
I used to wish for a Raj. After rewatching the movie, I now only wish to be Raj, if only to have the agency of going wherever I want and marrying whoever I want (if I want), the way I know I could never do as Simran.
Queer representation is having a good year (Valkyrie “needs to find her queen”! David (ew) and Patrick! Robin Buckley!). However, we’re still backsliding. There are still too many LGBTQIA+ tropes and trends in television that reinforce negative stereotypes and perpetuate a complete lack of awareness when it comes to the queer community. Negative characters and oblivious portrayals are as disheartening as they are harmful.
There are bears and otters and butches and femmes everything in between, but they’re rarely seen on screen. TheQueer Eyehosts pretty much have the same body type. Darren Criss or Ben Whishaw could dead dropped into the majority of LGBTQIA+ roles and no one would notice. There is little to no deviation and that’s not representation.
Somehow “gay” is still slung like it’s damaging to one’s masculinity. In Netflix’s Derry Girls, James is repeatedly called “gay” for no reason other than perhaps getting a rise out of him. The series is set in the 1990s, but this detail doesn’t get excused as world building. It doesn’t add anything and it doesn’t help.
3. This is going to take ALL episode
Coming out storylines are still important; however, they don’t always have to take the entire season to come to fruition. Let that character do something else with their story arch. Not everyone needs a Puppy Episode.
4. One dimensional queers
The Damiens and other gay-best-friends are being swapped out for those with more depth, like Sex Education‘s Eric. Queer characters deserve development beyond being gay, give them hobbies and all the trivial bits that are written into other characters.
5. Acceptance = Flawless Allyship
The super chill attitude of parents/siblings/partners is refreshingly positive, but it leads to a the assumption that Love Is Love and the conversation doesn’t need to go any further when in reality there’s a lot more to be done for gay rights.
6. Heteronormativity with all the trimmings
Queerness often appears as a straight relationship simply rewritten so that both partners are of the same gender. Not everyone can or wants to assimilate to that norm. There isn’t a boyfriend and a girlfriend when there are two girlfriends.
7. She wears a hat and you know what that means
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s Susie is the example of presentation standing in for conversation. Her character feels too much like a benchwarmer for when the show decides to get political.
8. One lone queer character amid masses of straights
There’s never an abundance unless it’s the L Word or Loking. There are partners and exes, but rarely just everyday other queer people.
A potentially queer character or couple is usually hinted at or teased. Too often the scene seems to have been written just to draw in a potential audience. The entirety of BBC’s Sherlock, anyone?
10. “I’ve never done this before.”
The fluidity of sexuality deserves screen time, but currently the bed’s a little crowded with “straight” people. This I-normally-wouldn’t-but image feeds into the whole queers are here to steal your wife stereotype.
11. Strategic camera pan
The camera tends to look away during even remotely intimate moments between queer characters. Or deny by omission that they even have sex. Equal screen time or bust. The Shadowhunters fandom erupted when Malec was denied a sex scene in season 2. The writers tried to make up for it in season 3.
12. Lesbian sex involves a lot of clothing
This costume quirk is obviously an attempt to keep it PG, but come on. Straight couples have had strategically draped sheets for decades. Will no cameraperson attempt to hide the nudity of two women on screen?
13. Repression & Hate = Closeted Gay
Characters like Sex Education‘s Adam illustrate the tired trend of tortured high school bullies being the result of their own self-hatred. Scripts need to stop assuming the best of hate and homophobes.
14. Bury your gays
If your script includes the death of a LGBTQIA+ character, go back to the writing room. Remember what happened in The 100‘s fandom after Lexa was killed?
15. Queerness is overwhelmingly white
Thankfully shows like Pose, Queer Sugar, Dear White People, Black Lightning, and The Bold Type are changing the game.
In general, television has come a long way since shows like Will & Grace, Queer as Folk, and Ellen. LGBTQIA+ representation no longer finds itself confined to the first two letters of the acronym. Of course, there’s still lot’s to learn, but in the meantime, support the series that get it right and show the world what it needs to see.
Kristin Hannah’s book The Nightingale is impactful, important, and not something that fades from memory easily. I read it quite some time ago but the story still weighs inside me.
It’s about women. It’s about struggle. It’s about love. It’s about war.
The Nightingale is the story of two French sisters, Vianne Mauriac and Isabelle Rosginol, as they resist Nazi forces when World War II engulfs France.
Despite being sisters, Vianne and Isabelle are as different as two people can be. Vianne, the older sister, believes in following rules and peacefully surviving through the time of war. Isabelle, on the other hand, is more rebellious, fearless, defiant, and wants to fight in the war. As the war wages on, the differences between them become more pronounced.
“You are stronger than you think you are, V,” Antoine said afterward.
“I’m not,” Vianne whispered too quietly for him to hear.
Vianne’s husband, Antoine, is sent away to fight as a soldier. After he’s gone, Vianne is left alone with her daughter, Sophie. She continues teaching at a school along with her friend and neighbor, Rachel.
Throughout this time, she faces many challenges – Nazi officers billet with her, her body is violated, and her Jewish neighbors are arrested. Later, she begins rescuing Jewish children and hiding them at the local Catholic orphanage when their parents are taken away. She’s afraid, but she has suffered enough and wants to make a difference.
Isabelle, in the meantime, becomes a part of the French resistance movement, and hatches a plan to assist allied airmen out of France after their planes are shot down. She becomes known as the Nightingale for her work. Isabelle is dangerously vulnerable at this time as she faces a threat of being caught by the Nazi forces.
Later, Isabelle is captured by the Nazis and interrogated. Doubt shadows them – they don’t believe the Nightingale to be a woman. Isabelle’s estranged father saves her then, by claiming to be the Nightingale. He’s executed in her place.
“How can I start at the beginning, when all I can think about is the end?” – Isabelle Rosignol
I live in a country, Pakistan, that has been pushed to brink of war several times. And each time that happens, the role of women in war, and their sacrifice, is often ignored. Women bear the brutalization of war – many are raped and sexually violated – but even then, no one talks about them. Misogyny cages women, even when there’s a war impending.
This book presents a hidden perspective. It shows that women too are war heroes, in their own right.
Vianne and Isabelle are powerful characters. They represent all women who bravely take part in war and fight for their countries – those who survive, those who lose their lives in the middle of it all, and those whose struggles stay with till the end of time.
Vianne is abused at the hands of a Nazi officer and is left impregnated with a child who’ll always be a painful reminder of the past, of war, of the enemy. Vianne’s story resonates with many women who are violated during war.
Isabelle walks into the unknown and puts her life in danger. She leaves behind her name, her story, her life. She makes a mark in the world. She fights. And she wins. She speaks her mind, defies the Germans, makes this war her own. Her story resonates with women who refuse to back down.
Vianne and Isabelle are real women. They aren’t merely characters of Hannah’s imagination. They’re true people, they’re stories that we often forget.
Here in the UK, we pride ourselves on our universal health care service, the National Health Service (NHS). Regardless of employment status, age, gender, or where you live in the country, the premise of the NHS is that everybody has a right to free, high-quality health and social care services.
It didn’t take long for the NHS to become politically weaponized. In the 2016 Brexit vote, now-Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that we sent the European Union £350 million every week, and plastered that message on a bus that toured the country, calling for a redirection of those funds to bolster a struggling NHS. Although the claim then proved to be fraudulent, many people latched on to migrants from the EU and beyond as a cause for the struggling NHS, regurgitating the classic narrative of people ‘taking services that they had not paid in to’.
The concept of ‘medical tourism’ then started to become commonplace in the UK. It came attached to the narrative that immigrant communities were coming to the UK purely to seek free medical treatment at the cost of the British taxpayer.
Medical and health care tourism could not be further away from that insinuation. Yes, affordability is one of the main reasons that people travel to access health care services, but those who travel are largely from economically-developed countries or well-off backgrounds.
Therefore, we need to reframe what medical tourism actually is; the first step is to depoliticize and decolonize it.
The top ten destinations for medical tourism are all developing nations: India, Turkey, Brazil, and Mexico are all on the list. Singapore is perhaps the only country that stands out as being further along the development scale. In some of these countries, procedures can be 90% cheaper than in nations such as the U.S.
A growing number of diasporic communities are also returning ‘back home’ to undergo medical treatment. As well as affordability, this could be because of the increasing numbers of reports of discrimination against people of color in the healthcare systems of developed nations. My own father went back to India to fast-track diabetic treatment, and a member of my extended family also went back to India for fertility treatment, which has been discontinued on the NHS.
Health care tourism is often painted as risky, mostly for the same reasons that developed nations believe that immigrants are leeching on their healthcare systems: racism.
It is not wrong for doctors to advise that people conduct thorough checks of those who are going to be operating on them, as well as knowing about pre-op and after-care arrangements in advance. Especially in a time when medical procedures are being packaged alongside holidays, it would be foolish not to be informed.
But to call into question another medical professional’s standards, purely because of where they are from, is essentially racist. My father’s medical scans from India were not accepted by doctors in the UK due to perceived issues with quality. Yet India is currently one of the largest markets for health care tourism, praised for its accessibility, affordability and service quality.
Trying to curb health care tourism is only going to backfire. In a globalized, data-driven world, health care already should be accessible to everybody, anytime and anywhere. Eighteen British hospitals were responsible for £42 million of revenue from overseas patients, not to mention the further £219 million that these patients then spent on accommodation, food, and transport in the UK. But no one talks about the positive aspects of medical tourism from migrants.
The UK and such countries who claim to be afraid of the ‘strain’ that medical tourism places on their services should learn from places like Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE, where medical tourism is actively marketed and embraced; they have colonized a market niche. The quality of service, combined with the multitude of languages spoken throughout the region, makes it an attractive option for medical travelers from all over the world.
It shocks me to my core that health care is still not a universal human right globally, and that it is used and abused to relay political, discriminatory, elitist messages. Healthcare tourism is not only good for the economy, but also for global public health, societal integration, and sharing of knowledge.
Closing off healthcare in line with national boundaries is going to be akin to shooting ourselves in the foot.
Bollywood movies are not the prime example of an industry known for its strong female characters. In fact, they are often criticized – especially South Indian movies – for the lack of female characters with substance.
Aruvi is the personification of female rage, a character that symbolizes how a woman could be as gentle as a stream, but could easily turn into a destructive force of nature too. She is an everyday woman whose life is changed when she is diagnosed with AIDS. Her story sheds light on the hypocrisy of the patriarchy, the ignorance and lack of humanity in the conservative South Asian society, and the power of women.
2. Tara from Oh Kadhal Kanmani (Oh love, apple of my eye)
The character of Tara steals the show in this beautifully-modern, realistic, classy and cute love story between two ambitious individuals who won’t put their career on stake for a relationship.
Tara is uncompromising, confident, bold and someone you’ll easily fall in love with. The best part is that she could easily be the girl who lives next door, and there’s a beautiful realism about her that makes her story so meaningful and close to your heart.
3. Nirupama from How Old Are You?
Nirupama is an ordinary woman – a wife and mother with a routine and unexciting life. Her story is a reflection of the average life of middle-aged women in India.
At 36 years old, she wonders whether she has passed her prime, the age where she can do something new, follow her dreams, and become someone special. As she finds the answer to the question, that it’s never late for a woman to follow her dreams, she inspires all of us with her uplifting story.
4. Ponni from Iraivi (Goddess)
Iraivi is a movie full of brilliant female characters, each portraying women who exist in a man’s world. Ponni’s story is undoubtedly the most beautiful – the moving tale of a young bride whose illusions of marriage shatters gradually.
However, Ponni doesn’t mope or let her husband walk all over her, transforming into a woman of quiet strength and resolve, and we know for sure that she will bring up her daughter as another strong female.
5. Laila from Margarita with a Straw
Laila’s story will make you laugh, cry, feel, and break your heart. It’s the story of a girl with cerebral palsy, who doesn’t let her disability define her.
We follow Laila as she travels from India to New York, experiences a whole new side of life, finds love, explores her sexuality, deals with heartbreak and struggles to break the news of her bisexuality to her mother. There are times you’ll even dislike Laila, but that’s what makes her character so human and real.
6. Tessa from 22 Female Kottayam
Life seems great for Tessa as her career is off to the right start, and her love life is wonderful. But it all comes crashing down when Tessa is raped, framed and betrayed by the very man she loved and trusted.
22 Female Kottayam is all about an angry female and the lengths she goes for her revenge. Tessa becomes the embodiment of femme fatale, and she’s ruthless in her journey for justice, keeping you rooting for her and her cause.
7. Subbu from Aaranya Kaandam (Anima and Persona)
Never underestimate a woman – this should be the moral of this movie. In a gangster flick full of violence and tense moments, a character like Subbu – the innocent mistress of an aged gangster – could’ve been completely overlooked but the seemingly hapless female ultimately becomes the game-changer.
A character who at first induces pity for her situation, then affection towards her innocence, will leave you stunned at the end.
8. Geet from Jab We Met (When We Met)
Geet’s iconic dialogue, “Mein apni favorite hoon” (I am my favorite person), defines her as a character. She is talkative, happy, optimistic, unapologetic, adventurous and so full of life.
And even after 12 years, she’s still one of the favorites of Bollywood rom-com heroines. She teaches us that it’s okay to be self-obsessed, urges us to take risks, encourages us to talk our hearts out and inspires us to always do things that will make us – not the world – happy.
9. Sivagami from Bahubali (One with strong arms)
The foster mother of the titular character, Sivagami is a fearless, brave yet vulnerable woman of gray shades. She rules a vast kingdom with ease despite being surrounded by deceit and evil.
The scene where she sits on the throne with so much arrogance, just after killing a traitor – with his blood still splattered on her face – while breastfeeding both her kids, her eyes daring anyone to cross her, gives me goosebumps every time.
10. Roja from Roja (Rose)
Roja is a simple village girl who is married off to a man – an absolute stranger – in the city. Everything about her married life is a revelation, and just as she slowly falls for her husband, he is kidnapped and she is stranded in an unknown city.
The way she struggles to get her husband back, in an alien location, negotiating in a language she doesn’t speak with no resources whatsoever, only backed by determination is simply inspiring to watch.
11. Sandhya from Dum Laga Ke Haisha (Give in All Your Energy)
This underrated love story is full of heart, and Sandhya is a character with so much strength and optimism. Plus-sized and comfortable with it, she tries to live with a mistreating husband who doesn’t believe he’s attracted to her.
Then she leaves him, not tolerating his nonsense. And even as she gives him a second chance, she makes sure it’s on her own terms, and the best part is that she doesn’t try to become someone else to get love.
12. Devi from Masaan (Crematorium)
Blackmailed by a police officer when she’s caught having sex with her boyfriend, Devi doesn’t crumble under the pressure, rather remains firm on the fact that there’s no shame in her actions.
She is a woman of steel, and throughout the movie, her stiff spine and unapologetic gaze serve as a slap in the face to the patriarchy that tries to victimize her.
13. Shilpa from Super Deluxe
This is a controversial pick as Shilpa is a trans woman played by a male actor. However, she is also probably the first trans-leading character in a mainstream Tamil movie.
Shilpa is flawed and selfish, but she rises through all the insults, humiliation and prejudice she faces through the immense love she has for her son, and it is truly inspiring. Super Deluxe also features three more unconventional and strong female characters who all deserve a nod too.
These characters all have different stories, with totally different lives, yet all of them stand out because of the way they look at life, and the impact they leave on an audience. As we celebrate these characters, it’s important to remember that we still have a long way to go, especially in terms of intersectional female characters who belong to different minorities, as well as the casting of the right actors to bring in more authenticity to their portrayals.
I never really delved into romance as a genre when I was younger.
I mean, it was not a clear-cut no to affairs of the heart. I didn’t mind a love story as a subplot but I could not get my head around why people would read a whole novel or watch a whole show dedicated to love and relationships.
It took me until my late teenage years to move towards romance fiction. Over time, I uncovered the expectations, the trials and the tribulations of such relationships. Unknowingly, living vicariously through popular culture has prepared me for the future.
Situational comedies, for me at least, function as a form of escapism. More often than not, they’re based in New York City, the archetypal place to find yourself in your twenties. Being a Londoner myself, I covet the image of a group of six friends, hanging out in a city that never sleeps. Alongside the appeal of a close-knit group is the hope of meeting ‘the one.’ Indeed, the elusive ‘one’.
Growing up, I always found the portrayal of love in romantic comedies inferior to that of sitcoms. Partly because of the formulaic sequence of romcoms ignored character development. If there’s no depth to the protagonist, I struggle to empathize. And, ultimately, wince at the inevitable sappy happy ending.
Sitcoms, on the other hand, are so much more than comedic misunderstandings and double entendres. The serious moments intertwined with light-hearted comedy give a whole new depth to the romance.
One show that never fails to teach me a lesson about love is How I Met Your Mother.
To some, Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) is a schmaltzy hopeless romantic. But to me, he is the guy who instills faith in love for those of us who are believing less and less every day. Much like me, he tends to overthink and look for signs from the universe to make a decision.
Pondering over what could’ve been has become a recurring theme in my life. I mean, I get so caught up in overanalyzing and attempting to make the right decision, I miss out on the opportunity to make the actual call.
Overthinking whether I should say hello or analyzing what a certain facial expression meant does more harm than good. Truly, giving every little thing a meaning is as indicative of the sign itself.
That being said, Ted’s encounter with ‘The One’ was not completely the result of his own actions. The famous yellow umbrella belonging to Tracy (Cristin Milioti) which made its way into Ted’s life demonstrates that fate has a way of working itself out. The universe has a plan and that plan is always in motion.
I understand that concept.
Like Ted, I also wonder about the little parts in the machine that are making sure I end up at the right place at the right time. I think, if I’m being honest with myself, I rely too much on these parts and neglect taking action myself. Second-guessing and preventing myself from taking risks have only ever resulted in what-ifs.
Of course, being nervous about taking a step lets you know that you’re onto something important.
Even if the call I make doesn’t pan out the way I want it to; I just hope that I have at least half the emotional endurance that Ted has.
That’s why to me, How I Met Your Mother is much more than your average sitcom.
Future Ted’s narration is an excellent example of reflection, though sometimes biased. How I Met Your Mother tells a great tale demonstrating how your present actions can have an impact on the future. Indeed, the telling of a love story in reverse order is further validation that everything will turn out fine.
The show has left a lasting impact, so whenever I’m stuck in a rut, I can switch it on and turn to Ted’s wisdom.
These polishes also offer the chance for your nails to rest. They help restore growth and strength back to your nails, and many come enhanced with vitamin B5, vitamin C, and argan oil. Some polishes are not tested on animals and are even vegan-friendly.
Breathable nail polish is a must-have item for Muslims wanting to rock a slaying mani while performing wudu. There has been wide debate as to whether or not the breathable polishes are truly halal, but it has been noted by a few users that after some testing the formula appears water-permeable. Whether you believe it or not, it’s significant that brands are making an effort to accommodate people’s different religious beliefs with their products.
“If something is blocking [your nails], that is not acceptable,” says Habib Ghanim, director of ISWA Halal Certification Department and president of USA Halal Chamber of Commerce. “When wudu is performed, water has to touch every part of your body. If you have nail polish on that is non-porous, that is not considered halal.”
Although many brands are popping up offering halal cosmetics, the products are still relatively new and it can, therefore, be difficult to suss out all options on offer. This list showcases some glorious alternatives to your typical nail polishes, leaving your fingertips free for any and every color you could possibly imagine.
What people are saying: “I transitioned to non-toxic nail polish recently and noticed a huge difference in the health of my nails (and allergies). Really cool. I used the polish for my french manicure tips and it works perfectly. No smell, dried fast, no streaking, consistent texture, and color. I would get again.”—T
What people are saying: “I am so happy with this polish. I’ve been waiting to replace all my old polish with a great chemical-free, or ‘cleaner’ polish and here it is! The coverage is great, dries quickly, and has great durability.” —Amazon Customer
What people are saying: “I stopped wearing nail polish because my nails had become so damaged, but I missed my pretty manicures. I tried a few “healthier” nail polishes but was so disappointed with the results that I almost gave up. SO glad I didn’t. This nail polish goes on so creamy and dries to a super hard finish that’s lasted for days! Plus, my nails are doing just fine. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that oxygen gets through. Whatever it is, love the results!!!” —Fran
What people are saying: “Mashallah, the color is simply beautiful; and what makes it more unique is the ability for me to feel beautiful without compromising my faith. Furthermore, the seller gave me an extra polish (top coat) with my purchase.” —Isatta Feika
What people are saying: “Really good nail polish! It feels nice and isn’t goopy, clumpy or stringy or anything like that. It feels light and healthy and at the same time true to color. I’m very happy with the results! ? it also dries pretty fast.” —Lizzy
What people are saying: “The formula is smooth and goes on very easily. It dries quickly. It’s remained intact through a shower, multiple handwashings, and giving a toddler a bath. I absolutely love it!” —Ashley M. James
What people are saying: “Love this nail polish. There are so many great colors to choose from and the ingredients are better than a lot of other nail polishes. It’s easy to apply and it’s long lasting. Thank you!” —Karen
What people are saying: “Loved the color and the polish stayed on for at least 5 days and then it only chipped slightly. I had heard some of Orly’s nail colors don’t even dry fully so I was skeptical about this but my experience was a positive one!!” — Edie Superstar
What people are saying: “Tried it and it applies nicely, looks streaky at first but after a few seconds smooths out. Only needed to apply two coats and didn’t use a base or topcoat at all. I can be rough with nails as a nurse and cleaning at home. I definitely recommend, and can’t wait to paint my little girl’s nails too.” —Vanessa M
What people are saying: “Just received this little gem today and although I went for the other color first I am equally excited to try this beauty out as well! Christmas is coming up annnnd this would make amazing gifts….hint…hint ;)” —Stacy D
13. A deep chocolate color to give you dramatic, vamp-like nails that would make Elvira nod her head in approval.
What people are saying: “Wanting a healthier nail polish, I’d heard about Halal polishes and thought I’d give it a try. I’ll never go back to regular polishes! This was nice and my nails were in great shape once I took the polish off.”—1husband2sons
What people are saying: “My new favorite glitter polish! It’s very sheer with one coat but can be built up to opaque. It has a slightly matte finish which I do not like, I need my polishes to have a shiny glass finish. You can achieve the shiny glass finish by applying a topcoat over this polish however due to the texture it eats topcoat right up so you’ll need 2 to even be shiny but still slightly gritty and 3 gets you a shiny glass-like finish which makes the glitters and holo effect stand way out with this polish!”—Kara
What people are saying: “Surprised by getting it so fast; by one coat covering nicely (although I recommend 2 coats); by how pretty the color (barely there is) and how it’s so similar to regular nail polish. I actually would not know the difference because it’s so smooth. I only gave it a 4 star because even the smell of regular nail polish is the same and it’s a bit pricey. Overall I really like it and hope to get more shades. It’s worth it! Now I can pray with nail polish and not feel guilty.” —Shania
What people are saying: “I love 786 polish! Wudu-friendly, goes on smooth, dries hard and lasts 10 days on my toes. It also lacks many of those disturbing ingredients used by other companies.” —ModestyMaven
What people are saying: “It’s subtle but still colorful enough to make a pop. It’s one of those colors that goes well with light and dark clothing and I have gotten so many compliments! I was also worried that being a breathable polish meant that it would be super thin but even just one coat was thick enough to cover everything.” —Amazon Customer
24. Glam it up without harming your nails – if that isn’t a win-win, I don’t know what is.
What people are saying: “Oh! How can I LOVE a fingernail polish color this much??? But I do!!! It is just spot on let me tell you!! Not too dark, not too light, just AMAZING!!! Thank You!!!” —Suzzette McCoy
Heads up: These aren’t meant to be medical recommendations, but they’re tactics that have worked for others and might work for you, too. Always check in with your doctor before trying anything new.
Seeing “Golden Milk” slowly pop up on cafe menus in hipster areas was a bittersweet moment.
On one hand, I was waiting for the world to realize that the milk and turmeric combination is not so nice on the palate. On the other hand, I was sort of proud that a recipe of my childhood, one that my mother reserved for days when I suffered from a chesty cough, was becoming mainstream.
Before the development of modern, industrial medicine, communities around the world relied heavily on what they had foraged in natural areas to discover new remedies. Turmeric is one of many herbs, plants, and spices making a comeback as a mainstream form of health and wellness.
The global herbal health industries are shooting up in financial value for a variety of reasons. Not only is a general awareness of natural remedies increasing, but also, in light of the global shift in attitudes around environmental sustainability, communities are beginning to rethink how they can use plants over synthetically-produced medication.
Furthermore, globalization and the spread of cultures are also responsible for the spread of herbal health remedies. Ayurveda, a South-Asian holistic health practice, has now become a global medical market that is predicted to increase by 16 percent each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also recognized the value of traditional Chinese medicine, a market that is estimated to reach $50 billion globally.
Specialist herbal tea brand, Pukka Herbs – recently sold to fast-moving-consumer-goods giant Unilever – is a prime example of the revival of herbal health.
‘‘People are waking up to the fact that they can look after their own health,” said founder Sebastian Pole. “Plants have been at the heart of our health forever and herbalism empowers people to look after their bodies throughout their lives rather than just treating the problem at the end.”
Usually consumed in the form of tea, rosehip can help prevent joint damage and reduce joint inflammation. It has been successfully tried and tested as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
“I have been using this product for about a month before reviewing it, and I am pleasantly surprised. I’ve had pesky stretch marks and scars that I’ve tried getting rid of for years, and I noticed how much they had faded just from using this!” – Leah
Perhaps the easiest of the list to find and integrate into meals or wellness regimes, ginger is known to decrease nausea and morning sickness. For those suffering from diabetes, ginger has also been proven to decrease blood sugar levels.
“It is so hard to find the ginger that is not crystallized and encrusted in a layer of sugar. Ginger doesn’t need all that nonsense. This stuff is exactly what I wanted, simply dried ginger.” – J. More
A plant that I came across when working in Burkina Faso, moringa has been brought into both edible and cosmetic products. It is known to protect and nourish the skin and hair, both from the inside and from the outside.
“I started taking this product for milk production and I continued taking it for the benefit that it provided to my hair, nails, and energy. It increased my milk supply and I felt more energetic, although I was sleeping 4 hours per night with an infant. I recommend this to everyone, it’s a great supplement for overall health.” – Oleg Sparky
These treatments do, of course, need to form part of a healthy, active and happy lifestyle. Consuming natural remedies alone will do little for you if you are spending the rest of your day in a static position, or eating relatively carelessly.
Let us know on social media if you have an herbal remedy of your own – we may just feature you in a future Tempest Fam article! I’ll be waiting with my warm cup of raw lemon, honey, pepper, and fenugreek tea, waiting for my insides to be fully revitalized.
While I was growing up, there were certain songs that I’d listen to for hours on end. But as time carried on, and there came new music, the songs that I had endlessly listened to faded away to the backs of my playlists, replaced by new favorites.
I was sifting through my collection recently and came across all the songs I once played on a loop. I played a couple of them and felt myself slipping into the past. A wistful longing for the old days and feelings of nostalgia rose to the surface.
These songs healed me when I was hurt. I sang along with them. I felt them. I lived them. They’re glorious reminders of my past. And, most importantly, it turns out they’ll never be too old for me.
Best lyric: ♪ “I fought to the limit to stand on the edge / What if today is as good it gets?” ♪
Adam Lambert’s voice is so powerful. It makes you feel so many emotions all at once. The words of the song are beautiful on their own but even better in Lambert’s voice. They give you the courage to keep holding on, to never turn back on your dreams, to simply keep moving on in life.
You almost start believing that your dreams aren’t impossible, that there really are no boundaries.
Best lyric: ♪ “Ain’t about how fast I get there / Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side / It’s the climb.” ♪
The Climb by Miley Cyrus is my all-time favorite song. The words of this song easily flow through me. They make me feel as if I can make it through any difficult situation as long as I keep moving, keep climbing. They speak to me. They tell me that what matters is what I learn from my struggles – everything else is meaningless. I need to be stronger than what breaks me.
Best lyric: ♪ “Guess I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all.” ♪
I can’t describe in words what this song means to me. Happy or sad, Need You Now by Lady Antebellum has been my constant companion. With its lyrics whirling in my mind, I feel different things. Sometimes, profound happiness. Sometimes, endless pain. Sometimes, nothing at all.
Its music is calm like the ocean, yet it can brew a storm of feelings inside of you. I’ll never get tired listening to this one song.
Best lyric: ♪ “They tell me that you mean it / Then you go and cut me down.” ♪
I remember listening to this song over and over again, even before I understood its lyrics and what they meant. I’d lose myself in its composition. There’s something about this song that touches deeply.
When I listen to it, memories from my past stir in my mind. I listened to this song while traveling to faraway places, when I felt alone, and when I was hurting. This song made me feel better each time.
Best lyric: ♪ “Feel calm, I belong I’m so happy here / It’s so strong, and now I let myself be sincere.” ♪
Avril Lavigne’s Innocence reminds me of the years I battled with depression. I used to hear it a lot back then because it made me feel something when I thought I couldn’t ever feel anything again. Being happy felt unreal, but if I did feel happy, I wanted to hold on to the moment, make it last a little longer. Innocence threaded my feelings into words. I could relate to it. I could feel it. Listening to it today makes me feel the same way – it saves me from sinking deeper into depression.
Best lyric: ♪ “You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence / Afraid you’ll say something wrong / If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?” ♪
This song means different things to different people. For me, it’s about having the courage to openly speak our minds, to fearlessly say what’s in our hearts. It’s about being unafraid. It’s about letting the world know who we are and what we stand for. I return to this song each time I need inspiration.
Best lyric: ♪ “He’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar / The only one who’s got enough of me to break my heart.” ♪
Taylor Swift was my favorite singer when I was younger, and I knew most of her songs by heart including this one. I’d endlessly listen to this song especially while traveling and sing along with it. And even though it is sad, its music is still very calming.
These songs may have come out years ago but their ability to fill me with emotions is undeniable. Unknowingly, they became a part of me, a part I’ll always hold onto.
Ever since I can remember, books have been the biggest part of my life. And for me, a good book is simply one that shakes me to my core and keeps me reading. But only a few books have been capable of pulling me into a deep, pure, ecstatic need for words.
A few weeks ago, I watched the movie After. It’s based onAnna Todd’sAfter series which is supposed to be Harry Stylesfanfiction though I really didn’t see the similarity. While the plot of the movie intrigued me, it wasn’t enough. I felt like the film skipped over scenes. So, last week, the reader in me went in search of the first book.
One week later – I’ve read all five novels in the series and my emotions are all over the place.
Tessa is the girl next door – pure, innocent, focused but also flawed in her own ways. Hardin is an encapsulation of the bad boy trope, except for one thing – his love of literature, a side of him which really struck me. He quotes Austen and Fitzgerald, has facial piercings, and is covered in tattoos.
The characters meet through Tessa’s roommate Steph, one of Hardin’s friends. A pre-planned game of truth or dare pushes them closer together under false pretenses, the details of which we don’t find out about until the end of the first book.
The After series encompasses the devastatingly beautiful yet incredibly toxic and emotionally abusive relationship between the two characters; the way Hardin constantly shows up when Tessa doesn’t want him to, the way he acts around her co-worker Trevor, and his intense anger that blows out of proportion and ends in violence almost every time things don’t go his way.
And Tessa has her fair share of moments; when she kisses another boy in front of Hardin just to prove her point, and how she keeps running to Zed Evans (Hardin’s friend) when she has a fight with Hardin. All these factors contributed to making their relationship increasingly flammable and yet, they still somehow always worked it out.
Reading about howtoxic the relationship was was incredibly uncomfortable. Typically, when I read or watch something with such a messed up relationship premise, I call them out on it.
However, something about these books pulled me into them.
Maybe it was the burning chemistry between the two characters, maybe it was the way literature was a constant theme in the story, or maybe it was because I was waiting for the characters to finally be together – without all the bullshit. I also kept reading to see the bad boy turn good.
Because isn’t that one of the reasons we turn to fiction? To make us believe in things we wouldn’t otherwise think possible.
While the After series is not inspiring or life-changing, the books are quick, easy reads that I lost myself in. And now here I am, struggling to get this story out of my head.
Moments like Tessa and Hardin’s heated discussion overElizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Tessa bringing Hardin closer to his estranged father, Hardin taking Tessa to his favorite spot – these are the moments that pulled me through the suffocating thread of their relationship.
And Hardin. He struggles with connecting with the people in his life (until he meets Tessa) and that in itself is the biggest challenge of all. There’s a line in the third book that reads:
“It’s ironic really, that the man who hates the world is most loved by it.”
It was tragic to see that Hardin had trouble seeing that. His character is emotionally damaged and he carries his childhood trauma right up until the fourth book which I found so appealing because for me, as a reader, and as a person, seeing someone face their trauma, accept it, and move on – that’s a story that needs to be heard.
The chemistry between the characters in the After series is undoubtedly palpable. They’re constantly pulled towards each other, mistake after mistake, and although Hardin does some terrible things, Tessa is not the innocent character she started off as.
The book is peppered with hot and heavy scenes, but above that, it has well-rounded primary as well as secondary characters, and a story that will make your heart hurt just a little.
The inherent problem within these books, though, is the fact that Tessa keeps going back to Hardin time and time again. He messes up, lies, destroys everything in his path, and yet she still goes back to him. Although I can’t seem to understand it, I still somehow root for it.
Plot twist after plot twist kept me tethered. Most stories have a beginning, middle, and end, butthe arc of this story keeps rising and falling, keeping you engaged with its tumultuous movement.
I don’t think the books support toxic relationships, but they somehow portray this frightening reality that many people can relate to. So if you’re looking for a quick read, an emotional rollercoaster, and a story that drags you into its depths, this one’s for you.
I genuinely believe in the power of business to incite social change and alleviate poverty, although, in some circles, that may be an unpopular opinion. I have mad respect for entrepreneurs who have started something from the ground up and built a business, company culture and a community around a single idea. That said, as I’ve been scrolling through the many business/entrepreneurship Instagram channels that I follow, I have noticed an increasingly disturbing trend – child entrepreneurs.
Lily Born founded the Kangaroo Cup, a three-legged cup designed for those suffering from Parkinson’s, in order to reduce liquid spillages. Robert Nay created Bubble Ball, part of his larger company Nay Games, which surpassed Angry Birds in downloads. Moziah Bridges started Mo’s Bows, a bow-tie business, which led him to strike a partnership deal with the NBA.
The common thread between all three? They were all under sixteen years old when they founded their respective businesses.
It is easy, if not natural, to look at these young minds and their innovative ideas, and be inspired by them. We definitely should be inspired. These kids deserve credit for noticing a problem, working hard to find a solution to it, and being dedicated to their idea. They represent the consumable narrative that success has no age, and that hard work and passion will get you anywhere.
But this is just one of the many narratives that capitalism conveys in order to keep the system running the way that it runs.
Let’s tangibly think about a child under the age of ten, what is the likelihood that they are doing the day-to-day running of the business like producing the products, keeping the books, managing orders? You guessed it – close to none. Most, if not all, of well-known child entrepreneurs, have gone “into business” with either a parent or a family member. These “child entrepreneurs” are essentially marketing gimmicks for parents puppeteering from above, knowing full well that it is probably illegal for their child to be engaging in any kind of real work. This marketing ploy seems almost like a twisted, neoliberal form of child labor.
Entrepreneurship and start-up cultures are largely focused on funding. Once an idea is solidified, and a market offering is built around it, the long process of securing a source of finance begins. This process is not only grueling but super competitive, with multiple rounds and hundreds of start-ups competing for the same pool of money.
What does it say to a child psychologically when their reward system becomes focused on money? The simple equation for a child is that money equals business growth and further promotion of themselves as brands, which equals to even more money.
These child entrepreneurs are being celebrated for their ability to partake in the capitalist system, and so it is being ingrained in their growth and development that financial wealth and a competitive spirit will get you ahead. In then using these children as examples for other children, we are continuing to spread this unhealthy narrative, pitting children against one another in a bid to become the best of the best.
In disseminating such messages, and putting these overachieving children (or rather their parents) on a pedestal, we are impeding well-rounded growth that acknowledges the value of failure, emotional wellbeing, and health. We are celebrating overachieving at the expense of achieving, and at the expense of just being children.
It is one thing to celebrate and reward a bright child, and an entirely different thing to turn that brightness into a profit-making machine. Parents engaging in this postmodern style of parenting need to take a step back and think about the human they are creating amidst all the funding rounds, publicity shoots and idea generation sessions. It’s the ultimate definition of a Momager / Papager which always seems great in the beginning, having your parent guide you, but in hindsight can be super damaging.