TV Shows Pop Culture

The 17 best shows to watch on Netflix if you are obsessed with true crime

As a self-proclaimed true crime series connoisseur, I have watched every true crime series there is to be watched in the genre and later went on to research the heck out the stories. It started off by watching poorly written and directed police investigation shows, the only appeal being that some of them are inspired by true events. The casual viewing experience soon turned into an obsession! 

The curiosity and thrill that comes with watching true crime are indescribable. The trill being understanding the psyche of serial killers, uncovering a crime with the law enforcement officials or awaiting the final verdict.

The reason for the obsession that pulls us into a rabbit hole of murder, destruction, mystery and justice is answered by Psychologist Dr. Meg Arroll. While speaking to The Telegraph, Dr. Meg said, “True crime stories allows us to explore the darker side of nature in a safe way.” 

[Image description: A woman smiling while clasping her hands under the caption "me when there's a new documentary about a serial killer on Netflix] via Filmdaily
[Image description: A woman smiling while clasping her hands under the caption “me when there’s a new documentary about a serial killer on Netflix] via Filmdaily
“If we can understand the motivation and the backstory, then we do feel that we have more control over our lives and the world in general,” she added.

This list brings you the best of rest from the world of true crime and investigative thrillers. If you are someone already obsessed like me and want a re-watch list or if you want to step into the world of this nitty-gritty genre read along!

1. American Murder: The Family Next Door 

[Image description: A family of four, a man, a woman and two daughters sitting in a field and smiling at the camera] via American Murder: The Family Next Door
[Image description: A family of four, a man, a woman and two daughters sitting in a field and smiling at the camera] via Knickerbockerglory.
This true crime documentary follows the events that lead up to the 2018 Watts family murders. It uses social media posts, police bodycam footage, text messages, archival and home video footage to depict the events that led to the crime. 

It is a bone-chilling documentary about family, greed, betrayal and loss of innocent lives. It is also Netflix’s most watched documentary feature being viewed in almost 56 million households. 

Length: 1 hr 23 mins

Watch the trailer here

2. Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

[Image description: A picture of a cat made with a collage of different pictures] via Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
[Image description: A picture of a cat made with a collage of different pictures] via Netflix
Released in 2019, this docu-series made me question my social media presence in the most uncomfortable, fearful way. 

The series narrates events following a crowdfunded online manhunt into a series of animal cruelty acts committed by Canadian Pornographic actor Luka Magnotta, which leads to the eventual killing of a Chinese international student. The docuseries also highlights the obsession of online amateur investigators to solve mysteries and how that obsession leads to them assisting the law enforcement officers in catching the criminal. 

Length: 3 episodes (55 mins – 65 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

3. The Serpent

[Image description: A man and a woman staring at the camera with a car in front of them] via The Serpent
[Image description: A man and a woman staring at the camera with a car in front of them] via Netflix
The series is set in the mid-1970s, based on the life of the infamous ‘Bikini Killer’ aka Charles Sobhraj, a French serial killer of Vietnamese and Indian descent. 

It follows Charles over the years 1975-2000 as he murders and preys on young travellers exploring the ‘hippie trail’ of South Asia. This true crime series shows dramatized events of the actual crimes. This series also subtly highlights racism towards the Asian community in 1970s France.  

Apart from the gruesome murders and the cat-and-mouse chase between the killer and law enforcement officials, you can view it for the beautiful costume design and cinematography. 

Length: 8 episodes (58 mins – 59 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

4. Mindhunter 

[Image description: An inkblot that merges into the faces of 3 people] via Mindhunter
[Image description: An inkblot that merges into the faces of 3 people] via Netflix
Mindhunter is an American psychological crime thriller series based on the 1995 true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. It follows 2 FBI agents and a psychologist as they interview imprisoned serial killers to try to understand their psyche and solve current crimes. 

The series features notable serial killers like the Co-Ed Killer, Monte, Son of Sam and Charles Manson among others. This series is the perfect blend of true crime, psychological and investigative thriller. Warning! Some of the episodes might leave you feeling sick to your stomach. 

Length: 2 Seasons (10 episodes each)

Watch the trailer here

5. Fear City: New York vs The Mafia

[Image description: a photo of a street in New York] via Fear City: New York vs The Mafia
[Image description: a photo of a street in New York] via Netflix
As the name suggests, this series is about New York City’s Five Families: Gambino, Colombo, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Genovese. These families were part of the most feared crime organization (American Italian Mafia) of New York. These crime families have historically operated throughout the New York metropolitan area, but mainly in the New York City. They have been involved in a number of illegal activities like, murder, extortion, corruption of public officials, gambling, infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor racketeering, loan sharking among others.

The series is shot from the point of view of the FBI and how wiretap technology helped them in dismantling the most powerful Mafia families of New York. 

If you are a fan of The Godfather, The Irish Man or any Martin Scorsese movie, this one is definitely worth watching!

Length: 3 Episodes (42 mins – 58 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

6. Amanda Knox

[Image description: A close up of a woman's face looking scared with reviews from publication on the right] via Amanda Knox
[Image description: A close up of a woman’s face looking scared with reviews from publication on the right] via Netflix.
This Emmy nominated documentary is about Amanda Knox, a woman twice convicted and later acquitted of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher. The documentary chronicles the murder of Knox’s roommate Meredith  and the investigation, trials and appeals that followed after. 

This court trial went on to become one of the most controversial trials in the world with two of the most influential countries (USA and Italy) getting involved. The documentary is very immersive and pulls you right in. Once you start, you will be hooked. 

Length: 1 hr 23 mins

Watch the trailer here

7. Manhunt: Unabomber

[Image description: Two men sit facing each other. One of them is wearing a prison suit] via Discovery Communications, Trigger Street Productions and Lionsgate Television
[Image description: Two men sit facing each other. One of them is wearing a prison suit] via Discovery Communications, Trigger Street Productions and Lionsgate Television
This Netflix series is centered around hunting down and catching the domestic terrorist, Ted Kaczynski aka the Unabomber. The series features Sam Worthington (FBI Agent Jim Fitzgerald) and Paul Bettany (Ted Kaczynski) in lead roles.

The motive of the killer is what sets this series apart from the rest on the list. It showcases the themes of loneliness and depression and its effects on one’s motives and morals. A must watch if you wish to view something a little subdued in violence but intense in drama. 

Length: 8 Episodes (43 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

8. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

[Image description: a collage of the pictures of Jeffrey Epstein's victims which form his face] via Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
[Image description: a collage of the pictures of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims which form his face] via Netflix
This four-part docu-series features interviews with several survivors including Virginia Giuffre and Maria Farmer, along with former staff members and former police chief Michael Reiter against convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

The series starts from the first criminal case filed against Jefferey Epstein by the stepmother of a 14-year old survivor who had been taken to Epstein’s mansion by an older girl. She was paid $300 to strip and massage Epstein. This case led to a cascading effect of other survivors coming out and speaking against Jeffrey Epstein and his associates. The docu-series exposes the filthy rich world of Jeffrey Epstein and shows how he used his wealth and power to commit these crimes.

Length: 4 Episodes (56 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

9. Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.

[Image description: A black and white picture of Tupac and Biggie standing in front of a car] via Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.
[Image description: A black and white picture of Tupac and Biggie standing in front of a car] via Universal Cable Productions
The series chronicles the murders of pop culture’s most notorious influences, Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. It follows two investigators as they try to get to the bottom of the murder mystery. 

It shows the life of Tupac and Biggie in a very earnest and honorable way-just two young men from humble backgrounds trying to make it big in Hollywood. The show also does a great job at highlighting themes of racism, fame, friendship and greed. 

Length: 10 Episodes (46 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

10. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

[Image description: a Collage of two close up pictures of Ted Bundy] via Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
[Image description: a Collage of two close up pictures of Ted Bundy] via Netflix
The four 60-minutes episodes of the series were made from 100 hours of unheard interviews and archival footage of serial killer Ted Bundy, as well as interviews with his family, friends, surviving victims, and the law enforcement members who worked on his case. 

The series traces the life of Ted Bundy in the light of his crimes, arrests and escapes. It’s eerie and creepy so much so that Netflix issued a warning to not watch it alone!

Length: 4 Episodes (51 mins – 74 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

11. Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer

[Image description: A poster of the night crawler standing in the dark with a red light focusing on his eye] via Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer
[Image description: A poster of the night crawler standing in the dark with a red light focusing on his eye] via Netflix
This 2021 true crime docuseries is about the serial killer Richard Ramirez who left the residents of Greater Los Angeles and later San Francisco Bay Area terrorized from June 1984 until August 1985. The series is narrated by two detectives, Gill Carillo and Frank Salerno who played an instrumental role in catching the killer. 

The series is graphic and shows the murders without any filter. It also hints at Hybristophilia (sexual interest in and attraction to those who commit crimes) and how it plays a role in painting an evil man as a hero. 

Length: 4 Episodes (46 mins – 48 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

12. Wild Wild Country

[Image description: A congregation of the followers of Osho standing in a valley with an eye above them] via Wild wild country
[Image description: A congregation of the followers of Osho standing in a valley with an eye above them] via Netflix
The docu-series is about the famous Indian spiritual guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), his one-time personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela, and their community of followers in the Rajneeshpuram community located in Wasco County, Oregon. 

It shows the reality of this cult-like organization and the extent to which the followers of a cult go to please their leader, which eventually leads to attempting a bioterror attack. The series leaves you in a conflict of good vs evil and makes you question the common sense of the population of Rajneeshpuram.

Length: 6 Episodes (64 mins – 71 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

13. The people v OJ Simpson : American Crime Story

[Image description: A picture of O.J. Simpson covering his face with his hands. One hand has a glove on it] via The people v OJ Simpson : American Crime Story
[Image description: A picture of O.J. Simpson covering his face with his hands. One hand has a glove on it] via FXP
This series received 22 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, in 13 categories, winning nine, including Outstanding Limited Series. If this doesn’t sell the series, I don’t know what will. This crime drama series chronicles the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson ex-wife of the star NFL player, O. J. Simpson, for which he stood on trial. 

The series is an intense courtroom drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat till the last episode. 

Length: 10 Episodes (41 mins – 66 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

14. Carmel: Who killed Maria Marta?

[Image description: A collage of images with a young Maria Marta in the center] via Carmel: Who killed Maria Marta?
[Image description: A collage of images with a young Maria Marta in the center] via Netflix
The miniseries tells the tale of the murder of Maria Marta, upper-class Argentine sociologist. The murder which seems like an accident turns into a series of accusations and pointing fingers as soon as the autopsy report arrives. 

The four-part series explores different investigative angles and suspects in each episode making it interesting till the very end. The series reveals family secrets, betrayal and envy. 

Length: 4 Episodes (55 mins – 60 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

15. Evil Genius

[Image description: a collage of images of a mugshot, handcuffs and a man wearing a white t-shirt] via Evil Genius
[Image description: a collage of images of a mugshot, handcuffs and a man wearing a white t-shirt] via Netflix
This bizarre high-profile crime focuses on the death of Brian Wells, a pizza delivery man who was forced to rob a bank. The robbery soon turns into a complex plot involving a scavenger hunt and homemade explosives. The storyline takes a new turn at every corner and will leave you on a roller coaster of plot twists. It also explores the themes of mental and personality disorders.

Length: 4 Episodes (45 mins – 48 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

16. Unsolved mysteries Volumes 1+2

[Image description: A storm approaching a house in the middle of the fields] via Unsolved mysteries Volumes 1+2
[Image description: A storm approaching a house in the middle of the fields] via Netflix
This 2-volume series is a must-watch for any true crime lover. Each episode explores a new mystery by the end of which, you will end up joining every conspiracy theory subreddit page there is. Some episodes stand out such as, ‘Death in Oslo’ an episode in which the investigation revolves around an unidentified woman who dies in a hotel in Oslo under mysterious circumstances. 

It is perfect for casual viewing, for when you don’t want to binge-watch the whole series in one single sitting.

Length: 2 Seasons (6 episodes each)

Watch the trailer here

17. Room 2806: The Accusation

[Image description: Dominique Strauss-Kahn standing in front of the French flag] via Room 2806: The Accusation
[Image description: Dominique Strauss-Kahn standing in front of the French flag] via Netflix
This docuseries follows the 2011 sexual assault case involving French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the height of his career. One sexual assault case opens the graveyard of deeply buried and hidden away crimes. Unlike Jeffrey Epstein, Strauss-Kahn was a respected politician and economist who served as the president of the IMF. It exposes the dirty world of politics and power and tells the tale from the survivors point of view. 

Length: 4 Episodes (43 mins – 63 mins each)

Watch the trailer here

From courtroom dramas to classic cat and mouse chases, this list has it all! These shows will keep you on the edge of your seats and make you watch your back the next time you walk down the streets. So hop on to the train of murders and mystery where each turn will leave you in state of jittery and let us know which one is your favorite!

Keep up with entertainment trends and follow The Tempest’s brand-new Pop Culture Instagram account

TV Shows History Pop Culture

I love history, but I can’t stand historical TV shows

I’m a big history nerd. I’m not only a history major, but someone who collects and wears historical clothes, who owns figurines of historical figures, who collects books on my favorite parts of history, and who played history games throughout my entire childhood. Studying history has always been a huge part of my identity, and one I’m still happy to include in my life today. But it’s probably time to admit it: I hate historical TV shows. As a history geek, I should love them, but it’s hard for me to stomach a single one.

These shows forget that people in the past did, in fact, have fun.

I have one main reason, and it’s that these shows are straight-up boring. The lighting is too dark, the costumes too beige and ugly, and every word of dialogue is spoken in a raspy whisper. Everything is so bleak it’s almost impossible to follow. Try watching The Medici or The Tudors. I have difficulty figuring out anything that’s going on. And don’t get me started on the lighting in The Crown. 

A disheveled white man with a beard and a loose top.
[Image Description: A dark-haired white man in a dark shirt] via BBC. This is how Da Vinci’s Demons dresses its protagonists — in dull, disheveled, and downright ugly clothing.
And trust me, I won’t hear the excuse that real life was just as bleak back then. As a keen student of historical costuming, I know that a lot of historical clothing was bright, extravagant, and sometimes just ridiculous. I admit it’s not the biggest issue, but it still rubs me the wrong way. I feel like these shows forget that people in the past did, in fact, have fun occasionally. You rarely see any entertainment or festivities in these shows, unless they’re doomed to go horribly wrong. You almost never see any characters genuinely laugh in these shows. Sure, living in the past was terrible in a lot of ways, but people still retained a sense of humor.

I’ll give you an example. I once made the horrible mistake of attempting to watch Da Vinci’s Demons, which loosely follows the life of Leonardo da Vinci, and encapsulates everything I hate about historical television. The show portrays Leonardo as a tortured, edgy womanizer, despite the fact that he was almost certainly gay and, by all accounts, a very pleasant person. Throughout the show, he almost exclusively wears dark, tattered shirts and dusty trousers, whereas the historical Leonardo wore brightly-colored tunics and tights. It might sound ridiculous to the modern viewer, but personally, I think we should acknowledge the absurdity of history. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s easier to relate to people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

A brightly colored Renaissance painting of a wealthy, finely dressed family.
[Image Description: a Renassaince painting showing a group of people dressed in beautiful costumes.]This is how people in the Renaissance actually dressed! Short tunics, leggings, bright colors…it may not be as sexy, but it’s way more fun!
There’s also a lot of unnecessary drama in historical TV shows. I’ll admit, this trend strikes me as odd because there’s already so much drama in real history. Shows like The Tudors, The Borgias, The Last Kingdom, and The Medici like to make a big deal out of political battles and sex scandals, and rarely imbue these plot lines with any humor or humanity. Drama is important for entertainment’s sake, but we can still try and make the drama seem somewhat human. Most relationships aren’t built on stolen glances and steamy affairs. Why not portray these love stories with affection, awkwardness, and a tiny bit of down-to-earth humanity?

History isn’t all epic battles and heaving bosoms, a lot of it is everyday life.

Even the grand, epic battles are a little too dramatic for my sake. They ignore the disease, the squalor, and the sheer tedium of real-life battles. It might not be fun to acknowledge the unglamorous parts of history, but it makes for better television. If we’re going to relate to these historical figures, we need to at least see them as human.


Most historical TV shows seem totally unwilling to have any fun with history. They refuse to acknowledge that along with the drama and sadness of history, there’s also comedy and absurdity and awkwardness. Historical people were real human beings. Sometimes they wore ridiculous outfits, joked around with each other, and made awkward mistakes. History isn’t all epic battles and heaving bosoms, a lot of it is everyday life. I certainly don’t think these shows are evil, but they do make history feel so much more distant and detached than it really is.

We should remember that history has plenty of dimensions, some good and some bad, some funny and some serious, some totally normal and some downright weird. It doesn’t help to glamorize or romanticize history, but it doesn’t help to dull it down either. Historical figures were people too, and our television should at least recognize them as such. Besides, it’s more fun that way anyway.

Keep up with pop culture trends and follow our brand-new Instagram account

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!

LGBTQIA+ History Gender Inequality

The history of non-binary genders is longer than you know

When Joan of Arc dressed for church, they wore men’s clothing.

When they took the sacraments, they had their hair short and wore pants.

When they fought for their God, they wore armor.

Many people resistant to cultural change will blame the newness of the terms used to define it. The newness of a label is often used to allude to the idea that it is an invention – something that is not true, but rather made up. This is the criticism that many people are applying to non-binary genders.

However, something that has been around since the 15th century cannot be rejected by society’s supposed perception of its “newness.”

As people assigned female or male at birth celebrate their androgyny, the patriarchy is fighting back, declaring gender identity a new construct that is fabricated by those who strive for a difference. It’s important to acknowledge that the newness of the term “non-binary” is not an indictment on its existence, but rather a celebration of its acknowledgment. 

Many people resistant to cultural change will blame the newness of the terms used to define it.

History is no stranger to the tales of people who are assigned female at birth (AFAB) who dress in men’s clothing to adopt more powerful positions in society.

For many people, the Disney adaptation of the myth of Hua Mulan might be the first time they consider nonbinary identities. While the term “non-binary” is never used in the family-friendly flick, in the title song, “Reflection,” Mulan proclaims, “I will never pass for a perfect bride or a perfect daughter…That if I were truly to be myself, I would break my family’s heart.”

[adsanity_group num_ads=”1″ align=”alignnone” num_columns=”1″ group_ids=”135795″/]

A 20-year-old movie certainly doesn’t indicate the newness of betraying gender roles, nor does the 1700-year-old source material.

Even earlier, in 1400 B.C.E., Hatshepsut ruled as Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt. Often regarded as one of the few female pharaohs to take the throne, the statues that survive her celebrate the strength of her rule.

She is depicted in a few different ways, from a woman wearing men’s clothing to a feminine face upon a man’s body. Hatshepsut defied the strict gender roles of ancient Egypt, and the statues that still stand are evidence of their defiance.

These examples are anecdotal, and often follow a common theme, of a person assigned female at birth (AFAB) defying the gender roles assigned to their sex to achieve something greater. However, even these examples hardly hold a candle to the rich history outlining people of a third gender.

History is no stranger to tales of people who are assigned female at birth dressing in men’s clothing to adopt more powerful positions in society.

This third gender, sometimes defined as neither a man nor a woman, is present in several ancient cultures, including Mesopotamia, the progenitor of written history.

During that time, people of the third gender, or Hijra, were in service to the gods they celebrated. In various cultures throughout history, from Hijra priests to eunuchs and virgins in the temple of Artemis, holiness has transcended gender.

It’s easy for detractors to rebut this by pretending that nothing of the sort took place in our current understanding of Western society. The notion of a third gender or “Mahu” is part of Polynesian culture. It can mean a gender between male and female, or gender fluid. In Hawaii and Tahiti, the Mahu people were highly respected in the indigenous culture as keepers of oral traditions and historical knowledge.

[adsanity_group num_ads=”1″ align=”alignnone” num_columns=”1″ group_ids=”135795″/]

Mahu people exist not only in the past but are an important part of queer culture in Hawaii today. 

The Navajo are a Native American people of the Southwestern United States. The Navajo people have a gender category called Nadleeh, which can refer to transgender people who have transitioned in one direction along the gender binary (having been assigned male at birth, and now identifying as female, or assigned female at birth and now identifying as male), gender-fluid people, and, of course, those whose gender presentation falls “outside” of the gender identity norms imposed by society at a large. The Nadleehi have a spiritual function and are inherently respected as tribal members within the Navajo culture. 

This stark difference in acceptance and perception was noted by Anglo-Saxon American anthropologists as early as the 1920s. In fact, Author William Willard Hill was surprised that Navajo society considered a transgender person “very fortunate,” unlike his understanding of Western culture, for which gender fluidity caused anxiety in mainstream society.

Gender has been used as an oppressive instrument for centuries.

It’s been used to highlight the difference between people, rather than highlight the inherent strength in us all. Strength of character is not something that is defined by maleness or femaleness. Strength is an attribute of the human condition to thrive when tested and fight for what we believe in.

The history of defying gender roles is as ancient as humanity itself.

That human condition is what drives people to discover what gender means to them. They are able to transcend the baggage of strict gender roles to achieve greatness.

The history of defying gender roles is as ancient as humanity itself, which leads one to question why people are so threatened by the nonbinary identification overall.

Why is it that the rich history of gender fluidity needs to be constantly torn down by censors and patriarchs of today’s “binary” culture, and rejected because of its newly-found public acceptance?

Perhaps, Joan of Arc and Hatshepsut knew something that everyone else did not.

Perhaps it’s important for us all to remember the wisdom they passed on through their life stories:

That to transcend gender is to harness the power of the gods themselves.


Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!

Sexuality Love + Sex Love

I learned about sex through fanfiction, and it’s a bit questionable

I love fanfiction. I think there’s something about it that you can’t find in published novels or tv shows, it’s unique and hard to explain. And while it might sound odd, there’s a lot you can learn from fanfics.

Most people don’t realize what’s out in the vast web to be discovered. For example, you might be scrolling through the works of your new favorite tv show and finally decide to brave the uncharted territories of mature-rated fanfics. You’ll click on one with a funny summary and then fall down the fascinating rabbit hole to continue reading more. And in doing so, you might actually learn about sex through fanfics.

That’s what happened to me anyway. You see, I never really had the opportunity to learn about sex in my family. My culture treats sex as taboo and then expects girls to grow up wanting to have babies and get married into a life of pleasing their husband. And all this without telling girls about potential dangers that come with sex or trying to make sex sound appealing.

I went through the basic sex ed in school, but that didn’t explain a lot. Most of what I remember was the teacher telling us to use birth control if it came down to it, but we should abstain from sex. Senior year Biology was where I learned about my body properly; I was finally told about the many changes that the body goes through due to our hormones. But most importantly, I learned about male anatomy. At no point before this had anyone explained what sex is. I knew it was performed between males and females, but not how. Before that class, I thought it was code for lying in a bed with a member of the opposite sex. 

And all this without telling girls about potential dangers that come with sex or trying to make sex sound appealing.

And while that class helped clear up some of my more significant questions, it wasn’t enough. But I had nowhere to turn to for learning more. My parents weren’t an option, and asking someone seemed awkward. So I turned to the internet. For the first time in nearly four years of exploring fanfiction online, I dove into what I thought was the dark side and looked at the selection of M-rated fics. 

Thinking back on it, they weren’t even particularly spicy fics that I stumbled across. I was jumping back into the PJO (Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan) fandom for like the third time, and I had exhausted my supply of tried and true teen and lower fics. These fanfics primarily served as a way for me to learn specifically about sex and what it was, how it worked, in a setting that wasn’t overly scientific. It was all very vanilla, but that was fine back then.

Then I jumped into some Yu-Gi-Oh fandoms and looked around at the selection there as well. And that was the first time I learned about sex being possible between same-sex couples. Then I switched from my usual fanfic website to a more known and better one, Archive Of Our Own. And this was where things got interesting because there were tags for everything. If I wanted to explore a specific kink, I could check the tag for it and look at all the options in every fandom. 

And I did exactly that; I jumped through different fandoms and checked out every type of M or E rated fic that was unique and then added the new knowledge to the ever-growing list of things I knew about sex. I explored lots of different kinks. When Fifty Shades of Grey was coming out, and everyone was complaining that it didn’t show BSDM accurately, I went to fanfics to learn what they were all talking about. I’ve read many an ABO fic and several femdom stories. And I thought by reading all these fics; I suddenly knew everything there was to know about sex.

Then one day, an online friend talked about a time that she was sexually harassed and how some of these fanfictions we read lead her to think that it was normal. And I started to rethink the fics I was reading. 

It occurred to me that a lot of the stuff I’ve been reading wasn’t always safe or consensual. These were works of fiction, and therefore not always meant to be an accurate reflection of reality, but I had spent years normalizing the lack of consent that came with some of these stories. I didn’t even realize until a month ago that it isn’t normal for someone to cry during sex or for most people to get off to that. Many of the kinky fics I read also never really detailed much about the relationship outside of the sex, which made for a very twisted view on things. 

None of this means that I plan to stop reading smut fics. I’ve come to recognize that most of what is in these stories is simple fantasy. I should have never expected it could replace the learning that comes from talking to people about their experiences or having sex myself. 

But if anyone else out there is like me, then now is as good a time as any to look a bit more critically at the fics you read and made the conscious distinction between them and reality. I know it’s awkward to talk to others about sex, and let’s not lie on the internet, it can be dangerous

I don’t claim to know all the answers, and there’s no right way to learn about sex. But at the very least, I think it’s better not to put all the eggs in one basket. When you want to learn about something you should look at several different places. I’ve begun taking a more thorough route to my own learning, one which involved properly researching whatever sexual topic comes to mind in fanfics but outside as well with the help of google or asking some very close friends who I can trust.

This new system has been working so far, and I find myself enjoying some of the conversations I can have with people about these topics as well.

Looking for more content like this? Follow our brand new Instagram account!

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter.

Celebrities Movies Pop Culture

Here’s everything you missed from the Oscars 2021 gala

Did you miss this year’s Oscars? Nothing to fear! We have summed up all the best moments.

 The Academy Awards are usually held in the Dolby Theatre and seat almost 3400 attendees. The event is filled with a jam-packed program that includes star-studded skits and sketches, epic montages, and elaborate in-person musical performances – all with a comedian serving as host. This year’s affair, held on Sunday 25 April 2021 was noticeably more intimate.

For the 2021 gala, all of the theatrics were swapped out for a more subdued evening. Held at the Union Station, the 170 attendees were seated around tables, in the vein of the first few Oscar ceremonies. Musical performances were recorded and aired before the telecast. Skits were paired down to Lil Rel Howery quizzing Andra Day, Daniel Kaluuya, and Glenn Close, who showed off her music knowledge and dance skills. There was no host for the third time in a row, but celebrity presenters galore with Oscar-winning actress and director Regina King kicking off the evening that proved just as historic as the times it was held in.

Here is a list of our breakthroughs and firsts of the night:

1. Daniel Kaluuya makes Britain and Uganda Proud

Oscar winner, Daniel Kaluuya
[Image Description: Daniel Kaluuya poses backstage after his historic Oscar win.] Via The Academy.
As an awards season favorite winning Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA awards, it was no surprise when Daniel Kaluuya took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at this year’s Academy Awards. His performance as Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the Black Panther Party was a standout and his acceptance speech proved to be just as memorable.

In an embarrassing yet hilarious moment, he excitedly expressed his appreciation for life and commented, “My mum and my dad… they had sex and now I’m here!” Before that, he made sure to thank “family, friends and everyone I love from Londontown to Kampala” as he became the first Black British actor and the first actor of Ugandan descent to win an Oscar.

2. Best Actor category was the last award presented

This year's Best Actor nominees
[Image Description: The nominees in the Best Actor category at this year’s Academy Awards. From left to right: Riz Ahmed, Steven Yeun, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman and Chadwick Boseman.] Via Variety.
The Best Picture category is often the pièce de résistance of the night and the last award presented. In a rare turn of events and for the first time, the Best Actor category was the last award presented of the evening.

This definitely fueled rumors that the Academy was going to posthumously honor Chadwick Boseman for his final performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for the actor, with the honor of going to Sir Anthony Hopkins for his role in The Father.

3. Honoring the elders

Oscar-winning costume designer, Ann Roth, at work on the set of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
[Image Description: Oscar-winning costume designer Ann Roth, adjusting actress Taylour Paige on the set of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom] Via IMDB.
As previously mentioned Sir Anthon Hopkins won the Best Actor statue and became the oldest person to win in the Best Actor category at 83 years old. Proving age is just a number, Ann Roth tied in becoming the oldest woman to win an Oscar at the age of 89 for her costume design work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

4. South Africa’s first documentary win

The poster to My Octopus Teacher available on Netflix
[Image Description: Poster of My Octopus Teacher.] Via Netflix.
After winning a slew of awards during award season, My Octopus Teacher was able to wrap its tentacles around the Best Documentary Feature Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards. In doing so, My Octopus Teacher became the first South African nature documentary to become a Netflix Original and to win an Oscar.

5. South Korea makes history again

Best Supporting Actress winner Yuh-Jung Youn
[Image Description: Yuh-Jung Youn speaking as she accepted her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress..] Via E!
Continuing South Korea’s winning streak after Parasite, Youn Yuh-Jung became the first Korean actor to win an Oscar for her portrayal as the matriarch in one of the 2020s most talked about films, Minari. Youn Yuh-Jung won in the Best Supporting Actress category.

6. First woman of color to win Best Director

Chloe Zhao is the first woman of color to win for Best Director
[Image Description: Director Chloe Zhao accepting the Best Director Oscar for her work on Nomadland.] Via the Academy.
Chloe Zhao graciously accepted the award for Best Director for Nomadland and became the second woman to win the award after Katheryn Bigelow in 2009. She also became the first woman of color and the first Asian, specifically, Chinese woman to win in that category.

7. First time is H.E.R. lucky charm

Best Original Song winner H.E.R.
[Image Description: H.E.R.’s holding her Oscar.] Via Variety.
R&B singer H.E.R. is used to receiving music awards and parlayed that into film when she was not only nominated but won for Best Original Song on the first try. She won for the anthem, Fight for You, featured in the film, Judas and The Black Messiah. This victory also made her first black woman win in this category since Irene Cara in 1983.

8. Black women finally honored in makeup and hair

The first black women to win an Oscar for Best Hair and Makeup
[Image Description: Mia Neal (left), Jamika Wilson (center), and Sergio Lopez-Riviera (right) celebrating their historic win.] Via Variety.
Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson made history on Sunday night after becoming the first black women to receive a nomination and subsequent win in the Best Hair and Makeup category. Their amazing work alongside Sergio Lopez Riviera can be seen in Viola Davis’ transformation in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

9. First animated film to feature a Black character in the lead.

The offical poster for Pixar's laestest animated film, Soul
[Image Description: Poster for Pixar’s ‘Soul’.] Via IMDB.
“It’s been way too long, and I don’t know that we really have a good answer. We’re always looking to reflect as much of the world out there as we can, and we’re happy that it’s finally happened — that we are representing a part of the population that just hasn’t had as much voice in our films up to now.” director Pete Docter said of the why it took so long for Pixar to have a film with a black lead character.

The film is Soul and it follows the journey of Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a music teacher who after an accident reverts back to his soul state. Proving that representation is necessary, the film went on to win Best Animated Feature.

10. All that glitters is not gold but Emerald

Director, writer, actress and producer Emerald Fennell wins at the Oscars
[Image Description: Triple Oscar nominee, Emerald Fennell celebrating her first Oscar win for Best Orignal Screenplay.] Via The Academy.

Having appeared on Call The Midwife and the latest season of The Crown, it is Emerald Fennell’s behind-the-scenes work that has garnered all the Academy’s attention.

Fennell’s feature film debut, Promising Young Woman, showcased Fennell’s talent as she wrote, produced, directed, and even made a cameo in the film. She was nominated in three categories, Best Picture (as a producer), Best Director (becoming the first British woman to receive the recognition), and Best Original Screenplay, which she won. She became the first woman to win in that category since 2008.

While a lot of firsts occurred at the 93rd Academy Awards, these firsts will continue to be seen as groundbreaking until the under-represented are provided equity, in front of and behind the cameras. There is still more ground to be broken in terms of diversity and inclusivity, not only in film but within the academy. Let’s hope that the Academy can continue this upward trajectory in years to come!

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!

USA The World

Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing fight to unionize Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama

Last week, 6,000 workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, voted on whether to unionize. If a majority vote in favor of unionizing, this will be a historic win for workers in the United States. Even if the union doesn’t pass, The New York Times describes the recent efforts in Bessemer as “the most significant unionization effort in Amazon’s history.” 

Over the last few decades, progress has occurred at a rapid pace. There have been new innovations intending to transform all walks of life. Amazon has largely been at the forefront of this change, introducing technological advancements to many of its operations across retail, grocery, entertainment, and more. However, as Amazon continues to expand, its employees are drawing attention to the cost of this aggressive advancement: workers’ health, wellbeing, and dignity.

As the second-largest private employer in the U.S., Amazon’s growth has helped to create thousands of jobs. The behemoth has also been applauded for paying its workers above the federal minimum wage, which at the time of publishing is $7.25; most Amazon employees start at $15 per hour.

Bessemer warehouse workers are arguing that compensation is still too low in light of the grueling conditions they endure while at work. 

AP News reports that Bessemer Amazon employees work on their feet for 10 hours a day and only receive two 30-minute breaks. At a Senate hearing, one worker testified that people are punished or even fired for taking more breaks than the allotted two. This has prevented warehouse workers from using the restroom a “normal amount,” according to Vice—which echoes complaints by Amazon’s delivery drivers, who often have to urinate in bottles to meet quotas.

Reveal investigated a “mounting injury crisis” at Amazon warehouses. After obtaining company records, Reveal found that injuries have increased over the past four years, with Amazon failing to hit its internal safety targets because of its rapid rate of production. Vice adds that during the pandemic, Amazon failed to properly protect its warehouse workers, resulting in almost 20,000 workers testing positive for COVID-19. 

In addition, Bessemer workers say they do not feel valued or respected. Many have noted that they are monitored throughout the day in order to ensure productivity goals are met. This surveillance on top of what  TIME describes as a “punishing pace of work,” has created low morale as workers feel dehumanized and disposable. 

The culmination of both the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic has brought to light employers’ responsibility to respect, protect, and listen to their employees. In addition to fairer compensation, many of the Bessemer workers who voted in favor of the union simply want to feel dignified in their workplace and have their complaints heard by Amazon. Vox reports that 80% of Bessemer Amazon employees are Black, with Amazon’s “overall front-line workforce disproportionately composed of people of color,” leading union organizers to also focus on issues of racial empowerment and equality. 

Historically, big businesses have discriminated against workers of color, often paying BIPOC less than their white counterparts. In the South, unions have long supported racial empowerment and equality, with sanitation, steel, and mining unions, to name a few, championing for Black workers’ rights during the Civil Rights Movement between 1954 and 1968. Unions are also who we have to thank for creating the framework of today’s work conditions. CNN lists weekends, 8-hour workdays, better pay, health care and retirement benefits, and banning child labor as the results of unions tirelessly working to protect workers and advance their interests.  

However, not all employers and employees support unionizing. Business Insider spoke to two Bessemer employees who voted against the union. They asserted that Amazon already provides what a union would, such as decent pay and benefits, and that a union would not be able to protect workers against termination. 

Amazon is also opposed to the union, preferring to speak with its employees directly on workplace issues. The company has taken an aggressive approach, including a PR campaign and papering employee bathrooms with anti-union rhetoric.  

While Amazon is doubling down on its treatment of workers, Vox notes that Amazon could be more worried that a union would “upend the speed and agility of warehouse operations; typically, the faster Amazon pushes warehouse workers, the quicker the company can get orders out the door to customers.”

It’s also important to note that Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO,  continues to amass billions of dollars in wealth, while his employees do not. Brookings reports Amazon has “shared little of its astonishing profits” with its workforce. Specifically, Amazon earned an additional $9.7 billion in profit last year while Bezos added $67.9 billion to his personal wealth—and yet the company chose to end its $2 per hour pandemic wage increase.  

March 29, 2021 was the last day for Bessemer employees to vote on unionizing. After months of advocating, lobbying, and organizing, the results of the vote are expected to arrive any day now. No matter the result, many labor experts are expecting the efforts of Bessemer Amazon workers to inspire other warehouses, with Vox predicting a possible reshaping of the future of warehouse work in the U.S. 

However, the question remains: what is the price of progress? How far we are willing to go in the name of innovation must take into account individuals. It is people who make up a company, and it is people who are helping to drive digitalization. Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, remind us that the price of progress cannot and should not be people’s lives, wellbeing, and dignity.

If we sacrifice that, what will remain?


Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!

Stay updated on our News and Social Justice coverage by following our brand new instagram account!

Tech Now + Beyond

Pakistan’s app-banning streak is both a personal and political attack

As a Pakistani woman, I have always viewed social media as a safe haven of sorts where I can share my views and opinions without being sidelined. In a country where women are so often marginalized and subjected to misogynistic trends, social media offers us a form of refuge to express our very constrained freedom. And this is exactly why Pakistan’s latest bans on dating apps and Tik Tok left me appalled. To me, these bans and blocks signify a further limitation of rights for women and the prevalence of sexism and misogyny in the country.

Recently, Tinder, Grindr and other similar dating apps were blocked for disseminating immoral content. This was followed by a ban on Tik Tok as well. According to Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), notices were issued to the five dating apps, and companies failed to respond within the stipulated time. 

The decision was made to prevent the circulation of ‘immoral and obscene content’. Put simply, the ban on certain apps was imposed to appease the conservative factions of the country. 

Pakistan has had a long history of internet/social media bans and blocks. In recent years, the government has banned YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook as well. Content is monitored and often removed if it is deemed immoral by the authorities. 

The recent blocks have sparked a renewed conversation about the government’s attempts to control the flow of ideas on the internet. Restrictions on social media sites are normalizing censorship. Increased regulation is limiting free speech and paving the way for the conservative factions to benefit from it.  The rapidity of ‘moral policing’ is such that it is only realistic to expect a handful of social media sites left to access in the country. The government’s motives are unclear but what it does tell us is that the ban is geared towards suppressing free expression and the endorsement of conservative values in the country.

The ban on Tik Tok felt personal because it is the one platform that gives everyone a chance to express their creativity and showcase their talents. 

In the contemporary world, the internet and social media serve as one of the major avenues to express freedom of speech and expression. It is difficult to imagine progress without it. Blocks and restrictions can be a major setback for the upcoming generations, limited and monitored access to the internet will curb ideas and innovation. Amongst other things, it will sabotage the ability of technology in helping to eliminate the negative connotations attached to Pakistan.

The most recent ban on Tik Tok was yet another measure to suppress entertainment and creativity in the country. Tik Tok is one of the only platforms that made a vast majority of the Pakistani population feel welcomed (quite literally). People from various cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds are not only able to access the platform but also produce content that was viewed and appreciated widely. 

There was no way to control the flow of information or trends on the app; perhaps this is why it was so threatening. Although, the ban was uplifted in the face of politics. But it felt personal because it is the one platform that gives everyone a chance to express their creativity and showcase their talents. 

Shop, earn and get rewarded! Get $10 sign on bonus when you spend $20+

There have been numerous calls within the country by human rights campaigners to uplift the bans. As much as I want the ban to be unlifted, I cannot help but think we are headed towards a state with strict controls and censorship on the internet and print media. I find it rather daunting because social media seems like the one avenue where I can truly voice my opinions in a country where women are so often silenced. 

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!

Reproductive Rights Love + Sex Love

I’m 35 & don’t want kids —but I had to fight my doctor to get a hysterectomy

I was thirty-two years old when Caitlin Moran set me free.

I was sitting on the toilet in my tiny apartment in rural Platteville, Wisconsin, a town I’d moved to get some thinking and reading and writing done, a town where that’s about all you can do. At that particular moment, I was reading Moran’s astonishing book of essays, How To Be A Woman. The line which blew the locks off the mental cage I didn’t know I was inhabiting were as follows:

“We need more women who are allowed to prove their worth as people, rather than being assessed merely for their potential to create new people.”  

I sat bolt upright when I read that. Then I read it again. I couldn’t believe the sensation of openness and freedom that passage gave me—I wanted to grab a penknife and carve it into every doorframe in my house. More than freedom, those words gave me something I hadn’t realized I’d wanted: permission.

Let me explain.

If you are a woman in 2018, even if you are lucky enough to have a relatively feminist family, you’ll be endlessly prompted by friends, co-workers, even well-meaning strangers to fulfill a checklist: Home. Marriage. Children.

For women who hesitate before bubbling in that final, permanent choice on the “Are You a Good Woman?” test, there are a few helpful prods that others will administer:

You shouldn’t wait to have children! You never know how long it will take. (Note how deftly this timing-focused prod evades the issue of whether children are even wanted.)

He would make such a good father. (Note that the questioner will never ask the man in question if he is interested in being a father. That’s not what this is about.)

You should have children. It’s selfish not to. I already have [number]. What’s the big deal? (Misery loves company.)

And finally, the checkmate in the chess match women play against each other and themselves: What if you don’t, and then regret it?

This is the goad that got under my skin. I would poke myself with it—are you sure? Are you really sure?—at intervals, trying to awaken maternal instincts that remained stubbornly dormant. Wondering if, like a punitive O. Henry story, I would suddenly discover a ravenous yearning for babies at the exact moment my body lost the ability to conceive them. In the meanwhile, I continued gamely testing myself for parental abilities: working as a camp counselor. Teaching. Gingerly holding babies on my knee. Crucially, however, I never felt an urge to parent—either by conception or adoption, regardless of my parent friends’ breezy assurances that “when it comes to your own kids, you’ll feel differently.” The light switch stayed resolutely off.

Cut back to me, still sitting on the toilet in Platteville, Wisconsin, my legs steadily going numb, every neuron in my head alight. I felt like I’d found a doorway to Narnia in my closet; like an exam, I was dreading had been canceled. When Moran wrote that motherhood offered “nothing you couldn’t get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whiskey with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in winter […]” I got excited. I started thinking about all the books I could read, the books I could write. I imagined a room full of the embroidery supplies I love, stacked in a colorful array. I thought about visiting all the countries on my bucket list: Vietnam, Iceland, New Zealand, Scotland.

I wanted to do all of those things, and I wanted to do them now.

First, though, I’d have to get up off the can.

Cut to two years later.

I’ve packed up my life and my apartment and moved to Boston, a city containing jobs and opportunities and, crucially, the man I’ve been low-key in love with for my entire adult life. In a happy, if statistically improbable, coincidence, he’s fallen in love with me, too. We snag a tiny apartment in the city and are deliriously happy together. I write every day. I’ve started saving for travel. I even have a respectable embroidery collection. Thrilled that my gambit has paid off, I make one final attempt… at being a Good Woman. I sit my man down for a talk.

“Listen. I’m pretty sure that, if it were just me alone, I’d never have a kid. But for you, with you, I would happily have a child if you wanted one. Do you want kids?”

He looks at me like I am out of my mind. “Babe. No.”

“Are you sure? Are you really sure?” I ask. (I am getting good at asking this.) “You can think about it!”

He doesn’t have to think about it. In fact, he’s thinking about getting a vasectomy. “So we can stop spending all our money on birth control.”

Well then. I marvel at how easily he’s made this decision, how untroubled he is by the possibility of regret—when pressed, he shrugs. “If we regret it, we’ll adopt. I always thought I’d make a better uncle than a dad, anyway.” His unfazed attitude, I realize, is what making the baby decision looks like when you’re unencumbered by a lifetime of other people’s expectations. This is how not big a deal the decision can be—when you’re a man.

Back in the world of women, things aren’t so easy.

While the vasectomy has taken care of my immediate birth control needs, I’m still stuck dealing with howling menstrual cramps every month, plus a family inheritance: poorly located uterine fibroids, which make cervical dilation impossible. My uterus is like a lobster pot—easy for sperm to get in, impossible for anything larger than a sperm to get in or out.

If (God forbid) I am raped, or my man’s vasectomy turns out to be imperfect, I will be looking at a reduced array of options for abortion (maybe none, depending on the political winds), and a guaranteed C-section at the end of the hypothetical pregnancy I don’t want. I grouse about all this to my OB/GYN, who makes supportive noises until I say the magic words: “Fertility isn’t something I care about maintaining.”

Suddenly, she looks up from her computer screen.

“Wait. If you really don’t want kids, and you’re sure, there are more options.”

And that’s when I decided I was done being asked that question.

Cut to me, being cut open. Laparoscopic hysterectomy means a few things: a cluster of postage-stamp-sized incisions across your abdominal muscles. The removal of your uterus through some tiny tubes. (Assuming your ovaries aren’t giving you trouble, you get to keep those—the days of automatic ovarian removal, with attendant lifelong hormone replacement, are long gone.) The sudden realization of how much you use your abdominal muscles for everything. And no periods, cramps, or need for birth control, ever again.

I’m writing this with a hot pad across my lap. Ten days out from my hysterectomy, I’m still a little sore. Snow shoveling is right out. But my mind is at peace. I’ve finally realized that the sharp stick I used to poke myself with—“Are you sure? Are you really sure?” was just a way to distract myself from the fact that I already knew what I wanted. I just had to gain the courage to name my desire.

So: maybe you’re stuck in a cage. Maybe you already secretly know what you want, too. Know this:

You are enough.

You don’t have to make another person to earn your spot on this big beautiful earth.

You are enough.

You can do the thing yourself—write the novel, make the movie, start the peace process, build the supercomputer. You don’t have to raise someone else and hope they accomplish it instead. The terrifying, wonderful news is that they won’t. That’s your desire, to fulfill or not. And guess what?

You are enough.

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter.

Fashion Lookbook

Diet Prada: the fashion watchdogs that changed how I view the industry

In the age of social media, influencers and ever-changing fashion trends, clothing brands are constantly trying to stay relevant. They often resort to copying talented indie designers and high-end fashion brands. And they usually do this without considering the implications. Diet Prada is here to call them out while emphasizing that fashion is more than just items of clothing, it’s art. You can’t steal people’s art.

Diet Prada started out in 2014 as an anonymous Instagram account that called out fast fashion brands for constantly copying high-end designers and indie artists. Their witty and informative posts peaked the interest of fashion enthusiasts across the world. It was later revealed that two fashion industry professionals, Tommy Liu and Lindsay Schuyler, are behind the whole thing.


As of October 2020, Diet Prada’s Instagram account has over 2.2 million followers and there’s no sign of things slowing down.

They’ve evolved into a full-fledged fashion watchdog group ready to call out the copycats. They also speak on various issues surrounding the industry.

Major clothing brands can steal designs with ease because fashion is not fully protected under US copyright law. It’s still considered a manufacturing industry rather than a creative one. For this reason, there’s a lack of legal protection for designers and it enables the mass production of knockoffs and replicas.In an interview with Fast Company, Diet Prada co-founder, Tony Liu, shared that, “young creatives don’t have the resources to battle in court.” This is one the many reasons why Diet Prada is committed to shaming popular clothing brands that don’t respect the artistry behind fashion design. In the same interview, co-founder Lindsay Schuyler, urged us to start viewing fashion designs as intellectual property.

One of the most iconic Diet Prada moments was when they called out Fashion Nova for copying countless designer outfits worn by the Kardashian sisters. Kim Kardashian was photographed wearing a vintage 1998 Thierry Mugler cut-out dress for the 5th Annual Hollywood Beauty Awards. Fashion Nova released an exact replica within 24 hours and it retailed for only $50. Diet Prada found this suspicious for several reasons and they did not hesitate to call out both parties. Firstly, Fashion Nova’s copycat tendencies were getting out of hand. Secondly, they thought Kim Kardashian might be in on it. How on earth did Fashion Nova manage to release a knockoff Mugler dress in only 24 hours?

In the past, I rarely ever thought of who designed the the clothes that I own and whether they received adequate recognition. Since I started following Diet Prada in 2018, I can say I’ve become more fashion conscious. As a writer, I can only imagine how frustrating it would be if someone was constantly copying my work. This is the plight of so many fashion designers.

Nevertheless, Diet Prada has evolved into more than just a fashion watchdog group. If you look at their recent Instagram posts, you’ll notice that they use their platform to raise awareness about social issues like sexism, racism, and environmental concerns. They also dive deep into the detrimental effects of the fast fashion industry and strive to provide reliable fashion news. I’ve witnessed first-hand how their content is taking the fashion industry by storm.


Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter!

Movie Reviews Movies Pop Culture

‘Guilty’ on Netflix is one of the best films tackling rape culture

*Trigger warning: this article contains mentions of sexual assault*

When I first logged on to Netflix and clicked on a recommended film titled Guilty, I didn’t know what I was in for. The whole movie was crazy, but I absolutely loved it. It was deep and impactful, and featured amazing actors and excellent cinematography. 

The story was developed through flashbacks to a disastrous Valentine’s night at a college where all the drama began. Soon enough, it becomes evident to viewers that the movie would be addressing the MeToo Movement. The show centered on a rape trial involving main characters Nanki, Vijay, and Tanu. Throughout most of the film, Nanki is dead set that Vijay didn’t rape Tanu. Even the viewers don’t know for sure. However, Nanki does figure out that Tanu was telling the truth with the help of investigator Danish. In the end, Nanki, Tanu, and Danish are able to reveal the truth in front of everyone.

Guilty did an excellent job at addressing the MeToo movement. However, it also addresses a variety of other issues including PTSD, the effects of sexual assault, the inequalities between the wealthy and the poor, and more.

Every 73 seconds, another American is raped. But how many are fighting for those people?

Overall, the movie was stellar and I think it has the potential to greatly transform entertainment. Many forms of entertainment, namely the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, have been sensationalizing not only rape, but also suicide. The media has tried to so perfectly craft these stories, which just isn’t how real life trauma works. Rape culture started to become more accepted. The ideas that ‘boys will be boys’ and that the rich should get away with sexual assault became more real.

Guilty also addresses the integrity of the victim reporting the assault. In the movie, Tanu reports the assault a significant amount of time later, but she does step up. Instead of believing her, Nanki, along with many people, don’t believe Tanu and call her a liar. The assumption that a large number of women falsely report rape is just flat out wrong. The rate at which the accuser is lying is 10%, according to Public Affairs Professor Callie Rennison from the University of Colorado Denver. This is the same as most other crimes. The movie emphasizes how in real life too many people don’t believe the accuser, and that has become a huge part of rape culture as well.

Rape culture is especially evident internationally, like in India where Guilty takes place.

The countries with the highest rate of sexual assault in the world are as follows.

  1. South Africa
  2. Botswana
  3. Lesotho
  4. Swaziland
  5. Bermuda
  6. Sweden
  7. Suriname
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Nicaragua
  10. Grenada

These are places that most Americans have never been to or experienced, which makes it harder to fight for. Everyone from the production company to the director of Guilty were Indian (except for the fact that the distributor was Netflix). These people had experienced the atmosphere of rape culture in India and were able to accurately portray it. This is where entertainment comes in. By showing the stories of people across the world fighting for their basic human rights, the media can further support the #MeToo movement. It will create more of an understanding as to what exactly is going on in the world.

Despite the sensationalization of rape culture in media, there have been times, like Guilty, where the performance all wrapped together providing for a quality viewing experience and an impactful message.

Moreover, another example would be the Netflix show Unbelievable, which is based on true events. It did an amazing job of portraying how investigators worked so hard to find the rapist who had carefully covered his steps. When portrayed accurately, rape culture can be addressed and it can persuade more people to support the MeToo movement.

The MeToo movement is alive and thriving, and Guilty makes sure of that.

Rape culture isn’t going anywhere yet, but neither is the MeToo movement.

The movement peaked about two years ago, but is coming back for policy change. The movement started the #MeTooVoter to push voters to elect leaders who would develop policy around sexual assault. Sexual harassment against workers has been increasing too and the MeToo movement is fueled and ready to combat it. The media has become a primary game-changer for the movement. This includes not just social media, but many tv shows and movies that have strived to spread awareness of the problem.

The entertainment industry needs to cover more social justice topics like these. However, it also needs to make sure it isn’t sensationalizing them.

Media has such a wide reach over so many people. By spreading awareness through these platforms, the movement will gain more traction than ever before.

Culture Life Stories Life

Getting married means that my Pakistani parents have to bribe my new in-laws

Stepping into your twenties holds different meanings for different people. For some, it might mean entering a professional life and for others entering a newlywed arrangement.

If you’re a mature Pakistani girl who has crossed the pubertal barrier, you automatically qualify for Holy Matrimony.

And with that “milestone,” your parents begin to lay the groundwork for finding and providing for their daughter’s new family.

From furniture to utensils to the most meager of tangible items, the parents present an ‘ethical bribe’ to ensure that their daughter measures up to the required standard of acceptance.

If you’re “of age,” you automatically qualify for Holy Matrimony.

As a 23-year-old female in modern Pakistani society, I question all such detestable vices. Having given birth, raised and nurtured day after day to become a civilized individual, how much more do my parents have to sacrifice just because they are responsible for a female offspring?

And who provides the assurance of a blissful married life after having fulfilled these norms?

No one.

And if ‘God forbid’ this act of compensation falls short, the poor girl is subjected to a lifetime of scoffing and contempt.

Her whole existence is measured up by how much she can provide to her in-laws at the time of marriage.

Personally, I believe this ritual has become a sort of plague. The never-ending chain of expectation.

I was taught two things: self-reliance and tenacity.

I often hear elderly women eagerly gossiping about their daughter-in-law on the account of  ‘who brought what’ in terms of dowry. And having once been a newlywed themselves, they wear a mask of oblivion when it comes to someone else’s daughter.

I was raised as an only child and lived a solitary life.

I was taught two things: self-reliance and tenacity. My father fostered me to become self-sufficient in everything I did and that no one can truly undermine a woman’s worth without her consent.

Setting foot into 2019, this age of renaissance, where art, poetry, literature, and science are at their pinnacle, our greatest concern should be self-improvement and progression.

Let alone hoarding up on meaningless and mundane material gains.

The day we decide to mold our thinking is the day when the world around us will change, massively. It is not a subject of taking action, rather, it’s a matter of perspective.

A minute frame-shift of attitude can alter the life of today’s woman by leaps and bounds.

I put forward this question: who bears the responsibility of judging someone’s daughter by the weight of her baggage?

Health Care Science Advice Wellness Now + Beyond

Here’s why your gyno wishes you’d leave your pubic hair alone

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.

[Image description: Private grooming habits between men and women.] via
[Image description: Private grooming habits between men and women.] via
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.