Dating

10 years of dating: How my dating life has changed

Wow, I’ve been in this dating thing for 10 years now. I didn’t even realize, until I had to come up with a headline for this post. I guess that’s why I’m getting really cynical and fed up with the whole dating thing, sometimes. 10 years is A LOT. Try to measure it in wine and you’ll know how much of a lot it is, If it only was good wine, though…

I got in the dating game quite late. My teenage years were super lame, I didn’t go out much and was way more focused on school than on boys. (Which was easy, since we didn’t have any good looking or even interesting guys.)

The first time I actually “dated” someone was during my very first year in France.And so it was a French dude, of course. Though it was not really dating, but much more sneaking around. Back then, I found it exciting.

But I also think I was the lamest person to date.
I was soooo scared. And very preoccupied with consent – I was actually afraid to touch that other person. To me, it felt like an invasion of his private space, I didn’t dare to touch him.

It took me a long time to get over this sort of fear. To not being afraid of showing my affection. And still today,I’m not taking it lightly, at all.

But of course, so much has changed since my 18-year-old self. First of all, all the articles I’ve read in women’s magazines. I started reading women’s magazines at age 12, but I feel like some things became more clear the older I got. Besides, I’m pretty sure these articles are almost a subsitute to studying psychology. Just to give you an idea of how much I learned from them.

An then of course, there’s actual dating.
I won’t tell you my number, because slutshaming and stuff, but it’s safe to say that I’ve had a few opportunities to get to know dating since my early 20s.

And while my early 20s seemd to be a hot mess – I didn’t exactly stand up for myself, nor did I coomunicate my standards in a way I should have – my late 20s seem to be so much more easygoing. For the first time in life, I’m actively communicating what I want and what I don’t, I’m no longer afraid of being “difficult” or “high maintenance” or “on my period” (fuck that and the douches who would come up with that sort of statement) and I’m saying loud and clear that I enjoy watching cheesy romcoms and that I will never ever in my life watch Star Wars (or any movie taking place in space).

And it’s going really well. To the point that right now, I’m seriously thinking of how much affection is the right amount of affection. Normallly, I whouldn’t even think twice about this sort of things. But I guess my history is playing a role in this one.

Still, I’m not counting scores. I just refuse to do so, because I think0 that on an interpersonal level, counting scores doesn’t do any good to any one. And besides, there’s much more important things than some statistics on a blog.

But back to my topic: I think that our dating life has changed in a way that everything has become more strategisc. Or at least it seems like it.

If you’re into online dating: When was the last time you saw someone just hoping to get drinks, no matter how the other person would be like? Probably never.

Everyone has a goal or an ideal to go after. Normally, that’s a good thing, but on dating apps, I’d say it’s toxic – since peoplle have the tendancy to categorically rule out everything that doesn’t fit into their own belief system. And that kinda makes it quite hard to find people who think like you, even if it’s just remotely. At least, that’s my impression.

Nevertheless, I got to know someone who seems to have the same opinions and so far, we seem to agree on many topics. The only obstacle so far has been our different tastes in music. And sincethe music he likes isn’t horrible, I wouldn’t even call it an obstacle.
Everything seems so easy and I can’t help but wonder: why can’t it always be like that?

I’m also wondering: Why is this the first time that I truly feel like evethings are falling into place?
I guess the keyword here is experience. I’m no longer second guessing my every move. I’ve learned it doesn’t serve you at all. Instead, I’m just being me and only doing what feels comfortable to me. It seems like a no-brainer, but I’m pretty sure it’s not just me but many women who make it their highest priority to please others. Not a healthy approach, and also not useful when it comes to finding someone to date.

In the meanwhile, concentrating on me and what I want and need has become quite easy – and it feels pretty damn good. I just wish I could have been like that when I was a teenager, but I guess you have to go through all the bad dates in order to get there. But I guess everything happens for a reason. I just had to go through some shitty dates in order to figure out what I want and what I definitely cannot tolerate. I probably wouldn’t be at this point if my life had turned out differently. And with that being said: I’m thankful for all the experiences I’ve made so far. For the good ones, but even more for the shitty ones. They’ve made me the person I am today.

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BS on social media

BS on instagram #1

Catching feelings vs. falling in love

Today, I want to start with a new mini-series on the blog, dedicated to all the BS there is on instagram. My topic today is a stale caption you’ve very probably read on one post or another: “Catch flights, not feelings.”

Urgh! That’s goes right into the category of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. There’s so much wrong with this statement, I don’t even know where and how to start.

First of all, I hate the expression “catch feelings”. Has anyone even said that, like…ever? Yes, there’s an entry about that expression in the Urban Dictionary, but to me, it sounds like something very stupid to say. Why not simply say “start to have feelings” or does that already sound like too much of a commitment? “Catch feelings” makes me think of the flu. Or any other illness or disease for that matter. And normally, when for example you catch a cold or a flu or whatever, you’re not really involved in the process, not intentionally. No one would ever say “It was your fault that you caught a cold”. (Of course, on one hand that’s because people are being nice and no one dares to point out that the only form of fruit you consume is fermented and that you care more about fashion than about the weather. On the other hand, if some child carrying one of those nasty children’s diseases is coughing right into your face, there’s only so much you can do to avoid getting sick.) In contrast to that, developing feelings for someone makes you an active part. It describes that you’ve been seeing this person a few times. And since it takes two to go on a date, it makes you 50% responsible for the outcome. To me, “start to/develop/have feelings for someone” sounds way more mature. It also sounds like you actually have a say of what’s going on and are not just a – well… victim – of a disease.

That brings me to the second point. Caring about others should not be compared to a disease, and also not give room to that sort of interpretation. Even though, according to Schopenhauer (and I agree) being in love may turn you into an insane person, at least temporarily, caring about others is the best quality human beings have. I’d even say it’s the only thing that makes us decent. If you take away love and empathy from this world, what’s left? I highly doubt it’d be anything worth having. Therefore feeling things and mostly feeling love is not a bad thing. It’s very much the contrary.

The third thing I hate about the phrase “Catch flights, not feelings” is the notion of running away. Only cowards run away. And yes, sure, today so many people have their jet-set life and are all around the globe all the time. Looking for easy hookups and just some fun seems to be all the rage right now. No big commitments equals no big risks. And I get it, it’s a protecting mechanism to not get hurt. But that protecting mechanism will also keep you from finding something deep and meaningful. And if you constantly reject intimacy by fear of getting hurt, you’ll probably end up and die alone, having your face eaten by your 36 cats, until the neighbors complain about a weird smell and then have your disfigured corpse revealed, instead of just gracefully lying in a coffin. Is it that what you want from life? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
So why would people run away from love? Because it’s too scary? Because a relationship is too high-maintenance? Because you have no idea what will happen next? All the possible explanations just seem so lame to me. And again, they’re the words that would rather describe a coward than a mature and respectable human being. Besides, do you know the saying that nothing worth having is easy to get? Well yes, life is pain. But sometimes, it’s worth it.
Besides, if you’re alone, your big jet-set life won’t give you anything if you don’t have someone to share it with. (Your current followers don’t count, since they won’t give a shit about your posts once your ass is flat and wrinkled.) Happiness is better when shared, otherwise it’s nothing but a fleeing moment.

So instead of running away from the possibility of love, why don’t we dive deep into it? And yes, it may be hurtful on the way, but what’s there to gain and what would life have to offer if you’re already dead inside? Also, all kinds of experiences make us grow, the good and even more the bad. And who would say no to some personal growth?

Instead of “Catch flights, not feelings.” I’d rather say “Let’s fall in love and travel the world together.” It sounds super corny I know. But that’s only because – and I’m sure of that – it’s what a majority of people would want.

Now, “falling in love” is very different from “catching feelings”, even though it may not seem like it at first glance. Both give the idea of a sudden feeling that comes over you, giving you no power at all. However, my personal connotation with “falling in love” is much more positive. It make me think of Alice in Wonderland and of Alice falling down the rabbit hole just find herself in a place full of wonders and outstanding experiences. Some of them are scary and daunting, yes, but all very exciting. Besides, she is following that rabbit, she plays an active role and lives up to it. It’s not like something just overcomes her and that’s it. She’s also taking part in what’s happening.

As for travelling the world together, I think that’s a no brainer.

And now here comes a very corny ending for this post: I hope that 2019 is the year where you do have feelings for someone. Someone you trust, who doesn’t make you feel restless but grounded, someone you would want to take anywhere with you.

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Dating

Love & courage

Words can’t describe how I feel right now. I’m in a huge black void, there’s nothing but emptiness. And all I want is to take a break from the world and its mundane matters. All I want is to be surrounded by vast nothingness until I’m ok. Like deep diving diving in the ocean. With all my senses numbed and I hear nothing but my breathing. That’s what I want right now.

We didn’t make any promises, we didn’t have any expectations. Yet, nothing stays as light as may be in the beginning. And even without expectations, you still hope for the best, you even trick yourself into believing that best possible outcome will happen. But then things get too complicated. And we’re in an era where convenience trumps complication. Bold statements seem to be a relic from the past. If there’s even a slight chance of getting hurt, many of us don’t seem to be ready for the dare. And before something has even begun, it’s s the end.

Does no one read books any more? How come that everyone’s trying to play things safe? And what’s the point in that, after all? The great loves are the crazy ones. (Thank you, Blair.) What would we even read if Goethe, Austen, Verlaine etc. had decided that love has to be easy and convenient?
Nothing worth having is easy to get. So why are we so eager to blow things off when it comes to love? Is it fear? Is it a lack of courage? Maybe both?

No one wants to be hurt, of course. But does that mean that we have to be cautious with everything? What happened to the All-in-or-out-mentality? Why aren’t people willing to take risks anymore? In the end, you can never know how things will turn out. Even if you’re happy for 10 years, it won’t guarantee happiness for the next 10 years to come.

So all it takes is a leap of faith and some courage to make things work. And yes, you may get hurt in the process. But is it that important when there’s so much more to gain?

And until you decide, I’ll be here in my ocean bubble.

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Just blogging, Society

What does freedom even mean?

A few weeks ago, I went to an event for personal development. It was fun and got to know a few interesting people. Besides, some theories that have to do with personal development can be quite challenging. One that I’ve already mentioned here on the blog is the concept that a positive mindset can and will change everything. According to that idea, you are the creator of your reality because you can controll how your mind works. For example you can complain about a shitty party and regret having paid way too much to get in there and for the disgusting booze they serve, or you can choose to make the best out of it and decide to have an awesome time. Tbh, I have no clue how you can decide to have an awesome time if everything around you is awful, but I guess that’s just my underdevelopped personality speaking.
Now to sum up what I wrote in that other blogpost, I do think that a positive attitude is definitely helpful, but in my opinion that alone won’t help much.

Related to the the concept of being in control of your fate by choosing a positive mindset is the concept of freedom. The opposite of that are limiting beliefs – meaning stuff that’s based on personal assumptions. For example saying things like “I can’t just go talk to that person.”, “Bungee jumping is too dangerous.”, “Sharks are evil.”… would fall into the category of limiting beliefs. So in that logic, if you free yourself from your own limiting beliefs, then you’re free to do whatever you want. Which leads me to a conversation I had this afternoon.

As much as I appreciate and also encourage personal growth, some of the personal development theories slightly make me think of cults. When you hear stuff like “Our fates are just the products of our thinking” and “We are all god-like creatures”, or even “Everything the universe has created is perfect” I can’t help but roll my eyes. I also hate phrases like “I love all creatures”. The person I talked to today claimed he loves Trump, just because he’s human as we all are. Sorry, but this is the dullest, stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Nothing in life is just love and happiness. There has to be some rage, some drama, maybe even a few schemes and feuds. And if it’s just to keep things interesting. If things were supposed to always be brilliant, nothing but peace and happiness, why would anyone love soap operas? Or Gossip Girl. I for one am a big fan. (And let’s be honest, the outfits weren’t THAT great.) – And if there’s some higher power that created humans, I guess it loves soap operas as well. Think of all the drama, wars, sex, crime, whatever we have on earth. And then imagine being able to get a private closeup to every single scene, like a VIP access. Who needs VR if you can have omnipresence?

Equally weird as the phrases I mentioned above is the belief that we’re absolutely free when in comes to the decisions we make. If we’re honest, can anyone experience absolute freedom? In my opinion, the answer to that question is a clear and resounding no. And the main reason is that we’re human beings, which means that we actually need the contact to others to stay alive. More, being in a relationship, being in love is like a drug, we’re nothing but little junkies getting high on our daily interactions. So of course, all of our conventions, all of our values are pretty much based on how each inviduum is acting within a group. And honestly, I don’t believe people who say that they don’t care about what others think of them. Maybe they don’t care about a certain group. I for example couldn’t care less about what people in a karaoke bar think of me (my poor friends can confirm). But then there are numerous situations where I actually do care and where I’ll probably be more likely to “play by the rules”, meaning and stick to social conventions, even if it’s just a facade. Like a little white lie.

Besides, did you know that keeping up the social charade where you don’t always speak your mind is actually is proof of good taste? A few centuries ago, this was described as decorum, or in another word, etiquette. And it wasn’t just used to make living and interacting with other humans easier. One could also use it strategically by wisely choosing what to say to whom. When I think of decorum, I always think of Cersei. (Side note: Why do people hate her? I honestly don’t get it.)

But are you truly free if your entire behavior only shows certain aspects of you? I don’t think so. And before you’re pronouncing that outcry I’ve already heard so many times, before you say, “Oh no, I’m always authentic!” or “I would never manipulate people that way!”, go ask yourself: Have you ever omitted an information just because you were embarrassed? Have you ever complimented someone on a new haircut that, in fact, was butt ugly? Have you ever cancelled a date or a party under some dumb pretext just because you preferred staying home with your cat instead of being social? Or have you ever called in sick at work when the only issue you had was a slight hangover paired with a massive feeling of laziness? (Just for the record, I would count massive hangovers as sick, I mean they’re just a version food poisoning.) Or have ever you worried about the neighbors or roommates being able to hear the noise of you while being with your significant other? If at least one of these scenarios is familar to, I welcome you to the world of everyday manipulation. And for every lie we tell, we give up a little amount of freedom, even if it’s nothing but the brain space which is used to remember which lie we told whom. But we’re social beings. If we would have to choose between absolute freedom aka no social conventions, just brutal honesty on one hand, and a healthy social life on the other, I’m pretty sure we would always choose the latter. So instead of telling your friend to get a life because s.he’s been annoying you with boring stories about her.his non-existing love life, you sit patiently, thinking about all the other possibilities how you could have spent your afternoon instead of listening to that crap, mourning the fact that you decided to be a good friend who’s there for the other, but already plotting your revenge – the moment when you need a catsitter, well knowing that your cat’s an asshole – but of course, not mentioning any of this because after all, you really really want to be a good friend, even if it means being in pain for a few moments. And since you’re such a good friend, you of course brought some wine to cheer your friend up, completly ignoring the fact that you’re the one drinking all of it, because your suffering in this exact moment is muuuuuch bigger.

Now one could argue that being free doesn’t mean not taking responsability for your actions, and I totally agree. But the thing is that the functioning on our socitey is mostly based on some sort of compromise, even if it’s a compromise we maybe wouldn’t make if our social standing wasn’t endangered if we didn’t play along. Besides, since we’re not even fully aware how conventions may or may not impact us, the idea of doing something just because you think it may be your personal preference is totally fake. Take shaving for example. Is it really a choice that you fully make on your own, or does shaving or not-shaving always include a message you want to send? Either way, it automatically includes other people. That in my opinion, has nothing to do with freedom.

And I won’t even get to the point where I explain that freedom, no matter if real or fake, is just momentarily. No one can ever claim it for forever. Other people can take way too much of control over your life, may it be by hiearchy, family status, or by holding you hostage. So saying that everyone is free in their actions is total BS. Maybe next time, I’ll ask one of the you-have-the-power-to-create-your-own-destiny-people what their opinion on prostitution is. Or if there’s an age threshold to pass in order to have the power of creating your destiny. I’m thinking of human trafficking and child abuse here. Are the victims free to choose their destiny? Or, referring to my previous blogpost here, did they have it coming because of their shitty mindset?
But also, just living in a normal household and having a curfew kinda limits your freedom.

But even if we don’t concentrate on the importance other people have on our freedom, we ourselves are not free. Our biological needs prevent that. If I want to go on a 60-days-hike, start just like that, not bring any water or food, well, I won’t be able to. I’ll die instead. If I have everything, even in abundance, just except human contact, I’ll die. Humans are not supernatural, god-like beings. We simply can’t do whatever pleases us just because. We would have to bring a suitcase for example. But that would be a compromise, since it would be hindering while moving around for example.
We’re not totally free.

So to answer to the question I raised in the hedline: Freedom is nothing but an idea. There’s no total freedom. For everything we do, every decision we make, there’s a price to pay. One could even go as far and say everything in life is a transaction. (Maybe I’ll get to that in another blogpost.) I know, it sounds depressing. But freedom is a concept created by humans, as is society. So it’s not really surprising that it’s flawed, is it?

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Dating

Is jealousy healthy in a relationship?

“Is jealousy healthy in a relationship?” That’s one of the many questions you can answer on OKCupid. They actually have lots of interesting, sometimes even quite philosophical questions on there and I guess that’s why I’m still signed up. And in contrast to those who just answer these questions randomly, I really like to think about them. (Otherwise, why even bother?)

I probably should get a real hobby instead of overanalyzing shit that happens on dating sites or even my own life. But what can I do, I find both pretty entertaining – even if things don’t go the way I want them to.

I’ve always been more of the jealous type. I “blame” my astrological sign (Aries) and the fact that I’m an only child for that. I put blame in quotes, because I don’t think that being jealous is completely bad. In fact, when I’m with a guy and I’m not jealous, it usually means that I don’t care about him at all. Like he could be hit by a bus like Regina George and I’d just be like *shrug*. (Not that I wish that on anyone, of course. I just kinda measure my relation to someone by imagining something terrible happening to them and how I’d feel about it.)

Being the jealous type has never brought me anywhere and it’s probably the most unnecessary feelings one can feel. No good decision ever comes from jealousy. Instead, you get smashed cars, stalkers and murderers.

Apparently, jealousy was useful in prehistoric times, when heathen hunk needed to be sure that shawty did indeed carry his baby and not the cool hipster heathen’s offspring next cave/ when shawty needed to be sure she could rely on heathen hunk to provide for the kid. Today, we have DNA tests, but unfortunately, our heathen brain has stayed the same.

Or is it just my heathen brain? Because when I talked to a couple of friends who are in open relationships and who are really easygoing people in general, they told me that they’re not jealous at all. I kinda envy them. Mostly because I don’t really believe in monogamy. Even while being in the most amazing relationship (meaning we were pretty commited and there were no unadressed issues or whatever), I started looking at other people pretty fast and thinking about how being with that other person would feel like. Besides, what do you get out of monogamy and (let’s just throw that in) marriage? Security, maybe. And some advantages in taxes and a Golden Retriever. But: After you’ve spent every fucking second of the last 20 years with just one person, who doesn’t even care about you leaving the bathroom door wide open when you take a dump – because anyway, s/he stopped seeing you as a sexual being 10 years ago – wouldn’t it be nice to have a little excitement (other than a new car)? And if you’re truly in love with someone, wouldn’t you want them to have the most fun possible?

I actually think that open relationships would be the ideal form of living together. So why not live in communes as if it was the 60s. (The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Because even if your significant other is seeing someone else, you will exactly know what going on. And with everyone’s participating equally, there’s no need to worry.)

But I guess that’d be too easy. After all, pop culture basically just exists thanks to heart break, complicated triangle relationships, treason and cheating. Can you imagine what we’d talk about if there was no more “Becky with the good hair”?

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Culture, Just blogging, Lifestyle

Watching Hot Girls Wanted

Thanks to binge-watching clips on youtube, I discovered the trailer for the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. Lucky for me, there was a free Netflix trial coming my way, later and so I got to watch it quite soon after the release date. I have to add that it took my a little while before I actually dared to watch it – I was expecting something like Requiem of A Dream, which – as I vividly remember –  was everything but easy to watch. And so, before finally watching the documentary on the very last day of the trial , I kept asking myself if I was ready to see some maybe disturbing content, potentially making me wanna puke. To my great relief, it’s a very well done documentary and co far, I’ve recommended it to everybody I talked to about it.

I was positively surprised about how it was made visually. I guess that, because of the subject, I expected the content to be more explicit and right in your face than it actually is. I’m glad I was wrong and that the documentary is easily accessible, even for a sissy like me.

The French journal Le Figaro describes the documentary as shocking. I wouldn’t use such a strong word. As a guy in the documentray says, porn has become mainstream and boundaries seem to be much lower than they probably used to be 30 years ago. It seems that the common acceptance of it has grown. And therefore, it’s not surprising to me at all that people want to profit from that, producers as well as young girls who think that tehy’re just going to make quick money. Besides, Hot Girls Wanted doesn’t denounce the existence of porn, it rather analyses it, showing different point of views. Instead of relying on the possible shock effect the subject entails, I think the documentary is more about encouraging people to get a wider understanding of the topic and to be critical.

So far, I didn’t have an opinion on porn. I thought if people wanted to make tapes of them or others banging, why not, it doesn’t really affect me. But I start to realize that the impact of porn on society is much bigger than I would have guessed. Before watching Hot Girls Wanted, I had no idea that stuff like torture porn existed. I also wasn’t aware that abuse is very present, to the extent that it’s practically become mainstream. The thought of it makes me feel nauseated and it’s impossible for me to understand how the idea of torture/ abuse / rape can be sexy to somebody supposedly normal. And yet, abuse porn gets around 16 million hits per month and some of the most popular sites even include the mention in their domains.

One could argue that that’s just how porn is, and that hard core niche stuff exists, and that people are acting. But honest question here, has anyone ever considered porn stars as serious actors/actresses? I also doubt that it’s easy to constantly remind oneself that nothing in porn is real and that everybody who’s watching can make that difference.

What worries me are the very weird misconceptions which keep popping up. Just think of how E.L. James glorifies an abusive relationship, and people love it, despite the fact that it’s incredibly poorly written. The wonderfully backward, gender streotype promoting magazine Cosmopolitan France also surprised me: published in the July issue, one article about how to be as sexy as can be in summer actually crept me out. In one paragraph it suggested that when having a picnic, a woman who accidentally cut herself is sexier if the cut bleeds, even sexier if some blood dripped on some carrots, and sexy as hell if she licked the blood from the carrots while staring in the eyes of a man of her choosing. Yeeahhhh…. everybody knows that mutilation always is a big turn-on, as well as blood sucking is. Get some Bella and Edward vibes in your bedroom, ahem, dungeon. Weird that Ozzy Osbourne hasn’t been elected Sexiest Man Alive after he bit off that poor bat’s head.

But even without those rather drastic examples, it’s become evident to me more than once that porn clearly influences our society and the way people interact. All it needs is one click on Instagram in order to see a photo collection of women’s arses (or, to use the correct term which has been invented for that purpose: belfies), under- and sideboobs, and lots and lots of suggestive images.

As for my personal experience, I feel like there’s not much romance going on any more. In a time where everyone can easily find a fuck buddy on Tinder, there’s no need to wait politely and patiently for a third date until getting it on. There were times when I thought of a guy as a real gentleman if he didn’t ask me if I was into anal play on the first date. Or that guy who, not long after I just met him, kept telling me how much he dreamt of face fucking me. When I told him that we didn’t have exactly the same fantasies, he just said “Fine.” and it was the last time I ever heard from him again. I admit that some of my dating choices were obviously very poor. But the actual point I intend to make with those examples is that seemingly, being able to openly talk about sex isn’t that easy sometimes. Instead, in some cases, it’s nothing but a consumed image which is spit out again, sometimes very noisily.

At school, they took sex education very seriously. From a biological point of view, everything had been explained in detail. What we never talked about in class was intimacy and how relationships (are supposed to) work. Another topic that never came up: consent. Although it’s essential. – I also never really talked to my parents about that. And I think, but that’s just a guess, that it’s the same for quite a few of my peers as well as for teens and twens today.

One girl in the documentary stated that she never had sex in real life, but only when she did porn. I find this statement particularily strange. And of course, although this very particular example surely isn’t a common case, I still conjecture that watching what’s a sheer performance for the camera has an impact on the viewers private life, and that comparisons are made in a place where they don’t belong. That being said, I think it’s reassuring, there are initiatives which try to fight that, as for example the website makelovenotporn.com, created by Cindy Gallop. The “Know It” section is quite funny.

For a quick summary of Hot Girls Wanted, the Vice interview with Rashida Jones is pretty good. And for some statistics, you can check out the Forbes article about porn and the internet, or this website, or why not the documentary.

For more posts, go to www.jlouisewinter.com.

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