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Lea Petermeijer
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The European court has controversially authorised the ban of the headscarf, taking its first official stance ever on the issue.


The ruling comes after a receptionist was fired from her three year job at the company G4S in Belgium when she started wearing a headscarf to work. The woman claimed she suffered religious discrimination and took her case to the Belgian court who referred it to the European Court of Justice.

The European court ended up ruling in the company’s favour, claiming that the firm’s decision was justified because it amended workplace rules to forbid staff “from wearing any visible signs of their political, philosophical or religious beliefs”. The court further claimed that the company did not engage in discrimination because the company policy covered “any manifestation of such beliefs without distinction”.

The ban was still heavily criticised by many religious figures, sparking quite a lot of controversy due to the recently hotly debated issue of the integration of immigrant communities in Europe. The most extreme criticisms of the ban interpreted it as Europe openly rejecting the Muslim community.

It is very important to keep in mind that the ruling should not be mistaken as a general ban of the headscarf in Europe. Far from that, the court’s decision simply states that companies have the right to implement a ban of all symbols without exceptions.

Of course, the problem is that Islam is one of the few religions in which women wear such an overt symbol at all times (whether you support that or not is another point), so the risk is that companies start using this ban solely to reject Muslim employees, which would of course contribute to the Muslim population’s isolation.

The ban must also be put into context. In France and Austria for example, it can be understood, as the countries have already forbidden wearing any religious symbols in public places, including the burqa for example. 

However, the ban would be out of place here in the UK, home to arguably the most cosmopolitan city in the world, given our strongly ingrained values or tolerance and acceptance, and our belief that everyone should be free to express their political, religious and philosophical opinions freely. It is therefore a little worrying that the ban is implemented on such a general level, given the diversity of countries in the EU, even though we probably won’t feel its affect for too long because of Brexit…


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Chloe Laws
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Vogue promises us a "diversity issue", they give us Karlie Kloss dressed as a Geisha. Karlie isn't Japanese. She also isn't under represented, considering she's one of the highest earning supermodels in the world. Just this week Karlie confused Destiny's Child and TLC. We didn't think it could get worse, but it did. 


In the shoot her face appears to be whitened, and her hair is done in the traditional Shimada style. Did we get stuck in a time warp? Or is this actually happening? In 2017!

Karlie knows better, Vogue knows better, yet here we are again. Vogue have culturally appropriated a hundred times, and this isn't Karlie's first time at the rodeo. Remember in 2012 when she strutted down the catwalk in a Native American headdress? Stay classy, guys. 

She has set up a coding school, she's is a vocal feminist and has all the makings of a role model. She's smart as hell, yet continues to make such stupid mistakes. Why? She's in a position to say 'no' and turn down shoots that aren't right for her, but does she? No. 

Vogue is a bible for us fashion-lovers, but that doesn't mean they should get a haul pass when it comes to cultural appropriation. There are hundreds of beautiful Japanese models, and Vogue could have had their pick- do better. Please, just do better. 

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Payal Shah
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Donald Trump has officially taken over as acting President of the United States of America, and he's bringing some radical views into the White House with him. Some of these are detrimental to our LGBTQ fam, and the LGBTQ community made sure that the world notices. 


They held a giant political rally in Washington D. C. on January 21st, promoting women's rights, immigration reform, and LGBTQ rights. To add to the awesomeness, this quickly turned into a global movement, where marches were held all over the US and in many international cities as well, all promoting the same cause. 

Additionally, issues like racial inequality were added to the causes being countered. People all over the globe came together somehow to fight for the rights of people who need liberation. And we think that this day will certainly set itself in history as a day full of warm fuzzies and girl love.

Scroll through our gallery above for some amazing snaps of the rallies across the globe, and check out the Women's March website to find a march near you that you can get involved with! Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your dog. But don't miss a chance to be part of history!

Photo Credit: CNN

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Chloe Laws
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Meryl Streep delivered a truly inspiring acceptance speech last night at the Golden Globes, where she used her platform to speak out about the current American political climate and how those in the audience should use their influence to protect the press. 


Meryl stated in her speech that "When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose" and almost like clockwork Trump has responded by attempting to belittle her credibility. 

Trump tweeted "Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the golden Globes. She is a....Hilary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never "mocked" a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him...."grovelling" when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media".

Yes, this is real life. Yes the President-elect of the USA really did just take to twitter to bad mouth a renowned actress who used her position and freedom of speech to voice concern. Calling her a "flunky" and "overrated", note that in Meryl's speech she never once named Trump nor used derogatory language of a similar ilk. 

Not that we should be surprised right? His constant misogyny has been well documented from "You know, it doesn't matter what the media write as long as you've got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass" to "If Hilary Clinton can't satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America", and the infamous "grab her by the p***y, you can do anything". 

Now, let's look at the facts. In what way is Meryl Streep overrated, does he know what that word means? She holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations, has won multiple oscars, received an honorary degree from Harvard and many more accolades. By no stretch of the imagination is she overrated. She's a talented, qualified and competent woman- which from experience we know doesn't bode well with Trump. 

Trump seems convinced that he didn't mock a disabled reporter, but if you watch the video in the gallery above it's pretty black and white. Let us know what you think, were Trump's tweets valid or out of order?

Photo Credit: Twitter, Pinterest, Just Jarred 
Video Credit: People, CNN

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Chloe Laws
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chloelaws

'Tis the season for heartbreak apparently. The Sunday just gone, 11th of December, is the day you're most likely to break up with your Significant Other or get dumped. So if this happened to you, don't worry you ain't alone. And the festive cheer doesn't stop there, today (Wednesday 14th) is the least romantic day of the year. *yay*. 


Dubbed 'Anti-Valentines Day', a study from eHarmony.co.uk has found that increasingly, financial pressure and work responsibilities are behind the lack of romance, while one in ten daters are simply trying to save money by avoiding having to get a new partner a Christmas present. 

21% of singles go on less dates in December than any other time of year, which makes sense- Christmas can add a lot of pressure to new relationships, plus the month is already full of commitments to friends and family. 

Apparently temperature also plays a part, 'cus we don't want to leave the house when it's this bloody cold. 32% of fellas say that it's too cold to date in December, with only 12% of women agreeing. 

So yeah. Happy 14th of December, officially the least romantic day of the year. Fab. Brb, just gunna go cry into a tub of ice-cream... 

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Chloe Laws
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chloelaws

Time Magazine just named Trump their 'Person of the Year', don't spit out your tea, this isn't a joke. The article, which you can read here, is very well written by Michael Scherer, and you almost find yourself understanding his point- but then it dawned on me, the main reason this article is palatable is because Trump's voice is barely heard within it. Which is odd, for a piece which is all about him. But no, instead what you can hear is logic, statistics, ideology and philosophy- with the odd quote from the President Elect thrown in for good measure.

It's easy to make something sound plausible or even positive when it's dressed up enough, statistics of unemployment and the Obama administration's failings try and persuade you that Trump's election is understandable. 

Scherer writes that Trump's campaign was "not a campaign about the effects of tariffs on the price of batteries or basketball shoes. He spoke only of winning and losing, us and them, the strong and the weak. Trump is a student of the tabloids, a master of television. He had moonlighted as a professional wrestler. He knew how to win the crowd. First he needed to define the bad guys. Then he needed to knock them over". 

This statement is true- Trump did play the media into his hand, he uses sensationalist language to win support, but this isn't the issue. Yes, it makes people feel defeated that such showmanship can win over actual merit, but the problem lies more in how and who Trump defines as 'the bad guys'. How he gets people to agree with him is a lesser issue, it's what he's trying to get them to agree with that is scary for a lot of Americans, particularly the minorities. 

Time magazine understand this fear, and the validity of this fear that many hold. But they also understand why Clinton's campaign, and its want to condemn this political darkness, was its biggest downfall. "By seeking to condemn the dark side of politics, Clinton's campaign may have accidentally validated it. By believing in the myth that Obama's election represented a permanent shift for the nation, they proved it was ephemeral. In the end, Trump revealed in these denunciations, which helped him market to his core supporters his determination to smash the existing elite". 

The article finishes on a note of uncertainty "the truth is no one really knows what is going to happen, up to and including the occupants of Trump Tower. 'It's a very exciting time. It's been an amazing time' Trump says, as the country still tries to come to terms with what he accomplished. 'Hopefully we can take some of the drama out'." 

This drama is unlikely to die down, because it was Trump who built his campaign on drama and won because of it. The phrase "you made your bed now sleep in it" springs to mind- because this climate he's created and egged on, where "white supremacists throw out Nazi salutes in Washington meeting halls for their President-elect" is now his mess to run. 

Scherer finishes with this line "It's an America of renewed hope and paralysing fear, a country few expected less than a year ago. Because of Donald John Trump, whatever happens next, it will never be like it was before".

On the surface this piece makes me angry, but when you reach the end it feels comforting- Trump is our person of the year, whether we like it or not, because he's the new president-elect of America. This is the truth, no matter how uncomfortable. 

Time Magazine naming Trump their 'Person of the Year' is apt. It's sensationalised, click-bait and misleading- just like Trump's political tactics. 

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Chloe Laws
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chloelaws

Warning, the image above was used ironically. It's the perfect example of this "Tumblr culture" that is glamourising mental illness.


"Cute but psycho, but cute". Sorry to be blunt, but there's nothing cute about being a psychopath. The dictionary definition of this is "a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviour". It's an illness, and not one that should be glorified or turned into a slogan. 

It's a debate we've all heard before- the extent to which words like anxiety, OCD and depression have become trivialised. We're all guilty of misusing these terms, claiming "this weather is making me depressed" or quips of a similar nature. Ignorance is excusable to an extent, but most people know better than this. We know mental illness is serious, we know it affects 1 in 3 people and that suicide is the biggest cause of death for men between 20 and 49. 

These kind of statistics have been increasingly promoted and shared in the media, thanks to the work of brilliant charities who are pushing for them to become common knowledge. But we are all still colloquially using terms that shouldn't be thrown around. You don't hear people compare a cold to cancer, just as we shouldn't compare being sad to being depressed. One is chronic and often terminal, there is a difference and it's insensitive to not recognise this. 

It's a difficult subject, because most people don't mean it maliciously when they compare their trivial daily problems to mental illnesses, but it still needs to be challenged. Why? Because saying "I'm so depressed" when you mean sad isn't dangerous, it's ignorant and offensive, but not dangerous per say. What is dangerous is this teen culture emerging where young people think things like self-harm are cool. The fact that they are glamourising depression as something romantic or poetic on sites like Tumblr is worrying, and older generations should be concerned. 

A perfect example of this glamorisation is the widespread reaction of teenagers to the film Suicide Squad. A quick look on Tumblr or weheartit and the feed is flooded with images of Harley Quinn and the Joker. Quotes like "she wouldn't die for him, that was too easy. Instead she was willing to live through the misery life brings, all for him" and others are extremely popular. The film is at no fault for this, because after seeing it I don't think it was glamourising  mental health- quite the opposite. But the reaction to it is worrying. 

That quote is not a love young people should be aspiring to experience, its purpose is to show what an abusive relationship looks like. But society's constant trivialisation of mental illness has meant that younger generations aren't equipped to properly distinguish between what is healthy and what isn't. How can we blame them? How are they realistically going to be able to identify anxiety from nerves when the adults around them constantly confuse the two. How are they going to distinguish between a healthy relationship and an abusive one if they think being "psycho" is "cute"?

We all need to make a conscious effort to, firstly, challenge the way we use mental illnesses as descriptive terms, and secondly to educate ourselves so that we can educate the younger generations over the realities of mental illness. 

If you feel like you need support, or to find out more about mental health, visit Mind.org for information.

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Chloe Laws
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Makeup shaming, sigh , it's a product of our deeply misogynistic society. You know, where women are told that they should be 'pretty', to then be told how much prettier they'd be without makeup, to then be met with distain when they go bare faced. We can't win. If you love makeup, you're vain or materialistic, if you don't own any you're not a 'real woman'- it's like Goldilocks- society wants us to wear *just* the right amount of makeup, not too much and not too little. 


It's not just men who makeup shame, women are guilty too. A lot of women think it's vulgar to apply makeup in public, why? Is it because they think we're giving away a female 'secret' and destroying the mystery? This angers me greatly, because a) anyone who thinks women naturally have gold eyelids and red lips deserve to have their bubble burst, b) makeup is not a secret, and it shouldn't be seen as a tool of disguise but more one of fun and confidence, c) who doesn't love watching a woman on the tube do her makeup? It's like a live Youtube beauty tutorial! 

In August the campaigns #ThePowerOfMakeup and #MakeupShaming kicked off after NikkieTutorials shared a half made-up/ half natural tutorial. Women clapped back at the makeup shamers who think women wear it because they're insecure, want male attention or don't love themselves. They showed that they wear it because it's a fun, creative method of self expression, it gives you a little confidence boost and also that it's no one's f*cking business what a woman choses to do with her face. 

Makeup shaming was brought to my attention again a couple of weeks ago, when Tokyo Corp, a Japanese railway operator released a video imploring female commuters to refrain from applying their makeup on their journey. The video shows a young woman confronting two commuters who are doing their makeup, she speaks to the camera "Women in the city are all pretty, but can be ugly sometimes. Why can't you do that before you leave home? Your eyebrows restored and eyelashes multiplied, your transformation has been witnessed". 

There is a plethora of things wrong with this campaign. Firstly, it's outrageously sexist. Secondly, applying makeup on your commute is a bloody efficient use of time. Why would I get up twenty minutes earlier to do my makeup, when I could utilise my hour commute? Thirdly, why on earth are people so bothered?! Surely, there are much bigger issues that this transport operator could be dealing with, like sexual harassment or pickpocketing. But no, apparently a woman applying some mascara on the train needs attention. 

A year ago 'My Pale Skin' (aka Em Ford) released a video entitled 'You Look Disgusting' which responded to the thousands of comments she'd received on makeup free images she had posted on social media. The message, was "I wanted to create a film that showed how social media can set unrealistic expectations on both women and men. One challenge many face today, is that as a society, we're so used to seeing false images of perfection, and comparing ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards that it can be hard to remember the most important thing- you ARE beautiful". 

Makeup shaming, in both veins (shaming those who wear makeup and those who don't) is completely wrong. You are not ugly if you wear makeup, you are not ugly if you don't wear makeup, but you are ugly if you shame and troll others. Beauty isn't skin deep. Moreover, if you makeup shame have a little reevaluation- why do you give a sh*t? Really? How does a woman's choice on how she presents herself have any impact on you? Does it make you feel better about yourself to tear someone else down?

I'll end with a Mean Girls quote, because a Mean Girls quote is ALWAYS relevant. "Calling someone fat won't make you any skinner. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. Ruining someone's life won't make yours any better". 

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Video Credit: My Pale Skin, Nikkietutorials 

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Amanda P
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In the wake of the November presidential election results, many Americans are taking to the streets in protest. In the past week, more than 200,000 people have started using the tag #NotMyPresident, the ACLU published a plan for impeachment, and tens of thousands of people are peacefully protesting in major cities. 


10,000 protesters showed up for Anti-Trump protests in New York, with more marching in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and more. A "Million Women" march on Washington is also being organized for Inauguration Day. President-elect Trump is a polarizing politician by any standard, but why exactly are so many people protesting these election results?

Well, a lot of it has to do with the American political system. The presidential race actually includes two votes: a popular vote, and an electoral college vote. The popular vote is by the people - 1 citizen, 1 vote. Simple democracy, right? Except that the president is not chosen by popular vote. Instead of being based off the popular vote, the president is elected only based on the electoral college vote. So what exactly is the electoral college?

The electoral college is a small group of private individuals. They are not voted in by citizens, nor do they work their way up to their positions. Instead, they are appointed by state legislatures, in closed-door meetings. In total, there are 583 electors from all 50 states. That means that only 583 people, instead of the 319,000,000 US citizens, get to decide on the president.

Most of the time, the electoral college vote and the popular vote turn out the same way - with a few notable exceptions. The only four elections in all United States history to have this conflict happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000. This year's election marks only the fifth time in the nation's history that the electoral college vote contradicted the popular vote. 

While there was some backlash on these occasions, it does not compare to the scope of this year's protests. In fact, these protests are completely unheard of for a modern American presidency, according to Douglas Brinkley, professor of presidential history at Rice University. 

Douglas stated that there have not been widespread demonstrations on this scale since Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860. After President Lincoln won only about 40 percent of the popular vote, protests across the country broke out spontaneously, he added.

The popular vote this year, while not entirely counted yet, is widely attributed to Hillary Clinton, who had literally 1,000,000 more votes than Trump - polls now put her at 61 million voters, and him at 60 million. Could this be what is angering protesters? 

Bernie Sanders, who lost the Democratic nomination to Clinton, had the following to say: "We have a First Amendment. People are angry. People are upset. And they want to express their point of view that they are very frightened, in very, very strong disagreement with Mr. Trump, who has made bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign. I think that people are saying, ‘Mr. Trump, we have come too far in this country fighting discrimination and bigotry. We’re not going back. And if you’re going to continue that effort, you’re going to have to take us on.’

Nevada Senator Harry Reid agreed with him, saying "If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.”

In the past few days, many people - most notably California Senator Barbara Boxer - have been calling for the end of the electoral college. According to Boxer, the electoral college is an "outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society." She added, "When all the ballots are counted, Hillary Clinton will have won the popular vote by a margin that could exceed two million votes, and she is on track to have received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama. This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency."

This is not the first time that Americans have tried to abolish the electoral college. In fact, a 1969 amendment to do so did pass the House Representative Committee, then was approved by President Nixon, but finally lost in the Senate, by only two votes. In fact, opposition to the electoral college is so widespread that in November 2012, Donald Trump himself tweeted, "The electoral college is a disaster for democracy" - garnering 96,000 'likes' and 138,000 retweets. After his nomination, Trump was quick to recount his earlier words, tweeting "The electoral college is actually genius".

In the divided nation, many disagree with the protesters. Robert Pittinger, a Congressman from North Carolina, said about the protesters "The grievance in their minds, the animus, the anger – they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not." Ted Cruz agreed, stating that protesters are just "leftist agitators who crossed the line, who are trying to silence a voice they don't like."

Donald Trump responded to the protests, telling the nation, "Don't be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don't be afraid." When asked why people were protesting, he replied "That's only because they don't know me. I just don't think they know me." Police have been attempting to end the protests by using tear gas on crowds of men, women, and children, and arresting over 100 people nationwide so far.

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Video Credit: TheAdviseShowTV

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Lily Niu
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As America becomes the butt of its own joke within the international community, it's pretty clear that at this point, patriots at home and abroad are either celebrating or feeling full of despair. 

The race to the White House has felt longer and more divisive than ever before but now that the Great Sh*t Show of 2016 has reached its climax, the American people can look forward to Inauguration Day on January 20th, when they'll have either moved to Canada or purchased a copy of Russian for Beginners.

Scroll right through our gallery above to see how celebrities - not the lame ones like Tila Tequila or Kirstie Alley - are reacting to news of Trump's victory.

Considering that the majority of you were likely to have stayed up to watch the drama unfold, a play-by-play of last night's events aren't necessary. 

Trump's victory speech - which you can watch in full in the video above - saw him offer commiserations to Hillary Clinton and her family, thank his supporters, and pledge to be a president for "all of Americans" from "all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs..."

Perhaps concerned about the divide within the country, Trump's victory speech made no mention of the wall he intended to have built along America's southern border that he wants to Mexico to pay for. The Donald also politely refrained from any "locker-room talk" and mentions of "p*ssy grabbing." 

Given that Trump's campaign for the presidency was fuelled by anti-establishment anger, can his administration really give the people what he promised? 

As Michael Moore put it in his recent documentary Michael Moore in TrumpLand, "When the rightfully angry people of Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin find out after a few months in office that President Trump wasn't going to do a damn thing for them, it'll be too late to do anything about it."

Several important issues hang in the balance: Do #BlackLivesMatter to Trump? Will there be mass deportations? If not, what will be the extent of the potentially violent uproar among gun toting, die-hard Trump supporters should he fail to deliver? Who will move to Canada first, Miley Cyrus or Lena Dunham? And lastly, WHEN WILL WE SMASH THE GLASS CEILING? 

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Video Credit: ABC15 Arizona, mmflint

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Navin Kumar
very grabbing write-up
Chloe Laws
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Your friends, they love you and want the best for you. However, can their opinions about your relationship be more damaging than good? Should your friend's opinions about your SO be crucial to whether the relationship lasts? 

Bridget Jones once said that friends "spend years trying to find you a boyfriend, but the moment you get one, they instantly tell you to dump him!". This quote, although in jest, does often ring true. I don't believe that there are usually any malicious intents, merely your friends want you to have perfection, but sadly this doesn't exist, so they will always be disapointed. 

Relationships don't happen in a vacuum, so unfortunately the idea of keeping your friends and SO separate is neither plausible or healthy. Felmlee in 2001 found that the "social network effect" emerges, thus the social network effects our relationships with romantic partners- enhancing it when the social ties approve but their disapproval can therefore lead to the relationship ending. 

We care what our friends think, because their opinions matter to us and we take them on board in most sectors of our lives- it is only natural to think twice about a relationship if a friend doesn't approve. 

However, the main thing to remember is that it isn't their relationship. No-one can truly know, or understand, the dynamic you and your partner have apart from the two of you. Unless your partner really is a piece of sh*t, then your friends shouldn't have a deciding say. If they don't like his personality, or aren't sure that your life goals align, these are concerns they can raise but should never tell you how to act or feel. 

Their preferences don't have to be the same as yours. These are your mistakes to make. They may, ultimately, be right about the fate of your relationship but just because they have this perspective doesn't mean you do yet- we all need to go through relationships, good and bad, to realise what we want. 

We have all been blinded by love or lust before, but this blindness only lasts so long. We all eventually wake up, and face the reality, in the meantime your friends should only be their to support you. To listen, and offer advice if you ask for it and to tell you "I told you so" when it ends- they should not give you ultimatums, or make your life harder than it already is. There's tough love and then there's being a straight up b*tch. 

You're lying if you say you haven't been on both sides of this debate- we've all been the friend getting too involved whilst thinking we're helping, and we've all been the friend in a sh*t relationship trying to block out the voices of concern. 

Know your place as a friend, know where the line is, and remember that the only opinion that matters in your relationship is your own. If it is true love, they'll come around. If it's not, they'll be there with a bottle of wine and ice cream. 

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Chloe Laws
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Zayn Malik has opened up in his autobiography, of an eponymous title, about suffering from an eating disorder during his time in One Direction. He revealed that food felt like "the one thing in his life he could control". 

He has always been open about his mental health and issues with anxiety, but this is the first time he's spoken publicly about his past eating disorder. 

"It wasn't as though I had any concerns about my weight or anything like that, I'd go for days- sometimes two or three days straight- without eating anything at all. It got quite serious, although at the time I didn't recognise it for what it was". 

Continuing "I had lost so much weight I had become ill. The workload and the pace of life on the road put together with the pressure and strains of everything going on within the band had badly affected my eating habits". 

Eating disorders in men is a topic which is often not spoken about, read our #HotTopic HERE where we discuss the issue. 

The autobiography is out today, if you want to grab a copy...

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