Questions other than “Am I bikini body ready?” to ask yourself this summer

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by Zainab Boladale

As women, we are expected to have body confidence issues and while it is true that a lot of us do, what about those of us who actually don’t? Why are we being told that we should? It’s obvious that we are perceived as “the weaker fragile sex” by society and are expected to strive for perfection. It seems that society cares about us so much that there will always be someone ready to point out our supposed “problem areas”. The number one offender being, that’s right you’ve guessed it, the media with their “oh so brilliant” strategic marketing. What I mean by this is that in the last few years, companies targeting female customers are using different techniques to sell us their products. Rather than selling the product for what it does, they are selling it as a product that will actually help us improve our problem areas by pointing out that it should be a problem area. These adverts subtly instil the feeling of body shame when in fact there should be no reason to feel ashamed about what your body naturally does or looks like. I get really annoyed when I see adverts that display a healthy size 16 woman going to a size 8, despite the fact that she was perfectly fine at her initial size. Or the recent “Are you beach body ready?” advert by protein world that suggest that all our bodies should look like the woman in the poster, otherwise it shouldn’t be shown.

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As for women who actually show or feel confident in their bodies, we are quickly branded as “vain”or “stuck up bitches”. Personally, I 90% feel confident in my body. Of course, there are days where I criticise certain aspect of my body, like my far from iron flat stomach or my kit kat bar chunky thighs but there are days, weeks, months even where I can appreciate that all of these things add to my unique shape and I have no desire to lose an insane amount of weight or volunteer my body for the hunger games just because I don’t look like a Victoria Secrets model. If anything, i’m happy looking like I know all of Betty Crocker’s secret recipes. Body love is something that every woman needs and it genuinely makes me mad that magazines and adverts target our insecurities not because they care about our “health” or want to make us love our bodies more than we already do. There are so many natural, unique and beautiful body shapes in the world so it’s crazy to think that there is one standardized perception of what is considered beautiful. Being aware of two cultural ideas of beauty, Africans seeing perfection in a rounder woman, and Europeans seeing beauty in a slender women, has made me realise that no matter how you look you will always be judged. Body love is an important thing and I think as long as you love your body and know how to work all your best features, then what anyone else thinks shouldn’t matter. So girls, this summer instead of asking ourselves “Am I bikini body ready?” ask yourselves “Is that bikini ready for your body?”.

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Soundtrack to Summer

by Bronwyn O’Neill

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Summer is almost here, so it’s time to get in the summer mood. Here are some great songs, both old and new, to do just that.

Miami 82 – Syn Cole (Kygo Remix)

No summer mix is complete without Kygo, so to start us off here is (in my opinion) the best song to get into that summer feeling.

Where Are U Now – Skrillex& Diplo ft Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber is back and better than ever. With this new song produced by Diplo and Skrillex, it will definitely be a hit this summer.

Cheerleader – OMI (Felix Jaehn Remix)

This song is already all over the radio and it has those chill summer vibes that will make it stand the test of the summer charts.

Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Ray (Cedric Jervais Remix)

Old but gold, we hope you don’t have any sadness this summer. However, this song will probably make a comeback in nightclubs during the summer months. If not, it’s still a great way to get ready for summer.

I Really Like You –  Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly is back with another catchy song that will have us mouthing the words in the car. It may have a different vibe from the rest of the songs on this list but it’ll get me through the summer.

Firestone – Kygo

Kygo makes a second appearance on the list with his first original song. Another song that has already hit the charts, seeming like it’ll bring us into the sunny weather.

Summer – Calvin Harris

It’s called summer, so you might as well use it to concrete the summer feeling in your mind. Anyway, it will definitely bring back summer memories of last year.

Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia

I honestly don’t care how old this song is, it is always going to be an undeniable summer tune. As will this next one.

Wake Me Up – Avicii

This song will always bring back fond summer memories.

Don’t Look Down – Martin Garrixft Usher                

Martin Garrix’s new song will have you up and ready to feel the summer sun. Be prepared to hear this song a lot.

Sun is Shining – Axwell ^ Ingrosso

Two thirds of Swedish House Mafia bring out this amazing summer song. Although it’s of yet unreleased, it does feature in the H&M advertisement.

Stronger – Arty ft Ray Dalton

A song to get you pumped for the summer and all the adventures you’re going to have.

Hold You – Basto

This song has serious summer vibes, even the vocal will bring sun to mind. This will surely get you through the summer.

If it wasn’t for You – Alesso

Cool is everywhere but Alesso’s newest song which he premiered at Ultra seems like a song better suited for summer. I’m sure we’ll hear it a lot in the coming months.

The Only Way is Up – Martin Garrix&Tiesto

This collab was released last week and has all the makings to becoming a summer hit. With Tiesto and Garrix behind it, there is no doubt it’ll be blaring all through the summer.

Forbidden Voices – Martin Garrix (JakobLiedholm Remix)

Forbidden Voices is one of Martin Garrix’s big songs. However this remix will bring it into the summer and give you some serious summer vibes.

Heartbeat– Magnificence(Nicky Romero Edit)

This song will make you long for summer nights and going out. Summer nights out are always unforgettable, so this song is a perfect one to get you in that mood. Or perhaps a summer evening drive with the gang.

Peanut Butter Jelly – Galantis

Galantis’ first single “Runaway” is high on the charts, their third single seems like it will get you into those chill summer vibes.

Better Off Alone– Alice Deejay (Zaxx Remix)

This remix of a classic will get you in the mood for more summer outings.

Have a great summer guys.

Your Summer Bucket List

by Shirley Donlon

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For most of us, the college year has come to an end which means one thing – summer has arrived! After weeks of stressing, studying and cramming I’m sure that everyone is now looking forward to a well deserved break but with so much spare time it can be hard to know what to do first. With the help of this ready-made summer bucket list you can prepare to have an unforgettable summer.

  1. Travel

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Travelling is by far one of the best ways to spend your summer. I mean, how often are we going to have over three months completely free from responsibility? We need to make the most of our summers as students by travelling. Whether you wish to enjoy a relaxing two week break in the sun with a couple of your best friends or go crazy and enjoy a holiday of partying there are many choices of different places to go.
Another amazing option for getting the travelling bug out of your system is to have the experience of a lifetime and go on a three month J1 working trip. This is a great way to experience a different culture, become more independent and also get some work experience on your CV.
If flying isn’t your thing, don’t worry, our own little island has so many hidden treasures and wonderful places to explore during the summer. From a surfing trip on the West coast to a hike up the mountains of Glendalough, Ireland will certainly keep you busy during the summer months.

  1. Summer Barbecue

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A summer barbecue is a great way to catch up with friends who you don’t see as often as you’d like and with the expense of student life it’s safe to say money can be a bit tight after a year of paying for campus accommodation and going on endless nights out to Diceys. Save your money by whipping up some home-made burgers and catching up with friends in the evening instead of going to a restaurant.

  1. Festival

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The summertime is the perfect time to go to a music festival and with so many to choose from you’re sure to find one that will appeal to you. Festivals have become increasingly popular in recent years and some of the world’s best singers, DJ’s and musicians are getting more and more involved each year. All we’ve been seeing for the past couple of weeks is photos of Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Vanessa Hudgens, Cara Delevingne and lots more celebs as they enjoyed the renowned music festival that is Coachella. And while most of us will never be so lucky to make it to Coachella (sigh) it’s okay because Ireland hosts many of the best Summer music festivals around – Longtitude, Electric Picnic, Forbidden Fruit. Tickets can be pricey and sell out really fast so make sure to grab yours before it is too late!

  1. Exercise Outside

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Okay, I know this isn’t as exciting as the others mentioned above but summer is the perfect opportunity to swap the gym for a nice long run on the beach or through the park. It isn’t often that we get nice weather so exercise outside this summer and make the most of the sunshine! Plus, exercising outside will help you get that summer glow J

  1. Camping

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Whether it’s in the woods, on the beach or in your own back garden, camping is such a fun thing to do in the summer. All you need is a tent, some warm pyjamas, a group of friends and obviously some marshmallows for toasting. Just remember, it is always a good idea to use the toilet BEFORE getting set up for camping – there is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night, in a tent, needing to go to the toilet!

  1. Cocktail Party

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What better way to celebrate the end of exams and the stress of the college year than with a cocktail party? Whether you’re getting ready to go out afterwards or simply having a chill night in with the girls, a cocktail party is the perfect chance to catch up, have fun and relax with friends. Here are two simple recipes for your own home-made cocktails. Enjoy! (Feel free to leave out the alcohol for a yummy non-alcoholic drink.)

Sea Breeze Cocktail
1 Part Vodka
1 Part Grapefruit/Pineapple Juice
3 Parts Cranberry Juice

       Woo Woo
      
1 Part Vodka
1 Part Peach Schnapps
4 Parts Cranberry Juice
Ice

  1. Spice up your look!

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It is always tempting to change up your look during the year but sometimes the fear of it turning out badly and having to go into work or college to showcase your new look can be enough to stop you doing it. The summer is the perfect time to be adventurous and try out that style that you’ve always wanted to. Use the three months to experiment with different looks and have fun with it. Whether you feel like dying your hair a new colour, wearing something you’ve never worn before or doing something you have always wanted to there is no better time to do so than during the summer months. If hair is your thing, follow in the footsteps of Kylie Jenner by adding a pop of colour to the tips of your hair using hair chalk or hair dye. If you’re not feeling that daring, try spicing up your style by buying something you’ve always wanted to wear.

  1. Go on an Adventure

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Ireland has so many great attractions. For those of us who are staying home for the summer this is a great opportunity to explore the great hidden treasures that Ireland has to offer. Go on a group surfing trip in Lahinch, Co.Clare or take a visit to Carlingford Adventure Centre in Co. Louth for a weekend filled with activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, zip-lining and more. If you and your friends are the spontaneous type (and are lucky enough to own a car) go on a road trip and see where it takes you!

  1. Charity Work

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During the summer there are lots of options to get involved in raising some money for a great cause. In Ireland there are many different organisations that encourage students to get involved and volunteer to do some charity work. There is a variety of marathons and races that raise money for charity running through the summer months. Gather a group of friends and take part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon on June 1st and run, walk or jog for a great cause.

  1. Relax

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Finally, if you’re feeling exhausted after a year of doing assignments and exams it is important to relax and enjoy your well deserved break from college. Don’t feel like you have to keep busy every single day. Sometimes all you need is a good rest.

Enjoy your summer!

How social media affects our self image

by Bronwyn O’Neill

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Social media plays a huge part in our lives, especially in our teenage years and into our early twenties. I decided to look at how social media controls our self-esteem because of a famous confession revealed last week.

Kylie Jenner, one of the world’s most fashionable teenagers, has admitted to getting lip fillers. Although it was probably one of the worst kept secrets out there, it does raise the issue of how social media can affect us. In the latest episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kylie discusses her own self-consciousness, an issue that has only been heightened due to social media attention.

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So, if one of the most influential teenagers can be affected so badly be social media, how can us regular plebs not be?

Everyone, male and female, has insecurities. Whether it be weight, height, scars, noses or lips, I highly doubt anyone wakes up and thinks “perfection.” (Except maybe Beyoncé because she did in fact wake up like that.)

On a serious note, there hasn’t been a year when we hear about another suicide because of social media. Of course there are bullies attached to these deaths but the problem may also be that we put our most “perfect” self online. Every image is scrutinised, edited and filtered before we make it our profile picture on any social media site. The fear when we receive a notification saying someone has tagged you in pictures stems from wanting to seem flawless online. Due to this, cyber bullying is such a huge issue and such an attack on our self-esteem. If our ideal self is called fat and ugly then what are we really?

Teenagers look too much at unrealistic body images, photos that are photoshopped and edited to make the celebrity look perfect. Even when the images aren’t edited to such an intense standard, most celebrities take pictures in full make-up and hair, done by professionals that we can never stand up to.

This is not just a female issue, men also have to measure up to a certain body image. Men fall under just as much scrutiny and also suffer from negative body issues. We are all victims to this. We all put too much thought into how many likes our pictures get on instagram or how many followers we have on twitter. We feed into it and because of that, so many people face eating disorders and mental health issues.

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I think it’s time we embrace our insecurities and learn to love them. Easier said than done, I suppose.

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