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Robyn White


How To Cope With Coronavirus Anxiety

The new strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19, is in every headline at the moment, with many news outlets sharing frightening statistics and figures and causing widespread anxiety.

As with any outbreak, it is of course important to stay informed, however when we are obsessing over the headlines to the extent that it impacts our mental health, there are boundaries we need to put in place.

News-related anxiety is a very real issue in our society. Smartphones give us constant access to news bulletins, twitter and other social mediums that are full of people scaremongering and reminding us of reasons to be afraid.

However, living in fear is never the sensible strategy. While it can seem much easier said than done, we have put together some top tips on what you can do to cope with Coronavirus-related anxiety.

Manage your news consumption to deal with anxiety

While it’s tempting to constantly be checking for updates on the news, it doesn’t do your state of mind any good. It’s also important to remember that many media outlets rely on click bait for their views, meaning that headlines will often be dramatic and include triggering phrases such as ‘pandemic’.

You can also manage your news consumption by deleting news apps off your phone or disabling push notification.

Distract yourself

It might seem like Coronavirus is all everyone is talking about at the moment, so it’s important to make sure not the whole of your time is spent thinking about it. Go out with friends, have a good time and just unwind.

Global outbreaks such as the Coronavirus can be a lot for us all to deal with, especially if you re already prone to anxiety. Make sure to practice some self care and look after yourself, even if that means taking a break from work or studying.

Put it into perspective

Remember that every development with Coronavirus will be reported by every news outlet. This can make it seem like these headlines are happening every five seconds. Instead of looking at it on a global scale, try to focus on your local situation alone, rather than looking at the whole picture. Ask yourself, what is the current situation in your state? What is the local advice?

The statistics on the number of people that have been infected and killed are scary, however the rapid spread of the virus has not been an unexpected occurrence to government officials.

Based on the data of 17,000 patients with the coronavirus, the World Health Organization says that 3 percent of those with the virus become critically ill. At present, 82 percent of people who are infected develop only mild symptoms.

The coronavirus has been tricky to keep from spreading due to the fact that these 82 percent only experience mild symptoms, believing themselves to be fit to get out and about, thus spreading the virus to other people. With other outbreaks of Coronavirus such as SARS, it did not spread on the same scale as COVID-19 due to patients becoming very ill very quickly.

Know where the worry comes from

News-related anxiety is common, but it can usually be managed by simple steps such as managing your media consumption. However, if you are experiencing serious symptoms of anxiety, it may be due to a larger mental health issue. Anxiety relating to the Coronavirus is normal, however if the worry you feel is effecting your every day life and ability to complete tasks, it is worth seeing a counsellor or doctor to talk about it in more depth.

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10 of the Best TV Shows and Movies to Watch if You’re Single This Valentines Day

It’s a hard time of year if you’re bummed about being single.

Maybe you’ve recently been through a break up, or maybe you’re just sick of being alone. With Valentines day approaching, couples are more nauseating than ever, and as a result you feel more single than you did over the holidays.

However, being single this Valentines Day means that you have the perfect excuse to kick back and binge watch some great movies and TV shows with that box of chocolates that you most definitely should buy yourself.

So, here are some top picks of great TV Shows and movies, from new releases to well-known classics, that will empower you in your single state this Valentines Day.

TV Shows

Grace and Frankie

Feminist icons Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin play 70+ Grace and Frankie in the Netflix original. Grace is a sophisticated and level headed business woman, while Frankie is a free spirited and emotional hippie. Yet when their husbands announce they are gay (and in love with each other) the pair find they have more in common than they thought. The TV show is about the women navigating their new single life, embracing womanhood in their later years.


If there’s any TV show that will scare you out of having a significant other it’s Netflix’s You, staring Penn Badgley. This dark thriller follows the character Joe, who becomes obsessed and infatuated with a vulnerable girl called Beck, studying as a writer in New York City. Joe decides to stalk her in an attempt to make her his girlfriend and we won’t spoil it, but let’s just say you will want to delete any form of social media you ever had.

Gilmore Girls

We don’t care if you’ve seen it all the way through a million times, there is no better therapy than Lorelai Gilmore. If anything is going to convince you that you don’t need a partner, it’s the topsy turvy life of Rory and Lorelai as they figure out life, love and friendships. Over a whole seven seasons, might we add.

Arrested Development

Watch all seasons of Arrested Development on Netflix if you literally want to forget about everything and watch something hilarious and dumb this Valentines Day. There’s a bit of schadenfreude that comes with watching the misfortunatate life of the Bluth family, and you can sit back be guilt free in your bitterness this Valentines Day.

The Walking Dead

Feeling particularly upset or heartbroken? Watch a few episodes of post-apocalyptic zombie-fest The Walking Dead to remind yourself that it could always be worse. Also, you can’t get more un-romantic than this.


How To Be Single

Dakota Johnson plays Alice, who takes a break with her long term boyfriend to focus on her career in New York. Rebel Wilson plays her wild co-worker Robin, who hates all things romance and loves one-night stands. The whole film is about Alice learning how to live on her own and navigate her own life in New York.

Forgetting Sarah Marshal

If the fact that Jason Segel and Paul Rudd are in this film, isn’t enough to sway you then maybe the plot will. Lovable musician Peter Bretter is better known for being the boyfriend of famous actress, Sarah Marshall. That is until she breaks up with him leaving him heartbroken. The film is about Peter navigating himself without her, making friends and finding his passions – all while staying at the same vacation resort as his ex.

Legally Blonde

If you’re a female who has recently been through a break-up, and are still in the state of crying into your pillow, it’s because you haven’t watched Legally Blonde yet. Even if you’ve seen this classic a hundred times already, it’s sure to reinforce your sense of self after heartbreak.

The Hangover

If you need an escapist comedy that shows you friends are all you really need, the Hangover films are a good way to go. A film full of bromances, stupid mistakes and crude humour, you cannot go wrong if you’re feeling hateful towards loved up couples this V-day.

Get Out

This 2017 horror film should do the trick if you want something really anti v-day this Friday. This film should remind you that it’s okay not to be in a relationship because your girlfriend and her family might turn out to be psychotic. Better to stay single, just in case.

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‘Miss Americana’ Review: A Powerful Voice on Female Validation

Love her or hate her, Taylor Swift is one of the biggest stars of the past decade. A ten-time Grammy winner and the highest paid woman in music of the 2010’s, there is a lot about Swift that many of us cannot relate to. And as a woman who has had her life sprawled all over headlines and documented through her song writing, she’s a celebrity that many of us thought we knew.

However,  Lana Wilson’s long-awaited documentary, Miss Americana, proved us wrong on all accounts.

What we originally thought was going to be a basic commentary on the singer’s life actually turned out to be a coming-of-age story that revealed some of the darkest parts of fame that a woman can face.

The documentary instantly starts off showing one of Swift’s more vulnerable moments, in a scene where she finds out her 2017 album reputation was not nominated for the 2018 Grammy’s. While hardly any of us can relate to such an experience, the undertones of the scene represent Swift’s fear of failure in an industry where they are magnified. This brings us to one of the most important themes displayed in Miss Americana—womanhood in all its complexities and a quest to seek validation.

See also: Why the Taylor Swift Music Ownership Dispute is a Feminist Issue

“A Nice Girl”

Miss Americana shows that amid the successes and downfalls of her career, Swift was in a relentless pursuit of perfection.

The documentary catapults it’s subject matter off Swift being told that “A nice girl doesn’t force her opinions on people. A nice girl smiles and waves and says thank you. A nice girl doesn’t make people uncomfortable with her views.” Swift explains that she was so obsessed with not getting in trouble that she decided not to do anything anyone could say something about.

As many fans had hoped it would, the film explores the infamous 2009 scandal, where Kanye West interrupted Swift’s VMA acceptance speech. Despite this being a clear case of bullying, where a 30-year-old man tried to delegitimize the success of young woman, Swift automatically concluded that she was the problem. Swift revealed that she thought the crowd was booing her. Not Kanye West.

“For someone who has built their whole belief systems on getting people to clap for you the whole crowd booing is a pretty formative experience,” she says.

Women in all walks of life can relate to the feeling of being delegitimized, and for Swift to come out with her own experiences (despite being one of the most successful female artists of the decade) is one of the most powerful moments of the documentary.

This incident was a catalyst for many negative experiences for Swift.  Trying to seize back control of how the world saw her by focusing on her body image, Swift fell into an eating disorder which saw her nearly passing out in the middle of shows.

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“The Right Side of History”

However, while Swift learned how to overcome her eating disorder the documentary goes on to show how Swift took back control in a more positive way by breaking her political silence. Despite being told throughout her career to keep her views to herself, Swift decided that it was time to use her platform to stand up for what she believed in. She started by posting on instagram regarding the midterm elections, which saw a spike of 65,000 vote registrations in the first 24 hours of it being posted.

“I am trying to be as educated as possible on how to respect people, on how to de-programme the misogyny in my own brain. There is no such thing as a slut, there is no such thing as a bitch. There is no such thing as someone who is in bossy, there is just a boss,” says Swift,  towards the end of the documentary. And what is more relatable yet, is the fact that Swift is still learning how to deconstruct the misogynistic pressures ingrained in her own brain, as she immediately adds: “Sorry that was a real soap box. Wait why did I say sorry?!”.

Miss Americana does not shy away from uncomfortable subject matters from its descriptions of the harrowing sexual assault trial Swift went through in 2017, to her eating disorder. The documentary shows Swift as a woman seeking validation and showing her own vulnerability, yet demonstrates her ability to bite back and be heard.

Miss Americana is now available to stream on Netflix.

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Trump Cleared of All Charges in Impeachment Trial

President Donald Trump has been cleared of all charges in his impeachment trial.

In a historic vote that took place yesterday, the Senate voted to acquit the President, ending a congressional bid to remove him from office. The Senate voted 52-48 on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress.

The President was initially charged in December after allegations that he had pressuring Ukraine into investigating political rival Joe Biden by withholding $391m reserved for security aid. Trump was then charged by obstructing congress in investigating the issue.

This was only the third presidential trial in American history. Trump, who is seeking a second term in the 2020 November election, is the first president to be impeached in his first term and then have the opportunity to seek reelection.

The President always denied any wrong-doing.

After the trial, his re-election campaign said in a statement: “President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people. The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.

“This impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.”

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Former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton reacted to the result of the trial on twitter

How did the vote play out?

The impeachment trial took place yesterday.

Mitt Romney was the only Republican to convict Trump on the first charge of abuse of power.

Some other Republican senators criticised Trump’s behavior however did not think it rose to the level of being removed from office

A two-thirds majority vote was needed in order to remove Trump from office, which was always an unlikely outcome.

The Democrats expressed concern that clearance of the Presidents charges would embolden Trump’s questionable behaviour.

The President will be making a statement on his victory at noon on Thursday.


Trump’s Impeachment: A Simple Guide

Donald Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached last night.

But what does that actually mean?

It does not mean that the President is removed from office. This is common mistake made by many. It does, however, mean that he could be.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were also impeached, however neither were removed from office. There is a possibility, that Trump could be the first ever.

The impeachment takes place after a three month Democratic investigation into whether the President pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and thus help his chances of getting re-elected in 2020.

Trump, however, completely denies any wrongdoing.

What does impeachment actually mean?

Put simply, ‘to impeach’ means to bring charges against a government official. However, it happens in several stages.

The first stage of impeachment happened last night. The House of Representatives takes a vote on two articles of charges. The next stage heads to the Senate where a trial will be held.

In short, Trump is technically impeached, however the real decision will take place in January, where the Senate decide whether to remove Trump from office altogether. For now, Trump is still President.

What exactly is he accused of?

Trump is accused of two things. First and foremost, he is accused of abusing his presidential power, using it for personal political gain and boosting his chances of re-election in 2020.

It is said that the President did this by pressuring Ukraine to dig up damaging evidence against one of his main Democratic rivals, Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The President is accused of using two things as bargaining chips to Ukraine: withholding $400m military aid that Ukraine had been allowed by congress, and a meeting at the White House for the Ukraine President.

The Democrats state that this wasn’t just an act fuelled by hopes of personal gain, but that it was harmful to national security.

The second charge brought against Trump, is his refusal to co-operate with the initial impeachment inquiry.

Trump’s tweet a few hours after the impeachment yesterday evening

Is there evidence?

This all started in September, when a whistleblower, an anonymous intelligence official, wrote a letter which expressed concern regarding Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A transcript of the call revealed that Trump had indeed urged Zelensky to investigate damaging suspicions against Joe Biden and his son.

This came shortly after Trump’s blockage of the $400m military aid.

The second bit of evidence came in the form of an official letter, stating that Trump would release the money, on the condition that Ukraine investigated the Biden’s.

Does Trump have a defence?

Trump strongly denies any wrongdoing. He claims that the Democrats have been trying to impeach him since he was first elected in 2016, calling the impeachment inquiry a ‘witch hunt’.

According to Trump, it was completely called for and within his right to ask Ukraine to investigate ‘corruption’.

All in all though, the Republicans have three defences. That Ukraine’s president felt no pressure, that the Ukrainians were unaware that the aid was held back, and that the military aid was eventually released.

What now?

Whether Trump’s defences are enough to keep him in office is yet to be decided.

Now, a trial will be held in the Senate, after which senators will vote on whether to convict the president of the above charges.

If less than two-thirds of the senate vote to convict, Trump remains in the office. However, if two-thirds of the senate vote to convict, Trump will be removed as the US president.

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Who’s Nominated for the 2020 Golden Globes?

The nominees for the 2020 Golden Globes awards have been announced, and it is a big year for Netflix originals and feisty females.

As the first major Hollywood awards show of 2020, the awards ceremony hints at what’s to come for the Oscars.

Netflix original Marriage Story, starring Scarlet Johansson and Adam Driver and directed by Noah Baumbach, is the film with the most nominations this year, featuring in six categories while the Irishman and Joker come closely behind with five.

As usual however, the list of nominees included a few shocks and snubs. For example, the star-studded motion picture Cats, which includes the likes of Dame Judi Dench and Ian McKellan has only been nominated for it’s original song Beautiful Ghosts, while immensely popular TV show Game of Thrones is not included in any major races, only featuring in one category.

It is however, a big year for some of the biggest actresses on the screen today. Apple TV show The Morning Show is nominated for three awards, no doubt due to its politically poignant narrative as well as the performances from co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. While the show had mixed reviews on its release, it has been the general consensus that this may be Aniston and Witherspoon’s best acting to date. Not to mention that this see’s Aniston’s first nomination in four years.

Historical drama The Crown, which follows the story of the British royal family, also sees the likes of Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter being nominated for awards for their performance as Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Tobias Menzies has also been nominated for his performance as the Duke of Edinburgh in the critically acclaimed TV series.

The awards hold some tough competition for some of the hugest names of this year, such as Taylor Swift and Beyonce both being nominated for their original songs in Cats and  The Lion King, as well as Anniston and Witherspoon both competing for the best TV show actress category.

The Golden Globes will air on the January 5, 2020 and are held in Los Angeles.

See the full list of nominations here.

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What Just Happened to Women in Pakistan?

A few days ago, a feminist discussion in Pakistan was revealed to have an all-male panel.

Inevitable backlash and outrage from people all over the world meant that the Arts Council of Pakistan was forced to hastily reorganise the debate, which was originally entitled ‘Feminism: The Other Perspective’.

The debate has now been retitled ‘Understanding Feminism’ and now includes two female voices on the board; Feminist campaigner Mehtab Akbar Rashdi and journalist Quatrine Hosain.

Despite now having included a couple female voices to the board (meaning it is still overwhelmingly male), the event sparked a global debate.

This is reminiscent of the many times we have seen men debating women’s abortion and reproductive rights as well as other feminist issues in US politics.

Last year, a study ranked Pakistan as the sixth most dangerous country for women. So it should have been quite obvious, that having an all-male panel does not seem like the way forward in tackling the countries gender inequality.

The issue reveals why Pakistan is still overwhelmingly patriarchal, in that attitudes have clearly not changed despite efforts.

While we know that there is some progress being made for women in this part of the world, it is slow and often involves ironic circumstances such as this feminist event being arranged by an all-male committee.

As is often the case with global outrage, people took to twitter. For example, comedian Shehzad Ghias Shaikh took to twitter, jokingly tweeted: “This Friday I’ll be giving a workshop on how to menstruate at the arts council of Pakistan followed by a talk on breastfeeding children. Ten percent discount for all attendees on my pregnancy management course. Please join me in teach the world about women’s lives.”

Despite the obvious joke, it hits the nail on the head. That men teaching women about their own lives is happening far too often inside and outside of politics.

Another twitter user said that the situation illustrates men helping themselves to more of a platform to share their voice, before women even have one. Which ultimately, defeats the object of the entire event.

Organisers of the event defended themselves on the ground that the debate was entitled ‘Feminism: The Other perspective’ because it was allowing men to share their views on feminism. However, it is sadly a defence that the world has seen as missing the point entirely.

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5 Tips For Surviving the Holidays With a Dysfunctional Family

The holidays are coming up. A time for laughter, relaxing, feeling thankful and mainly, spending time with loved ones. Or so it would seem in the movies.

In reality, the Christmas blues affect many of us that go home to dysfunctional families and instead of feeling relaxed after a busy semester, you end up feeling more stressed and irritated than when you were batting out that term paper at 3AM. And so, with Christmas, often comes a myriad of mental health issues and a resurgence of old wounds that you’d rather forget.

While the love we have for our families may be very real, the stress and anxiety that comes with spending weeks in their company can sometimes be a real struggle.

So, we’ve come up with a few top tips on how to deal with those holiday blues and safeguard your mental health when spending Christmas time with a dysfunctional family.

Don’t put pressure on yourself

At this time of year, we are supposed to be having a holly jolly time, so what do you do when the atmosphere at home is anything but merry?

Don’t put pressure on yourself if you find yourself feeling down or anxious, rather, accept the way you are feeling and work from there. Don’t try to force yourself to feel emotions that just aren’t natural.

Give yourself space

A common problem for all college students during the holiday season is the sudden lack of freedom that comes with being back home. And when there is extended family around every corner, it can be even harder to find time to yourself.

However, when dealing with feelings that come with having a dysfunctional family, it’s even more important to take some time out. Offering to do small tasks that get you out the house or taking yourself on walks will help clear your head and sneak some alone time into the hectic weeks.

Don’t have expectations

Don’t use the holidays as time for healing old wounds or expecting change, but for acceptance and taking joy in the simple things.

While many of us wish for the holidays to look like a Hallmark movie, the reality is often different. You’ll find the whole season to be more enjoyable if you practise acceptance for your situation and experience pleasant surprises that you weren’t expecting throughout the holidays.

Confide in someone

Arrange to keep in contact with a friend during the holidays. Keeping in contact with a friend from college for example, can help you keep in touch of your own life and stop you getting sucked into the whirlwind of family dysfunction. Telling them about a particularly irritating family dinner can relieve pressure and may also help you laugh at the situation. You can even debrief with a member of the family who you find gets you better than others, and agree to have each others back.

Be an individual

If you feel pressure to impress your family, do your best to let it go. At the end of the day, you’ll find the holidays go a lot smoother when you are at peace with yourself and stop trying to impress the unimpress-able. Remember that you still have value if your family doesn’t appreciate you, and keep in touch with people from outside the family to help you feel more grounded.

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Why the Taylor Swift Music Ownership Dispute Is A Feminist Issue

Taylor Swift has been barred from performing her own music at the American Music Awards (AMA’s). Here’s why that is not okay.

In June, Swift announced that her six albums, from her debut album Taylor Swift (2008) to her the award-winning reputation (2017), had been sold to talent agent Scooter Braun (who also manages the likes of Kanye West and Justin Bieber) by record label owner Scott Borchetta.

The singer has now explained that Braun had barred her from performing her own music at the AMA’s. Unless she agrees to some conditions.

The conditions are as follows:

  1. She must promise not to re-record any of her songs, which she had planned to do next year in order to take back control of her masters.
  2. If she stops talking about Braun and Borchetta in interviews.

In Swift’s own words, the message here is “be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”

This bullying refers to a universal feminist problem in the music industry today, that until Swift’s recent declaration, not many of us were aware of. Female artists are still being punished for the success they earn.

The Lover singer additionally claimed that she was not given the chance to purchase her own work, but that she had received “incessant, manipulative bullying” at Braun’s hands for many years.

Swift’s previous record label sold her masters to a man that had cyber bullied and exerted control over Swift since the beginning of her career. In Swift’s words they were “controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them.”

This shows that this is not just a mere legal dispute, but a prime example of a woman being stripped of the power to be free of her bullies.

Singer and songwriter Halsey is among those who have backed Swift, saying via social media: “It turns my guts that no matter how much power or success a woman has in life, you are still susceptible to someone coming along and making you feel powerless out of spite. I am standing with her.”

Unfortunately, this is a typical example of what is still going on in many industries across the world. Women with a voice, and a platform to share it, are still being silenced.

Others have come forward voicing their support for Braun, including Justin Bieber, who claim Swift’s social media posts were unfair, stating in an Instagram post: “seems to me like it was to get sympathy.” The likes of Cara Delevingne have accused this as undermining a woman’s valid reactions to an issue.

So, despite many opinions that this matter is a simple legal dispute rather than a feminist one, the heart of the issue remains clear: when are we going to stop telling women to be ‘good little girls and shut up’?

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