Have you ever wanted to find a way to support SpunOut.ie’s work? Well, there are loads of different ways for you to help us to reach as many young people in Ireland as possible.
SpunOut.ie always needs the support of our amazing readers. To continue our work of providing non-judgemental, sound information to the young people of Ireland, we need your support. It would mean a lot to us if you were to consider raising funds and awareness for us in a fun and engaging way that suits you.
If you’ve ever wanted to run a marathon, there’s the perfect opportunity coming up to tick something off your bucket list, have fun, and raise some money for SpunOut in the process. The Vhi Women’s Mini-Marathon is happening on Monday June 1st and registration is open for it now. To register for it, just visit their website.
Running the Mini-Marathon is a brilliant way to get fit, challenge yourself, meet new people, and raise money for a great cause. You'll get an amazing sense of achievement afterwards, plus the fitness benefits will be great!
As Ireland’s youth information website created by young people, for young people, we provide information to 100,000 readers each month around mental health, physical health, employment and much more!
Every €4 raised keeps our servers running for a day, while a gift of €14 to SpunOut.ie can keep our service going for 40 Irish young people for a whole year.
Your fundraising efforts will allow SpunOut.ie reach more young people through it’s online content and we would be extremely grateful if you raised both funds and awareness for us by running the mini-marathon. If you would like support or advice, please feel free to contact email@example.com.
Ireland, in recent months, seems to have been transformed into a loving, liberal and open country in the lead up to the Same Sex Marriage referendum in May. Irish society, its public and private institutions and its media have taken huge strides in being open and taking a stand against homophobia. When it comes to anything around the issue of gender, transgender and gender expression, etc. we are still lacking, however.
The first time I became aware of Ivan Fahy was when an article about the “stir” he had caused by graduating from NUIG in high heel’s appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. My initial reaction was one of anger, though not for the reasons you might expect. I was angry because someone dressing however they felt comfortable and confident was newsworthy in Ireland. I was angry because I instantly thought of the negative feedback this kind of story could generate and direct at Ivan. I was becoming more and more exhausted by older generations assertions of what it was to be a “normal” man and a “normal” woman.
Before opening the article I knew that I fully supported Ivan and his outlook. I knew I shared a similar outlook on gender fluidity. I had always wished society could be more open-minded when it came to stepping outside of the gender norms and being fluid with our gender identities. As I scrolled though the article, my brain agreed with the words I was reading about Ivan, his graduation and the positive attention he received. I was upset with myself when my eyes did a double take on seeing my first picture of Ivan, however.
Even though my brain had registered a deep support for Ivan and his viewpoint, my eyes did not reconcile this with the image I saw. I began questioning myself as to whether or not I really was as liberal and open-minded as I believed I was. The images of Ivan dressed in high heels, make-up and looking more stunning than I ever could, did not disgust me. They did not fill me with hate, fear or any other negative feeling. I was not offended by them so why had I such a strong reaction when I first laid eyes on him?
I realised it was because I, like many others, had been somewhat conditioned to view a male, dressed in what is considered a female way, as abnormal. It’s true, in the past 15-20 years the portrayals of women in Irish media, publications, industries has seemed to develop past stereotypically “feminine” but it can be said that men and their gender portrayals seem to be as rigid as ever.
Images of females dressed masculinely are splashed across publications, television screens and the Internet. Female “masculinity” has inspired fashion trends around the world, redefined “female” hair styling and so why isn’t a similar exploration of different male identities being undertaken? Why are the so few images of males dressed and portrayed femininely? Or even androgynously?
Being a woman, I can dress and express myself in a masculine manner publicly and have done so. So why do I get the feeling my male counterparts are not afforded the same opportunity?
When it comes to men, Ireland has long upheld old traditional representations of masculinity and notions of “manhood”. Examples can be seen everywhere: men are not entitled to paid paternity leave on the birth of their child, unmarried men are not legal guardians of their children and gay men cannot donate blood. You might be saying what do these injustices have to do with how men are represented in Ireland’s society. Well each injustice exists because of the conservative notion of “real” men being peripheral parents, providers of income and lovers of women only.
This image is enshrined in the laws that govern our “friendly” country so it’s hardly surprising that it has become enshrined in the psyche of the people of this country. This image is also a staple in advertising, social media, national television programming and every communication outlet you can think of. Irish companies continue to use stereotypical portrayals of men in their advertising, Irish broadcasters continue to create and support stereotypical male characters on television and anything that deviates from these portrayals causes a sensational furore.
Ivan’s outlook and androgynous modelling career may be new in the public sphere of the Irish psyche but are vital if we are to relax our views on what male gender norms are. Many men, just like women, struggle with the rigid gender constructions placed on them. In the past few years, steps have been taken to confront problems faced by males in Ireland, such as campaigns to end stigma around male depression and mental health problems. It’s important that while we loosen the restraints on mental health expectations of men, we should also begin loosening the restraints on how men choose to express their identity physically.
It took the simple image of a confident young man in heels to strike up this conversation in my own mind. It made me realise that women are the not the only victims of rigid gender roles. Men too are restricted from expressing themselves as anything other than “strong, macho and silent”. This prescription of gender norms in our society leads to hatred and inequality and it needs to stop now.
I will no longer double take on seeing a man who wears heels, wears pink or wears make-up. It’s about time more diverse representations of men appeared on Irish screens and across Irish publications. It’s about time men can define their own masculinity and dress in a way they want to, without fear of disgust and hatred. In order for this to happen we need to remember; people are more than their gender.
This week sees the digital pop-up radio station, Upbeat, promoting positive mental health over the awirwaves from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.
From Monday 23rd to Friday 27th March, a whole host of presenters will cover a wide range of topics about positive mental health. Visit upbeat.ie to find out more about tuning in frequencies and get more information on the week’s programming.
Follow Upbeat onTwitter for more insights from the show’s guests and presenters. Join the conversation with #Imlistening The text number for listeners to contact Upbeat on Air - 085 2299028.
Day 1 of 5 live. Show 2 has begun pic.twitter.com/JPmwOjAxFU— Upbeat (@upbeat) March 23, 2015
This is Alison Canavan’s second time to present the Morning Show with RTE’s Shay Byrne on Upbeat on Air. One of Ireland’s top models Alison has grown to become known as Ireland’s only celebrity parenting specialist over the past four years. Alison has been a vehement supporter of mental health charity Walk in My Shoes and is a dynamic advocate for mental health issues in Ireland.
Presenter, writer, actor, and musician, Paddy Cullivan is a multi-disciplined entertainer who is at home on TV, Radio, writing opinion pieces for the Evening Herald, sketches and songs for Radio One’s ‘Callan’s Kicks’, as an MC, a performing satirist and comedian, a voiceover artist, creative consultant and festival planner, as well as being an accomplished piano player, guitarist and lead singer of the Late Late Show House Band, the Camembert Quartet.
With 20 years in the fashion industry, Corina Grant is one of Ireland’s most popular and recognised models, and also provides make-up and styling services for brides and bridal parties. Still in demand as a model, she has branched out into other areas too, working with teenagers both on a one to one basis, on the website www.udazzle.ie, and through schools to help build self-esteem and improve body image. Corina also has a column every Sunday in the Irish Sun.
Karina Buckley is from Inniscarra in County Cork. She joined the RTÉ weather team in May 2000 after graduating from UCC with a degree in biochemistry. Her academic interests lie in science communication, the topic of her master’s degree, but in her spare time she enjoys theatre, music and dance, having studied ballet in her youth. Karina also enjoys running, reading and watching TV.
A graduate of Limerick's 95FM and the breakfast show on Dublin's 98FM, Ruth Scott now hosts the second biggest radio show on RTÉ 2FM, The Saturday Show, with co-presenter Paddy McKenna.
Ruth has also taken on a role with the Healthy Ireland Council, which becomes involved in health promotions to make them accessible to everybody. She is also involved with the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon. Ruth’s partner is Rob Morgan, the son of the late Father Ted star, Dermot Morgan.
Gossip Guru, TV Producer and Presenter
Trevor’s philosophy about mental health is that we need to look after it, just as we need to exercise and eat well for our physical health.
‘The mind needs nourishment in the form of talking about what we are going through, and seeking advice and guidance from those we know and love, and professionally, if necessary. I am particularly passionate about encouraging men to talk, and I really think parents play a part in encouraging kids to talk about their feelings and anxieties from as early an age as possible. Boys need to be targeted in school to show them that acknowledging their feelings isn’t soft; if anything it’s the bravest thing we can do - to realise we all have vulnerabilities, and it's a completely natural part of living
TV and radio presenter, and also a qualified fitness instructor, Louise Heraghty is originally from Sligo and has been living in Dublin over 11 years, where she began her radio career as a traffic broadcaster with AA Roadwatch.
Since then she has worked in 98FM, Today FM and 2FM, and is currently a broadcaster with Radio Nova, as well as presenting the weather on RTE Television.
Television and radio presenter Aidan Power co-hosted 98FM’s breakfast show The Morning Crew for two years, and also hosted Dublin’s first ever New Year countdown street party, as part of NYE Dublin Festival 2013.
He has hosted a variety of children, teens, sports and family TV, including Superbloopers with Zig and Zag on RTÉ, and song-writing competition The Hitwith Nicky Byrne.
Aidan presented a new show on RTÉ called Foul Play in December 2013, featuring pranks to see if some of our best known sporting stars really are good sports! More recently Aidan hosted a new series for TRTE Television, called Shake down the Town.
Actor & Comedian, Alan Shortt is a Dublin based comedian, writer, actor, satirist and media skills trainer. His Cork roots gave him a good ear for accents, and his political impressions have been seen and heard on RTE’s Irish Pictorial Weekly, Bull Island, and The Late Late Show.
RTÉ Radio One’s early morning Risin’ Time presenter, Shay Byrne grew up in Artane and originally studied accountancy, before joining RTÉ as a continuity announcer in 2005. He became a stand-in presenter, and has worked on shows with Ryan Tubridy and Derek Mooney, and well as being the RTÉ radio commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest since 2011.
Friday afternoon, and I’m racing out the door to get home. Hop onto the bus and then a DART. It’s only when I’m on the bus, I realise I have forgotten my DART fare, left safe in the drawer at work. I pray that my Leap Card might let me through, but no joy. A call to my Dad and he can’t pick me up, car is out of petrol, and my Mum’s out but forgot her phone. I message friends to see if they’re around, no joy. Time to get my walking shoes on and head in the direction of home.
Tired and frustrated after the week, it isn’t long until emotion takes over and I have a little cry walking down the road, trying to be inconspicuous but not really caring too much at the same time. The radio is my companion as I walk along my bus route, passing the affluent pubs and taverns of South Dublin’s Ballsbridge, which are filled with the after-work crowd, slugging pints and various drinks. They’ll probably get chips on the way home, maybe a fancy brunch at the weekend.
My walkway lit up by traffic and street lamps. The odd jogger and dog walker. I try to remain positive, and remember that it’s Friday. That I have control over my weekend and if I want to spend the next 48 hours or so job-hunting, I will. I have no money, not a cent. I’m walking because I have no money and no other option. The situation really hits home. I’m grateful that I have phone battery and realise things could be much worse. I’m embarrassed, and feel silly. A friend reassures me that “these things happen” but internally it’s knocked me for six.
I’ve been unemployed for nearly a year now, since I left a steady job at a café in town and went climbing the career ladder. Jumping at a job too quickly. I completely regret leaving, but regrets are no good to you. I’ve done odd jobs and internships, and I’m now on my second unpaid internship. To say it is tough would be an understatement, but then again, it’s given me more strength than I ever thought humanly possible. I was never high-maintenance, and wasn’t into extravagant purchases. I just wanted enough to live and have some semblance of a life. Now, I’m 25 and still living at home. My younger brother has basically flown the nest, so it’s just me. This is never how I envisioned my mid-twenties - unemployed and living my parents. I am blessed though that I have one of the most wonderful relationships with them. They understand that the job market is tough and have provided me with unending support and a lot of hugs.
The thing I miss most about having money is the independence. Relying on others for things and not having the freedom to decide what I want. I miss seeing my friends as much as I used to and look forward to a time when things go back to normal. There is a tiny little part of me that’s terrified this won’t end and it’s a permanent state. It’s a tiny voice, and I silence it. I refuse to let it get the better of me and who I am.
I am trawling through job websites day in, day out, applying as fast as I can, applying to anything remotely in my field. After two unpaid internships I simply cannot afford to take another one, even if expenses were provided. I see friends moving out and growing up, it’s hard not to be envious. I can’t plan or look ahead because until I get a permanent job, I have no income, therefore I am extremely limited.
I’ve sat in the dole office, filled out forms and had frustrated conversations down the phone. I couldn’t smile when they took my picture for my social-welfare card, I had no energy. I had promised myself it wouldn’t come to this, but pride had to be pushed aside. A man sat next to me, early fifties perhaps, close enough to my Dad’s age. He was waiting to get his photo too. My heart wrenched as I felt for him. Two people, opposite end of the age-spectrum and yet here we were, sitting side by side waiting.
Unemployment is a real problem facing so many young people. You have these wonderful ideas and notions that you’ll walk straight from college into a job. The harsh reality is completely different. It requires a lot of work, many eyes on your CV, websites, word of mouth, connections, and perseverance. It’s something that has come damn close to breaking me too many times. I have a degree and a Masters and still cannot find anything.
Remaining positive is one of the things I’ve found toughest. I have anxiety and unemployment has certainly heightened it a bit, the added worry of the future and what will happen. Working keeps me sane and on a path, and regular sessions at the gym too. I enjoy exercising in the gym because I feel like after I’ve finished, I’ve done something worthwhile and achieved something. I’m not naïve to think that everything that’s going on hasn’t taken some kind of a toll on me. It has, but I manage it as best I can. I take time off from searching, and watch my favourite things on Youtube. I know my confidence has taken a battering, but I like to think that it’s merely having a rest.
My friends, family and boyfriend deserve the biggest thank you. I wouldn’t be able to function without them, they are so crucial. They take your mind off searching and while, yes, it is always in the back of your mind, it’s great to be able to focus on the conversation to hand as opposed to what’s on Jobs.ie.
My advice to anyone in a similar position to mine is, don’t give up. Attack the job-market, if people offer to have a look at your CV, take them up on it-the more eyes on it the better. Stretch yourself as much as possible, it may not be your dream job but could lead someplace else or provide you with some new skills. Set up job-alerts so you don’t miss anything. Keep busy, routine is wonderful and you’ll thank yourself for it. Never stop looking, jump on any connections you have and don’t be afraid to push things a little bit. Most people have been unemployed at some stage in their lives so the majority do know what you’re going through. Stay positive, it’s hard but celebrate the little milestones like securing an interview. Remember that this situation is on temporary, it will not last and you are destined for greatness. Good Luck!
With the continuing fight to prevent bullying, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) launched a new campaign on March 9th with the objective of making the fight against bullying, a national one. The ISPCC will be working with 200 schools all across Ireland and in conjunction with the staff members of schools, clubs, community groups, and parents will also be involved directly in the pursuit of “eradicating bullying from the playground, classroom, communities, and through social media channels.” Bullying will no longer be seen as a problem that should solely be dealt with by school administrators but instead as an issue that needs an entire community to be solved.
The ISPCC website shows that the aims of the 2015 campaign include:
Bullying, whether it be physical, verbal, non-verbal, or cyber bullying, has a large negative impact on the recipient of the behavior. The effects can include, but are far from limited to, lowered self-esteem, lowered ability to enjoy life, attempted suicide, and poor or deteriorating school work (more information on the effects of bullying is available here). These consequences have the prospect of following the person being bullied way beyond the moments of attack. According to ISPCC, more than 8,000 children had contacted the organisation specifically about bullying during the 2014 year. Due to such distressing effects and numbers, the ISPCC Shield Campaign has been put forward to “protect children from bullying and from its effects” and created an Anti-Bullying Toolkit to be utilised by clubs and community groups throughout the country.
The public can support the work being done by the ISPCC campaign by wearing Shield pins (available for €2 at Penneys and M&S stores nationwide) and the new ISPCC Shield Bangle (only available from 36 Penneys stores for €2.50) to spread the word about the campaign. The public can also donate €2 to the cause by texting “Shield” to 50300.
Alongside donating, a lot more can be done to stop and prevent bullying. Telling someone trustworthy about bullying that is happening directly to you or someone you know is one of the biggest steps towards helping end the behavior. Having someone by your side to support you makes a world of difference compared to dealing with the bullying alone. Although it may be difficult to write about it, keep notes of when the bullying occurs (time, date, what has happened, who has seen) to have with you when are explaining the incidents. If the bullying happens to be occurring through the web, try as much as possible not to engage with the perpetrators. Block them from any social media forums, print or screenshot whatever messages have been sent to you, and ask for help.
Bullying is a terrible problem that causes tremendous pain for the person being bullied, however, as organizations such as the ISPCC continue to tackle on the problem and further members of the community begin to support the cause, those being bullied are getting more of the help they deserve. As Grainia Long said, every child and person has “the right to be safe” and it is vital to remind them of that fact.
For more information about the campaign, visit the ISPCC website.
The deadline for applications has been extend and is still open. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s often said that young people aren’t engaged in politics or that they have no interest in contributing in positive and meaningful ways to the political process.
However, the reality is a much less blunt picture than this. In fact, young people by and large care a great deal about the society and environment of which they are a part. They care about equality, diversity, the welfare and quality of their future, and the future of their peers.
The assumption that young people aren’t engaged with politics is actually often fueled by the reverse truth; the fact is, it is often politics that isn’t engaged with young people. Often, politics does not reflect the interests or welfare of young people, and it does not hold a competent understanding of their realities. Politics is not a reflection of the complex and diverse societies in which young people find themselves. Rather, the world of politics is disproportionately populated by middle class, middle aged, white, heterosexual men.
The people at Future Voices have identified this a source of profound disengagement for young people and are initiating action to remedy it. For young people to invest themselves in the political process, it is key for them to be able to identify with it. As a response to this, Future Voices are launching their Youth:Elect initiative this March.
Youth:Elect is an initiative by which 30 young people from marginalised backgrounds will be selected to participate in a programme, which will encourage and prepare them to stand as candidates in the next General Election in 2016. The potential candidates will receive training from Future Voices in confidence-building, practical campaigning skills and campaign management together with targeted personal branding and social media skills.
The initiative could pose a key vehicle by which Irish politics could begin to reflect the diversity of Ireland’s under-represented young population in a meaningful way. If you’re from a marginalized background and are seeking to inject new meaning into the relationship between politics and young people, this could be an excellent opportunity for you.
If you’re thinking of applying to the programme, there are a couple of different criteria:
There are two main ways to apply - it depends on whether you’re in a political party or not.
If you’re in a party
Get in touch with Future Voices, who will put you in touch with the relevant contact from your party. You can email Mairead from Future Voices at email@example.com.
Your party will then select potential candidates to apply to Youth:Elect. If they select you, you’ll have to send a CV and cover letter to Future Voices, outlining your motivations and reasons why you meet the criteria.
If you’re not in a party
Get in touch with Future Voices directly, sending them a CV and cover letter outlining your suitability for the programme.
The deadline has been extended and is still open. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
The Bridge initiative was created to bridge the skills gap between the education that graduates of Games, Animation and VFX courses receive in college and the skills that these industries demand.
The aim of The Bridge is to ensure that those that finish the scheme will fit seamlessly into a studio environment and will be able to produce commercial work at a faster pace.
Revenge porn, also known as non-consensual pornography, is when someone distributes sexual images or videos of another person, without the permission or consent of that person. It might be done by a partner or ex-partner, a friend, colleague, or hacker. More often than not, this distribution happens online, but doesn’t necessarily have to.
Some couples like to share sexual images of themselves with each other. This can be a normal activity within a healthy, consensual relationship. However, it is not normal, healthy or acceptable in any way, to share these images with others without your partner’s consent. It is cruel, hurtful, and can be hugely damaging for the victim. Furthermore, it says much more negative things about the person who shared the photos, than of the person who is in them.
Exams are an inevitable factor in student life. The weeks before the exam can be very stressful, take some time to do exam prep and get ready, print notes, talk to the lecturer, anything that will help.
Study is the five letter word we dislike but it comes hand in hand with exams. One of the best ways of getting through exam time is to have a good plan for how to study well, look after yourself and manage your time.
Try downloading an app on your internet browser that can block various websites for a certain length of time.
What if I’m late for the exam?
Go to the exam room/hall and see if you will be admitted. Contact your department, the exams office and/or your Students’ Union if you run into difficulty.
What if I miss an exam or I’m too sick to sit the exam?
Every school/college has a procedure for instances where a student misses an exam. Contact your head teacher, department and your Students’ Union. Make sure to keep doctors’ notes, as you may need to submit a copy.
What if I sat the exam but I’m not happy with it?
If there was an issue with the paper, contact the teacher/lecturer responsible as soon as the exam is over. If you are unhappy with how the exam went for you, wait for the results before taking action. You can then talk to your teacher/Students’ Union about appeals and/or viewing the script. Remember, the Students’ Union and the exams office are there to talk and support you with exam results. And there is always the option to repeat the exams.
Who to talk to:
Remember that the age of sexual consent in the Republic of Ireland is 17 and the age of sexual consent in Northern Ireland is 16.
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy when you’ve forgotten to use protection, if something goes wrong with your protection or if you were raped.
Remember emergency contraception does NOT protect against sexually transmitted infections and its effectiveness really does depend on how soon after the unprotected sex it is taken.
What do you need to know?
There are two types of emergency contraception: an emergency pill and the coil or IUD. Emergency pills are usually called the morning after pill. You can take this pill up to three days (72 hours) after sex, but the sooner you take it the better. The morning after pill prevents unwanted pregnancy in 95% of women who take it correctly and as close to the time of the unprotected sex as possible.
If more than 72 hours have passed since the unprotected sex, then the IUD can be used. The IUD is a small device fitted inside a woman's womb by a doctor. You must have it inserted within five days of sex and it must be worn until your next period. The IUD is not really suitable for young women.
When should you take emergency contraception?
Where do you get it?
The morning after pill is available from doctors or pharmacies. Phone and check with the doctor in advance, as not all doctors will prescribe emergency contraception. NorLevo is available over the counter from pharmacists and can be taken up to three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex. EllaOne is only available on prescription from a GP or Family Planning Clinic, can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Ask a pharmacist for a private consultation or talk to a GP or Family Planning Clinic about the best option for you.
The cost of Emergency contraception varies depending on what is suitable for you, and whether you have a medical card. Talk to your GP, pharmacist or local family planning clinic to get an accurate cost. If you're worried about emergency contraception being out of your price range, don't feel ashamed to call around different pharmacies to check the cost. It can cost anywhere from €20 to €70, so if cost is a factor, it's worth finding the most affordable option.
What are the effects?
You might feel sick or dizzy after taking the emergency pill. This is normal, but if you feel sick for more than two hours speak to your doctor. The IUD can cause heavy periods or some blood spotting.
Your periods may be irregular or come earlier or later than normal for three months after taking the morning after pill.
Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.
Remember that the age of sexual consent in the republic of Ireland is 17 and the age of sexual consent in Northern Ireland is 16.
When it comes to sex and relationships, many people drink to give themselves confidence to approach potential partners or to decrease their sexual inhibitions. A moderate amount of alcohol can indeed make it easier to chat to guys/gals. It even increases sex drive in many people. However, it’s not all good news. Large amounts of alcohol can seriously wreck your buzz, particularly your sexual buzz.
As with most things in life, alcohol is best consumed in moderation. Taken to excess, alcohol can seriously wreck your sex life. Remember that it is illegal to buy alcohol or supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 18.
We’ve got the good, the bad and the ugly on alcohol and sex.
Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.