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by Sam Clark

Sam wearing Ella’s ‘good little girl’ hat.

Kia ora koutou, great job on picking up this extra-sexy copy of Debate!

Sex. Where to begin! It’s a wonderful way to feel good, have fun, build intimacy and learn about your body. And what they say is true, uni’s a great time to experiment and see what you like. Sexual expression can manifest itself in many exciting and diverse ways. As long as it’s consensual, safe and respectful - that’s all that matters. And sex isn’t actually a big deal for everyone, and that’s okay, too! To quote my favourite book of the summer, Zadie Smith’s Grand Union, “sex doesn’t have to end with the male orgasm”.

Unfortunately, these ideas aren’t represented particularly well in mainstream media, not to mention porn - which, without proper consent and sex education in schools, is the primary way many young people learn about sex. Don’t get me wrong, porn can be a great way

to explore your sexuality, but it can also create unrealistic expectations around body image and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. I highly recommend everyone read Charlotte Muru-Lanning’s terrific piece for The Spinoff about how minorities are depicted in pornography, and its ties to colonial ideas. This has some very harmful implications and it happens a lot in Aotearoa, especially to wāhine Māori.

Porn is also a hugely unregulated industry. In good old capitalist fashion, the same company owns several of the most popular adult websites. Together, they get significantly more internet traffic than TikTok - which is an indication of just how influential they can be. And there are ethical porn sites out there, which are made to be more realistic and consensual. We should be critical of an industry that exploits people, mainly young women. Viv goes into more detail on this in her piece on sex shops!

Zeroing-in on Tāmaki, Mayor Wayne Brown is back up to his old tricks. He’s proposing budget cuts to the arts, and regional services - which could extend to libraries, environmental groups and the Citizens Advice Bureau. Nice one. That’s not to mention his fresh lukewarm take on public transport, saying light rail is a “dead duck”. This attitude stagnates any progress in improving our urban centres and carbon footprint. Why does our mayor want us to sit in traffic for the rest of our lives, polluting the environment? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again

- vote for some real change in these elections! Even better, write a submission to the council!

And now that Aotearoa festival season is coming to a close, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that most of them are rip-offs. Ticket sales are mostly driven by fomo, and it’s rarely about the music. We see this with Homegrown, which has basically had the same, predominantly male lineup since 2008. Laneway’s venue change also upset a lot of people, and definitely felt like a cash-grab. Their “VIP shady area” and partnership with Afterpay was a far cry from the past - which was a special opportunity for Tāmaki to listen to indie and alternative music. But maybe it’s the natural progression of events - do festivals grow with their audiences, or do they grow out of them?

However, I was very lucky to attend the beautiful 121 Festival a couple of weeks ago. It felt special to have a festival that’s primarily focused on the lineup - bringing together artists who are on the forefront of electronic music internationally. The festival felt like it honoured the black and queer origins of house/techno and the lineup had a good gender-balance. Plus, it was well-organised, didn’t feel crowded, and there were lots of shady spaces to hang out in during the day. I realised that’s what a music festival should be - we don’t need to settle for average lineups.

Well, that’s all from me! Stay sexy, everyone...


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