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‘Sharing nudes is actually phenomenal’

The age of sending nudes is upon us. Sending naked pictures has long been possible, but in the 21st century it’s astonishingly easy. There is time to send them, how to shoot them and how to keep yourself safe. There’s no getting away from it, we’re a world of over sharers.

Whether popping political opinions in a Twitter thread or Instagramming a pain au chocolat, it’s never been easier to let the world know who you are. Technological advances have revolutionised dating experiences and sex lives too: apps, sexting, sex over FaceTime, and, of course, the big one. Nudes.

The term ‘’send nudes’’ is such a second nature for anyone on a dating app or social media that it quickly became a meme and can be seen graffitied all over the world. Although sending a naked photo has been possible for years- albeit more grainy, slow to load, or even in print, the farther back in time you go- it’s only in the last few years that the act of sending a photo of, or including, your tackle has become a regular NBD pat of the seduction process. High spec cameras, filtering and high-speed internet connections mean you can have the idea, whip it out, take the snap and send with barely a moment’s thought.

In the reader survey to mark GQ’s 30th anniversary, it was revealed 40 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds have agreed sending nudes was the new normal. But why the change” is this purely a generational thing? Journalist Calvin reckons it’s an extension of the already popular thirst traps, the next level of seduction. ‘’Theoretically people have more dating options than ever. It’s a bit like in a game show when they wheel out the grand prize. ‘Here’s what you could win!’’

The rules around sending nudes seem fairly simple, but boundaries are overstepped constantly- usually by men. Most people would say an unsolicited dick pic is unwelcome- it’s much more polite to ask if they’d like one, or respond to a request- and yet men can’t seem to help themselves. There’s the view, perhaps, they ‘’might as well’’, but given they’re up against men actually using their charm to encourage a dick pic request, do they really think it’ll get them one straight back in return?

Unwelcome nudes are the top turnoff, but a close second would be a nude photo with zero artistry. There’s something quite depressing about asking for a nude and then being sent a snap, shot from above, of a red, angry penis subjected to the mercy of ugly lightning and a careless photographer. Obviously, turn-ons can vary, but context is key. Most women agreed that they tended to take more time over them, composing them to look not only sexy, but feel confident too. Men, however, preferred a more direct approach.

Lingerie designer Marisa says a topless pic does much more for her than a gonzo-shot dick pic and she much prefers to send than receive- when she can. ‘’Sending nudes is great fun; I haven’t had anyone to send them to me for a while and I kind of miss that adrenaline rush,’’ she says. Unprompted nudes can have their place, she reckons, but ‘’generally with someone who I’ve been chatting with or dating’ I wouldn’t send them to a stranger’’.

In a relationship, of course, nude photos are a way of keeping the passion alive and they’re especially useful in long-distance relationships. No more fiddling with a Polaroid or hoping the Snappy Snaps guy developing your film won’t call the feds- digital photography allows us to be right there and ready. It can build excitement and maintain intimacy, no matter how far apart you are, says one man, who’s been with his wife for 15 years: ‘’It’s become our regular thing on a Friday afternoon. She’ll send me a down-the-top shot- or more if she’s at home that day- and I’ll nip to the loo and give her a quick peek. Sometimes I’ll do a decent one at home and save it to send to her on Friday. I usually have a spare nude ready to go. We love it.’’

Often overlooked is the normalisation of nudes and its effect on body positivity. It’s well-known the regular, jeans-on selfies can be a confidence boost- either to reaffirm your attractiveness or garner interactions on social media- so it’s fairly obvious nudes can do the same for sexual confidence. Photographing yourself nude forces you to appraise your body afresh, there’s nowhere to hide; and while there’s every risk it could confirm your worst fears- photographing yourself from below can help you appreciate its wonder.

One body positivity in her forties says ‘’Taking nudes has gone from being something that scared me because I didn’t think I was hot enough to something that’s increased my confidence hugely. There are literally hundreds of naked photos of me online now and I’ve photographed over 20 people in their forties with varying degrees of good and bad relationships with their bodies’’

In the gay dating arena, perhaps, there’s more of a demand for nudes. Although straight dating apps are also popular with people wanting hook-ups, it could be argued gay men pioneered the openness around casual sex and specialist apps, born both of convenience and necessity: gay dating apps offer gay, bi and trans men a safe space to express themselves, on the understanding that everyone is there for the same reason and an approach will not offend. But with such freedom comes expectation. Bisexual guy Alex says he gets asked for nudes ‘’within minutes of initiating conversation. There definitely seems to be a culture of pressuring for nudes in the gay community’’

If you want to send nudes that you’re oh-so-proud of, by all means, go for it, just make sure you follow these rules first. Set your own boundaries. Nude doesn’t have to mean completely naked. Do what you feel comfortable doing- you’re in control of this situation. Partially nude photos can actually be way sexier than baring it all anyway. Try a sexy pose in your underwear only or a really cute bathing suit. Leaving more to the imagination sometimes gets guys more excited than the alternative.

Be prepared for other people seeing your goodies. You have a damn good body, so be prepared that your recipient is going to want to show off that photo. If you haven’t met his friends before, just know that the first time you meet them might not be the first time they’ve seen parts of you that you don’t to be seen. Be prepared for this but also be good person and don’t share nudes you receive with others without their permission.

Keep that pretty face out of it. On that note, make sure to keep your face out of it. Send a selfie you want, send nudes all you want, but for the love of the sexting gods, don’t send your face and nudes in the same shot just in case he turns out to be a douchebag who spreads the picture everywhere or just in case the phone gets into the wrong hands or whatever other horrible tragedy that can occur.

Don’t send nudes to men you don’t know. You may be very close to someone you haven’t met in person yet and feel comfortable sharing nudes. Only you can be the judge of whether or not you truly know someone well enough for this kind of intimacy, but please don’t send nudes to brand new guys. You don’t know them or their motivations and you need to protect yourself. And again, don’t send nudes under the influence. As most everything goes, sending nudes under the influence is a bad idea. You’re bound to forget all the other remaining rules.

Next thing you know, your whole body is in the picture, face and all, and you’ve sent it to your boss and then accidentally uploaded it to Facebook. Check your lightning and angle. A little bit of advice that’s different than the rest. If you’re going to send those nudes, I want you to send your best self. Take photos from above or straight on. Never take a photo from below looking up- everyone has a double chin at this angle. Try for natural light instead of harsh fluorescent light. So now, go for it, send nudes- just make sure your clean and well shot.

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WeekendLife

A Star is rising

29th June 2021
Star Phalane

Having made his debut appearance in a singing competition, My Star, from 2010 till 2015, Star Phalane has been constantly and effortlessly reaching for the stars.

Who can forget Star’s dance moves and stage presence? Without faltering, he was one of the few contestants one can’t remember to forget, even to this date.

He stood out in his own right, but even with that being the case, he was shamefully kicked out of the Top 10 of the singing contest. He never clinched the grand prize, but that wasn’t much of a big deal because, failure can be a blessing in disguise if more effort is put to it and you have the right mind set.

It is fortunate that the young lad is tenacious and is alive to the fact that every cloud has a silver lining, had it not been for this, we’d not be here celebrating his fighting spirit.

Star has, against all the odds stacked up against him, managed to get his act together and focused his eyes on the ball. Now a jack of all trades, Star has bragging rights to being fashion designer, entrepreneur, MC, choreographer and a singer. He is a force to reckon with, and his works speaks to the versatile creative he is. He doesn’t bite off more than he can actually chew nevertheless.

In an exclusive interview with Weekendlife this week, Star revealed that he is a self-taught fashion designer even though there is a small crop of well-established designers he learns few flairs and elegances from. This form of learning doesn’t cost an arm and a leg unlike enrolling for fashion and design course, we’re not against the lads choice of learning, cause we believe education is not only found in a classroom set up.

“Most fashion designers studied design at school and it is only a small portion including myself that are self-taught. I believe it goes back to individual talents that people are born with. It was upon me to develop and bank on this talent. I leave room for learning from others though, it works in my favour.”

Star’s designs had many prominent public figures salivating and day dreaming about wearing one of his creations. The likes of Annah Mokgethi; Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, socialites such as Vincent Matthys as well as rapper; Baxon, have all line up around the corner to be seen in Star’s creations.

With all the success the young talent has and all the famous and high ranking people after his talent, Star is humble and down to earth. It is probably for this reason that the universe is giving back to the lad tenfold especially after being knocked down so many times in the past. Star doesn’t look down on others nor does that mean he thinks any less of him and the God given talents he has.

“I don’t think my designs are different. I am the one who’s different in a special way and obviously that doesn’t mean I’m better than any other fashion designer. I can also let the cat out of the bag on how to produce better designs. One ought to network and be consistent on their work. This means being able to survive against all odds, it’s a pandemic year and designers should be able to tell a story through their designs,” Star said.

It is not so common in Botswana to find male fashion designs. Stereotypes labelled fashion designing to be female’s hobby if not business. But there are ways to express authenticity and what life has to offer. It can be on paper (sketch), on clothes (designing) or on record (melodic). Star is amongst few male designers resolute to stamp out these pigeon-holes.

Above and beyond fashion designing, Star is also a singer and choreographer. He is not as right as rain, but he definitely leaves a mark once on stage. His incredible moves can be traced back to Mophato Dance Theatre. This dance assemble is the country’s first Afro-fusion and Contemporary dance company, that has been selling Botswana through dance.

The group has performed in New York, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Ivory Coast, Canada and Japan. Currently a lead dancer and singer with the group, Star is also the company’s costume designer.

“I started off as a professional Latin dancer and a street dancer. Eventually, I was employed by Mophato and subsequently became a member. That was a dream come true. So with time I starred as a lead singer in most of the musical plays the group participated in. It was magical and really motivated me to see a dance group appreciating my skills. I explored my creativity and loving each and every bits.”

Like riding a bicycle, Star never forgot how to sing. Just recently, he was announced as a finalist on the revamped My African Dream singing competition. He told Weekendlife that it wasn’t really smooth sailing as he was against the best talents, but having weathered the storms, the competition was a learning experience. Star is currently working on an Extended Play (EP).
We look forward to the rising star in Star.

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WeekendLife

Real You Network creates an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ persons

3rd June 2021
Real You Network creates an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ persons

The month of June marks a time of celebration and reflection for the LGBTQ+ community and allies. LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

This year, LGBTQ+ allies and corporate companies joined in the celebration and developed new initiatives to support the vulnerable group. On the 1st of June 2021, Botswana’s diamond mining company, Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), launched a new project dubbed the Real You Network.

This is a platform that creates a safe, inclusive, supportive and welcoming workplace for LGBTQ+ employees to allow them to bring their whole selves to work every day and work to their full potential.

The company stresses and prides its self in coming up with projects that make it the best place for people to thrive in their truest selves, something that is in their inclusion and diversity calendar.

When speaking during the virtual launch of Real You Network, DTCB Senior Human Resources Manager, Stella Moetse said “we will reach success when the talent that we have here in the glass house represents all the different people we have in our society, especially the minorities; and these are people living with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ and not only having them, but in positions of influence and decision making. This will be the true measure of inclusion.”

In September 2017, De beers announced a three-year partnership with United Nations Women; an arm of the United Nations dedicated to Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls.

As part of this partnership, the group committed to taking a holistic and long term approach to promoting gender equality within the business and communities. DTCB says, the commitment in its group has gone beyond gender to create an inclusive workplace for all.

“Because of this commitment to promote and support an inclusive workplace, DTCB which is part of the De Beers group resolved to be inclusive in its approach. As a result, we have elevated inclusion and diversity to Board level reporting. We promote awareness through training our employees on identified inclusion and diversity topics such as anti-bullying and harassment, unconscious bias and inclusive hiring.”

Moetse applauded and appreciated the role that advocacy groups for LGBTQ+ play in pursuit of their rights in society, indicating that it is not an easy task for them to given societal orientations. “It is commendable however, how they are constantly challenging us to break down any preconceptions, removing structural and societal barriers and biases.”

Technical Services Senior Manager, Prudence Mabua, shared the same sentiments, saying that LGBTQ+ persons face obstacles when it comes to accessing many of their rights, including their right to social protection.

The Real You Network, will allow for an environment of openness and promote a culture of a fully inclusive network open to all colleagues regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, she said.

“Through events such as this one, our vision is to continue creating platforms that allow for employees and individuals to share lived experiences as this is key in increasing understanding, tolerance and acceptance,” Mabua highlighted.

“There is significant ignorance and resistance to the reality of the existence of LGBTQ+ community in Botswana. While people may not have the intention to be homophobic, the language they use is often offensive. This increases the fear of coming out as people are scared of being subjected to judgement and discrimination.”

Uncovering the main objectives of the Real You Network, Mabua stressed that the platform will enable DTCB to be visible in its consciousness of LGBTQ+ matters and allegiance of the community, hold conversations to sensitize its workforce on LGBTQ+ inclusion and challenge policies and procedures as well as attracting and retaining qualified people of the LGBTQ+ community.

Further, the Network will focus on sustainability and accountability, by achieving continuity by treating inclusion and diversity as a culture not events. It will also focus on acceptance of diversity and ensuring zero discrimination culture within the organization.

Meanwhile, a study conducted in 2020 by Asher and Lyric indicates that most African countries still criminalize and stigmatize LGBTQ+ practices. These countries are anti-homosexuality and protection of LGBTQ+ person’s rights is minimal.

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Maldives, Uganda, Iran, West Bank and Gaza, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Yemen, UAE, Qatar, Jamaica, Oman, Malawi, Malaysia as well as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are some of the countries of the world which criminalizes homosexuality. Nigeria is the only country in the world with cruel treatment of LGBTQ+ persons.

In Nigeria, homosexuality receives up to 14 years in prison, and at most times the death penalty. In some of these countries, discussions of LGBTQ+ rights and gender expression are criminalized, flogging can occur for cross dressing, and homosexual intercourse receives 6 months to 3 years in prison.

Pro-LGBTQ+ organizations are sometimes barred, imitating the opposite sex can result in prison time and buggery receives up to 10 years in prison and hard labour.

Nonetheless, there are other countries (mostly from the West) which promote and protect the LGBTQ+ community. These countries legalized same-sex marriages, protect the community against discrimination, criminalizes LGBTQ+ violence, implement transgender legal identity laws and are safe places for LGBTQ+ persons to live in.

These are: Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, Portugal, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Uruguay, Norway, France, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Finland, Ireland and the United States.

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WeekendLife

Botswana fades away from Miss Universe pageant

17th May 2021
MISS-UNIVERSE-2013-Tirelo

Botswana once had a story love affair with the world’s biggest premium beauty pageant, Miss Universe. This was in 1999 when Botswana’s first representative at Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe, effortlessly snatched the title.

It was every contestant’s beautiful dream to wear the crown, but winning at first entry was implausible if not magical. Kwelagobe made the country contented, and history was made. Taking a closure significant look at her performance at the Miss Universe held at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, Kwelagobe battled it out on and off stage with 84 contestants and showed them dust. She was in the Top 5 spot with South Africa, Venezuela, Philippines and Spain. There are countries which snatch the Miss Universe title every year.

Miss Universe 2019 was a South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi. Mpule Kwelagobe scorecard looked pretty remarkable. She scored 9.05 out of 10 on her interviews, 9.18 swimsuit, 9.36 evening gown, semi-final average 9.19 and 9.48 on the Top 5 question. These results were good enough to earn her the crown.

However, over the years (since the crowning of Mpule Kwelagobe), Botswana has been fading away from participating at the Miss Universe. Between 2002 and 2003, the country did not participate in Miss Universe but in 2004, the country sent a winning title of Miss Universe Botswana to Ecuador, Miss Universe 2004.

In 2010, Mos Syde Worldwide Entertainment Group: an international entertainment and fashion company domiciled in Botswana took over the Miss Universe Botswana pageant after a six-year absence. Tirelo Ramasedi was crowned Miss Universe Botswana 2010, and represented the country in Las Vegas on August 23. As it is right now, Ramasedi is the only former Miss Universe queen still keen in having her name shine out there: she works closely on projects aimed at empowering women and young girls.

Sadly so, 2013 was the last time Botswana participated in Miss Universe. After five years of not participating at Miss Universe pageant, the first Miss Universe Botswana Mpule Kwelagobe took over the franchise. The winner selection of Miss Universe Botswana 2019 was to remark Botswana to Miss Universe 2019, however, was cancelled.

2019 marked another possible six years since Botswana lacked participation in Miss Universe. This drastic zero participation in this premium beauty competition paved way for our neighbours South Africa to sail smoothly at the competition. Zozibini Tunzi became an instant global queen and everyone’s favourite after displaying intelligence, poise and taking up space to be crowned Miss Universe 2019.

The pageant was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. This will be the third time in the history of the competition in which the event will be held after the calendar year has ended: this previously occurred during Miss Universe 2014 and Miss Universe 2016 (in which Botswana was not participating).

Miss Universe Organization announced early this year that the competition would be held on May 16 2021, at Seminole Hard rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States. Zozibini Tunzi will crown her successor at this competition.

Botswana, will not be participating at the Miss Universe 2020, again. The weakening Miss Universe Botswana has been attributed to by internal fights within the organization. But why participate at Miss Universe?

The Miss Universe Organization is a global, inclusive organization that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realize their goals through experiences that build self-confidence and create opportunities for success.

Women participate annually to affect positive change personally, professionally and philanthropically as inspirational leaders and role models. The delegates and titleholders that have participated in the MUO system are able to cultivate their personal, professional and philanthropic goals. These women are forward thinking and motivated not just talk about change, but to initiate it.

Prominent beauty pageants analyst in Botswana Morekolodi Smith took Weekendlife in an exclusive interview that it has been so many years of absence from participating at Miss Universe, and this shows that Botswana lacks consistency and commitment.

“The franchise holders fail to host a national pageant. I think they should hand over the license to Miss Botswana Organization because it hosts the pageant annually. Then the winner gets to participate in both Miss World and Miss Universe. They can maybe crown two representatives. Botswana has faded away from Miss Universe platform and fans have forgotten about it,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

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