Let me get this out of the way right here at the beginning: I am not a hater.

I may be Australian but I love Britain in the lead up to Christmas. I love fairy lights and mince pies as much as the next chump. I will buy an overpriced Advent calendar and I will dig through the dregs of my handbags to find a coin for whatever carol singers I come by. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that December 1st to 24th is my favourite time of year in the Northern Hemisphere.

But to me, Christmas Day itself is best celebrated in the hot. When there’s blue sky above you and sand beneath your toes. Like these people:

Group of teenagers at Christmas on beach

I can already sense you don’t believe me. You’re eyeing me like I might also be a person who bought a pair of Crocs for a very specific and practical reason, and then veered off course and started wearing them in public because they’re just so comfy. I assure you, I am not that person, but I do understand your skepticism. Honestly, I do.

Literally, whenever I tell anyone I love an Australian Christmas they look aghast. “But Christmas is a winter thing’”, they cry. “It’s not a day to be spent half-naked and draped in tinsel,” they say. This, my friends, is where you are wrong.

What better way to celebrate holidays and family than by donning tacky reindeer ears and heading to the beach?

After a few years of living in the UK, I feel I am able both to pre-empt and answer all the questions you might have about Christmas when it’s hot. Here goes.

But it’s hot? 

Yes, it is.

Do you still have turkey?

Yes, my family eat turkey. And ham. And roast potatoes. Although, in the interests of full disclosure, some people opt for a more seafood-y spread… but those people are wrong.

What about the jumpers and the open fires and the snow?

This is obviously a no. It’s the middle of summer. We are in bikinis and re-applying suncream every 4-6 hours and listening to the calming sound of the ocean. Sounds horrid, doesn’t it?

What about carols?

We sing carols. Yes, even ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.’

Even though it’s not actually white?

Yep.

Isn’t that weird?

For some reason it never occurred to me that all the carols about the cold were because the people writing them were living in the cold. Instead, I presumed it was because Santa lived in the North Pole and it was cold where he was, so it made a weird amount of sense to my brain. Thinking it over now, I see the holes in my logic.

Have you ever spent a Christmas in Britain? 

Yes, I have. A few actually. And while it’s lovely and all, I could never get over how FREAKING cold it was. I have a distinct memory of my brothers and I when we were younger, restless and bored at being indoors for so long, standing in my grandma’s garden trying to coax our cousins to play backyard cricket with us while there was still frost on the ground.

Do you think you’ve changed our minds?

I’m no fool. I know I’ve probably converted exactly 0% of people on this issue. Everyone has their own version of Christmas which is bound in sacredness – but all I’m saying is, if you ever get the opportunity, give a hot Christmas a go. You never know, you might just like it too.

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Image: Getty

When people say Australia, you probably think of beaches and bikinis and the Hemsworth brothers. You might even think of deadly snakes and spiders the size of your fist. But this week, in Reasons Why We Still Need Feminism, news has emerged from south of the equator that’s scary for a whole other reason.

Melbourne high school Kambrya College has been under fire, for ‘slut-shaming’ its students.

The news follows on from last week’s horrifying story that female students in 70 Australian schools have been targeted for a website set up by men and teenage boys to swap sexual images of schoolgirls. Kambrya College, one of the schools targeted, responded by calling all of their female students into an assembly and telling them to check the length of their skirts.

But Year 9 student Faith Sobotker hit back at the message the school was sending: that this whole situation was somehow the girls’ fault.

Holding up a crumpled piece of paper that read, “The length of my skirt or dress does not matter,” Faith then delivers a beautifully eloquent speech that has since gone viral.

“My self respect is doing what makes me happy,” she says. “You can’t tell me what ladylike is because we don’t live in the 50s any more. I am looking for equality.”

A chorus of “preach” and “yes!” can be heard in the background from her peers.

Following the backlash, one of the students’ mothers posted an open message on Facebook to condemn the school’s attitude:

“At the assembly my daughter and her friends said they were told they had to check the length of their skirts, and that anything that doesn’t touch their knees or below by Monday morning would be deemed inappropriate. They were informed that this was to ‘protect their integrity’. They were also told not to post photos of themselves online, and to refuse any request from a boyfriend for a ‘sexy selfie’, as their boyfriends will only be around for a couple of days; maximum a year; but definitely not in ten years’ time. They were told the boys are distracted by their legs, and that boys don’t respect girls who wear short skirts.”

Obviously, the problem is not with girls and the length of their skirts, it’s with the boys (and grown-ass men) who chose to share these images online. This is not the fault of young girls and women who trusted their privacy would be respected, only to have it thrown back in their faces. The real issue here isn’t the length of anyone’s skirts, or that girls are sending these photos in the first place – it’s about boys and their lack of respect. The way they talked about their peers as if they were animals to be ‘tracked’ and ‘hunted,’ rather than the real flesh and blood humans who sat next next to them in History class or let them copy their Maths homework.

Kudos to Faith, for spreading the message that slut-shaming and victim-blaming is never ok.

You’re our Shero.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty