Smile Makers* : A Very Secret Diary

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Who are Smile Makers?

Smile Makers are a range of stylish vibrators, sold exclusively at Superdrug (RRP £29.99). As a brand, they believe that physical wellbeing, including sexual pleasure, is important for women’s overall health. Promoting the idea that conversations about masturbation shouldn’t be taboo, they hope that by making their products accessible and discreet, women will feel more confident and even empowered about the idea of self-pleasure.

 

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What are the products?

The Smile Makers range includes two external personal massagers (The Frenchman and The Fireman) and two internal vibrators (The Tennis Coach and The Millionaire). All four are 100% phthalates free and made of silicone approved by the US FDA. They are also fully waterproof and only 40db, so this adds to how discreet they are!

 

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What are they like?

I have a close friend who agreed to anonymously contribute to this piece. She is a single woman in her twenties who has tried vibrators before. She kept a diary whilst trying out the Smile Makers products and we chatted about it over a cuppa! Her feedback on the two is as follows…

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“The Fireman has what I would call a ‘lily-like’ appearance. It has 5 settings – 4 are basic vibration at different intensities and then the 5th is pulsing. 1 & 2 are basically the same so I’d recommend those for ‘warming up’ as they’re just enough to peak your interest. The third setting is brilliant and I finished on four – with an orgasm! Because of the shape, I used the silicone tip to get that little bit more but the bumpy bit, when rested on your clitoris was good for prolonging sensations. 

I also tried this in the shower, standing with my leg up like a flamingo at one point! They aren’t lying, it is fully waterproof because it still worked afterwards unlike some products I’ve tried before. It isn’t the strongest vibe I’ve ever tried but I can imagine if you’ve not used one before, this would be more than satisfactory. 

My non-shower test I worked through all the settings, sat with my heels to my bum. The more exposed and available your vagina is when using these the better. I don’t think you could have a sneaky wank under the table with them. The bumpy bit I found better to rest on my clit and then I sort of moved it around using some wrist action. Another orgasm here.”

 

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“I have to be honest and say that I didn’t like the Frenchman, or as I affectionately named it, the shoehorn. The shape was annoying because when you look at it, the ‘cup’ area that I thought didn’t cup how I expected it to… I ended up using the reverse side of the lip. When that’s away from you, it moves loads but when you apply it, there’s not a lot of movement so I had to do a lot of hand work. Trying this in the shower, I gave up on squatting, putting my leg up didn’t work and after 25 minutes with no orgasm I gave up, pretty frustrated!

The Frenchman is also fully waterproof but a bit louder than The Fireman. It has the same 5 settings but I felt like 1 was nothing. The 2nd one was like the first on the Fireman. I found that 3 was best – it felt suddenly stronger! I found that I needed setting 3 or 4 here in order to ‘get anywhere’.

The shape causes problems when standing so I’d recommend using whilst in a deep squat if you can, or in a ‘lotus-legged’ position with everything open. This makes it a lot easier to stimulate. With this one I couldn’t figure out how to prolong sensation or use the ‘dip’ bit properly.I was determined to try The Frenchman again though!

This time I was in the standard ‘missionary’ position, on my back with my legs spread. I couldn’t figure out a solid technique with the pulse setting so I spent 20 minutes trying different angles, wrist actions and positions. I really wanted to judge its performance on its own so I tried to let it do its thing but I just couldn’t get it to the position I wanted to. This might be my error? Perhaps Smile Makers could include some instructions or suggestions for techniques? Still no orgasm unfortunately.”

 

Who should try Smile Makers?

Anyone could try Smile Makers, whether you’re an experienced toy-user or vi-curious and wanting to try something different. I’d also like to point out that not all women have vaginas/clitorises and not everyone with those bits is a woman. Basically, the products are designed to fit those body parts so if you’re comfortable trying those then I say go for it!

 

Do you own anything from Smile Makers?
Do you follow another great sex-positive brand?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

 

* This post is a collaboration with Smile Makers.

For more information, see my disclaimers.

 

Jenna
X

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If you liked this post, you should check out:
collab: Ending Toxic Relationships – Lucie and I talk about removing toxic people and putting yourself first
the empowerment playlists – music to make you feel strong and powerful!
“You Can’t Be A Feminist If…” – things I’ve been told I do that ‘aren’t feminist’…
You Just Keep Doing Other People – a 21st-century sex-positive rant from Cami  

 

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“You Can’t Be A Feminist If…”

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Hi guys!

Your friendly neighbourhood queer feminist here, ready to spill some tea on some common misconceptions about what being a feminist in 2016 actually means. Although there are many sub-sets of feminism, I’ll be discussing genuine advice I’ve been given with regards to my beliefs and my behaviour and boy is it something!

 

Please note that this piece is for entertainment purposes and so should be taken with a pinch of salt!

 

#1. “You can’t be a feminist if you wear make-up.”

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So some people believe that makeup is a tool that amplifies ‘beauty ideals’ and that by wearing makeup, you are not only compliant with but promoting a patriarchal standard of beauty. I say that this is bullshit. Make-up is a way in which many people choose to express their creativity. The colours, shades, shapes and techniques can be considered an art form and many choose to study these and/or take makeup as a profession. Make-up (like many things) is not solely a ‘woman’s product’ – people of all genders can enjoy makeup and when this assumption is made, you are ignoring a rich, queer history of drag artists and gender-fluidity.

My makeup makes me feel confident and powerful, ready to take on the world. It is a choice I make for myself that emphasises what I consider to be my best assets and it allows me to be artistic in ways that I can’t normally. If you don’t wear makeup then that’s cool but don’t tell me that I shouldn’t wear mine!

 

#2. “You can’t be a feminist if you’re in a relationship with a cis man.”

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This one is ridiculous. Not only does it further encourage the myth that feminism = misandry but it automatically assumes that you couldn’t love a man simply based on his gender. See something wrong there?

I’m a pansexual woman and it just so happens that the person I’ve chosen to be in a relationship with is a cisgender man. He is also a great LGBTQIAP+ ally who is interested in and educated about intersectional feminism and this is part of why we get on so well. On a personal level, he is respectful, kind and listens to my experiences so to tell me that I’m not feminist for being with him makes no sense.

Don’t tar every man with an ‘anti-equality’ brush, it’s hypocritical.

 

#3. “You can’t be a feminist if you shave/epilate your body hair.”

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So the idea of being pro-bodily autonomy is that your body and what you choose do with it is your own. It means that you believe in bodily integrity – that people’s bodies should not be violated in any way by others because of said autonomy. I know that some feminists believe that removing body hair is another patriarchal beauty ideal and I’ve spoken to many who don’t epilate for that reason. I respect that choice completely and I believe that if you want to be fluffy, you should be proud of it!

I personally feel more comfortable with less body hair, especially as I occasionally suffer from hyperhydrosis. The more body hair I have, the more the sweat clings to my body and despite deodorant, it can be quite smelly. It’s easier to stay fresh the less hair I have and when anyone tells me otherwise, I remind them that its my damn body.

 

#4. “You can’t be a feminist if you care about men’s rights.”

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Part of a comic by Rasenth on tumblr.

 

My definition of feminist is close to that used by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in We Should All Be Feminists:

feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

I however would change ‘the sexes’ to ‘genders’ as I don’t believe that all inequalities are from within in the gender binary. In fact, I don’t believe in the gender binary at all!

To acknowledge men’s rights in your feminism isn’t to deprioritise women’s rights, as long as you  give each their own context and don’t derail the conversation. There are plenty of men who suffer as a result of the kyriarchy, be it because of racism, transphobia, homophobia or poverty. The archaic gender roles that put pressure on men and boys to exert power, exploit those more vulnerable,to be big and to use force ….they’re damaging and dangerous instructions. It is important to speak about these issues if feminism is to achieve true equality but not necessarily to shove them into the same conversation as womens issues.

 

#5. “You can’t be a feminist if you support sex work.”

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Image from qnotes.

This one tends to divide a lot of people so I’m just going to explain why I personally have sex-positive attitudes.

It is incredibly important to promote safe sexual practice. Not just in terms of sexual health but for personal wellbeing and education about consent. Not discussing these topics keeps them taboo and could make it harder for someone who has experienced sexual abuse or violence to speak out about their experiences.

While I do not support a huge portion of the sex industry that globally exploits and traffics women and abuses and violates performers, I am in support of sex workers and pornography and believe firmly in regulation and protection of the related professions. This goes back to the bodily integrity/ bodily autonomy thing because I think that  if someone has chosen sex work despite having alternatives and they are kept safe during their work then you don’t have the right to tell them that they shouldn’t be doing it.

In an interview in Elle magazine camgirl and filmmaker Ashley Vex spoke about making about safe, consensual porn with her studio Four Chambers go and check it out!

 

I appreciate comments, links and questions on this post but any hateful or discriminatory speech will not be approved.
Discussion and debate are welcomed provided it is structured, respectful and does not target individuals.

 

Have you ever been told “you’re not a feminist”?
What does your feminism look like?

 

Jenna
X

 

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:

queer bloggers network Jess, Zoe and I are starting a network for bloggers with LGBTQIAP+ identities!
empowerment playlistsMusic to make you feel like you can conquer anything…
my queerness erased
– A personal account of pansexual erasure.
why selfies are inherently feminist – I talk about Lindsay Bottos’ art project about self love and selfies.

inspiring women you should be following: part one

If your dream career lies somewhere in the midst of writing, ranting and promoting social justice as mine does then look no further than this new series of posts. I will be picking some of my favourite inspirational women each month, writing about what they do and where to follow them.

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A post shared by Emerald Pellot (@emeraldgritty) on

Emerald Pellot (@EmeraldGritty)

Emerald is a pop culture writer at LittleThings and the Former Senior Editor of CollegeCandy. Her work has featured in many publications and gives a particularly feminist view of the world of celebrity. Amongst some light-hearted fashion and beauty posts, Emerald has written some deeper and more provocative work discussing race and gender.  Her portfolio can be found here.

Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff)

You may remember Mara Wilson for her childhood roles as Matilda, Natalie (Mrs Doubtfire) and Susan (Miracle on 34th Street). Now a grown woman, Mara writes plays, stories and blogs as well as working a day job at non profit company, Publicolor. In 2014, she produced a stage show called ‘What Are You Afraid Of?’ which focused on helping combat fear and anxiety using resources and expert advice. Her very popular Twitter account is a daily dose of feel-good and feisty soundbites. Oh, and she got in some serious beef with E.L. James (the author of Fifty Shades of Grey) but I’ll let you read up on that here.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (@fazlalizadeh)

An oil painter and illustrator from Brookyln, Tatyana is the creator of a great public art project with an important message about gender-based street harassment, titled Stop Telling Women To Smile. With many women participating, Tatyana has taken STWTS travelling and is working on pieces in numerous cities. Other renowned works of hers include her Mike Brown poster and The Roots Mural in Philadelphia. For her portfolio and more of her other works, visit her personal site.

The theme is "rock n roll glamour"…I accidentally came as a rock n roll spanner

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Alix Fox (@AlixFox)

A major content warning for nearly everything this lady does as being incredibly Not Safe For Work. Formerly a Front Section Editor at Bizarre magazine, the wonderfully zany Alix is a London journalist, presenter and Durex UK sex educator who writes all sorts about relationships from the PG to the X-rated. Her work has featured in the Telegraph, Men’s Fitness and Comedy Central, she has compered for events like Sexhibition and Club Antichrist and she has a way with words like no other. She’s also lovely in person!

Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia)

Mikki is an intersectional feminist and opinion writer. She is one of the editors at hoodfeminism and writes some fiction on the side with a focus on diversity and representation, including a one shot comic in the Swords of Sorrow universe called ‘Miss Fury and Lady Rawhide’. Her Twitter is a place where many a debate take place. In 2013, she launched the hashtag  #Solidarityisforwhitewomen with the intention of highlighting how race is often dismissed as ‘not a feminist issue’. This then blew up and become a very controversial topic. You dont have to love Mikki’s style of writing but you will definitely learn something reading it.

Who are your inspirations?

Have you read any of these women’s work before?

Let me know in the comments below!

Jenna

x

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ |

If you liked this post, you should check out:
why selfies are inherently feminist – a post about your profile pics and your self love
the empowerment playlists – a series of feel-good playlists
you just keep doing other people – a sex-positive rant from Cami

You Just Keep Doing Other People | guest post by Camilla Hennessy Jackson

Having met sassy little nymph- friend and fellow feminist blogger Cami through our mind-boggling university course, we have spent many an afternoon ranting and raving about self love and fabulousness. We have therefore decided to try and condense these conversations into guest posts for each other.

You can find my post ‘You Just Keep Doing You’ vis a vis body policing, the ol’ shaving ‘debate’ and feminism on Cami’s blog here. Hers is an awesome site filled with outfit envy, style tips and discussion of some tough themes to boot.

Content Warnings: NSFW-ness & sl*t mention

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A rambunctious rampage through the silliness of social sex-shaming // a sex-positive celebration of bodies and boinking.

Seven gins into a night at the pub and I will wholeheartedly admit that I’m probably not interested in talking about much that isn’t sex-related. Why is that? Why do humans love talking about sex? I’ll tell ya, sweet cheeks. It’s because we’re animals. Filthy, frivolous animals with  the delusion of civilisation drummed into us by hundreds of years of building shit and breaking things (our planet, mostly. But that’s a rampage for another time). But at our core we’re programmed to do one thing, same as every other living creature – spread the living seed and further our future species through the medium of boinking. We are fundamentally inclined to have sex with each other. Obviously. And being a species with the intelligence and ingenuity to invent measures whereby we can enjoy that process without actually creating offspring, we’ve actually cut ourselves a pretty sweet deal: control.

So why, after the human race has devoted so much time, money and research into perfecting contraception, do we treat sex for the sake of nothing more than pure, awesome naughty enjoyment with such stigma? Why create measures that enable us to have sex without the huge, huge consequence of creating another life in the process, only to also create a whole social norm where the response to two people having sex without that consequence is generally negative: there’ll be some mention of ‘friendzones’ and not sleeping with people you’re already close to, or someone will say ‘I don’t like them, don’t go there’ or there’s ‘that was a bad idea’ or *eye roll* or the classic why-ning: ‘oh dear, why did you do that?’

Why did they do what, engage in an activity that is fantastic exercise, lowers your blood pressure, releases endorphins, helps lift your mental wellbeing, alleviates stress and depression and also feels pretty rad? Do you honestly need to question it? And you know what else goes without saying? I’m going to say it anyway. Our goddamn bodies are literally designed to enjoy pleasure. A clitoris is literally a tiny area loaded with nerve endings and it’s sole purpose is pleasure. That’s an argument for intelligent design if ever I saw one.

My issue, and the main point of this argument, is as follows: why do people care so much who other people – grown up, consenting adults – are having sex with? I’m a firm advocate of the ‘you do you’ mentality and I believe it’s just as applicable in the context of doing… er, other people. If you’re happy, other people being boring and judgemental shouldn’t have to rain on your parade but honestly? I don’t think other people have any right to be boring and judgemental in the first place. Sex happens between the people involved in the actual sex, yes? So if you have an opinion on what’s happening between those people, you’re already involving yourself in something that doesn’t concern you. Be supportive, by all means. Give your mate a hug if the person they’re boinking turns out to be not a nice person. Give your mate a big aggressive high-five when they’re too cock-drunk to function at work and it’s hilarious. Give your mate tips! Because that’s when your involvement is actually appropriate. What is absolutely not appropriate is negative judgement where it is neither wanted or needed. Once people accept that, only then can we open the doors to a healthier attitude about sex. Sex should be celebrated, not stigmatised. Two (or more, whatever) people who are obviously into each other shouldn’t be subjected to the pressure of ‘we want to and are going to but people will talk/form dumbass petty opinions on our experience’.

What I do believe is that by treating sex as a taboo subject – something naughty that needs gossiping about – we’re ultimately going to cause more harm than good. Having a certain opinion on a specific instance (or instances) and having a more generally open and objective outlook on sex are two different things, and I feel I should mention this to avoid it seeming like I’m contradicting myself. I believe hastily-formed opinions based on snapshots of a reality – sexy snapshots! – are actually pretty destructive, whereas maintaining an open mind and opting for a listen-first talk-if-it’s-actually-appropriate attitude allows for a much more positive, receptive and respectful exchange of experiences. Sex is something that should be talked about freely, openly and with enthusiasm, not in whispered voices in the back of a pub over cheap Zinfandel, about someone who is meant to be your friend. It should be approached objectively, not with prejudice. Most importantly, it should be approached with positivity. Because that’s how you fight problems and stigma and stuff – with powerful-ass positivity.

The current prevalent theme is one where if somebody has slept with a lot of people, (or even if they haven’t, but are open with the fact that they, a human, do have and enjoy sex) it supposedly lowers their self-worth. The word ‘reputation’ gets thrown about a lot with regards to sexuality. Here’s the literal definition from Google: ‘the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.’ Beliefs. So reputation is comprised almost entirely of what other people think, with very little based on what the original person has actually done. Hmm. There’s that recurring feature, yet again, of other people giving shits when shits needn’t be given, because shit doesn’t concern them! Female sexuality takes a particularly hard battering in this society of ‘reputations’: ‘a slut is woman with the morals of a man’ and other similarly vacuous nonsense. Another definition, this time from the Online Etymology Dictionary: the original meaning of ‘slut’, circa 15th century is, “a dirty, slovenly, or untidy woman,” and “a kitchen maid, a drudge”. So having the morals of a man makes you slovenly, untidy and a kitchen maid? Oh my god, people, right?! I literally ‘can’t even’ when it comes to finding words for the pointlessness of sex-shaming – all it is is the demonisation of people – women – who are confident and more open with their sexuality. Do I smell bourgeois/patriarchal control tactics? Can’t have all those peasants and women running around being confident about their sexuality! Oh no! They might start to feel empowered!

Joking aside, think about it this way: if someone is upfront, sincere and honest about their sexual experiences – be they few or vast – they’re going to be a lot more upfront, sincere and honest about a lot of other things too, and to me, that 110% sounds like the sort of person I’d chose to interact with over someone who bitches and slanders. Whether your number is a relatively modest one, you’ve banged half of Europe or you’ve only slept with one person (or even no people!), that’s your business to keep to yourself or discuss loudly and vigorously as you please.

you_just_keep_doing_other_people_sex_positive_feminist_rant_guest_post_camilla_hennessy_jacksonClick Cami’s sexy selfie for her first ever Youtube video, a cowboy-style hair adventure with Loreal Glam Bronde!
(I’m also hoping one day we will bring you a tipsy vlog from her channel!)

 

Jenna
x

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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