Comedian Maz Jobrani on the 10 things you should know about Muslims

1. We’re not all really that religious.
I mean, I was born in Iran which is a Muslim country but I don’t practice the religion. You could say I’m Muslim-ish. I drink, I don’t fast during Ramadan and I don’t pray 5 times a day. The only time I pray is if I’m almost in an accident and then I yell something like, “OH JESUS CHRIST!” Which as you can see isn’t very Muslim at all!

2. We’re not all terrorists.
If you watched enough film, tv and news, you would think every Muslim or middle easterner you knew belongs to a sleeper cell. I have never met a terrorist in my life. Not even accidentally. Never been home one night and gotten a call, “Hello! Hassan! It goes down tomorrow at midnight.” “Who is this?” “Oops. Sorry. Wrong number!”

3. We’re not trying to bring sharia law to the U.S.!
Some people fear Muslims because they think Muslims want to bring their laws to the U.S. I have no intention of doing that. I swear I prefer laws that let women hang out in their bikinis on beaches rather than having to cover up in burqas. I also prefer laws that let me have a nice bottle of Cabernet at the end of the night rather than having to sip tea all day. And even if Muslims actually DID want to bring sharia law to the U.S. the fact that there are so few Muslims in America would make it impossible.

4. We love Star Wars just like everyone else.
(That one’s self explanatory.)

5. We probably, as a group, prefer soccer to American football.
That’s mostly because we don’t have time to sit through all those commercial breaks. I never can understand why a one hour game takes three hours to play.

6. We actually respect many other religions.
Though some Muslim countries persecute people from other religions (like Iran with the Baha’is), most of the Muslims I know are accepting of other religions. As a matter of fact Jesus and Moses are both accepted as prophets in Islam.

7. Our women can be pretty bad ass!
Anyone who saw the Green Movement in 2009 when there were protests against the election results in Iran saw a population of both men and women protesting for their votes to be counted in Iran. Many of the people leading those protests were women who took to the streets to demand their rights. If you’ve forgotten about it find some footage on YouTube and you will see. The regime ultimately squashed the protests but it was inspirational to see a population demand their rights in the way Iranians did at that time.

8. Many Muslims come from countries where the west has had a hand in messing up their past.
Whether it’s the U.S. leading a coup of a democratically elected leader in Iran in 1953 or England colonising India for many years, you can trace a lot of the problems in these countries back to actions by the west many years ago. So in a way, we have helped create the quagmire we find ourselves in today. This includes Bush Two’s decision to go into Iraq after 9/11.

9. We love kebabs and hummus.
(I mean, who doesn’t?)

10. We really don’t want to harm you.
I swear to God (whichever God you believe in) we just want to go to work, provide for our families and if we’re lucky, maybe have enough energy to make love to our wives at the end of the day. Oh, and also eat ice cream!

Self-described ‘muscle woman’ Pauline Nordin reveals the five things she is tired of hearing

1. Aren’t you worried about bulking up?

Yeah totally. I mean that’s why I spend 24/7 in the gym working out, because I am absolutely terrified of my muscles getting bigger. Literally quivering with fear as I lift these insanely heavy weights, which will no doubt, strengthen and build my muscles. No! Of course the answer is no. I wouldn’t do what I do for a living if I was.

2. Isn’t building muscle a masculine thing to do?

Yawn. As a woman living in 2016, I should be able to do the thing I love without judgement. It’s time to ditch these archaic gender stereotypes, they are so ridiculous. I mean think about it, why on earth is strengthening muscle seen as a masculine thing to do? Both women and men have the same muscles, and both have the ability to build and strengthen those muscles. It really is that simple. Unless you think it is wrong for a woman to be strong – in which case #seeya !

3. You must be using steroids.

No hunni. Getting this body took a lot of time, dedication, focus and energy; please don’t flippantly discredit that. And I hate to break it to you, but there’s no magical can of spinach I can down that instantly bulks me up either (that was a Popeye reference for those of you too young to remember). For women to develop any kind of muscularity we need to put in a lot more effort than men to achieve the same results. You might also assume I achieved my ‘toned’ look by doing high rep circuits in a leopard-print leotard, using fluorescent pink dumbbells whilst listening to ‘Physical’ by Olivia Newton-John, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have worked out “like a man” lifting heavy weights, in sweaty gyms for years.

4. You look like a man.

Do I…? Really? (See picture below). I don’t think I do and it’s kinda harsh of you to say that. Being a feminist, it concerns me that women in particular are categorising other women depending on their body shape. Why do you think skinny women, obese women or muscular women are not feminine or ‘womanly’, and why is it so important to you that women look “feminine” in the way that society has deemed appropriate. If all women were to accept these norms of ‘femininity’, it would be to purely please others; of course it’s okay to have a ‘type’ or a certain body as your favoured physique, but think twice about calling women who don’t fit into these ideals ‘unwomanly’ – that is a very dangerous message to send to young girls.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/unnamed-8.jpg” alt=”female body builder”]

5. Your muscle scares me/ must scare other people off.

Wow, you’re easily scared! And I haven’t even shown you my fangs, broomstick, horns or pitchfork yet? #kidding #notkidding

Written by Pauline Nordin

Hannah lists 10 stereotypical things people say to bisexuals

1. Are you still, erm you know..? 

Yes I am! And guess what? That’s never going to change. This is who I am and it’s not a phase. And if you can’t even bring yourself to utter the b word when you question my sexuality (again) I’m going to feign ignorance until you actually say bisexual out loud. Then I’ll ask if you’re still gay/straight to show you how ridiculous and offensive your question was.

2. Make your mind up. Pick a side! 

Why don’t people understand that sexuality isn’t binary? Or a choice between two sports teams? Or something that you even choose in the first place!? I was born this way. Bisexuality is the ‘side’ I’ve ‘picked’ thank you. Choosing an option on the menu when all the food looks great, now that’s when I’m indecisive.

3. Why won’t you just admit you’re gay?

Because, and I know you won’t believe this, I’m not! Being bisexual is not a rest stop on the way to destination gay. It’s a sexuality in its own right.

4. You’re just doing this for attention.

Nope. I’m really not. Because on the rare occasion my sexuality brings me any attention it means I have to deal with something negative.
Just want to go one day without any biphobia please.

5. You’re greedy.

You know being attracted to more than one gender doesn’t mean I want anyone and everyone all at once, right? It just means my partner could be any gender, not that I think everyone is hot.(But if there’s one chocolate left in the box I will eat it. Because, chocolate.)

6. Bisexuals are dirty cheaters.

I’ve never cheated on anyone in my life, but sadly people hurt other people in this way no matter what their sexuality is. Being bisexual doesn’t make you more likely to be unfaithful.

7. Wanna threesome?

Not with you!

It’s awful to assume people want this just because of their sexuality. I’m not a super sexed up person to be used to entertain you and your partner before being thrown away, never to be spoken to again.

Strangers, what makes you think it’s ok to ask me for sex before knowing anything about me?

Friends, you would have never asked this before you found out I was bi. Show some respect.

8. You’re not looking for anything serious.

Again some people are, some people aren’t – but that isn’t dependant on anyone’s sexuality.
If you’d give me time to explain before running for the hills, you’d find out I’m after a long term, committed relationship. So come back!

9.  Should I use my superpower of invisibility for good or evil?

The kind of jokes bi people make to other bis when “LGBT+” events and organisations completely ignore us. Hello, we exist!

10. You’re welcome here.

I don’t fit into gay or straight spaces. I’m usually not wanted in either. So when someone reassures me it’s ok to be there and that any biphobia will be dealt with accordingly, I feel like crying and hugging them in relief. This is one of the best things people say to me.

Written by @secrethannahbee

Comedian Shannon DeVido on how she usually answers these 10 common questions about being a wheelchair user

1. How do you go to the bathroom?

I didn’t do well in science, but from what I can tell, after I drink a lot of water or eat, after a few hours, my body lets me know it needs to come out…unless I eat Chipotle, then it’s only about 30 mins. Worth it though.

2. How fast does that thing go?

Sadly, not as fast as I want. If I had my way, I’d “pimp my chair” so it’d be able to go on a highway, but my family don’t think it’s very “safe”. Also, I often hear “you’re going to get a speeding ticket!” Nope. Not true. Not even in a school zone.

3. Can you have sex?

I think you need to buy me a nice dinner and be interested in my extensive Harry Potter knowledge before I answer this question for you.

4. Do you sleep in your chair?

This often comes from kids, so I will usually say, “No, because the stuffed animals on my bed would be lonely.” To adults I just eye roll.

5. Does she need something? (Asked to the person I’m with)

Hi! Down here! You can talk to me! I graduated college, Cum Laude. I’m pretty good at ordering chicken fingers.

6. Do you know [insert name here]? He’s also in a wheelchair.

Steve McSteverson? Yeah! He’s usually at the underground wheelchair meetings where we talk about stupid questions.

7. What’s wrong with you?

Plenty! Just ask my therapist! Honestly, I don’t mind when people ask me about my specific disability, but when it’s said in this curt manner it makes me feel like I should think there’s something wrong with me just for being a wheelchair user.

8. Is your boyfriend in a wheelchair too?

No, James McAvoy is not a wheelchair user… unless he’s playing Professor X. Then yes.

9. Can I get a ride?

How much are you paying me? Rates go up during peak hours and big events. #WheelchairUber

10. Do you need help?

Nope. I’m good. Thank you for asking. I promise I’ll ask if I need it.

**Disclaimer: I’m not actually dating James McAvoy. Sorry, rumour factory and apologies to his incredibly attractive wife.**

Written by Shannon DeVido

www.shannondevido.com