My pledge to you, as a feminist wedding photographer

My pledge to you, as a feminist wedding photographer

I’m a feminist. A raging snowflake feminist. The empowerment of women is incredibly important to me. And I want this to be absolutely central to what I do as a wedding photographer. While feminism and weddings isn’t a natural intersection, I find that the two play with each other all the time. Lots of the couples that I photograph also identify as feminists. And here’s my promise to you as your wedding photographer.

I love working with clients from a diverse background

Bride and groom during their wedding ceremony. By feminist wedding photographer Parrot & PIneapple.

It’s 2019 and thankfully anyone can get married! But if you browse mainstream bridal magazines, you would be forgiven for thinking that marriage is only bestowed upon white, pretty, 20 something, cis-gendered, heterosexual, able bodied women. Any kind of diversity seems to be completely missing from the front pages of the big bridal magazines. And it’s not good enough. Thankfully there are people in the wedding industry leading the charge to make significant change. Nova Reid and her multi-award winning wedding blog Nu Bride is dedicated to adding a splash of diversity to the UK wedding industry. Catalyst Wedding Co. is the only online and print wedding publication with intersectional feminist values, featuring couples of all races, gender identities, cultures, religions, bodies, abilities, and sexualities.

When you get in contact with me to enquire about shooting your wedding, It doesn’t matter to me what you might look like, or how you might identify, or who you are getting married to. I believe that all love is love, and as long as you are in love and planning a mega fun filled party wedding – I’m down with shooting your wedding!

I will photograph you without feeding the princess complex

Bride dancing with her friends at her wedding. Fun informal feminist wedding photography by Parrot and Pineapple.

This is a big one for me. I want my clients to see themselves at their very best in the images I take. I appreciate that not all women planning a wedding want to be a princess on their wedding day. Again, a lot of mainstream wedding media wrongly assumes this, and pumps it out as the only acceptable intention for any woman planning a wedding. But it doesn’t suit all women to be a princess. The most important thing to me is capturing you in a way that reflects who you are a person and reflecting all the joy and love on your wedding day.

Bride giving a speech at her Brunswick House wedding reception. Image by Parrot & Pineapple.

I will defend your right to be a bridezilla

I really hate the term bridezilla. I don’t think that bridezillas even exist. It’s yet another word that’s used to demonise a woman showing her emotions or taking charge. Planning a wedding is STRESSFUL. It’s essentially organising a day long, fully catered, and entertainment filled, event for approximately 50-150 people. When you get engaged, no one sits you down and teaches you the fundamentals of event management. So why are women expected to plan a wedding, most often with zero experience of event management, flawlessly and without a single crack of stress?

If you are planning a wedding and finding it overwhelming, that’s completely normal. Feel free to be as emotional as you damn well please. You’re a human with thoughts, feelings and desires. After a lifetime of having your agency denied from you because you’ve grown up in a patriarchal society, quite frankly it’s to be expected that you’re going to get overwhelmed when all of a sudden you are thrust in to front and centre and expected to have the answer on every minutiae of your wedding.

Guilty Feminist Deborah Frances White has a fantastic book with a whole chapter on why planning a wedding is the ultimate feminist statement. I wish I took this image, but I didn’t, it’s from Stylist Magazine. Click here to hear Deborah reading the relevant chapter in her book.

I work and partner with businesses that share my values

I strongly believe that sustainability begins in business. I try to run my business sustainably as possible. I cut down on all unnecessary plastic, I don’t support unfair labour and this year I’ll be offsetting all my carbon. I strive to partner with businesses that also share these values.

I purchase my albums from QT albums – a book binding company that has a female led workforce, pays everyone a fair wage, transports their books in biodegradable packaging and contributes some of their profits to the charity Books for Africa.

I regularly attend Snap Photography Festival for my ongoing professional development – their main focus is inclusivity and diversity and they have a special program to promote marginalised voices from within the community.

I will always choose a small independent business over giving my money to a tax dodging multination (*ahem* amazon *ahem*).

Bride and bridesmaids huddled together at a wedding. Image by informal wedding photographer Parrot & Pineapple.

 

So that’s my pledge to you on International Women’s Day, and every damn day.


What to see more of my ranty posts about feminism and the wedding industry? Read these!

 

 

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The Wedding Industry and The Ideal Body Myth

The Wedding Industry and The Ideal Body Myth

The obsession with body image often associated with the wedding industry is a huge gripe of mine. And it’s not just women who are feeling it, but men now too.

Hopefully you’ve managed to steer clear of all the “new year, new body, new you” crap that always circulates in January. But ludicrous articles like this from The Telegraph – which advocates a full lifestyle change at least six months before your wedding – are difficult to avoid if you’re in the process of wedding planning research. As if former British Army soldier Prince Harry is going to be concerned with “getting in shape for his wedding”?! He’s already in shape!

But the pressure is real and it’s having an impact. At a wedding expo in South Australia back in 2008, researchers found that over 50% of attendees were planning to lose weight before they tied the knot. 40% were planning to diet, while 67% were aiming to exercise more. Some also felt the force of peer pressure ahead of their wedding day, with 10% admitting that other people had told them they should lose weight ahead of their big day.

wedding-diet-pressure-meghan-markle

She’s probably not.

Feeling good vs. looking good

The wedding industry puts a lot of pressure on couples to look a certain way on their wedding day. The screws are tightened at every stage, from dress shopping to retouched wedding photography (more on that later). Even browsing online for décor or centrepiece ideas can result in a bombardment of images of impossibly glowing, supermodel brides in designer dresses.

Meghan Takacs in Elite Daily expresses the problem perfectly:

“The pressure to look and feel good on what society has made us believe is “the most important day of our lives” is unreal. Fitting in that dress down to the very inch is crucial; no crease is left behind.

“At the end of the day, the notion that you have to be at your “best” on your wedding day is created by society in order to make money.”

Now don’t get me wrong, if you love going to the gym and eating well, and exercising makes you feel good, then that’s great. But the assumption that you should suddenly change who you are by undergoing an arduous diet and fitness routine for your wedding (even if it makes you miserable) to look like a supermodel on your wedding photos, is just daft – and potentially dangerous.

feminist wedding photographer body positive

Does he really need a pre-wedding work out routine? Dude is a former British Army Soldier. He probably goes to the gym out of habit if nothing else!

Hypermasculinity in the wedding industry

The body image baton is now being passed to men now too.

In the last decade there’s been a massive increase on the focus of what a man’s body should look like, as well as a woman’s. This Huff Post article by Louis Michel explores the theme of hypermasculinity as another form of gender oppression. It’s just another damaging element of gender stereotyping, which as a feminist wedding photographer, I see all too often.

These images of Wolverine illustrate the issue perfectly, and show how ideals have changed over recent years:

hypermasculinity

Image from genderedbodiesembodiedgender.files.wordpress.com

This blog on the new and impossible standards of male beauty is also a good read.

Feminist weddings celebrate the important things

The media would have you believe you should get hung up on weight and appearance ahead of getting married, when actually the main focus should be the celebration of a loving relationship with friends and family and a person who adores you for exactly who you are.

But we can just say no to this kind of pressure? A focus on feeling good rather than just looking a certain way is a great mindset to have during wedding planning, and during the day itself.

Enjoy your wedding and stay true to yourself – remember that your partner is marrying you because of who you are now, not how you look in a bridal gown. That’s the joy of finding your best friend and soulmate. You don’t need to pretend to be anyone else or do anything other than be yourself to make them happy.  

This doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself, make a special effort on your appearance or get dressed up to the nines for your wedding. But these things should only happen because it makes you feel good. If you feel confident and happy within yourself, it’ll definitely show. I know what the pressure of being in front of the camera can be like. Only recently I booked a professional photo shoot for some new headshots and I felt like a wreck before it. I went from feeling very blasé about photography to all of a sudden constantly questioning all my choices of how I presented myself for the camera. Was my hair ok? What about my big belly? My arms are terrible I’ll have to cover those! The internal monologue was a stream of abuse.

But I got through the shoot and I actually ended up enjoying it. I did my best not to let the rumination take over. I breathed and bought myself back in to the moment and reminded myself of FACTS about my body. I reminded myself that the stream of abuse in my head were just thoughts. I trusted my photographer to take nice pictures!

When it comes to weddings, some tips I’ve picked up from fabulous feminist weddings I’ve photographed include:

  • Considering wearing something other than a wedding dress: If you aren’t one for wearing dresses, you could go with separates or a jumpsuit. Whatever makes you feel the most comfortable.
  • Make a list of your priorities for the day: Start with the reasons why you actually want to get married. I’ll bet that your appearance doesn’t make it on there. Put that list somewhere prominent and look at it whenever you want a boost.
  • Find your own inspiration. If you feel bombarded with TV shows and social media posts about finding the perfect dress or getting in shape for your wedding, take action. Counteract this negativity by finding inspiration of your own, from alternative wedding Pinterest boards to positive body image and healthy living blogs that focus on feeling good rather than looks.

If you’re feeling particularly shit about your body, and you have some time to spare, then I highly recommend watching this recording of Luisa Omielan’s comedy show ‘Am I Right Ladies?’. You’re not going to give a shit about having big thighs after watching it! 😀

feminist weddings body positive wedding photographer

This is me. I’m pretty squidgy all over, I’ve always had loads of spots and I’ve got cellulite. I understand that these are all considered ‘normal’!

Saying no to retouching

Your wedding photographs are an important memento of a happy day spent with people you love. They aren’t a statement about your dress size on a particular day nor are they to be submitted to the national archives as an example of a perfect wedding. They are a record of the love and emotion of the day, capturing the real life special, intimate moments you’ve shared together.

With this in mind, I keep my editing very natural. After I’ve taken your wedding photos I’ll adjust the exposure, colour, contrast, tidy up any stray hairs and delete any rogue spots. I don’t do any body manipulation, air brushing or anything of that nature. Instead, I aim to capture the authentic and beautiful moments of your special day just as they are.

Confetti at Camden Town Hall

 

To discuss wedding photography for your upcoming wedding, get in touch with me: Rowan, UK-based feminist wedding photographer.

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How to plan a feminist wedding: 21 Feminist Wedding Ideas

How to plan a feminist wedding: 21 Feminist Wedding Ideas

If you’re currently planning your wedding, then congratulations! Whether you describe yourself a feminist or not, planning your wedding together with your partner and including some feminist wedding elements is a great way to set the scene for a lifelong equal partnership.

Last year I shared some feminist wedding ideas on planning a wedding day around equality and inclusivity. Since then I’ve been inspired by even more clients and friends who have planned a unique day that included personal touches to emulate their individual personalities and feminist beliefs. So I’ve combined them all in this ultimate list of feminist wedding ideas!

Of course planning your own wedding is about cherry picking what feels right for you. I hope this list is a source of inspiration that gets your creative juices flowing. Most importantly have fun planning your wedding day!

1 Feminist marriage

Who says you can’t be a feminist and get married?! OK so we know the whole tradition of marriage used to be about ownership and property. But times have changed and modern feminist weddings are simply about celebrating love.

2 Feminist engagement

Women who want to take the lead on the engagement can find inspiration from these eight women who proposed. Or this feminist who wanted both herself and her partner to experience the proposal. And sod waiting for the 29th February to come round, you choose the timing!

Young couple laugh engagement shoot Hampstead Pergola Garden Parrot and Pineapple

3 The engagement ring

Some say they signify possession, to ward off other suitors. Others believe they show a giver’s commitment to a proposal. Either way, the choice of giving or receiving an engagement ring is all yours. Personally I think it’s great to see more modern couples choosing or designing bespoke engagement rings together. Previous clients Shan and Rob exchanged engagement rings after mutually deciding to get married. For feminists, the expectation that a man will spend two months salary on a diamond now looks out-dated. And with so many better things to spend money on together (hello wedding party knees-up or honeymoon travelling!), a Haribo ring or Hula Hoop crisp ring might be more your cup of tea! 

feminist wedding engagement ring

4 Feminist bridal party

Ditch the Bridesmaids and groomsmen gender roles and choose who you want to be at your side for the parties on the day. You’re a guy and your best mate is a girl? You’re a girl and your bestie is a man? Great! Choose the people who know you best and will keep you relaxed and happy on your big day, regardless of their gender: best woman, man of honour, wedding squad, usherettes and bridesmen all work the same. Ultimately you gotta have people around you that you can trust. Even your dog could get involved!

Border collie dog ring bearer wearing neck tie at wedding. Parrot and pineapple.

5 Who pays?

If you have family who want to contribute, happy days! But in our modern times that’s become quite a luxury. Couples now choose to fund their wedding using a variety of sources (check out this blog post for budgeting advice from previous couples). To keep all things equal, why not split the cost of your wedding 50:50 or crowdfund your wedding instead of receiving gifts? However you choose to fund your wedding, get on top of your wedding budget early to keep full control of the spending! Read this blog post here with how to allocate your wedding budget. 

6 Equal wedding planning

There has been much discussion about the mental load of household planning and chores that falls mainly on the shoulders of women. A truly equal partnership shares tasks, and this goes for wedding planning too. Divvying up the wedding to do list means you can both be equally involved in planning a day that best represents both of you. Check out my blog post on how to get started with planning. 

Bride bridesmaids friends garden wedding Parrot and Pineapple

7 Feminist hen and stag parties

If a giant fluffy pink penis or “LADS LADS LADS” holidays and strippers aren’t your thing, what about a joint party where everyone gets together for a knees up? Most people socialise in mixed groups with their mates and their partners nowadays. Some of my friends organised “Hagfest” – a “hen and stag festival” for all their friends with a marquee, DJs and camping in a field. Perfect!

8 Choosing the venue

The venue is probably the first thing you tick off the list. But it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or an onerous task. Not religious? You don’t need a church. Keeping it simple? Sign the registry office paperwork and celebrate in the pub with your friends and family (FYI pub weddings are my fave!). In more recent years there’s been a big rise in humanist weddings – check out my blog post here on what they are all about.

north london wedding venues canonbury tavern islington

9 Wedding dress colour

Hands up who’s still a virgin when they get married? OK we know nowadays that most couples live together before the big day and so the traditional wearing of white to signify virginity is pretty dated. If you want to wear a red, purple, turquoise or black dress on your big day then why the hell not. Floral wedding dresses and big splashes of colour on wedding dresses are now becoming more popular. Or don’t wear a dress at all, wear a jumpsuit or two-piece outfit instead – it’s entirely up to you. Check out this blog post on what to think about before you choose what to wear on your wedding day, there are so many options beyond a white dress and plenty of like-minded folk ready to help you. 

bride sequin wedding dress and groom walk through confetti at Tghe Old Library Birmingham. Parrot and Pineapple.

10 Guest sides

Which side guests sit on in during the wedding ceremony has never been less relevant. You probably met at a mixed social event with mutual friends anyway. Forgo the formalities and let your guests sit wherever the hell they like. Alternatively, have your guests sit in the middle of the room with an aisle at each side rather than down the middle, walk down the opposite aisle to your partner and meet in the middle!

11 Giving you away

If the idea of your dad handing you over to your betrothed like a property transfer doesn’t appeal, then you don’t need to do it. Perhaps your mum, both parents, a step-parent or your best friend could give you away. Or maybe you want to walk down the aisle as an independent woman?! Check out this wedding of Shan and Rob, where Shan walked down the aisle by herself. 

groom enters Anran Farm wedding with mother of groom. Parrot and Pineapple

12 Walking down the aisle

Who will accompany you down the aisle? You might decide to walk down the aisle together as a couple, or with both your parents. You might both walk in at the same time from either side. Or you might want to strut your stuff down the aisle alone while high fiving all your mates along the way!

feminist wedding photography bride and groom enter ceremony

13 Bride on the left

And talking of sides, why should the bride stand on the left during the ceremony? You might not have even noticed this before. But according to The Knot, the groom traditionally stood on the right so he could keep his right hand free to grab his sword and avoid “marriage by capture” should he need to defend his bride from “other suitors who may wish to whisk her off at the last minute”. Of course, you can handle yourself and make your own decisions, so stand on whichever side you want!

14 Feminist wedding vows

The whole spiel to complete the official part of your nuptials is packed full of gender role assumptions that frankly should have disappeared with the dark ages. Honour and obey? No thanks. Write your own vows with personalised promises or take inspiration from these feminist wedding vows that show you and your partner are true equals. If you’re opting for a registry office wedding then you can ask your registrar to mix up who goes first in the exchange of vows.

feminist wedding reading Asylum Chapel London. Parrot and Pineapple.

15 Feminist wedding readings

Wedding readings are a lovely way to include some of your favourite people in the ceremony. But choosing the right words can be tricky. Here are some feminist wedding readings to inspire you.

16 Feminist wedding speeches

Traditional wedding speeches don’t allow for any female voices. Yet often it’s the women who have the best stories to tell. Why not let any parent give a speech, or ask both parents to collaborate. Both parties in the wedding couple give a speech. Or don’t have any speeches. Check out the amazing wedding of Lou and Nick where Lou gave a wedding speech that made everyone cry. 

Feminist wedding brides wedding speech

17 Wedding cake

From cupcake trees to blocks of cheese, your cake doesn’t have to be traditional. One of you has a sweet tooth and one prefers savoury? One likes chocolate cake, one likes like Victoria sponge? Have a half and half wedding cake or a tier each. Your cake can fit both of your preferences! Check out my blog post here on what to think about when choosing your cake maker. 

three wedding cakes arranged Parrot and Pineapple.

18 Cutting the cake

The tradition of cutting the cake stems from the being a wife’s first act of servitude. But it doesn’t need to be that way anymore. I love cake, and I still love the cake cut moment. There’s lots of joy as both of you press the knife in to that spongey goodness. I believe feminism is about choice and parity. So choosing to do something because it will bring both of you joy, is the feminist act.

bride and groom cut the wedding cake together as wedding guests clap

19 Bouquet toss

If you fancy having a bouquet toss, but the idea of your female mates scrabbling to be the next to symbolically “put a ring on it” might be ludicrous to you, then invite all your single friends up to catch your bouquet.

bride bridesmaids toss greenery bouquet. Informal wedding photography by Parrot and Pineapple

20 Feminist Surnames

If your surname is important to you, keep it. Pick the surname you both prefer, make up a joint family name, hyphenate or just make up an entirely new family name. There are no rules here. I’m seeing more and more couples choose what they want from their surname, rather than following tradition. Check out the colourful and fun wedding of Jo and Tom, where they both chose to take Jo’s surname. 

Gold buttercream wedding cake acrylic cake topper Parrot and Pineapple

21 Elope

Don’t want to spend a load of time planning? Elope instead! Registry office, paperwork, DONE. No fuss. I offer wedding photography for short and small town hall weddings, check out a few of them here.

London elopement photography

However you both choose to celebrate your love, I hope you have a ton of fun doing it! And if you want colourful documentary-style photos that capture the action and emotions of the day, I’d love to chat to you.

 

Not sure which awesome wedding photographer to choose to shoot your wedding? Leave your email below to get my free and impartial guide on how to choose your wedding photographer

Read what previous clients say about working with me

Check out my wedding photography prices

Find out who I am

Get cracking advice and see real weddings on my blog

Contact me here

Feminist wedding ideas

Feminist wedding ideas

So you’re a feminist and you’re getting married?! Good for you! I love that modern feminism and modern marriage have now come together to give people the choice of entering in to an equal marriage contract. I’ve asked around and linked to some helpful articles that will go a little way to help you to plan your ideal feminist wedding.

Inform yourself about wedding traditions

The best place to start is to get informed about what the general wedding traditions are, where they come from and make some decisions about how you want your day to unfold. I’ve included lots of useful links at the bottom of this post for further reading. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there is no committee ready and waiting to declare your wedding feminist approved. Go with what feels right for you knowing that you have made an informed decision.

feminist wedding - bridal party enter ceremony

Create an inclusive wedding

Whilst your wedding day is primarily about you and your loved one celebrating your relationship, ultimately you will have family and friends that have some ideas, and will want to be involved in your wedding. Ask those people early on how they see themselves involved in your wedding. If there is something that you are really not comfortable with, your research can explain why that is the case. Be prepared to negotiate and compromise with some creative alternatives.

feminist wedding bride groom enter ceremony

Change patriarchal wedding traditions to work for you

This is the fun bit! Now that you probably know what you don’t want, you get to make the rules on what you do want. Some ideas for a feminist wedding that I have seen, or read about are:

  • Have a mixed gendered wedding party; best woman, man of honour, wedding squad, usherettes and bridesmen all work the same.
  • Walk down the aisle together as a couple
  • Walk down the aisle with both of your parents
  • Walk down the aisle by yourself
  • Have your guests sit in the middle of the room with an aisle at each side rather than down the middle, and walk down the opposite aisle to your partner and meet in the middle.
  • Write your own vows with personalised promises
  • Let any parent give a speech, or ask both parents to collaborate
  • Both parties in the wedding couple give a speech
  • Don’t have any speeches
  • Elope
  • Sign the paperwork and celebrate in the pub with your friends and family
  • Split the cost of your wedding 50 : 50
  • Crowdfund your wedding instead of receiving gifts
  • Have a half’n’half wedding cake, one side for you, the other side for your partner
  • Have two cakes and cut one each
  • Wear whatever colour you like, plain or patterned, the big trend for 2017 is floral print wedding dresses
  • Don’t wear a dress, wear a jumpsuit or two-piece outfit
  • Keep your surname
  • Make up a new joint family name

feminist wedding - Mother of the bride wedding speech

Ideas from other feminist brides

As an avid listener to The Guilty Feminist podcast I recently asked my fellow listeners, and presumably feminists, what they did when they got married. Here are some ideas:

Lizzie: “We didn’t do anything traditional we didn’t want to – first dance, cutting cake etc. My husband doesn’t like being the centre of attention. However when other people really wanted to be involved we let them; my dad gave a speech because he wanted to. I did a speech because again, my husband didn’t want to. When I spoke about my bridesmaids, I said more than just how pretty they looked, but also why they were awesome people and friends. The biggest thing for me was that we planned our wedding together- my husband has much better taste than me and was much better at the design side of things. He also made all the favours (which people kept giving me credit for!) We both love hosting people and celebrating. We had a really lovely party with all our favourite people. It was ace “

Jen: “I felt uncomfortable with the idea of being “revealed”, or staying hidden until having to walk in … so I arrived early (driven by mum!) and my husband and I were both there to greet guests and hang out before the ceremony. It was great because I got more time to chat to people and it took some of the pressure off. My dad did walk with me down the aisle (more like a little path as it was outdoors), because it was something he really wanted to do and it was important for me to give him that moment.”

Katie: “I had the least feminist wedding ever! I did the whole catholic mass, with 200 people invited, all the traditional elements and made the traditional vows.  Our mothers made it very clear the wedding was for the family. This was fine with me because i was there for the marriage, not for the day.”

Katie S: “We eloped because he is a muslim and my family are devout christians and both of our parents were very disapproving. So we didn’t tell anyone and were married in a private ceremony in a garden at night with just the celebrant and two witnesses. I didn’t wear a white dress, I wore a pink sun dress. I do have a ring but I hardly wear it, my husband has no ring at all. He bought me a ring because I asked for one, because he works away 8 months of the year and I like it to wear it when I’m missing him. We had a dinner afterward, which was the best steak of my life! We both danced a bit in the evening. Then we had a two day honeymoon in a cottage in the country. It was great. My husband and I are not romantic people at all, but when I read that back it actually sounds quite romantic! Haha.”

Sarah: ” I wore a big white dress because i wanted the chance to spend a grand on a dress and look amazing. The promise is what matters and it was a feminist wedding to me.”

feminist wedding bridal party walk secret river garden

Final note on feminist wedding ideas

I hope that after reading this you have some more ideas for your feminist wedding. Ultimately I hope that you realise that having a feminist wedding means picking and choosing what you want as a couple, and what you’re both comfortable with as individuals. There is no benchmark or approval committee. What I love most about feminism is that it is striving to give women choice.

Want to read more feminist wedding ideas? Read this blog post featuring 21 feminist wedding ideas.

If you’re planning a feminist wedding and looking for a photographer who is sympathetic to your principles then get in touch!

Further reading:

Catalyst Wedding Co: Love, sex, weddings, and marriage for feminists, the LGBTQ community, & woke folk

Grazia Daily: The sexist origins of six time-honoured wedding traditions

Offbeat Bride: Ten gender neutral and feminist friendly wedding readings

Everyday Feminism: How can a wedding be feminist?

The Guilty Feminist Podcast

Want to pin the details of this blog post? Pin this poster to your Pinterest board

And don’t forgot to follow me to see wedding inspiration, planning tips, photos and more… click here to follow me on Pinterest

Feminist quote on marriage by Gloria Steinem

 

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