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Review: Ratched – Peaches and Screams

Highly anticipated since its trailer release back in August as the newest entry into the Ryan Murphy-verse, Ratched certainly fits the doctor’s prescription as thrilling, grisly and daringly clever. Acquainted with the grim and gruesome from her time with Murphy as a series lead in American Horror Story, Sarah Paulson is perfect for the sharp unpredictability of Mildred Ratched as the series (an unofficial prequel … Continue reading Review: Ratched – Peaches and Screams

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How to Cultivate Positive Online Spaces where Women can Support Women

Being a woman on the internet is well known for its dangers. As a space where those who identify as women have freedom of expression, more often than not, they become targets of those who might oppose such freedoms. Continue reading How to Cultivate Positive Online Spaces where Women can Support Women

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Review: Emily in Paris

Netflix’s new comedy-drama Emily in Paris, created by Darren Star (Beverely Hills, 90210, Sex and the City), is what happens when the over-romanticisation of Paris meets the under-representation of female screen characters with any depth or originality. Sorry, maybe that’s a bit harsh. But you can’t set a TV show in an iconic European city and make the premise of said show about how many … Continue reading Review: Emily in Paris

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Hair Discrimination: How Work and School Dress Codes Discriminate against Afro-Textured Hair

As a mixed-race woman whose tight afro curls are more than unruly, I know a little about what it means to be made to feel other as a result of something you cannot change. What I’m only just starting to learn is that these feelings aren’t misplaced or trivial; they are important and worth writing about because countless others are feeling the same way. Continue reading Hair Discrimination: How Work and School Dress Codes Discriminate against Afro-Textured Hair

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Enola Holmes and her Sister Statues

To mark the release of Netflix’s new film Enola Holmes, starring Millie Bobby Brown, the popular streaming site has erected several temporary statues around the UK to celebrate the often overlooked sisters of famous men throughout history. The film tells the empowering story of Sherlock Holmes’ forgotten sister, as she escapes the control of her two brothers and solves her own mystery. Continue reading Enola Holmes and her Sister Statues

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From Disney Fan Favourite to Emmy Award Winner: Zendaya

Growing up, I dreamed of the day my parents would drag me out of school and force me to be a child actor. The fact that they allowed me to live a normal and well-adjusted childhood away from the pressures of LA toxicity still seems cruel. I like to bring this injustice up every Christmas and remind them that we could be celebrating the festivities at Elton John’s if they hadn’t been so short-sighted. Continue reading From Disney Fan Favourite to Emmy Award Winner: Zendaya

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Private School TikToks: What Drives Pop Culture’s Continued Fascination with the 7%?

I’m not a frequent Tik-Tok user and, after stumbling upon the trend “#privateschool”, I can’t say this is going to change. Since the start of the year, videos of Britain’s most wealthy teens have started to rack up millions of views online and I was curious to see what the hype was about. To summarise, and to save you from watching them yourselves, these Tik-Toks … Continue reading Private School TikToks: What Drives Pop Culture’s Continued Fascination with the 7%?

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Review: Enola Holmes

Enola Holmes was certainly hotly anticipated before its release on Netflix, and it seems that fuss is still far from dying down. The idea of another film adaptation was made exciting by the realisation that this one would feature a woman at the front and centre, one with real character development, backstory and drive. My only anxiety was waiting impatiently to see if this could be pulled off, but I needn’t have worried; it did not disappoint! Continue reading Review: Enola Holmes

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Social Discoing: The Persistence of Party Culture

Clubbing and COVID-19 are not a match made in heaven, to say the least. While the two completely juxtapose one another, club owners and managers are trying desperately to work within restrictions to keep their businesses afloat. Prior to the 10pm curfew, many club goers were offered a COVID-friendly way to enjoy a booze-fuelled night with their friends. Table service and seated dancing acted as … Continue reading Social Discoing: The Persistence of Party Culture

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Review: The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story

Whilst recently watching the ITV drama Des, based on the serial killer Dennis Nilsen, I was shocked to learn that institutional homophobia was perhaps the reason that Nilsen’s crimes were hidden for so long. Although a very different case, I saw similar themes emerging within Chris Wilson’s BBC Two documentary series The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story, which reported on the horrific crimes of notorious serial killer Harold Shipman. Continue reading Review: The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story

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Review: La Haine

La Haine, or Hate as it is known in the US, is a 1995 French drama following a day in the life of three young men wandering the streets of Paris. They are all reeling in the aftermath of their friend, Abdel, being arrested and experiencing severe brutality at the hands of the police. This triggers major riots throughout the city. One of the men, Vinz, played by a young Vincent Cassel, is ready to take his aggression and frustration out on anyone he meets, whether they be the police themselves, women, or other angry young men just like him. His hate and anger lead to deadly consequences for both him and his friends Said and Hubert. Continue reading Review: La Haine

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Riding High: Pure Heroine 7 Years On

Pure Heroine will always be one of my favourite albums. It was one of the first records that made me really fall in love with music, and, in turn introduced me to so many of the artists that I listen to today. How could I not write about it on the seventh anniversary of its release? Pure Heroine was released when I had just turned 14. I craved the quiet teenage indifference that Lorde so perfectly articulated in every song. Who would have known that seven years later I would turn 21 and still find solace in the fact that, yes, it does feel scary getting old? Continue reading Riding High: Pure Heroine 7 Years On

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Academic Resolutions

Quarantine, for me, was not necessarily the productive period I anticipated when it was first announced. Setting ambitious goals in which I had ‘no excuse’ not to complete for the entirety of summer, I had such high hopes that I’d pull one of those ‘summer glow ups’ and actually get my life together. Yet rolling around to August, the majority of which still remain uncomplete or even started. In moving over some of these goals into the next academic year, I hope to get the most out of my time, especially in a social climate in which our short time as students is thrown into uncertainty. Continue reading Academic Resolutions

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Reviews in Retrospect: All About Love by bell hooks

“Without justice there can be no love.” There’s something incredibly special about a book that is both politically powerful yet therapeutic, both critical and healing. bell hooks’ 1999 book All About Love: New Visions is one of these. Exploring the psychological and social complexities of love in the modern world, bell hooks offers “a hopeful, joyous vision of love’s transformative power.” She shares incredible critical insight about a wide range of topics: the patriarchal values that shape relationships, the harmful connotations of the ideal family, and how male-written self-help books often feed into women’s insecurities, rather than boosting their confidence. All About Love is a genuinely helpful read — one that can revolutionise your thinking about the wider world and give realistic advice about caring for yourself and others in everyday life. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: All About Love by bell hooks

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Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Charlie Kaufman is a filmmaker whose work I have always admired; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my favourite films of all time (so much so that I wrote a whole essay on it in first year!). To this day, I remain astounded by the ambition and complexity of his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. Having declared my love for Kaufman films, … Continue reading Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

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Identities not Categories: Is there a Problem with BAME?

Over lockdown, I’ve been subjected to many a rant from my dad concerning how fast society is changing; usually an add-on to his lecture about how ruthless and toxic cancel culture can be. Now, to a certain extent I can sympathise. Our linguistics and what’s considered politically correct are evolving and changing at a rate that we’ve never experienced. A recent example of such controversy is … Continue reading Identities not Categories: Is there a Problem with BAME?

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Cruise Ships and Covid-19: An Opportunity to Re-Examine the Travel Industry

Cruise ships represent the immensity of travel in the modern world. The access to oceanic space from the luxury and comfort onboard is part of the mass appeal for consumers, but there is a darker side to the glistening structures that line our waters. Often dubbed as ‘floating cities’, despite their testament to modern engineering, the industry is an environmental disaster. In the adversity of lockdown, there have been enormous economic pressures and questions over the future of travel across the globe. However, the current pandemic and suspension of most of the cruise industry’s activities have also afforded a unique opportunity to re-examine the environmental impact of these ships, and whether a green recovery is possible. Continue reading Cruise Ships and Covid-19: An Opportunity to Re-Examine the Travel Industry

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Reviews in Retrospect: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

None of James Baldwin’s books express passion, tenderness and grief as well as If Beale Street Could Talk (1974). After I read Baldwin’s Another Country (1962) during lockdown, I made it my mission to read every one of his novels, his writing completely struck me. Of-course his novels remain extremely relevant to the present day, they focus on questions surrounding sexuality, race, and religion which art and literature continues to confront. However, it was the soul and passion in his writing which had me consuming one book after another. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

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Review: Inside Missguided: Made in Manchester

Channel 4’s Inside Missguided: Made in Manchester documentary shows behind the scenes of fast fashion brand, Missguided. However, the documentary masks the company’s unethical practices and underpaid factory workers, with the Missguided employees’ bubbly and likeable personalities. Continue reading Review: Inside Missguided: Made in Manchester

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Reviews in Retrospect: Outlaw Culture by bell hooks

I first heard about intersectional feminist writer bell hooks in a Media Studies classroom during sixth form. We were taught that bell hooks challenges the “ideology of domination” that perpetuates misogyny, racism and classism. Our teacher also told us that hooks deliberately refused to punctuate her name with capital letters, to symbolically shed the tools of power that regulate personal identity. Before I ever read bell hooks, the idea of a writer powerful enough to escape the confines of language fascinated me. The first of hooks’ writing I read, her 1994 collection of essays and interviews Outlaw Culture, asserts that popular culture is never “apolitical”, and representation always matters. Unpretentious, piercingly insightful, and funny, Outlaw Culture is as fascinating as hooks herself. Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: Outlaw Culture by bell hooks

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Reading Corner: Magazines

Having spent the beginning of lockdown blasting my way through novel after novel to occupy my sudden abundance of free time, I’d recently found my attention span gradually waning as the endless hours of isolation wore on. With lockdown boredom making me increasingly fidgety, the focus required to sit down and immerse myself in the depths of a book became harder to grasp. Continue reading Reading Corner: Magazines

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Defiant, Self-Aware, Accessible Feminism: Why you should read Florence Given’s ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’

Florence Given’s book Women Don’t Owe You Pretty (2020) has been The Sunday Times bestseller for ten weeks in a row now, and it’s no surprise why. Continue reading Defiant, Self-Aware, Accessible Feminism: Why you should read Florence Given’s ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’

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Bodyform’s ‘Womb Stories’ Campaign and De-Stigmatising Menstruation

Since I was about sixteen, I’ve been passionate about de-stigmatizing periods. I used the Clue app religiously and showed it to all my friends at school, including the boys. I talked about periods loudly and graphically. I didn’t care if that made boys feel uncomfortable. I had confidence about my periods. They made me feel powerful and were an important part of my identity as a young woman. Because of my contraception, I don’t have periods anymore. My female friends are usually jealous of me when I tell them this, but I actually miss them; they’re a sign that everything’s ticking over and working properly. They’re completely healthy and natural, so why is there such a big stigma surrounding them? Continue reading Bodyform’s ‘Womb Stories’ Campaign and De-Stigmatising Menstruation

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Reading Corner: Wilt by Tom Sharpe

Wilt (1976) by Tom Sharpe is probably the funniest book I have ever read. And I’m talking laugh out loud funny. As an English student with months and months of lockdown stretching ahead of me, I probably should have made a list of every great Victorian novel and slowly made my way through them with a sense of dignified purpose and achievement. Obviously, this was not the case and, as my Netflix history will prove, I have spent very little of this holiday actually reading. However, once I picked up Wilt, I forgot all about a fourth binge of the entirety of Community (shocking, I know) and was hooked. Continue reading Reading Corner: Wilt by Tom Sharpe

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What makes you BRITish enough: Why Rina Sawayama called out the Music Industry

Imagine releasing a critically acclaimed album only to be told you aren’t eligible to be nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize and BRIT awards, let alone win them; all because apparently you aren’t British enough. For Japanese-born British singer-songwriter Rina Sawayama, being told she couldn’t even qualify for consideration for an award so clearly deserved is obviously nothing less than heart breaking. After living in the UK for 25 years and holding indefinite leave to remain in the country, why do the BPI rules deny her this accolade for which she has so evidently been snubbed? Continue reading What makes you BRITish enough: Why Rina Sawayama called out the Music Industry

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Single Review: ‘Labyrinth’ by A Blaze of Feather

I wasn’t familiar with Cornish band A Blaze of Feather until my interview with band member Mickey Smith, but I’m glad I’ve made this discovery. It’s refreshing. The new album LABYRINTH is strong as a whole, but for me the highlight is the titular track ‘Labyrinth’. This single is likely to be popular with a lot of fans of indie music. Smith’s vocals are unique – calming but with a sense of power. The guitar is catchy and works especially well with the chorus. The instrumentation as a whole is extremely effective. Continue reading Single Review: ‘Labyrinth’ by A Blaze of Feather

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Why Princess Di is still at the Forefront of Fashion

When you think of 90s fashion, what first comes to mind? Cycling shorts, baggy sweatshirts and high-waisted jeans? Oversized blazers, scrunchies and tiny shoulder bags? If you’re thinking that sounds like a rundown of what you’d see walking into Urban Outfitters, you’d be correct. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a revival for all things vintage – and no-one exuded 90s cool better than Princess Diana. Continue reading Why Princess Di is still at the Forefront of Fashion

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Lauren Bacall: A Feminist’s Femme Fatale

With her iconic smoky voice and signature sultry “look”, Lauren Bacall is often remembered as Old Hollywood’s ultimate femme fatale. From the moment she first entered the big screen, and delivered the line ‘anybody got a match?’ (To Have and Have Not, 1944) Bacall established herself as the anti-ingenue; strong, intelligent and opposite to the naïve woman typically celebrated in 1940s film. Mysterious, seductive female characters have been repeatedly demonised throughout the history of storytelling. Threatening the traditional perception of the ideal, passive woman, with her awareness of her own sexuality, femme fatales are usually represented as dangerous. Often in Old Hollywood, the femme fatale, and female sexuality itself, existed to be punished. This, however, was not the case for Lauren Bacall. Turning the era’s censorship laws on their head, Bacall presented female audiences with someone they could identify with: a knows-what-she-wants girl who could express her sexuality without being labelled a villain. Continue reading Lauren Bacall: A Feminist’s Femme Fatale

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Navigating Conversations about White Privilege

Like many other white people amid the Black Lives Matter movement, I have been questioning how I can become a better ally. Where to begin? Acknowledging white privilege is the first step. Listen to what people of colour are saying, read up and question where white privilege can be seen in your own life and the world around you. It is as easy as looking … Continue reading Navigating Conversations about White Privilege

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Uncovering the Rainbow, Re-examining History from a Queer Perspective

It is well known that history is written by the victors. The individuals in power are sculptors, who mould events and entire periods to reflect beneficially upon themselves. Despite facts being concrete, sometimes textbooks and the literary canon shatter these, acting like rose tinted glasses, constructed to distort the reality of the past. The triumph of those in power is carved into time, while the stories of minorities are left to decay and swept under the carpet when their accounts are deemed unacceptable for future generations. This is so often the case for the LGBTQ+ community. Continue reading Uncovering the Rainbow, Re-examining History from a Queer Perspective

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Problematic Lockdown Shopping Habits

Finding ways to deal with lockdown boredom can sometimes feel like a pointless endeavour. However, many have taken to online shopping as a remedy to quell such mundanity. As the ‘physical’ fashion industry has taken a slight pause with the cancellation of summer fashion shows and September fashion weeks looking increasingly unlikely, the virtual fast fashion world has kept charging on at its usual unsustainable speed. PFS discovered in a recent survey of 2,000 Brits that “three in five (60%) consumers have purchased more goods since the lockdown began, than they did before, with 53% having shopped more online”. Moreover, the report outlined that “more than three quarters (77%) of these […] expect they will continue to purchase online more once the lockdown is over – indicating a potentially irreversible change in consumer purchasing behaviour”. But what does an “irreversible change” in UK consumer behaviour mean for the employees at the bottom of the supply chain and the environment? Continue reading Problematic Lockdown Shopping Habits

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Performativity and All-White Workplaces: The Racism that Happens Behind-the-scenes of the Fashion Industry

In the wake of the recent global Black Lives Matter protests, discussions surrounding racism within the workplace have been bought to light, with individuals and former employees finally finding the courage to speak out about their experiences of discrimination. As a result, many industries and companies have come under fire for their problematic attitudes towards their non-white employees and their consequential lack of action, with the fashion industry being one of the most revealing. It will come as no surprise to anyone that the fashion industry lacks diversity, with runways and fashion campaigns featuring predominantly white, thin models, and constant instances of cultural appropriation seen on the runway and in collections. However, recent years have shown a development in the diversity seen on the runway, with South Sudanese model Adut Akech winning model of the year at the 2019 Fashion Awards. Whilst this improvement cannot be said for every fashion house (just look at the Dior AW20 campaign), the inclusivity seen amongst models is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. One well-known luxury fashion brand that has been hailed for the diversity of their models is Jacquemus. This French fashion house, founded by designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, is most well-known for its stunning runway show backdrops, the Le Chiquito mini bags and also inclusivity of models of all sizes, races and genders, with Vogue even congratulating the brand for their “gorgeously diverse casting”. Whilst Jacquemus has been praised for this diversity, recent revelations prove that this inclusivity goes no deeper than surface level. Continue reading Performativity and All-White Workplaces: The Racism that Happens Behind-the-scenes of the Fashion Industry

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My Favourite Album Covers: From Pre-teen Pop to Peach Pit

For me, the best album covers will always be the ones that perfectly encapsulate the music they contain, showing you how the album is going to make you feel or what it’s trying to say before you’ve heard the opening notes. In fact, the best albums, in my opinion, are the ones that have a unifying emotion or sentiment that you feel in every single one of its songs. After trawling through my saved Spotify albums, though, I quickly realised that not all these great albums have the best covers, nor do the best covers belong to the best albums. Continue reading My Favourite Album Covers: From Pre-teen Pop to Peach Pit

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Politics on Screen: Sitting in Limbo

At the start of June BBC One aired Sitting in Limbo, a factual drama about the consequences of the Windrush scandal of 2018. Despite the programme flying largely under the radar, nearly two months after I watched this important piece of television, I still reflect on it and the way it made me feel. Continue reading Politics on Screen: Sitting in Limbo

Review: Criminal UK

*Spoiler Alert* Season 2 of Criminal UK has just come out on Netflix and, while it may be just what we need right now to distract us from our post-summer COVID-19 self-pity party, the premise of some of the episodes is slightly troubling – and not just in the way that they are supposed to be. Each episode follows a different suspect with the same … Continue reading Review: Criminal UK