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Palatable Feminism Doesn’t Owe You Accountability

At the start of December 2020, social media influencer, writer and artist Florence Given came under fire for seeming to have replicated the work and message of Chidera Eggerue (whose online moniker is The Slumflower). The initial accusation came from Eggerue herself, who posted a series of Instagram stories talking through what she perceived to be similarities in their books (Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty and Eggerue’s What a Time to Be Alone and How to Get Over a Boy). These included the cover style, some of the snappy phrases Given utilises (most notably “Dump Him”), and the self-illustrated, ‘coffee-table’ vibe of the book. Eggerue called for accountability from Given, and some redistribution of profits both to her and the other Black women Given credited in the afterword of her book, stating “Black women’s ideas generate wealth for white people. But that wealth doesn’t go to our community.” Radio silence followed from Given’s usually very active Instagram, until a few days later when she posted a statement via her Instagram, attempting to explain her side of the story. She pointed out that Eggerue had “ethusiastically” endorsed Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, and that it would have been impossible for her to read How to Get Over a Boy before handing in her manuscript for her own book. She cited her own previous work and drawing style, as well as her long-term interest in feminist thinking and the ways in which it has inspired her art. She also said she had donated a chunk of her advance to Black Minds Matter, a UK charity aiming to provide Black people with free care from Black therapists. Black Minds Matter has refused an offer of a further donation. Continue reading Palatable Feminism Doesn’t Owe You Accountability

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COVID-19 Vaccines: A New Hope for 2021

Whilst many of us feared that COVID-19 would never go away, the discovery of two vaccines in the UK has brought a new-found ounce of hope to the global pandemic. On hearing this news, many now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They anticipate their loved ones receiving a vaccine, so they can finally hug without worry and without the potentially fatal risks. Going into 2021, we can finally begin to look forward to finding a new ‘normality’, as, for many, the pandemic has shifted what ‘normal’ means. It has changed people’s perspective of what is important, putting more emphasis on the extreme gratitude we should show to the NHS and key workers, who have saved and continue to save many lives. Continue reading COVID-19 Vaccines: A New Hope for 2021

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Reading Corner: Daddy by Emma Cline

I’ve found that there is a curse amongst English students. We have chosen to study an activity one usually conducts for pleasure and as a result, too often the joy of reading is drained from us. Just as I am falling into a novel which has sat patiently on my to read pile, I spot The Odyssey or Othello glaring at me, and the guilt of neglecting the reading list for my module pulls the book from my grasp. Continue reading Reading Corner: Daddy by Emma Cline

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Toxic Productivity and Why You’re Probably Experiencing It

Productivity seems to be society’s obsession. Whilst a strong work ethic is a desirable quality, a fixation with it can lead to a mindset that is dangerous and harmful to our wellbeing. Perhaps we are left with a feeling of guilt no matter how much work we get done, or perhaps we become so overwhelmed with these thoughts that we are unable to work at all. Productivity is a spectrum, and ‘toxic productivity’ actually lies at both ends; mental health nurse Emma Selby defines the term as ‘an obsession with radical self-improvement over all else’, a goal which is ultimately unachievable. Continue reading Toxic Productivity and Why You’re Probably Experiencing It

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Challenging Fashion Boundaries and Showcasing Minority Creators

The December issue of Vogue US saw Harry Styles grace its cover, making him the first solo male to front the magazine in Vogue’s 128-year history. Whilst it may not be surprising that Styles was chosen for the cover of Vogue magazine considering the success that 2020 has had in store for him, the shoot instantly became a defining moment in fashion history. The cover photo shows Styles wearing a classic double-breasted black Gucci jacket over a custom-made baby blue, lace Gucci dress (designed by Gucci’s Creative Director and Styles’ close friend, Alessandro Michele). Naturally, an image of a man wearing a dress on the cover of the world’s most notorious fashion magazine drew headlines and ruffled a few feathers. The most famous quote that this image bore was Candace Owens’ tweet “bring back manly men.” This controversial quote lead to an onslaught of praise in support of Styles, as well as some right-wing commentators supporting Owens. Whilst it is evident that 2020 has proven that masculinity is no more than a concept formed by societal norms, it is also worth considering if Styles deserves the praise that he has been given. Continue reading Challenging Fashion Boundaries and Showcasing Minority Creators

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Harry Potter and the Author Who Won’t Stop Tweeting

During lockdown, a time already fraught with fear, anxiety, and literal and emotional isolation (particularly for members of the LGBTQ+ community who may have found themselves locked down with families who don’t accept their identity), J.K. Rowling wrote an essay about her notorious anti-trans views. In the article, published on her own blog (but summed up much better on other sites, so you do not have to give her page clicks that she presumably profits from), Rowling explains her defence of tax specialist Maya Forstater, a woman who’d claimed that a distinguished non-binary CEO was “a white man who likes to dress in women’s clothes”, and later lost a tribunal debating whether the philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology is protected by the law. She then went on to similarly defend her support of Scottish activist Magdalen Burns, who had compared being transgender to being in blackface. In the rest of the essay she uses tired, offensive arguments to defend what Andrew J. Carter called her ‘half-truths and transphobic dogwhistles’. These statements included pointing out the risk trans activists apparently pose to children who may be questioning their identity (‘I have deep concerns about the effect the trans rights movement is having on education and safeguarding’), the risk trans women apparently pose to cisgender women, (‘When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman, then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside’), and the erasure of free speech that apparently occurs when laws are enshrined to protect trans people. Continue reading Harry Potter and the Author Who Won’t Stop Tweeting

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Why Sex Toys Continue to be Devices for Women’s Empowerment

Female masturbation has always been a taboo subject. And the only way to overcome taboo is by talking about that thing. So, let’s talk about it. Sex toys are important not only because they cataylse a conversation about a topic which women often feel ashamed to talk about, but they are also an active agent in taking control of sexual pleasure. Nothing signifies female empowerment better than being able to orgasm on your own, wherever and whenever you want (within reason, of course). Continue reading Why Sex Toys Continue to be Devices for Women’s Empowerment

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A Very Covid Christmas

Christmas – ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ December usually brings festive parties, dinners, and drinks with friends and family. It can often feel as though the world comes to a holt in order to celebrate the national holiday. However, due to COVID-19, 2020 has been a year unlike any other and with Christmas quickly approaching we can expect an unconventional holiday season. The … Continue reading A Very Covid Christmas