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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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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: The Kissing Booth 2

The Kissing Booth, directed by Vince Marcello and starring Joey King, Jacob Elordi and Molly Ringwald, caused a bit of a stir in the rom-com genre when it was first released on Netflix in May 2018. Not least because it was based off a published Wattpad series by Beth Reekles, written when she was just fifteen years old. As someone who used to frequently read (and occasionally attemptto write) Wattpad stories, I maintain that it is a valuable platform for creating and consuming content in its most preliminary form; though I do wonder if there were other less damaging narrative that Netflix could have picked up and transferred to the big screen. Continue reading Review: The Kissing Booth 2

Review: Royal Shakespeare Company: Othello

Iqbal Khan’s Othello is a haunting rendition of psychological unravelling. With a stage bathed in blue light, a set reminiscent of a gothic church, and songs performed like elegies, Shakespeare’s controversial tragedy undergoes a thematic dismantling. Khan’s Othello recontextualises the play’s depictions of brutality and injustice. Costumes wander in a realm between modern and timeless, and additional dialogue involves the multi-racial community exchanging racist insults using current language. Most notably, the dynamic between Othello and the manipulative Iago shifts, with the compelling casting choice of a black actor as Iago. Continue reading Review: Royal Shakespeare Company: Othello

Reviews in Retrospect: Chewing Gum

Chewing Gum is a TV series both written and staring Michaela Coel. Originally airing on E4 in 2015, I first heard of it a few weeks ago when it was added to Netflix. The programme’s debut on Netflix comes after Coel’s new drama I Will Destroy You was released on BBC in June. This led to one of my housemates suggesting we watch it because … Continue reading Reviews in Retrospect: Chewing Gum

Review: Mrs America

When I first learned about Phyllis Schlafly and her battle against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) during my history lessons at school, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend why somebody would be in opposition to the legal affirmation of their own rights. Mrs America (BBC 2/FX on Hulu) offered me a more in-depth insight into the historical narrative of the motivations behind her activism. This … Continue reading Review: Mrs America

Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

When it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest, I would not class myself as the ‘average viewer’. If anything, I am a huge fan of the wonderfully wacky contest. So I, along with tens of thousands of people from all over Europe and around the world, was ready to head to Rotterdam this May to enjoy its week of spectacular weirdness. However, COVID-19 has put these plans on hold. I do not want to in any way diminish the awful effects the current crisis has had on every aspect of life. I just find that it is unfortunate, but understandable, that the contest had to be postponed. Continue reading Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Glastonbury in my Garden? – Virtual Festivals

We were all ready for the 2020 festival season, but as the Coronavirus pandemic grounded the UK to a halt in March, there remained little hope that any festivals would be taking place as usual this year. But don’t pack away the bucket hats just yet – many festivals have taken to the internet to provide festivalgoers with some virtual experiences to aid the lockdown … Continue reading Glastonbury in my Garden? – Virtual Festivals