Interview: RAZZ x Recognise RED

Domestic services have been drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A report by Women’s Aid titled ‘A Perfect Storm’ details the extent of this. 61% of respondents said, “the abuse had worsened” and 68% of respondents said, “they felt they had no one to turn to during lockdown”. Women’s Aid Chief Executive Nicki Norman explained how “women’s domestic abuse support services were already facing a funding crisis when the pandemic hit. They had little or no financial resilience to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19”, and she went on to state “at a time when public services are diverted by COVID-19, the need for specialist domestic abuse services has never been more critical”. Continue reading Interview: RAZZ x Recognise RED

It’s a Sin: Depicting HIV/AIDS On-Screen

Since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus in December 2019, there have been three vaccines approved for use in the UK. It was labelled as a pandemic by WHO on Wednesday 11 March 2020, just over five months later. A disease as high profile and universally affecting as COVID-19 has received masses of the attention and funding that it requires to tackle the virus. To date, the pandemic has claimed over 2.3 million lives. Continue reading It’s a Sin: Depicting HIV/AIDS On-Screen

Rewriting the ‘Bodice Ripper’

Racing heartbeats, open shirts and heaving bosoms; I’m sure we can all picture those tacky and titillating cover illustrations that make the Bodice Ripper so infamous within the realm of romance fiction. Popularised in the 1970s, the genre is commonly associated with patriarchal ideals of dominant men fighting for the heart of the passive woman, where the hero’s rape of the virginal heroine acts as a catalyst for her undying love. Increasingly formulaic in their historical settings and adventure orientated romances, publishers of the 1970s and 1980s knew what seemed to work for their female readership. Continue reading Rewriting the ‘Bodice Ripper’

Interview: RAZZ x Recognise Red

During RAZZ’s SHAG Week (Sexual Health and Guidance week), online deputy editor, Holly McSweeney had the wonderful opportunity to interview Campaign Manager Abigail Hartshorn and Publicity Officer Emily Black from the anti-sexual harassment campaign Recognise Red as an extension of our recent collaboration. Their discussion covered the origins of the campaign and getting it off the ground, the incredible work it does to sustain engaged discussion surrounding sexual harassment and the main challenges faced within that goal. One thing that seemed to come up across the conversations was the challenge of  making specific positive change on the Exeter campuses while remaining connected to broader national and international movements too. Their discussion follows: Continue reading Interview: RAZZ x Recognise Red

Arty Nudes

There goes the age-old art centric debate; what constitutes nude and what naked? Nudity is often viewed as the artful posing of the naked human form, whereas nakedness is often perceived as more vulnerable, unrefined and bare – in such a sense nudity is often elevated to a higher artistic and cultural standing, with nakedness being largely associated with censorship and stigmatisation. The terms are often used interchangeably, and while this may not be 100% linguistically correct, I would argue that it is important to destigmatise the taboos surrounding nakedness; a naked body is just that, whether it can be perceived as sexually attractive should not be central to the manner in which we address it. As demonstrated, both words mean the unclothed human body, so how did such a differentiation in contextual understanding occur? Art critic John Berger previously argued the meaning of the nude has changed over the years; in his 1972 book ‘Ways of Seeing’  he says that the nude has been continuously utilised to portray the female body in a manner that is sexually pleasing to the viewer, whereas a ‘naked’ piece of art depicts a sitter embodying their own space and pleasure. Whether this is true is dependent on the subjective opinion of the viewer, something that has undoubtedly changed throughout history. Continue reading Arty Nudes

Strategic Essentialism and Queer Identities: Validation or Exclusion?

From general terms like queer, to gay slang like cishet, there are so many labels now that the majority of people, both inside and outside of the LGBTQ+ community, have no idea most of them even exist. And yet, queer people often find that their label, or lack thereof, defines them both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community. Of course, in many ways, this can be empowering, giving queer people validation and an opportunity to express their identity. However, the minefield of personal opinions, ignorance, casual homophobia and exhausted indifference which surrounds the concept of strategic essentialist queer identities means that the topic becomes a lot more complex. Despite being proud of their identities, a lack of understanding and even homophobia can lead to strategic essentialist views of LGBTQ+ people that are deeply problematic. Continue reading Strategic Essentialism and Queer Identities: Validation or Exclusion?

Review: Non-Binary Electro Hour @ Exeter Phoenix

With all forms of theatre that promise to be personal, political, and a tad eccentric, I do my best to go in with no expectations, allowing the show to paint over the blank canvas of my mind, to educate and enlighten me. For Non-Binary Electro Hour, I certainly couldn’t have done it any other way. An electrifying spectacle of art, impersonations, politics and spoken word, the show was a unique and eye-opening exploration of gender through performance.
Continue reading Review: Non-Binary Electro Hour @ Exeter Phoenix

Preview: Come As You Are @ Exeter Phoenix

Come As You Are is a ground-breaking and eccentric festival that celebrates trans, non-binary, and gender-queer theatre. Titling themselves “Gender Anarchists”, Camden People’s Theatre are travelling across the UK to challenge people’s preconceptions of gender and identity, demonstrating the freedom to be found in interrogating these oppressive norms. Continue reading Preview: Come As You Are @ Exeter Phoenix

Interview: Bella Heesom on death, feminism and the arts

An interview all about death, feminism, sexuality and the arts. Following the death of her father and then mother, Bella Heesom turned to play writing to express her grief and encourage others to be more open about emotion and mourning. Her play, My World Has Exploded A Little Bit will be at the Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter and this will be followed by a death cafe. Continue reading Interview: Bella Heesom on death, feminism and the arts

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Was 1960s Britain as sexually liberal as we all thought? 2012 was the year the mod crept, tassel loafers intact, from the grave of British pop culture. The button up polo, the parka, and the wrinkled resurgence of the Stones all show a craving for 60s living. Even sport can’t escape it, as Bradley Wiggins (who’s partial to buttoning up his polo shirt and idolising Paul Weller) has been … Continue reading Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll