SEEHAM RAHMAN examines femininity and sexual politics in Polly Nor’s satirical illustrations. Sensuality, identity, and femininity are not new phenomena in illustration and storytelling. However, the modern woman of the 21st century represents an evolution of womanhood on an individual and societal basis. Art and design are not only articulating this social change but also actively engaging with it in pursuit of strengthening the perception of femininity. As a woman of colour, I often find it difficult to find myself represented in Western Art in a three-dimensional way. Polly Nor’s art speaks to the faults of my identity, bringing forth the wholeness of who I am. Even my demons are depicted as they really are, next to sensuous depictions of womanhood. My femininity is encapsulated; my fears revealed. The artist urges women to understand the toxicity of the internet-age through pieces such as In Your Dreams. Nor encapsulates the anxieties and responsibilities…Continue Reading

Polly Nor and The Nasty Woman

THOMAS NGUYEN discusses Mary Wollstonecraft’s message on education for the Time’s Up generation.  Following the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, the ever-growing number of liberating speeches, marches and articles give us hope that the fight for gender equality is progressing. Springing from Alyssa Milano’s accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, debates on sexual harassment and sexism have opened up in all spheres of society – ranging from politics and the military to fashion and business. Oprah’s speech at the 2017 Golden Globes, Israel’s victory at Eurovision with the song ‘Toy’, and the hundreds of testimonies given the spotlight in national newspapers are just a few of the encouraging examples. It seemed, for the first time, that male executives, actors and photographers who had previously abused their power were finally getting brought to justice. Despite this, we are yet to reach the essence of the problem: namely, that a child’s education, both at…Continue Reading

‘No Distinctions of Vanity’

ALICE DEVOY looks at the what, why and who of swearing. Some words are more shocking than others. They have been deemed inappropriate, offensive or disrespectful, and are placed under the umbrella term of ‘swear words’. Swear words have the ability to shock because they violate social norms and transgress established barriers of what is and isn’t appropriate. You may recognise the following extract from the 2003 film Love Actually, in which the new housekeeper, Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), embarrasses herself in front of the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) by swearing, and so verbally violates the cultural expectations. Natalie: Hello David. I mean, Sir. Shit, I can’t believe I’ve just said that. And now I’ve gone and said ‘shit’. Twice. I’m so sorry, Sir. Prime Minister: It’s fine, it’s fine. You could have said ‘fuck’ and then we’d have been in real trouble. Natalie: Thank you, Sir. I did have a terrible premonition…Continue Reading

The female curse

ANYA JOHNSON looks at the ins and outs of the enduring stereotype of the woman in the kitchen.  One of my mum’s favourite things to do before she goes to bed is to scroll through recipes that the Guardian puts online from time to time. My dad loves to do the same. But I’ve come to notice that only one party is able to put this pastime into practice. I have either cooked with most of the women in my life or eaten food that these women have cooked for me. I’m not sure I could say the same about the men in my life. I’ve found that man’s transition into the kitchen requires two things: a willing man to do some cooking and a willing woman to let him. I fear there is inequality in the kitchen, and I argue the unwilling woman plays a role that society has overlooked.  And…Continue Reading

The (roast) Chicken and Egg of Feminism

POLLY CREED talks about her new theatre project, Power Play. So, what is Power Play? Power Play is an activist theatre project, a feminist theatre project that aims to understand the systemic problems facing women in the industry and works also as a data activism project, so we’ll publicise these facts to help people understand the problems more, at venues and festivals, and through individuals. We’ll have a showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe, and also be publicising all our data through a kind of Guerilla Girls style campaign, so putting out posters all across the fringe. Is it predominantly a theatre project or an activist project? I’d say it’s predominantly an activist project, so the kind of key thing we’re doing is the data analysis. There’s never been any kind of data analysis of the Edinburgh Fringe, or of most Fringe theatre in the UK, so it’s really unknown territory.…Continue Reading

Power Play

Can the language used to articulate female sexual pleasure movements be at times be disempowering, and even victimising? LUCY WALMSLEY investigates.  The #MeToo movement has had a polarising effect, dividing people into supporters or sceptics. In light of constant reminders of the dire situation us women face, it’s important to remember another equally revolutionary feminist movement that deals with something much more positive relating to sex: female sexual pleasure. As we begin to talk more frankly about the problematic attitude to sex so endemic to our societies, the discrepancies between male and female pleasure in the bedroom also need to be assessed. Female sexual pleasure is unchartered territory for many, women included. The taboos that bar it as a discussion topic and its absence from school sex education classes have made their mark: in a recent study conducted by the US National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour, 27% fewer women than…Continue Reading

Female Sexual Pleasure: A Battle?

ISY MOISY discusses whether women have a unique role to play in the battle against climate change. Is it plausible to claim that women have a more insightful understanding of environmental damage and are therefore more uniquely positioned to fight its effects? To see the effect environmental damage has, we can look to Ecofeminism, a theory that grew during the 1980s among women from the anti-nuclear, environmental, and lesbian-feminist movements. It is clear that environmentalism and feminism are both conspicuous, contemporary issues that cannot be understated, and that gender discussion should be integrated into discussions about environmental reparation. Ecofeminism sees a critical connection between the two, as both having been caused by a result of patriarchy – and wants to say more than just that women are more affected by environmental damage.  The Chipko movement in India accomplished a victory in 1980 when Indira Ghandi, the leader at the time, issued a…Continue Reading

Rethinking Ecofeminism