A poem by SIMRAN DIVATIA. The nurse, in worried tones whispers to my mother “but your daughter is so dark, what will people say?” I had not been alive for a single day before I was nothing more than the shade of my skin, and as I grew up, and it grew light, something still didn’t sit right, that people praised the change, as though fair was seen as the greatest thing a girl could be. Featured image from Brick Lane, directed by Sarah Gavron, 2007

Fair and Lovely

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

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?

SHALAKA BAPAT discusses what ‘Home’ means to the speakers at the TEDxUCLWomen event. Throughout history, women have been confined to domestic, private spaces. ‘A woman’s place is at home,’ ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’ and ‘go make me a sandwich’ are all phrases that I daresay many women have heard (from men – who else?). However this year’s TEDxUCLWomen event saw the theme of ‘home’ alternatively as a space of agency, of action and of comfort. Last year’s theme was ‘Intersect’, and the event very much continued in this vein. Unlike many platforms for ideas and culture, TEDxUCLWomen has diversity at the very core of its being. This was visible in so many aspects: from the team of incredible women who organised the event, the physical accessibility of the space, the subsidised tickets for community groups, and the vegetarian food that was served. It is the small but crucial…Continue Reading

What else but home?