Dreams and Nightmares in Audrey Diwan’s Happening

The night after we watched L’événement (Happening), a 2021 French drama currently receiving a British release, two of my friends had dreams about being pregnant. This, I think, is the greatest testament to the power of Audrey Diwan’s direction and Anamaria Vartolomei’s leading performance: we began dissecting the film the second the cinema lights lifted; carried on for the whole walk home; through three rounds in the pub; and still we couldn’t get the story out of our heads…

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Transfeminine masculinities – structural [trans]misogyny

I feel that the label ‘transmisogyny’ is a bit opaque. It often describes many of the moments where transfemme people are understood and treated as ‘biologically male’ by one means or another; an intersection between misogyny and transphobia. I want to talk through a little of what’s going on in the different moments and processes that make up these interactions and situations of transphobia, to give an insight into my world of masculinities. Within the bounds of transmisogyny, there is no room for me to explore my gender nonconformity; no room for my experimentation with pronouns, presentation, or personality; no room for any subversive tendencies without or beyond the original sin of my transfemininity. There isn’t a lot of room in people’s consciousness for masculinity from transfems. It’s hard for us to embody our masculinities as non-men without the people around us eroding, invalidating, and redefining us.

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The Home Front of the Culture War

Considering that we are currently witnessing one of the most serious conflicts in Europe in recent decades, you’d be forgiven for wondering why so much of the surrounding discourse appears preoccupied with pronouns, gender, and sexuality – topics that perhaps, on their surface, appear only tangentially, if at all, related…

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Who ‘leans in’ and how? Masculinities in workspaces

In 2010, the then Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivered a TED talk entitled ‘Why we have too few women leaders’. This talk spawned the now-infamous 2013 book Lean In which lays out her brand of corporate feminist doctrine in greater detail. The crux of Sandberg’s argument is that women lack the assertiveness and ambition of their male colleagues, and that is why they fail to get ahead in their careers.

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emBODYment

Can you walk down the street without being aware of your body? Simple question. And I don’t mean the physicality of walking. I mean feeling reduced solely to a body. If you can, you are, most likely, a man. A woman only has to walk down the street braless, or wearing something mildly short or low-cut, to be instantly reduced to a body. To flesh to be ogled by whoever feels so inclined. This may sound like an exaggeration, but, trust me, it is not. Every single time I leave the house wearing clothes that I feel comfortable in, I am leered at (or worse) by at least one man. Actually, whatever we are wearing, we are still not left alone. I’ve been harassed wearing ‘going out clothes’, but just as often I’ve been wearing dungarees. It is about the men, not the clothes, and pretending we can change our clothes to reduce harassment gives a false sense of control over our safety.

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Cricket and Afghanistan: remarkable but expected?

For those of you who follow cricket, you might be aware that the T20 World Cup is currently taking place. To the surprise, or lack thereof, of many, Afghanistan is also playing despite the country currently experiencing the aftermath of a Taliban takeover. The question of whether or not their presence is a surprise comes from an intertwined history of the rise of cricket and political turmoil in the country. And whether you are shocked or not, either feeling is likely to inspire an uneasiness about the short and long term state of this country, and the consistency of cricket in the midst of this.

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An Interview with Living Rent’s Meg Bishop

Living Rent was founded in 2014, as part of ACORN International, and is a mass-membership tenants union serving communities all over Scotland within the private and social rented sector. I was really excited to interview Meg Bishop, the organisation’s national secretary who addresses grassroots activism, organising and housing as integral parts of the feminist struggle.

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Not Sure I was ‘Born This Way’

I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while now. For many years now, it has been a staple rhetoric of the queer liberation that nobody ‘chooses’ to be gay: a backlash against those who call it a ‘lifestyle’, who try to push conversion therapy and deviant labels on us.

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Western Countries are Hoarding Vaccinations

Here in the UK, life appears to be returning to at least some semblance of normalcy. Pandemic restrictions in England are gone; in Scotland, whilst masks remain, there are no limits on gatherings. Nightclubs are opening up again. Students are going back to universities.

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We’re Here Because You Were There – How the British Empire Metamorphosed Power

Amartya Sen recently outlined the structural impacts Britain had on India throughout its longstanding rule, hoping to unpack the illusions of the empire’s legacy through a historical dive into India’s past. As Sen opens with, power is widely agreed to have been established by British forces in 1757 at the Battle of Plassey by defeating Nawab Siraj-ud-Doula’s army and beginning a 200-year rule that ended with Nehru’s famous words in 1947 – ‘At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to light and freedom’. This monumental moment in global history is thought to be the start of a process of decolonisation stretching into the 1980s.

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Metamorphosis: LGBTQ+ Rights in the UK

This year, throughout Pride month, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own journey as a queer teenager, then a non-binary adult, and how I’ve changed throughout my life. As with the metamorphosis we see in nature, my identity and self hasn’t changed – in the way that a butterfly is never not itself, even as a caterpillar.

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We Need to Stop Calling Young Girls Bossy

From a young age, I was always told that I was a bossy person, and I just accepted it and took it as the criticism it was intended to be. Thinking back to when I was labelled bossy, it was when I took charge of a task and put myself in a leadership position in order to do something. This adjective has never been used to describe one of my male friends, but many of my determined female friends.

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Brown Women Aren’t Quiet

In primary school, a boy once asked me, “Aren’t all brown people quiet?” I had no idea what to say, standing there in my oversized bottle green cardigan and kilt. I was eight years old. I mean, I knew I was quiet, but not because I wanted to be; in a predominantly white area, it was the best way to fit in, to survive the glares and stares I received day on end. At home, I was different. I would speak up about anything I could, and as soon as my friends got to know me, I would tell them stuff too. As I got older, I found my voice: first by writing, then by speaking. By the time I started my undergraduate degree, I had plenty to say.

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I Hate Elon Musk So Much

When I was younger, living in the north of Scotland, we would have some pretty miserable winters. It would be dark at 3pm, wet and cold and windy. The one silver lining was that on clear nights, even when your fingers felt like they would fall off as you broke the ice in a water trough, you could see so many stars overhead. I could stand with my neck craned back and stare at them for hours.

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Am I Angry? Why the new policing bill should make everyone angry

Anger is an emotion that has defined most of the past year for me. It presents itself in many forms: pure rage, frustration, powerlessness, a strong sense of injustice; but also anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, hopelessness, fear, and sometimes complete shutdown. It gets so overwhelming at the moment; it feels like I’m just not equipped to be thinking about all the things that are going on. And as soon as I reach my absolute limit, something else happens to pile on more anger and more of all the things that come with it.

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I’m Fed Up with Coming Out Stories

Hey, Ma? Don’t read this one. The reason the above warning exists is because whilst I am queer, I’m not actually out to my parents, or many people in the small town I grew up in and have recently moved back to. There are a lot of reasons for this, though I am lucky enough that it is not because I feel unsafe, or that my parents would reject me.

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America: the Defender of White Supremacy

On Wednesday night the world watched in horror as scenes from Capitol Hill, the political heart of the United States of America, were broadcast live onto television. Upon encouragement from President Trump, a mob of armed fascists marched on the building; breaking in and occupying the House floor and the offices of senators.

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