Page 1

PEMBROKE

STREET

Issue 2 - Lent 2017


Editor Charlotte Araya Moreland Creative Director Phoebe Flatau

Contents

4.

Issue 2 - Lent 2017

Taking the hit:

Editorial Team Emily Fish Bélen Bale Tasha May Dìsa Greaves

women in boxing Tumblr feminism

VIPembroke Marie de St Pol Women in academics Women in STEM Setting the Stage

Photography Tasha May Illustration Lizzy O’Brien Blogger Dìsa Greaves

8 14 18 22 26 30

Instagram Oscar Ridout Treasurer Tim Lee Contributors Leila Mani Lundie Juliette Bretan Finty Hunter Sophie Quinn Joanna Taylor Eliza Dickinson Antonina Kielkowska Geraint Owen

12.

Pembroke’s

Gender on Stage Mum’s the Word “Give us a twirl” Poetry

34 36 38 40

Portraits

and the power of symbolism

Thanks to: Milly Parry Amy Teh Aran Macfarlane Jason Okundaye Sophie Naddell Gaia Laidler Eleanor Mitchell Ashley Armitage

2.

Facebook @pembrokestreet - Twitter @pembroke_street Instagram @pembrokestreet

3.


Editor Charlotte Araya Moreland Creative Director Phoebe Flatau

Contents

4.

Issue 2 - Lent 2017

Taking the hit:

Editorial Team Emily Fish Bélen Bale Tasha May Dìsa Greaves

women in boxing Tumblr feminism

VIPembroke Marie de St Pol Women in academics Women in STEM Setting the Stage

Photography Tasha May Illustration Lizzy O’Brien Blogger Dìsa Greaves

8 14 18 22 26 30

Instagram Oscar Ridout Treasurer Tim Lee Contributors Leila Mani Lundie Juliette Bretan Finty Hunter Sophie Quinn Joanna Taylor Eliza Dickinson Antonina Kielkowska Geraint Owen

12.

Pembroke’s

Gender on Stage Mum’s the Word “Give us a twirl” Poetry

34 36 38 40

Portraits

and the power of symbolism

Thanks to: Milly Parry Amy Teh Aran Macfarlane Jason Okundaye Sophie Naddell Gaia Laidler Eleanor Mitchell Ashley Armitage

2.

Facebook @pembrokestreet - Twitter @pembroke_street Instagram @pembrokestreet

3.


Taking the hit: women in boxing Pembroke Street interviews Gaia Laidler, Varsity boxing champion.

Training regime “We train six times a week formally with the club, for two early morning runs (either hill sprints or sprints on Jesus Green) and two evening sessions during the week where we just do training. We also have one circuit session and one weekend huge session which is circuits, training and sparring. And on our own we normally run three or four times a week to keep fit. “Boxing is a really weird one because you’re training really hard but still have to keep in a weight category. I’m really lucky - for Varsity I’ve been matched at 69 which is my normal weight, so I don't have to lose anything. But there are a lot of people who are cutting seriously whilst training, which is quite a tough compromise to make. It is one of the few sports where you have to be so regimented with diet because of this weight issue.”

Women in boxing “In terms of female participation, I think boxing is now going through what other sports have been through already. It’s quite late to the game in terms of bringing up the standard of women boxing - in the university itself, there have been women on the team for about ten years but because there’s never been a Varsity until last year, obviously they’re sidelined because it’s all about Varsity at this level of sport. “Of course, there are elements about boxing that inherently make it more maledominated, such as the association with aggressive fighting. But I think the sport is about to open up on a larger scale. There are loads of really great role models out there and good women fighters on television, so hopefully it will become a more gender equal sport soon. It is definitely lagging at the moment. “Seeing Nicola Adams in the Olympics - and real-world fights in general - are inspiration to join the sport. The number of women applying for the blues squad this year was huge. We’ve never had to turn away a girl from training with the blues team, because there’s only ever been ten or fifteen at tryouts. This time there were maybe 25 people who wanted to be in the squad.”

4.

Gaia in the ring at the Varsity boxing finals, Saturday 10th March 2017

5.


Taking the hit: women in boxing Pembroke Street interviews Gaia Laidler, Varsity boxing champion.

Training regime “We train six times a week formally with the club, for two early morning runs (either hill sprints or sprints on Jesus Green) and two evening sessions during the week where we just do training. We also have one circuit session and one weekend huge session which is circuits, training and sparring. And on our own we normally run three or four times a week to keep fit. “Boxing is a really weird one because you’re training really hard but still have to keep in a weight category. I’m really lucky - for Varsity I’ve been matched at 69 which is my normal weight, so I don't have to lose anything. But there are a lot of people who are cutting seriously whilst training, which is quite a tough compromise to make. It is one of the few sports where you have to be so regimented with diet because of this weight issue.”

Women in boxing “In terms of female participation, I think boxing is now going through what other sports have been through already. It’s quite late to the game in terms of bringing up the standard of women boxing - in the university itself, there have been women on the team for about ten years but because there’s never been a Varsity until last year, obviously they’re sidelined because it’s all about Varsity at this level of sport. “Of course, there are elements about boxing that inherently make it more maledominated, such as the association with aggressive fighting. But I think the sport is about to open up on a larger scale. There are loads of really great role models out there and good women fighters on television, so hopefully it will become a more gender equal sport soon. It is definitely lagging at the moment. “Seeing Nicola Adams in the Olympics - and real-world fights in general - are inspiration to join the sport. The number of women applying for the blues squad this year was huge. We’ve never had to turn away a girl from training with the blues team, because there’s only ever been ten or fifteen at tryouts. This time there were maybe 25 people who wanted to be in the squad.”

4.

Gaia in the ring at the Varsity boxing finals, Saturday 10th March 2017

5.


Boxing in popular culture “There are some of the wrong role models out there, too. The Victoria’s Secret angels and other models say, “I box to keep fit.” Doing it for fitness is totally admirable, but what they’re doing is not really boxing. Now, the good thing about boxing is that it does translate really well into just a fitness workout, and you don’t actually have to do the fighting. But I think maybe we should call that ‘box fit’ or ‘boxercise’ because real boxing isn't like that. And those models wouldn’t stand a chance in the ring.

‘From birth she's been punching through glass ceilings, so becoming a boxer was inevitable. Now it helps her get closer to the two things she loves: smashing the patriarchy and a healthy BMI.’

“Of course it is fun to punch something, but we learn in a completely different way because we’re not just punching stuff. We’re protecting our faces, for example. It’s even something as small as the models having their hands being by their waist before they throw a hit, whilst ours will always be up by our face. That’s maybe a reason why I do it, as well. To get rid of this false picture of women boxing.”

Individual vs team sport “Boxing is obviously an individual sport, which means there’s more pressure and that you need to be even more confident to do it. Which may be a reason why some women don't like to continue it, because of the immense pressure you put on yourself. But I would say that it also feels like a team sport. The fight is won by training with all your teammates. So in that sense I’ve always found that it’s quite similar to football and other team sports, because we all push each other through the bad days, and we all train together. “Having said that, there is something about the fact that when you go into the ring, you go alone. Which adds pressure obviously, and you do need to be very confident. That’s the best thing boxing gives you - the confidence. Although it feels like a team sport for 95% of the year, it’s just those last six minutes in the ring that you’re alone. Even then, you’re not alone, because you speak to the coaches every two minutes.” Gaia Laidler is a fourth year Engineering student and is the social secretary of Cambridge University Amateur Boxing Club Interview by Charlotte Araya Moreland photos by Sophie Naddell

6.

7.


Boxing in popular culture “There are some of the wrong role models out there, too. The Victoria’s Secret angels and other models say, “I box to keep fit.” Doing it for fitness is totally admirable, but what they’re doing is not really boxing. Now, the good thing about boxing is that it does translate really well into just a fitness workout, and you don’t actually have to do the fighting. But I think maybe we should call that ‘box fit’ or ‘boxercise’ because real boxing isn't like that. And those models wouldn’t stand a chance in the ring.

‘From birth she's been punching through glass ceilings, so becoming a boxer was inevitable. Now it helps her get closer to the two things she loves: smashing the patriarchy and a healthy BMI.’

“Of course it is fun to punch something, but we learn in a completely different way because we’re not just punching stuff. We’re protecting our faces, for example. It’s even something as small as the models having their hands being by their waist before they throw a hit, whilst ours will always be up by our face. That’s maybe a reason why I do it, as well. To get rid of this false picture of women boxing.”

Individual vs team sport “Boxing is obviously an individual sport, which means there’s more pressure and that you need to be even more confident to do it. Which may be a reason why some women don't like to continue it, because of the immense pressure you put on yourself. But I would say that it also feels like a team sport. The fight is won by training with all your teammates. So in that sense I’ve always found that it’s quite similar to football and other team sports, because we all push each other through the bad days, and we all train together. “Having said that, there is something about the fact that when you go into the ring, you go alone. Which adds pressure obviously, and you do need to be very confident. That’s the best thing boxing gives you - the confidence. Although it feels like a team sport for 95% of the year, it’s just those last six minutes in the ring that you’re alone. Even then, you’re not alone, because you speak to the coaches every two minutes.” Gaia Laidler is a fourth year Engineering student and is the social secretary of Cambridge University Amateur Boxing Club Interview by Charlotte Araya Moreland photos by Sophie Naddell

6.

7.


‘Tumblr feminism’ and the fourth wave

Sophie Quinn argues for the value of challenging gender stereotypes through a softer medium

Growing up in the digital age is an experience seldom understood by older generations. Technological advancement has happened in such a short timeframe that the black-and-white Nokia bricks and Myspace pages of my early childhood are now obsolete. Teenagers much younger than myself will have experienced similar changes in their formative years. Born in 1998, I am on the youngest end of the spectrum of 90s kids, but still experience a sense of nostalgia that older generations scoff at. As a child growing up on the cusp of the digital age, I’ve seen the inevitable ‘internet-isation’ of gender politics. Between softly lit photo sets of body positive models and red carpet scrutiny,

8.

feminism has never been more widely publicised. In a world where many girls’ first introduction to western feminism is the soft grunge aesthetics of Frida Kahlo’s face, what initially seemed a progressive, forward thinking approach to femininity is now considered by many as passé. While second or third wave feminists adopted perceived masculinity as a way to challenge gender roles, the fourth seeks to dispel stereotypes by taking notions of femininity to extremes with glitter graphics and pink colour palettes. It is no coincidence that many of the personality traits associated with iPhones, make-up, selfies, and all that

encompasses clichéd girlishness – being vain, superficial, or desperate – are common misogynistic insults aimed at young women. But this new, younger wave of feminists are combating these stereotypes by appropriating that which is perceived as negative and reworking it into something positive and empowering. Liberated by the rise of accessible camera equipment and publishing platforms, it is easier than ever to represent real bodies and subvert society’s expectations of what it means to be beautiful. But being the first feminist wave to be built largely upon a visual philosophy, many have been quick to

9.


‘Tumblr feminism’ and the fourth wave

Sophie Quinn argues for the value of challenging gender stereotypes through a softer medium

Growing up in the digital age is an experience seldom understood by older generations. Technological advancement has happened in such a short timeframe that the black-and-white Nokia bricks and Myspace pages of my early childhood are now obsolete. Teenagers much younger than myself will have experienced similar changes in their formative years. Born in 1998, I am on the youngest end of the spectrum of 90s kids, but still experience a sense of nostalgia that older generations scoff at. As a child growing up on the cusp of the digital age, I’ve seen the inevitable ‘internet-isation’ of gender politics. Between softly lit photo sets of body positive models and red carpet scrutiny,

8.

feminism has never been more widely publicised. In a world where many girls’ first introduction to western feminism is the soft grunge aesthetics of Frida Kahlo’s face, what initially seemed a progressive, forward thinking approach to femininity is now considered by many as passé. While second or third wave feminists adopted perceived masculinity as a way to challenge gender roles, the fourth seeks to dispel stereotypes by taking notions of femininity to extremes with glitter graphics and pink colour palettes. It is no coincidence that many of the personality traits associated with iPhones, make-up, selfies, and all that

encompasses clichéd girlishness – being vain, superficial, or desperate – are common misogynistic insults aimed at young women. But this new, younger wave of feminists are combating these stereotypes by appropriating that which is perceived as negative and reworking it into something positive and empowering. Liberated by the rise of accessible camera equipment and publishing platforms, it is easier than ever to represent real bodies and subvert society’s expectations of what it means to be beautiful. But being the first feminist wave to be built largely upon a visual philosophy, many have been quick to

9.


The rapid marketability of Tumblr feminism is a particularly adverse effect. Messages of diversity and acceptance have been lost among sweatshop-made ‘feminist’ apparel. As much as one might agree with the sentiment, ‘GRL PWR’ emblazoned on an H&M t-shirt is enough to make anyone gag. Capitalism has transformed Tumblr feminism into the stereotype it was aimed to reject, making it about products rather than politics.

illustrations by Milly Parry

dismiss the work of artists under fourth wave as vapid and apolitical due to their ties with the aesthetics of the fashion and beauty industry. While this could be true, it is without doubt that photography in the digital age is free from class restrictions, often creating space for marginalised communities to represent themselves and others like them even though the mainstream media refuses to.

photos by Seattle-based photographer Ashley Armitage

10.

With an attention to self-care, body positivity, and better mental health awareness at its core, this so-called ‘Tumblr feminism’ focuses on a rejection of narrow beauty ideals and maintaining a more inclusive approach to gender equality. Inevitably this has opened the fourth wave up to a lot of criticism, not to mention the shutdown of the ‘social justice warrior’ label.

Although it is reasonable to question a focus on ‘white feminist’ issues such as body hair and menstruation, many criticisms fall back on the lazy stereotypes which equate femininity with weakness. Though the emphasis has shifted from shouting in the streets in the Riot Grrl-style of older feminism, a sense of community and comfort is crucial, especially when your opinions and experiences can be brushed off as a generational quirk. Dismissing this brand of ‘girlish’ feminism is as naive as the stereotypes previously surrounding feminism in the first place. While previous aesthetic affiliations with the politics of gender equality ultimately enforced negative stereotypes, reducing a movement down to its visual representative is as pointless now as it was then. Nonetheless, while companies continue to unfairly cash in on the visuals of fourth wave, feminist artists are continue to fight for the dismantling of gendered oppression without any commercialist intent. They are still striving for the normalisation of the nontypical female body each step of the way. • Sophie Quinn is a first year Law student

11.


The rapid marketability of Tumblr feminism is a particularly adverse effect. Messages of diversity and acceptance have been lost among sweatshop-made ‘feminist’ apparel. As much as one might agree with the sentiment, ‘GRL PWR’ emblazoned on an H&M t-shirt is enough to make anyone gag. Capitalism has transformed Tumblr feminism into the stereotype it was aimed to reject, making it about products rather than politics.

illustrations by Milly Parry

dismiss the work of artists under fourth wave as vapid and apolitical due to their ties with the aesthetics of the fashion and beauty industry. While this could be true, it is without doubt that photography in the digital age is free from class restrictions, often creating space for marginalised communities to represent themselves and others like them even though the mainstream media refuses to.

photos by Seattle-based photographer Ashley Armitage

10.

With an attention to self-care, body positivity, and better mental health awareness at its core, this so-called ‘Tumblr feminism’ focuses on a rejection of narrow beauty ideals and maintaining a more inclusive approach to gender equality. Inevitably this has opened the fourth wave up to a lot of criticism, not to mention the shutdown of the ‘social justice warrior’ label.

Although it is reasonable to question a focus on ‘white feminist’ issues such as body hair and menstruation, many criticisms fall back on the lazy stereotypes which equate femininity with weakness. Though the emphasis has shifted from shouting in the streets in the Riot Grrl-style of older feminism, a sense of community and comfort is crucial, especially when your opinions and experiences can be brushed off as a generational quirk. Dismissing this brand of ‘girlish’ feminism is as naive as the stereotypes previously surrounding feminism in the first place. While previous aesthetic affiliations with the politics of gender equality ultimately enforced negative stereotypes, reducing a movement down to its visual representative is as pointless now as it was then. Nonetheless, while companies continue to unfairly cash in on the visuals of fourth wave, feminist artists are continue to fight for the dismantling of gendered oppression without any commercialist intent. They are still striving for the normalisation of the nontypical female body each step of the way. • Sophie Quinn is a first year Law student

11.


Pembroke’s Portraits:

The Power of Symbolism

Leila Mani Lundie argues that the integration of women and ethnic minorities into the fabric of our university is far from complete. International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women. However, it is also a time to reflect on our history’s subjugation of women and the ongoing effects of patriarchal domination not only within society at large, but also our college. Pembroke was founded by a woman – Marie de St Pol, the Countess of Pembroke – in 1347, yet it was not until 1984 that women were admitted to Pembroke. This made Pembroke the third last college to admit women. The legacy of this exclusion of women from the college is not difficult to see. Pembroke’s hall is a symbol of the extent to which women have been marginalised within the college’s history. It is filled with portraits of men, with only two women being commemorated: the Foundress and Emma Johnson, a clarinettist whose portrait was hung only last year. When I sit in hall, the eyes of those men gaze upon me, reminding me that people like myself are not considered as worthy of recognition. Symbols are powerful and they matter. That our hall is a symbol of the exclusion of women means that women are constantly made aware of the tradition into which they are latecomers. While I can’t speak for all women, this blatant lack of representation - and that of other

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the portraits are white - is a persistent reminder that this place was not built for us. We had to fight our way to make it here, and now that we are here we must continue to resist the obstructions and symbols that make it so difficult to truly feel welcome. “But the fact that most of the portraits in hall are of men is because there are so many more accomplished male alumni than there are accomplished female alumni,” you say? Well, of course. A quick look at the Wikipedia list of famous Pembroke alumni displays a shocking lack of women. Yet this is because, while men have been allowed in this place for 670 years, women have only been afforded this privilege for the last 33 of those years. Not to mention that the path to traditional success for women is blocked by far more obstacles than it is for men. If we want women (and other marginalised persons) to feel as though they truly belong here, and as though their accomplishments matter as much as those of white men, a place to start is in the hall. The material representation of women in places like our hall matters because we are so underrepresented in many other aspects of the university. As a philosophy student, I study (probably) the most male-centric and white arts subject around. For eight weeks straight this year, I wasn’t set a single female author to read for my supervision essays. It wasn’t the fault of my supervisors for not setting me any texts written by women to read; Rather, for those eight

photos by Tasha May

weeks there just weren’t any women on the reading list for the topics I studied. The same goes for people of colour: every text I read was by a white man. As a woman of colour, this hurts. It hurts because it suggests that people like me do not have a place in my subject. The only thing that softens the blow is the fact that the majority of writers I am reading for my dissertation are women of colour. I can take solace in two things - firstly, that women of colour (contrary to the canon of Western philosophy) are incredible philosophers, and secondly, in the fact that I am writing a piece that criticises the dominant framework of Western political philosophy from an intersectional perspective. But I shouldn’t have to actively seek the work of philosophers from outside of the curriculum in order to feel represented

and to allow me to love my subject. The curriculum just should represent me, as it should represent all of us. Pembroke’s hall and its portraits are a microcosm of the domination of women and other minorities both within broader society and our university. It shows that people like me are not truly considered part of the fabric of the university. We are pushed to sidelines, underrepresented and our achievements are not taken to be as significant as those of white men. I hope that on International Women’s Day, especially, we can reflect on this injustice, and hope for a future where our hall no longer stands as an imposing symbol of female subjugation. • Leila Mani Lundie is a third year Philosophy student and the facilitator of SolidariTEA, Pembroke’s intersectional feminist discussion group.

13.


Pembroke’s Portraits:

The Power of Symbolism

Leila Mani Lundie argues that the integration of women and ethnic minorities into the fabric of our university is far from complete. International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women. However, it is also a time to reflect on our history’s subjugation of women and the ongoing effects of patriarchal domination not only within society at large, but also our college. Pembroke was founded by a woman – Marie de St Pol, the Countess of Pembroke – in 1347, yet it was not until 1984 that women were admitted to Pembroke. This made Pembroke the third last college to admit women. The legacy of this exclusion of women from the college is not difficult to see. Pembroke’s hall is a symbol of the extent to which women have been marginalised within the college’s history. It is filled with portraits of men, with only two women being commemorated: the Foundress and Emma Johnson, a clarinettist whose portrait was hung only last year. When I sit in hall, the eyes of those men gaze upon me, reminding me that people like myself are not considered as worthy of recognition. Symbols are powerful and they matter. That our hall is a symbol of the exclusion of women means that women are constantly made aware of the tradition into which they are latecomers. While I can’t speak for all women, this blatant lack of representation - and that of other

12.

the portraits are white - is a persistent reminder that this place was not built for us. We had to fight our way to make it here, and now that we are here we must continue to resist the obstructions and symbols that make it so difficult to truly feel welcome. “But the fact that most of the portraits in hall are of men is because there are so many more accomplished male alumni than there are accomplished female alumni,” you say? Well, of course. A quick look at the Wikipedia list of famous Pembroke alumni displays a shocking lack of women. Yet this is because, while men have been allowed in this place for 670 years, women have only been afforded this privilege for the last 33 of those years. Not to mention that the path to traditional success for women is blocked by far more obstacles than it is for men. If we want women (and other marginalised persons) to feel as though they truly belong here, and as though their accomplishments matter as much as those of white men, a place to start is in the hall. The material representation of women in places like our hall matters because we are so underrepresented in many other aspects of the university. As a philosophy student, I study (probably) the most male-centric and white arts subject around. For eight weeks straight this year, I wasn’t set a single female author to read for my supervision essays. It wasn’t the fault of my supervisors for not setting me any texts written by women to read; Rather, for those eight

photos by Tasha May

weeks there just weren’t any women on the reading list for the topics I studied. The same goes for people of colour: every text I read was by a white man. As a woman of colour, this hurts. It hurts because it suggests that people like me do not have a place in my subject. The only thing that softens the blow is the fact that the majority of writers I am reading for my dissertation are women of colour. I can take solace in two things - firstly, that women of colour (contrary to the canon of Western philosophy) are incredible philosophers, and secondly, in the fact that I am writing a piece that criticises the dominant framework of Western political philosophy from an intersectional perspective. But I shouldn’t have to actively seek the work of philosophers from outside of the curriculum in order to feel represented

and to allow me to love my subject. The curriculum just should represent me, as it should represent all of us. Pembroke’s hall and its portraits are a microcosm of the domination of women and other minorities both within broader society and our university. It shows that people like me are not truly considered part of the fabric of the university. We are pushed to sidelines, underrepresented and our achievements are not taken to be as significant as those of white men. I hope that on International Women’s Day, especially, we can reflect on this injustice, and hope for a future where our hall no longer stands as an imposing symbol of female subjugation. • Leila Mani Lundie is a third year Philosophy student and the facilitator of SolidariTEA, Pembroke’s intersectional feminist discussion group.

13.


VIPembroke :

Naomie Harris In keeping with the International Women’s Day theme of this issue, the VIPembroke feature is going to take a slightly different spin. Minus the room, but with a focus on one of our stellar alumni: Naomie Harris. Naomie Harris is an Oscar nominated actress who has graced the silver screen since the age of nine. She graduated from Pembroke with a degree in Social and Political Science in 1998 - a lifetime away for a number of this year’s freshers. Choosing to dedicate this piece to Harris comes as a result of her inspiring catalogue of work in the drama industry, ranging from the Pirates of the Caribbean, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the James Bond franchise and most recently, the Academy Award winning film, Moonlight. Coming from a working-class background in London Harris experienced a massive culture shock as she entered the privileged, white, middle-class world of Cambridge It’s sad that her experience of Cambridge was an alienating one. Her disconnect from the other students made her “very unhappy” - being surrounded by talk of Eton and skiing served as a constant reminder that she did not fit the stereotype. The persistence of it today dissuades far too many students from applying, despite the good efforts of access schemes.

14.

Since graduating, Harris has truly flourished in her profession, exhibiting strength in her portrayal of different characters. Despite a challenging time at university and growing up in a council flat with a single mother, down to her hard work, Harris is far from being short of success. Her breakthrough role was in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later in 2002, but the role that has given her an international fame is as Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall and Spectre. While the character is traditionally defined as one of James Bond’s love interests, Harris has taken a character previously defined by a man and displayed a depth to her. She’s asked press to refer to her as a ‘Bond woman,’ instead of a ‘Bond girl,’ with the labels being distinctly different. The

illustrations by Lizzy O’Brien

15.


VIPembroke :

Naomie Harris In keeping with the International Women’s Day theme of this issue, the VIPembroke feature is going to take a slightly different spin. Minus the room, but with a focus on one of our stellar alumni: Naomie Harris. Naomie Harris is an Oscar nominated actress who has graced the silver screen since the age of nine. She graduated from Pembroke with a degree in Social and Political Science in 1998 - a lifetime away for a number of this year’s freshers. Choosing to dedicate this piece to Harris comes as a result of her inspiring catalogue of work in the drama industry, ranging from the Pirates of the Caribbean, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the James Bond franchise and most recently, the Academy Award winning film, Moonlight. Coming from a working-class background in London Harris experienced a massive culture shock as she entered the privileged, white, middle-class world of Cambridge It’s sad that her experience of Cambridge was an alienating one. Her disconnect from the other students made her “very unhappy” - being surrounded by talk of Eton and skiing served as a constant reminder that she did not fit the stereotype. The persistence of it today dissuades far too many students from applying, despite the good efforts of access schemes.

14.

Since graduating, Harris has truly flourished in her profession, exhibiting strength in her portrayal of different characters. Despite a challenging time at university and growing up in a council flat with a single mother, down to her hard work, Harris is far from being short of success. Her breakthrough role was in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later in 2002, but the role that has given her an international fame is as Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall and Spectre. While the character is traditionally defined as one of James Bond’s love interests, Harris has taken a character previously defined by a man and displayed a depth to her. She’s asked press to refer to her as a ‘Bond woman,’ instead of a ‘Bond girl,’ with the labels being distinctly different. The

illustrations by Lizzy O’Brien

15.


title character. Varsity gave the performance a rave review, stating that the lack of BME representation here is not down to a lack of talent, but rather caused by an atmosphere that ‘alienates BME creatives’. Perhaps this is same atmosphere that Harris found so difficult during her time here.

photos sourced from The Shirley Players performance of Macbeth

Moneypennys of a former era were desperately pining after Bond, whose visits to M’s secretary at MI6 were fleeting and intermittent between all the action involved in working for HM’s Secret Service. Harris has portrayed Moneypenny as a character with her own life – she herself works as an agent in Skyfall and has relationships of her own, and is not willing to jeopardise her career by crossing the line with Bond. Harris is, of course, the first black Moneypenny. A black actress portraying Moneypenny, who has generally been a ‘home counties’ character (much like the typical Cambridge student?), is undoubtedly exciting. It’s no secret that Hollywood has been labelled racist – last year’s Oscar’s proved that – so

16.

Most recently, Naomie Harris gave a stunning performance in Moonlight, as the crack-addicted mother of Chiron. Initially reluctant to accept the role, and not wanting to portray a negative image of a black woman, she went on to undergo an almost unrecognizable transformation. While she personally hasn’t dealt with the level of struggle that her character Paula did, many have, including the director’s mother. What I find remarkable is how Harris managed to reach the character’s place of addiction and shoot her role over only three days. Perhaps having to whip up multiple essays per week in Cambridge was good preparation for such intense bursts of productivity.

But one thing that Harris does not want is for her work to be seen only through the prisms of race and gender. While they are important, they do not define her. She has said that she grew up around “strong, powerful women”, and these are the women she wants to play - not simply by virtue of their being black or female. And she has accomplished this. Through Moneypenny she has created a person the audience respects and can identify with.

Another Pembroke alumnus, Peter Bradshaw, reviewed Moonlight in The Guardian, praising her ‘great performance’ and it truly was. The film strips back labels of ‘black’ and ‘gay’, exposing humanity and the fundamental search for love and connection. While the role of Paula isn’t a positive one, she is part of a film that embodies Harris’ desire to not be defined by stereotypes. In doing so, she has pushed herself out of her comfort zone – something that has paid off in both a rewarding professional experience and critical acclaim from the industry.

Just this Lent term, a all BME cast of Macbeth left an impression upon the Cambridge drama scene, starring one of our own Valencians, Malcolm Ebose, as the

It is important that we recognise and celebrate each other’s work in a day and age where criticism is everywhere. This is true for everyone, especially at Cambridge

representation of BME actors in such an iconic franchise is promising.

where at some point many of us have felt inadequate, and especially for women whose participation in high position and leadership roles is deplorably poor. Despite Harris excelling as an actress, she has noted that she has often felt isolated on sets being one of the few women present among a predominantly male crew. Yet the work that Harris has accomplished has been incredible, with Moonlight winning her 7 awards as well as nominations for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award – the most prestigious award an actor can receive. Just last month she received an OBE from HM the Queen for her services to drama. Recognising Harris is to celebration an actor who has pushed past origins that are unfavourable to an auspicious future. Cambridge was a challenge for Harris, but she is proud of the degree that she achieved. It serves as hope for the rest of us who are still here, that the trying nature of Cambridge is worth it. Harris didn’t fit the Cambridge nor the Bond girl mould, yet has managed to break them both.•

Dìsa Greaves is a first year Land Economist and is the Pembroke Street blogger.

17.


Marie de St Pol:

carving out a space in a man’s world

sourced from Pembroke College Library

Eliza Dickinson explores the challenging world of Marie de St Pol and Elizabeth de Clare, the foundresses of Pembroke and Clare Colleges. 18.

In many ways, medieval noblewomen led a fortunate life. They were sheltered from the hard labour of the peasantry and from the brothels of the towns. However, the stereotype of the medieval lady reclining while waited on hand and foot is not true either. They were often called upon to take up administrative responsibilities on their

estates, especially if their husbands were at war. This gave them a great deal of agency as they dealt with expenditure, revenues, servants, agriculture, and husbandry. Nevertheless, medieval England was still a man’s world. The early 15th century writer of Dives and Pauper spoke for the views of the vast majority in saying ‘by nature man has greater strength and greater intelligence and reason.’ Women who were active in society were described as ‘viragos’ – ‘angry’ women, pseudo-men who should not be taken seriously. Ladies were banned from sitting in parliament, being sheriffs, coroners, or justices of the peace, all of which were roles embraced by their husbands, fathers, and sons. At times of war, they were susceptible to kidnap and imprisonment in attempts to punish or manipulate their male family members. Noble women were also hugely disadvantaged when it came to property rights. While they were technically allowed to inherit property if there was no direct male heir, any property they owned would be passed on to their husbands upon marriage. This was a fact of life that was rarely avoided: out of all of the daughters born to ducal families between 1330 and 1479, 93% were married by the age of 35, and their property removed from their hands. Land was so central to the order of this patriarchal society that a woman’s lack of it left her devoid of much power when compared to men of the same social status. Even upon her husband’s death, a noble lady in the late medieval period was usually only given between a third and a half of the family estates.

classes. However, there were ways in which women could carve out their own space, especially in patronage and the arts. Pembroke’s foundress is a key example of this. Marie de St Pol founded the Hall of Valence Marie (now known to us as Pembroke College) in 1347, and the significance of this event as a display of female agency should not be underestimated. Of course, it is very difficult to truly appreciate the life of Marie de St Pol without understanding the times in which she was living. Born in France, she was married to Aymer de Valence, the Earl of Pembroke, in 1321, and moved to England to live with him. This was a fraught time, as the country was under the reign of Edward II, Marie’s cousin, who had been one of the key players in her marriage negotiations. He was wildly unpopular among the nobility due to his failure in war against Scotland as well as his lavish patronage of his favourite, Piers Gaveston, and, above all, his support of the Despensers who violently seized property in their ‘reign of terror’.

This paints a rather bleak picture of the power of medieval women among the highest

19.


Marie de St Pol:

carving out a space in a man’s world

sourced from Pembroke College Library

Eliza Dickinson explores the challenging world of Marie de St Pol and Elizabeth de Clare, the foundresses of Pembroke and Clare Colleges. 18.

In many ways, medieval noblewomen led a fortunate life. They were sheltered from the hard labour of the peasantry and from the brothels of the towns. However, the stereotype of the medieval lady reclining while waited on hand and foot is not true either. They were often called upon to take up administrative responsibilities on their

estates, especially if their husbands were at war. This gave them a great deal of agency as they dealt with expenditure, revenues, servants, agriculture, and husbandry. Nevertheless, medieval England was still a man’s world. The early 15th century writer of Dives and Pauper spoke for the views of the vast majority in saying ‘by nature man has greater strength and greater intelligence and reason.’ Women who were active in society were described as ‘viragos’ – ‘angry’ women, pseudo-men who should not be taken seriously. Ladies were banned from sitting in parliament, being sheriffs, coroners, or justices of the peace, all of which were roles embraced by their husbands, fathers, and sons. At times of war, they were susceptible to kidnap and imprisonment in attempts to punish or manipulate their male family members. Noble women were also hugely disadvantaged when it came to property rights. While they were technically allowed to inherit property if there was no direct male heir, any property they owned would be passed on to their husbands upon marriage. This was a fact of life that was rarely avoided: out of all of the daughters born to ducal families between 1330 and 1479, 93% were married by the age of 35, and their property removed from their hands. Land was so central to the order of this patriarchal society that a woman’s lack of it left her devoid of much power when compared to men of the same social status. Even upon her husband’s death, a noble lady in the late medieval period was usually only given between a third and a half of the family estates.

classes. However, there were ways in which women could carve out their own space, especially in patronage and the arts. Pembroke’s foundress is a key example of this. Marie de St Pol founded the Hall of Valence Marie (now known to us as Pembroke College) in 1347, and the significance of this event as a display of female agency should not be underestimated. Of course, it is very difficult to truly appreciate the life of Marie de St Pol without understanding the times in which she was living. Born in France, she was married to Aymer de Valence, the Earl of Pembroke, in 1321, and moved to England to live with him. This was a fraught time, as the country was under the reign of Edward II, Marie’s cousin, who had been one of the key players in her marriage negotiations. He was wildly unpopular among the nobility due to his failure in war against Scotland as well as his lavish patronage of his favourite, Piers Gaveston, and, above all, his support of the Despensers who violently seized property in their ‘reign of terror’.

This paints a rather bleak picture of the power of medieval women among the highest

19.


It was into this environment that Marie came in 1321. When her husband died just three years later, she was left in charge of much of the Earl’s vast estates, leaving her in a fairly unique position. Young, heirless and heavenly burdened with her husband’s debts, she faced difficulties in dealing with Edward II who forced her to hand over her rights in Stamford and Grantham. Lands were seized from her by the Despensers leading her to sympathise with Edward’s estranged queen, Isabella of France, when she invaded England and took the crown for the baby Edward III in 1327. However, Marie was still in a very fortunate position compared to many noble medieval women, including her good friend Elizabeth de Clare, who went on to save the struggling University Hall in Cambridge between 1336 and 1346, renaming it Clare College. Elizabeth was a highly desirable marriage prospect after her father, Earl Gilbert de Clare, died in 1314, leaving her with a third of his £6000-per-year estate. Her first husband had died in 1313, and Elizabeth was pressured into marrying two different men in quick succession – initially, Theobald de Verdon, who kidnapped her but then died in 1316, and Roger Damory who, at the time, was one of the king’s favourites. After Damory’s death at the hands of the

Despensers in 1322 Elizabeth never remarried, only really finding peace after the end of Edward II’s reign in 1327. Marie de St Pol and Elizabeth de Clare had much in common in the years to follow. Despite being disadvantaged by their gender in the area of public power, as widows they were able to carve a space out for themselves as religious figures, patrons of the arts, and founders of Cambridge colleges. Edward II’s son, Edward III, had a far more generous relationship with his nobles, focusing his attentions instead on the beginning of a war against the French (which went on to become the Hundred Years War), leaving Marie and Elizabeth fairly free to pursue their own interests. While Marie de St Pol’s most famous achievement was the founding of Pembroke College, she managed to create a role for herself among nobles as a responsible and pious lady who actually held immense power. As well as the lands she held in Hertfordshire, Essex, Northamptonshire, and London, she also had property in France, and would often be sent there by Edward III to assist in conversations and negotiations. The king evidently trusted her a great deal as he placed his daughter, Joan of Woodstock, in her charge. He granted her

sourced from Bibliothèque nationale de France

the royal licence to build Pembroke College so that she could follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth de Clare, who had established Clare College just a few years before. Her decision to found Pembroke College links closely with her dedicated patronage of religious foundations, as she aligned herself with the Franciscans. The most important of these foundations was the manor of Denny, which she granted to the nuns of Waterbeach and dedicating funds to them for the rest of her life. With her management of Pembroke and Denny, Marie created a space of power and influence for herself overcoming the constrictions of a man’s world. She was also a patron of religious arts and books; although the ‘Breviary of Marie de St Pol’, a beautiful illuminated religious manuscript, is the only known possession of hers that still exists. illustration by Phoebe Flatau

While little is known of her personality and day-to-day life, an impression of Marie de St Pol can easily be gained from her actions and her decisions to found institutions like Pembroke. Faced with a lifetime as a widow in a foreign country, she fought back against those who tried to steal her inheritance by carving a space for herself as a trusted aid to Edward III, a powerful religious figure who was patron of education and the arts. She lived in a man’s world, but she made it her own.

Eliza Dickinson is a second year History student and the JPC Welfare Officer.

21.


It was into this environment that Marie came in 1321. When her husband died just three years later, she was left in charge of much of the Earl’s vast estates, leaving her in a fairly unique position. Young, heirless and heavenly burdened with her husband’s debts, she faced difficulties in dealing with Edward II who forced her to hand over her rights in Stamford and Grantham. Lands were seized from her by the Despensers leading her to sympathise with Edward’s estranged queen, Isabella of France, when she invaded England and took the crown for the baby Edward III in 1327. However, Marie was still in a very fortunate position compared to many noble medieval women, including her good friend Elizabeth de Clare, who went on to save the struggling University Hall in Cambridge between 1336 and 1346, renaming it Clare College. Elizabeth was a highly desirable marriage prospect after her father, Earl Gilbert de Clare, died in 1314, leaving her with a third of his £6000-per-year estate. Her first husband had died in 1313, and Elizabeth was pressured into marrying two different men in quick succession – initially, Theobald de Verdon, who kidnapped her but then died in 1316, and Roger Damory who, at the time, was one of the king’s favourites. After Damory’s death at the hands of the

Despensers in 1322 Elizabeth never remarried, only really finding peace after the end of Edward II’s reign in 1327. Marie de St Pol and Elizabeth de Clare had much in common in the years to follow. Despite being disadvantaged by their gender in the area of public power, as widows they were able to carve a space out for themselves as religious figures, patrons of the arts, and founders of Cambridge colleges. Edward II’s son, Edward III, had a far more generous relationship with his nobles, focusing his attentions instead on the beginning of a war against the French (which went on to become the Hundred Years War), leaving Marie and Elizabeth fairly free to pursue their own interests. While Marie de St Pol’s most famous achievement was the founding of Pembroke College, she managed to create a role for herself among nobles as a responsible and pious lady who actually held immense power. As well as the lands she held in Hertfordshire, Essex, Northamptonshire, and London, she also had property in France, and would often be sent there by Edward III to assist in conversations and negotiations. The king evidently trusted her a great deal as he placed his daughter, Joan of Woodstock, in her charge. He granted her

sourced from Bibliothèque nationale de France

the royal licence to build Pembroke College so that she could follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth de Clare, who had established Clare College just a few years before. Her decision to found Pembroke College links closely with her dedicated patronage of religious foundations, as she aligned herself with the Franciscans. The most important of these foundations was the manor of Denny, which she granted to the nuns of Waterbeach and dedicating funds to them for the rest of her life. With her management of Pembroke and Denny, Marie created a space of power and influence for herself overcoming the constrictions of a man’s world. She was also a patron of religious arts and books; although the ‘Breviary of Marie de St Pol’, a beautiful illuminated religious manuscript, is the only known possession of hers that still exists. illustration by Phoebe Flatau

While little is known of her personality and day-to-day life, an impression of Marie de St Pol can easily be gained from her actions and her decisions to found institutions like Pembroke. Faced with a lifetime as a widow in a foreign country, she fought back against those who tried to steal her inheritance by carving a space for herself as a trusted aid to Edward III, a powerful religious figure who was patron of education and the arts. She lived in a man’s world, but she made it her own.

Eliza Dickinson is a second year History student and the JPC Welfare Officer.

21.


‘Women academics

are Cambridge’s saviours’ by Joanna Taylor

able to excel, something which I hope is being reflected in this year’s International Women’s Day theme: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. But what I would like to now consider is why female and non-binary academics, or students for that matter, are vital to Cambridge: why they might even be called its saviours, despite their current underrepresentation. Quite aside from the obvious fact that, seeing as women make up half the population it’s only really fair that we take up roughly half the roles in any given profession — which would simply be statistically likely without the blockades of systematic bias — women are fundamental to this University’s relevance and survival.

BBC

Overturning “pale, male and stale” That women are underrepresented and underappreciated in academia is hardly groundbreaking news for the majority of Cambridge students. Three years ago, when some of us were first embarking on our degrees, a group of fifty Cambridge academics called for a more “inclusive” process for becoming a professor in response to the statistic that only 22% of professors at UK universities were women. Then, a year later, the University revealed that women on academic contracts were earning an average of £8,000 less than men which became a central point of protest during

22.

striking action. And even now, as we approach International Women’s Day 2017, it is clear that the issues of underrepresentation and under appreciation are only gradually improving: we do not have to look much further than our own supervisors, lecturers and masters to see the gender imbalance in play. The gap only increases, moreover, if we consider BME women academics, or women in STEM subjects, or factor in disability, socioeconomic class or sexuality. So much more must be done to make academia a vibrant and diverse field of work in which women are

Nowhere, with perhaps the exception of politics, are the words “pale, male and stale” quite as relevant as academia. The first women’s college, Girton, was not established in Cambridge until 1869 — almost seven hundred years into the University’s existence — and even then at a safe distance from the real happenings of the University. Women could only become full members of Cambridge in 1948, yet continued to face opposition: many of us will have heard tales of Magdalene scholars wearing black armbands each year to commiserate women’s admittance.

illustration by Phoebe Flatau

The effect of this is that many of Cambridge’s traditions and ways of operating are deeply entrenched in patriarchal norms. Some of these were commented on by Virginia Woolf in her polemic A Room of One’s Own, written after lecturing on “Women in Fiction” at Newnham and Girton in the 1920s: the imposing architecture, the majority of male academics and works for study, the lack of funding or recognition for women’s colleges,

23.


‘Women academics

are Cambridge’s saviours’ by Joanna Taylor

able to excel, something which I hope is being reflected in this year’s International Women’s Day theme: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. But what I would like to now consider is why female and non-binary academics, or students for that matter, are vital to Cambridge: why they might even be called its saviours, despite their current underrepresentation. Quite aside from the obvious fact that, seeing as women make up half the population it’s only really fair that we take up roughly half the roles in any given profession — which would simply be statistically likely without the blockades of systematic bias — women are fundamental to this University’s relevance and survival.

BBC

Overturning “pale, male and stale” That women are underrepresented and underappreciated in academia is hardly groundbreaking news for the majority of Cambridge students. Three years ago, when some of us were first embarking on our degrees, a group of fifty Cambridge academics called for a more “inclusive” process for becoming a professor in response to the statistic that only 22% of professors at UK universities were women. Then, a year later, the University revealed that women on academic contracts were earning an average of £8,000 less than men which became a central point of protest during

22.

striking action. And even now, as we approach International Women’s Day 2017, it is clear that the issues of underrepresentation and under appreciation are only gradually improving: we do not have to look much further than our own supervisors, lecturers and masters to see the gender imbalance in play. The gap only increases, moreover, if we consider BME women academics, or women in STEM subjects, or factor in disability, socioeconomic class or sexuality. So much more must be done to make academia a vibrant and diverse field of work in which women are

Nowhere, with perhaps the exception of politics, are the words “pale, male and stale” quite as relevant as academia. The first women’s college, Girton, was not established in Cambridge until 1869 — almost seven hundred years into the University’s existence — and even then at a safe distance from the real happenings of the University. Women could only become full members of Cambridge in 1948, yet continued to face opposition: many of us will have heard tales of Magdalene scholars wearing black armbands each year to commiserate women’s admittance.

illustration by Phoebe Flatau

The effect of this is that many of Cambridge’s traditions and ways of operating are deeply entrenched in patriarchal norms. Some of these were commented on by Virginia Woolf in her polemic A Room of One’s Own, written after lecturing on “Women in Fiction” at Newnham and Girton in the 1920s: the imposing architecture, the majority of male academics and works for study, the lack of funding or recognition for women’s colleges,

23.


to study was that of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, women whose mystical experiences were transcribed by men.

Frances Kentish, Graduate Secretary, posing with Milly the cat

even the inferior food women were served, Woolf argued, were all evidence of a male hegemony. Although the gender ratio amongst students and the University’s efforts for inclusiveness have drastically improved since then, many of Woolf’s observations are still relevant today. Cambridge is inextricable from its history and as such we are constantly surrounded with reminders of male achievement, whether it’s the almost-exclusively male portraits in the dining hall, statues of former male Prime Ministers and poets, the pittance of female masters, senior tutors, deans and porters or the male academics who undertake most of our teaching.

This phenomena only worsens when considering the primarily twentieth-century English criticism we read each week: from its use of ‘he’ as a universal pronoun to its dense style and apparent need to show off every ounce of classical and historical knowledge the writer has, before ever getting to the point, we’re never left in much doubt as to masculine dominance in the field. This is also an issue for subjects like Law and HSPS, and STEM subjects in which women’s achievements and discoveries are all too often overlooked. Women and non-binary academics are vital, then, to usher in new styles of criticism, writing and teaching for students and other academics to benefit from. Of course, women’s brains are not wired any differently from our male counterparts, but distinctly different upbringings and socialisation, shared experiences and treatment within society’s patriarchal structure means that women — and particularly BME and LGBT+ women — offer fresh perspectives essential to academia’s relevancy.

Moreover, whilst it shouldn’t necessarily be the case, it is often true that women academics are more likely to flag up issues of gender and representation in their fields of study. It is women who have spearheaded feminist criticism, for instance, and female students who are at the forefront of campaigning against the University’s patriarchal norms; it’s more difficult to push From my experience, our courses are also male- issues of sexism and underrepresentation to centric by virtue of being deeply traditional. As the back of your mind when they’re directly an English student with compulsory papers in affecting you. Medieval, Renaissance and Shakespearean literature last year, the only women’s writing I Women academics are also vital to inspire had the opportunity female students. To be a female

Mathematician or Compsci student, or study any subject with a majority of male lecturers or professors, can sometimes be isolating and make a student feel ‘othered’ if they are treated differently on the basis of gender. Whether their students go into academia or other professions, women academics are often some of the most immediate and influential role models female students will encounter. This is particularly important given the unique pressures of being a woman academic in what continues to be a male-dominated profession. These include the assumption that they will take maternity leave at a particular point in their life, the unnecessary complications if they do, having their qualifications or research doubted or underestimated, and the assumption that if they are introduced as a Professor or Doctor that they will be male. Some women academics have even reported mansplaining from male students and sexist comments from often older, male academics. Research and comment from women

academics attesting to these trends are plentiful, from Benjamin Schmidt's 2015 study which concluded that similar behaviours in female and male professors were interpreted by students in opposing ways — such as bossy versus assertive — to the report published in Nature earlier this year that only around 20% of peer reviewers in the data they analysed were female. As a female student in Cambridge I am extremely grateful to be surrounded by a number of women academics who pioneer within their field, having overcome structural biases and the male domination of their profession. Their work is vital to the continuance of Cambridge’s relevance and quality of research and is something that must only increase as a new generation of female students graduate and become women in academia ourselves. •

Joanna Taylor is a second year English Literature student. She blogs for The Huffington Post and is a Deputy Editor and Columnist at The Cambridge Student.

On the flip side, almost all of our college bedders are women which, although by no means a less important job or one we should ever feel ungrateful for, offers quite a contrast to the fact that we’ve only ever had a single female Vice-Chancellor, one of the highest paid roles in academia.

24.

Karen Lain, HR Manager photos by Tasha May

25.


to study was that of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, women whose mystical experiences were transcribed by men.

Frances Kentish, Graduate Secretary, posing with Milly the cat

even the inferior food women were served, Woolf argued, were all evidence of a male hegemony. Although the gender ratio amongst students and the University’s efforts for inclusiveness have drastically improved since then, many of Woolf’s observations are still relevant today. Cambridge is inextricable from its history and as such we are constantly surrounded with reminders of male achievement, whether it’s the almost-exclusively male portraits in the dining hall, statues of former male Prime Ministers and poets, the pittance of female masters, senior tutors, deans and porters or the male academics who undertake most of our teaching.

This phenomena only worsens when considering the primarily twentieth-century English criticism we read each week: from its use of ‘he’ as a universal pronoun to its dense style and apparent need to show off every ounce of classical and historical knowledge the writer has, before ever getting to the point, we’re never left in much doubt as to masculine dominance in the field. This is also an issue for subjects like Law and HSPS, and STEM subjects in which women’s achievements and discoveries are all too often overlooked. Women and non-binary academics are vital, then, to usher in new styles of criticism, writing and teaching for students and other academics to benefit from. Of course, women’s brains are not wired any differently from our male counterparts, but distinctly different upbringings and socialisation, shared experiences and treatment within society’s patriarchal structure means that women — and particularly BME and LGBT+ women — offer fresh perspectives essential to academia’s relevancy.

Moreover, whilst it shouldn’t necessarily be the case, it is often true that women academics are more likely to flag up issues of gender and representation in their fields of study. It is women who have spearheaded feminist criticism, for instance, and female students who are at the forefront of campaigning against the University’s patriarchal norms; it’s more difficult to push From my experience, our courses are also male- issues of sexism and underrepresentation to centric by virtue of being deeply traditional. As the back of your mind when they’re directly an English student with compulsory papers in affecting you. Medieval, Renaissance and Shakespearean literature last year, the only women’s writing I Women academics are also vital to inspire had the opportunity female students. To be a female

Mathematician or Compsci student, or study any subject with a majority of male lecturers or professors, can sometimes be isolating and make a student feel ‘othered’ if they are treated differently on the basis of gender. Whether their students go into academia or other professions, women academics are often some of the most immediate and influential role models female students will encounter. This is particularly important given the unique pressures of being a woman academic in what continues to be a male-dominated profession. These include the assumption that they will take maternity leave at a particular point in their life, the unnecessary complications if they do, having their qualifications or research doubted or underestimated, and the assumption that if they are introduced as a Professor or Doctor that they will be male. Some women academics have even reported mansplaining from male students and sexist comments from often older, male academics. Research and comment from women

academics attesting to these trends are plentiful, from Benjamin Schmidt's 2015 study which concluded that similar behaviours in female and male professors were interpreted by students in opposing ways — such as bossy versus assertive — to the report published in Nature earlier this year that only around 20% of peer reviewers in the data they analysed were female. As a female student in Cambridge I am extremely grateful to be surrounded by a number of women academics who pioneer within their field, having overcome structural biases and the male domination of their profession. Their work is vital to the continuance of Cambridge’s relevance and quality of research and is something that must only increase as a new generation of female students graduate and become women in academia ourselves. •

Joanna Taylor is a second year English Literature student. She blogs for The Huffington Post and is a Deputy Editor and Columnist at The Cambridge Student.

On the flip side, almost all of our college bedders are women which, although by no means a less important job or one we should ever feel ungrateful for, offers quite a contrast to the fact that we’ve only ever had a single female Vice-Chancellor, one of the highest paid roles in academia.

24.

Karen Lain, HR Manager photos by Tasha May

25.


Cambridge Women in STEM

Barbara Sahakian A fellow at Clare Hall, Sahakian is a wellknown neuroscientist whose research has greatly contributed to our understanding of neural dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and ADHD. A prolific researcher with over 400 published articles, she was amongst the first scientists to propose that the use of pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of attention disorders, as well as coinventing a neuropsychological test called CANTAB: Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, now used world-wide. Currently she works as a professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Department of Psychiatry in Cambridge researching impulsive and compulsive behaviour.

Antonina Kielkowska celebrates the lives and contributions of successful Cambridge women in the STEM field As a child, I was lucky enough to be raised in an environment where I was always encouraged to do science... and somehow this made me oblivious to the issue of gender inequality in STEM. It wasn’t until last year that I realised how although I can list an array of male scientists with ease, it’s a struggle to muster even five female names. Marie Skłodowska-Curie, Rosalind Franklin, um… there was this one to do with stars… Jocelyn Bell Burnell? Off the top of my head, they are the only ones I can remember. While it is tempting to consider the reasons for this disparity, and look further into gender inequality in the field of STEM, it is much more appropriate on International Women’s Day to celebrate the successes of Cambridge women in science, whose names should be as well known as their male counterparts.

Dorothy Hodgkin

Born in Cairo and raised away from her family, Hodgkin’s endeavours into science started when she was gifted a chemistry book containing crystal experiments. She was offered a place at Oxford University and was the third woman ever to graduate with a First. She then moved to Cambridge to study a PhD at Newnham College. Moving back to Oxford, Dorothy devoted her life to X-ray crystallography and discovered the structure of vitamin B12 – something incredibly complex - for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize. She also made the crucial discovery of the hormone, insulin, and of the first antibiotic, penicillin. Without her work, drug designing and treatment of diabetes would not be possible. Not only has she dedicated her life to phenomenal discoveries, she has also worked as a peace activist combatting social inequalities.

26.

Val Gibson Professor Valerie Gibson is the Head of the High Energy Physics Research Group in the Cavendish Laboratory, a fellow at Trinity College, and previously held a Stokes Research Senior Fellowship here in Pembroke. She carries out her research in CERN in Geneva, searching for new phenomena involving heavy quarks – bottom and charm using the Large Hadron Collider. Val works on CP (Charge Parity) violation, a subject that tries to explain why there is an imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe – helping us to understand why things come into existence. She is also a great ambassador for women in STEM, stating that it’s not just her choice but her duty to promote to all women that “hey… it’s possible”.

illustrations by Phoebe Flatau

27.


Cambridge Women in STEM

Barbara Sahakian A fellow at Clare Hall, Sahakian is a wellknown neuroscientist whose research has greatly contributed to our understanding of neural dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and ADHD. A prolific researcher with over 400 published articles, she was amongst the first scientists to propose that the use of pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of attention disorders, as well as coinventing a neuropsychological test called CANTAB: Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, now used world-wide. Currently she works as a professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Department of Psychiatry in Cambridge researching impulsive and compulsive behaviour.

Antonina Kielkowska celebrates the lives and contributions of successful Cambridge women in the STEM field As a child, I was lucky enough to be raised in an environment where I was always encouraged to do science... and somehow this made me oblivious to the issue of gender inequality in STEM. It wasn’t until last year that I realised how although I can list an array of male scientists with ease, it’s a struggle to muster even five female names. Marie Skłodowska-Curie, Rosalind Franklin, um… there was this one to do with stars… Jocelyn Bell Burnell? Off the top of my head, they are the only ones I can remember. While it is tempting to consider the reasons for this disparity, and look further into gender inequality in the field of STEM, it is much more appropriate on International Women’s Day to celebrate the successes of Cambridge women in science, whose names should be as well known as their male counterparts.

Dorothy Hodgkin

Born in Cairo and raised away from her family, Hodgkin’s endeavours into science started when she was gifted a chemistry book containing crystal experiments. She was offered a place at Oxford University and was the third woman ever to graduate with a First. She then moved to Cambridge to study a PhD at Newnham College. Moving back to Oxford, Dorothy devoted her life to X-ray crystallography and discovered the structure of vitamin B12 – something incredibly complex - for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize. She also made the crucial discovery of the hormone, insulin, and of the first antibiotic, penicillin. Without her work, drug designing and treatment of diabetes would not be possible. Not only has she dedicated her life to phenomenal discoveries, she has also worked as a peace activist combatting social inequalities.

26.

Val Gibson Professor Valerie Gibson is the Head of the High Energy Physics Research Group in the Cavendish Laboratory, a fellow at Trinity College, and previously held a Stokes Research Senior Fellowship here in Pembroke. She carries out her research in CERN in Geneva, searching for new phenomena involving heavy quarks – bottom and charm using the Large Hadron Collider. Val works on CP (Charge Parity) violation, a subject that tries to explain why there is an imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe – helping us to understand why things come into existence. She is also a great ambassador for women in STEM, stating that it’s not just her choice but her duty to promote to all women that “hey… it’s possible”.

illustrations by Phoebe Flatau

27.


Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey Jane and Dian are the world’s leading primatologists. Jane has spent 55 years researching the life of chimpanzees, revolutionising research methodologies and proving that primates are capable of using simple tools and designing. She also observed that these animals have unique personalities – something previously thought to be an exclusively human attribute. Having spent her early life in Kenya and Tanzania studying primate behaviour, she has now finished her PhD in Newnham College in Ethology despite not having a BA or Masters degree. Alongside her work in the Jane Goodall Institute on primate behaviour, she is also an animal’s

Dian Fossey has studied mountain gorillas to better understand their physiology, behaviour, and family life. It was largely due to her strong stances on poaching, tourism, and habitat destruction, that wildlife conservation has been more widely introduced. Like many activists, Fossey made sacrifices for her beliefs potentially even her life, as she was found dead in a camp in Rwanda, and though the case has not been closed it is strongly suspected that she was murdered by a group of poachers frustrated by her interventions. Dian’s last diary entry was: “When you realise the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.” This is what we need to do now. So much has already been achieved, and while International Women’s Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate these successes, we must also look forward to ensure the future will be even better and brighter. •

Antonina Kielkowska is a first year Natural Sciences student and is the JPC Access officer. 28.


Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey Jane and Dian are the world’s leading primatologists. Jane has spent 55 years researching the life of chimpanzees, revolutionising research methodologies and proving that primates are capable of using simple tools and designing. She also observed that these animals have unique personalities – something previously thought to be an exclusively human attribute. Having spent her early life in Kenya and Tanzania studying primate behaviour, she has now finished her PhD in Newnham College in Ethology despite not having a BA or Masters degree. Alongside her work in the Jane Goodall Institute on primate behaviour, she is also an animal’s

Dian Fossey has studied mountain gorillas to better understand their physiology, behaviour, and family life. It was largely due to her strong stances on poaching, tourism, and habitat destruction, that wildlife conservation has been more widely introduced. Like many activists, Fossey made sacrifices for her beliefs potentially even her life, as she was found dead in a camp in Rwanda, and though the case has not been closed it is strongly suspected that she was murdered by a group of poachers frustrated by her interventions. Dian’s last diary entry was: “When you realise the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.” This is what we need to do now. So much has already been achieved, and while International Women’s Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate these successes, we must also look forward to ensure the future will be even better and brighter. •

Antonina Kielkowska is a first year Natural Sciences student and is the JPC Access officer. 28.


Setting the stage: a man’s world?

Emily Fish goes behind the scenes of gender disparity in technical theatre

Cambridge theatre has no lack of women. It’s why if you go to an audition you’ll see ten girls for every guy; it’s why we’re able to put on shows with an all-female cast, like the fantastic Lent Week 2 ADC production of The House of Bernada Alba; it’s why the very male-heavy How To Succeed is an ambitious choice for the Lent Term Musical. But this facade of an area where women are making their own space extends only as far as the sides of the stage - what goes on behind the scenes is a very different story. The technical side of theatre is rife with roles traditionally considered to be ‘male’ work: carpentry, lighting design, sound design. As a woman, walking into the workshop or lighting box at the ADC is slightly intimidating - inside are a select handful of (mostly) men who know exactly what they’re doing, handling power tools that look like something out of a horror movie, and speaking in a technical jargon that is practically unrecognisable. Having been assigned the role of Technical Director for the ADC Freshers mainshow in Week 6 of Michaelmas - a job I did not directly apply for, and didn’t know anything about - this was the sight I was first met with. It immediately felt like I didn’t know enough to be there, and that somewhere along the line, a horrible mistake had been made.

30.

Having been rather thrown in at the deepend with my first Technical Director job, I didn’t really have any other choice than to knuckle down and get on with it. Undoubtedly, if I’d known what it had

entailed before I started I would have immediately have turned it down - but that’s not because I genuinely couldn’t do it, but because I thought I couldn’t. And though the resources that helped me through it were extensive and incredibly informative, including the people already experienced in tech work, I wouldn’t have known where to find them unless they’d been pointed out to me. Technical roles in Cambridge theatre rely on those undertaking them to have an existing knowledge, or to be ready to learn as you go. While women will often only apply if they meet all the criteria needed, men are much more likely to apply for a job even if they only meet a few. It would be unfair and inaccurate to claim that the low numbers of women in technical roles is a result of outright discrimination; the issue lies in societal coding of what is ‘male’ and what is ‘female’. Speaking to the men involved in the tech side of Cambridge theatre building, lighting, or sound - it is clear that they have acquired such an insight and love for their roles because they were brought up with the opportunities to pursue them, or had at least had some experience in their area. Many of the women I’ve met have similarly already been involved in tech before they arrived in Cambridge, and are therefore a part of the seemingly impenetrable group of intimidatingly knowledgeable elect. However, there is a much greater incidence of men, as opposed to women, who decided to give tech a go when they got to university. This disparity is a direct result of traditional ideas of what men and women are capable of doing - without even considering the effects on those who identify as non-binary perpetuated by all genders alike. There is an endless cycle of the mainstream media

illustrations by Lizzy O’Brien

31.


Setting the stage: a man’s world?

Emily Fish goes behind the scenes of gender disparity in technical theatre

Cambridge theatre has no lack of women. It’s why if you go to an audition you’ll see ten girls for every guy; it’s why we’re able to put on shows with an all-female cast, like the fantastic Lent Week 2 ADC production of The House of Bernada Alba; it’s why the very male-heavy How To Succeed is an ambitious choice for the Lent Term Musical. But this facade of an area where women are making their own space extends only as far as the sides of the stage - what goes on behind the scenes is a very different story. The technical side of theatre is rife with roles traditionally considered to be ‘male’ work: carpentry, lighting design, sound design. As a woman, walking into the workshop or lighting box at the ADC is slightly intimidating - inside are a select handful of (mostly) men who know exactly what they’re doing, handling power tools that look like something out of a horror movie, and speaking in a technical jargon that is practically unrecognisable. Having been assigned the role of Technical Director for the ADC Freshers mainshow in Week 6 of Michaelmas - a job I did not directly apply for, and didn’t know anything about - this was the sight I was first met with. It immediately felt like I didn’t know enough to be there, and that somewhere along the line, a horrible mistake had been made.

30.

Having been rather thrown in at the deepend with my first Technical Director job, I didn’t really have any other choice than to knuckle down and get on with it. Undoubtedly, if I’d known what it had

entailed before I started I would have immediately have turned it down - but that’s not because I genuinely couldn’t do it, but because I thought I couldn’t. And though the resources that helped me through it were extensive and incredibly informative, including the people already experienced in tech work, I wouldn’t have known where to find them unless they’d been pointed out to me. Technical roles in Cambridge theatre rely on those undertaking them to have an existing knowledge, or to be ready to learn as you go. While women will often only apply if they meet all the criteria needed, men are much more likely to apply for a job even if they only meet a few. It would be unfair and inaccurate to claim that the low numbers of women in technical roles is a result of outright discrimination; the issue lies in societal coding of what is ‘male’ and what is ‘female’. Speaking to the men involved in the tech side of Cambridge theatre building, lighting, or sound - it is clear that they have acquired such an insight and love for their roles because they were brought up with the opportunities to pursue them, or had at least had some experience in their area. Many of the women I’ve met have similarly already been involved in tech before they arrived in Cambridge, and are therefore a part of the seemingly impenetrable group of intimidatingly knowledgeable elect. However, there is a much greater incidence of men, as opposed to women, who decided to give tech a go when they got to university. This disparity is a direct result of traditional ideas of what men and women are capable of doing - without even considering the effects on those who identify as non-binary perpetuated by all genders alike. There is an endless cycle of the mainstream media

illustrations by Lizzy O’Brien

31.


and society suggesting that these roles are more appropriate for men, which demoralises and discourages women from considering taking these roles on. Consequently, there is a severe lack of female or non-binary figures in these positions, which further prevents women and others from believing this option is open to them. If the issue is women self-opting out of these opportunities, then combatting it becomes complicated. There is little persuasion in an impassioned speech from someone already experienced in tech theatre telling you to just ‘give it a go!’ Giving it a go can easily seem too scary. Encouragement perhaps needs to take a subtler form. I recently spoke to Eleanor Mitchell, secretary of CUADC, about the ways in which the university’s committee hope to make technical roles more readily accessible for women. Visibility, though subtle, appears to be vital in encouraging women to consider taking the roles on. Simply the act of seeing other women thriving and succeeding in positions that are traditionally reserved for men is an empowering one. Going to the theatre and seeing a set entirely constructed by a woman is ridiculously exciting - not because it’s shocking she could do it, but rather because society has trained us to forget just how capable women are. As famous examples like the ‘We can do it’ poster and the more recent ‘This Girl Can’ campaign show, sometimes all it takes is an overt and public reminder of this capability for women to take action. Of course the acquisition of knowledge and experience in the technical realm of theatre cannot be approached in such a straightforward fashion. More easily

32.

accessible information, such as infographics and printed manuals, are only helpful to the extent that people make the effort to actually access it. Nevertheless, Eleanor mentioned that CUADC are hoping to encourage existing Technical, Lighting, and Sound designers to take on trainees in the form of assistants. Despite the incredibly helpful committee members and range of information available that makes learning on the job a very easy process, the prospect of applying to do something which you feel completely unprepared for is daunting - regardless of gender. The inclusion of this role as an option for those interested in tech theatre will, I believe, be the most effective way to promote anyone getting involved, but especially women, because of their unlikeliness to apply for jobs for which they do not fully meet the criteria.

The Nude

Ultimately, as a woman who has experienced the fun, satisfaction, and pride that accompanies a technical role in Cambridge theatre, all I can do is recommend taking up the opportunities that CUADC is hoping to instigate. Even if you try it out with one show and then never enter the ADC again, university is about trying new things and making mistakes, and now is the perfect time to do exactly that. Prove to yourself, and to others, that gender plays no part in what jobs we pursue. If we can solidify this mindset within the bubble of Cambridge, it promises a diversified future in whichever field we find ourselves once we have graduated. •

Emily Fish is a first year English Literature student and is on the Pembroke Street editorial team.

painting by Milly Parry

33.


and society suggesting that these roles are more appropriate for men, which demoralises and discourages women from considering taking these roles on. Consequently, there is a severe lack of female or non-binary figures in these positions, which further prevents women and others from believing this option is open to them. If the issue is women self-opting out of these opportunities, then combatting it becomes complicated. There is little persuasion in an impassioned speech from someone already experienced in tech theatre telling you to just ‘give it a go!’ Giving it a go can easily seem too scary. Encouragement perhaps needs to take a subtler form. I recently spoke to Eleanor Mitchell, secretary of CUADC, about the ways in which the university’s committee hope to make technical roles more readily accessible for women. Visibility, though subtle, appears to be vital in encouraging women to consider taking the roles on. Simply the act of seeing other women thriving and succeeding in positions that are traditionally reserved for men is an empowering one. Going to the theatre and seeing a set entirely constructed by a woman is ridiculously exciting - not because it’s shocking she could do it, but rather because society has trained us to forget just how capable women are. As famous examples like the ‘We can do it’ poster and the more recent ‘This Girl Can’ campaign show, sometimes all it takes is an overt and public reminder of this capability for women to take action. Of course the acquisition of knowledge and experience in the technical realm of theatre cannot be approached in such a straightforward fashion. More easily

32.

accessible information, such as infographics and printed manuals, are only helpful to the extent that people make the effort to actually access it. Nevertheless, Eleanor mentioned that CUADC are hoping to encourage existing Technical, Lighting, and Sound designers to take on trainees in the form of assistants. Despite the incredibly helpful committee members and range of information available that makes learning on the job a very easy process, the prospect of applying to do something which you feel completely unprepared for is daunting - regardless of gender. The inclusion of this role as an option for those interested in tech theatre will, I believe, be the most effective way to promote anyone getting involved, but especially women, because of their unlikeliness to apply for jobs for which they do not fully meet the criteria.

The Nude

Ultimately, as a woman who has experienced the fun, satisfaction, and pride that accompanies a technical role in Cambridge theatre, all I can do is recommend taking up the opportunities that CUADC is hoping to instigate. Even if you try it out with one show and then never enter the ADC again, university is about trying new things and making mistakes, and now is the perfect time to do exactly that. Prove to yourself, and to others, that gender plays no part in what jobs we pursue. If we can solidify this mindset within the bubble of Cambridge, it promises a diversified future in whichever field we find ourselves once we have graduated. •

Emily Fish is a first year English Literature student and is on the Pembroke Street editorial team.

painting by Milly Parry

33.


Gender on stage: then and now

Geraint Owen considers the role of gender in upcoming ADC musical, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying This show is a wacky ball of fun, and it’s been a joy putting it together with an extremely talented group of people. It’s made up of everything that makes the Broadway musicals so great; a breathtaking score, toe-tapping dance numbers, sidesplitting gags, and heartwarming romance. But what makes this show different is its treatment of gender, and that it was the first show to put the office on the Broadway stage. The arc of each female character is worryingly distinct from the male characters, if it can even be called an arc. Ten minutes into the show, the female lead is madly in love with the male lead she has just met, and sings that she is “Happy To Keep His Dinner Warm”, happy to be the housewife in the suburbs, while her husband is busy working downtown. Not much later, upon arrival of a new, gorgeous secretary to the office, the full company sing themselves a reminder that “A Secretary Is Not A Toy”. And, would you believe it, all of the female characters wear the same “Paris Original” dress to their office party — although this happened to my mum at prom, and she informs me it is a real issue that needs to be tackled in today’s society.

34.

The writers are fully aware of what they’re doing. While the majority of the 60s audience would enjoy a night out to the theatre, subconsciously they are being made aware of the sheer absurdity of their day-to-day life. In 2017, we’ll be far more conscious of what we’re watching, and it is staggering to consider whether things are all that different today. The process from putting the page on the stage has been incredibly exciting. I’ve even had to get out my dancing shoes to choreograph one of the numbers, and for this reason alone, I recommend you get your tickets now, before you miss out on the debut of the new Bob Fosse.•

Geraint Owen is a first year English Literature student and is the Assistant Director of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying This article originally appeared on the ADC Theatre Blog

ADC theatre


Gender on stage: then and now

Geraint Owen considers the role of gender in upcoming ADC musical, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying This show is a wacky ball of fun, and it’s been a joy putting it together with an extremely talented group of people. It’s made up of everything that makes the Broadway musicals so great; a breathtaking score, toe-tapping dance numbers, sidesplitting gags, and heartwarming romance. But what makes this show different is its treatment of gender, and that it was the first show to put the office on the Broadway stage. The arc of each female character is worryingly distinct from the male characters, if it can even be called an arc. Ten minutes into the show, the female lead is madly in love with the male lead she has just met, and sings that she is “Happy To Keep His Dinner Warm”, happy to be the housewife in the suburbs, while her husband is busy working downtown. Not much later, upon arrival of a new, gorgeous secretary to the office, the full company sing themselves a reminder that “A Secretary Is Not A Toy”. And, would you believe it, all of the female characters wear the same “Paris Original” dress to their office party — although this happened to my mum at prom, and she informs me it is a real issue that needs to be tackled in today’s society.

34.

The writers are fully aware of what they’re doing. While the majority of the 60s audience would enjoy a night out to the theatre, subconsciously they are being made aware of the sheer absurdity of their day-to-day life. In 2017, we’ll be far more conscious of what we’re watching, and it is staggering to consider whether things are all that different today. The process from putting the page on the stage has been incredibly exciting. I’ve even had to get out my dancing shoes to choreograph one of the numbers, and for this reason alone, I recommend you get your tickets now, before you miss out on the debut of the new Bob Fosse.•

Geraint Owen is a first year English Literature student and is the Assistant Director of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying This article originally appeared on the ADC Theatre Blog

ADC theatre


Mum’s the word Bélen Bale celebrates lessons learned from her mother. There are many things in life that I count myself lucky for having: democracy, free speech, and an overdraft all rate extremely highly on the list. But above all, I would say that I’m truly blessed to have a Spanish mother. From the minute I was born, and probably even in utero, I knew exactly where I stood, how hard she’d worked to get me there, and how hard I was going to have to work to repay her for all the tough love, brutal honesty, and food that she’s been able to provide for me.

photo provided by Bélen Bale

36.

My mum was raised in the Canary Islands in the 70’s in a large, loving, but extremely poor family. When I was little, my favourite thing in the world was watching her cook. I’d sit up on the kitchen counter, listening to her flamenco tapes as she chopped up her garlic and told me stories. About playing on the banana plant with her cousins, being cheeky to her grandmother, how black the sand was on the volcanic beaches, and how blue and how warm the sea always was, even in winter. My mother was and always will be a story-teller, but whenever I told her how beautiful it all sounded, she would tell me to stop - and remind me again how poor she was. Remind me how most of my aunties couldn’t read, how hard it had been to come here knowing nothing, how little people had cared about her education, and how much harder it had been as a woman. Even then, she’d planned out my life for me in the typical, slightly overbearing, Spanish mother fashion; not going to University was never seen as an option. Though I don’t feel like I was pressured above the norm, I was very aware of the expectation that I would be successful, almost that I had to be because of my gender. As a teenager I found this really restrictive. At 16 I didn’t really have any idea of what I want to do other than maybe get a little bit pissed to Taylor Swift, eat Pringles, and kiss some girls. But trying to convince two teacher parents that there were other options besides doing a BA in History somewhere wasn’t an easy pursuit.

photo by Phoebe Flatau

However, when I got my GCSE results something clicked. I remember walking towards my house, a bit shaken from finally passing Maths (and also from being hungover for the first time after more than the usual amount of alcopops…), and kind of just wanting to lie down. But then I saw my mum running towards me, yelling Spanish expletives before wrapping me up in a bone crushing hug. I burst into tears, and after I’d sobbed out all the joy and relief onto her cardigan, she held my face in her hands and told me at least a 100 times how proud she was of me. We are so lucky to be in the position that we are now at Cambridge, especially as women.

The amount of time it has taken to get here since the university was founded is unbelievable - and there is still more that can be done in order for us all to feel like we deserve our places. But I think the most important thing is to use the fact that being here is a privilege, and like any privilege there are responsibilities. We are responsible for telling our daughters that however much they should enjoy being young, their education is vital for finally being seen as equal to their brothers.•

Bélen Bale is a first year HSPS student and is on the Pembroke Street editorial team. She is the JPC Women’s Welfare officer.

37.


Mum’s the word Bélen Bale celebrates lessons learned from her mother. There are many things in life that I count myself lucky for having: democracy, free speech, and an overdraft all rate extremely highly on the list. But above all, I would say that I’m truly blessed to have a Spanish mother. From the minute I was born, and probably even in utero, I knew exactly where I stood, how hard she’d worked to get me there, and how hard I was going to have to work to repay her for all the tough love, brutal honesty, and food that she’s been able to provide for me.

photo provided by Bélen Bale

36.

My mum was raised in the Canary Islands in the 70’s in a large, loving, but extremely poor family. When I was little, my favourite thing in the world was watching her cook. I’d sit up on the kitchen counter, listening to her flamenco tapes as she chopped up her garlic and told me stories. About playing on the banana plant with her cousins, being cheeky to her grandmother, how black the sand was on the volcanic beaches, and how blue and how warm the sea always was, even in winter. My mother was and always will be a story-teller, but whenever I told her how beautiful it all sounded, she would tell me to stop - and remind me again how poor she was. Remind me how most of my aunties couldn’t read, how hard it had been to come here knowing nothing, how little people had cared about her education, and how much harder it had been as a woman. Even then, she’d planned out my life for me in the typical, slightly overbearing, Spanish mother fashion; not going to University was never seen as an option. Though I don’t feel like I was pressured above the norm, I was very aware of the expectation that I would be successful, almost that I had to be because of my gender. As a teenager I found this really restrictive. At 16 I didn’t really have any idea of what I want to do other than maybe get a little bit pissed to Taylor Swift, eat Pringles, and kiss some girls. But trying to convince two teacher parents that there were other options besides doing a BA in History somewhere wasn’t an easy pursuit.

photo by Phoebe Flatau

However, when I got my GCSE results something clicked. I remember walking towards my house, a bit shaken from finally passing Maths (and also from being hungover for the first time after more than the usual amount of alcopops…), and kind of just wanting to lie down. But then I saw my mum running towards me, yelling Spanish expletives before wrapping me up in a bone crushing hug. I burst into tears, and after I’d sobbed out all the joy and relief onto her cardigan, she held my face in her hands and told me at least a 100 times how proud she was of me. We are so lucky to be in the position that we are now at Cambridge, especially as women.

The amount of time it has taken to get here since the university was founded is unbelievable - and there is still more that can be done in order for us all to feel like we deserve our places. But I think the most important thing is to use the fact that being here is a privilege, and like any privilege there are responsibilities. We are responsible for telling our daughters that however much they should enjoy being young, their education is vital for finally being seen as equal to their brothers.•

Bélen Bale is a first year HSPS student and is on the Pembroke Street editorial team. She is the JPC Women’s Welfare officer.

37.


“Give us a twirl” At their post-match interviews for the 2015 Australian Open, Serena Willaims and Eugenie Bouchard were asked by a journalist to, “give us a twirl!” That Serena Williams and Eugenie Bouchard were subject to that infantilising request in their post-match interview at the 2015 Australian Open – that a journalist could conceivably believe it appropriate, before world-class athletes, to enact the role of a doting parent behind a video camera at their toddler’s first ballet recital – was baffling. The incident received its due share of media criticism and outcry, but what it represented was not an outlier (unlike the arguably objectifying connotations of Judy Murray’s christening of Feliciano Lopez, “Deliciano” Lopez). Rather, the request for Williams and Bouchard to twirl was paradigmatic of the pervasiveness of pejorative attitudes towards female athletes taken to a ludicrous extreme. In its cringeworthy explicitness, ‘twirl-gate’ only brought to the surface gendered assumptions which silently underlie the arenas of professional sport daily, breeding a culture of sexism and inequality in the industry. Perhaps most problematic is the fundamental assumption regarding the inherent superiority of male athletic ability. Serena Williams has highlighted the way in which this assumption is embedded in the linguistic discourse of male and female athletic achievement. While Roger Federer

38.

was lauded with the acronym “GOAT” (Greatest of All Time) after breaking Pete Sampras’ record for the most Grand Slams won in the open era at Wimbledon in 2012, Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016 was asked about being "one of the greatest female athletes of all time". The word “male” did not enter the discourse surrounding Federer. He was not the GMOAT – because that would have been a tautology in a world operating under the logic that to be the world’s best male tennis player is equivalent to being the overall best tennis player. This same sexism was at play in William’s Wimbledon press conference with the demeaning act of an interviewer asking a female athlete to twirl before a camera. The logic of the former discourse is the more insidious for the covert way in which it functions, and as such, represents an even more problematic paradigm. Refusing to play the demure role often expected of women in society, Serena Williams called out the covert sexism of the press’ discourse, replying to that journalist: "I prefer the word 'one of the greatest athletes of all time'". Perhaps what is most worrying is that while I have used examples of the challenges which beset women’s tennis, this is one of the sports in which female athletes are considered ‘better off’. Indeed, reforms over the last few years have seen female prize money in tennis’ Grand Slams equal that of their male counterparts. Yet, in many other sports the pay gap remains astoundingly vast. Within football for

example, while the prize money for the male winners of the FIFA World cup would be between 35 and 50 million, the Women’s FIFA World Cup prize money amounts to roughly 2 million. Unfortunately, such an inordinate pay gap between male and female athletes is a majority. When it comes to the world of professional sport and a discourse of “millions” in terms of prize money comes into play, there is a temptation to see it as negligible, immoral even, to be discussing the issue in terms of injustice. However, the pay gap in the world of professional sport is part of the wider struggle of women in all professions to be recognised as equals to their male counterparts, and it is a vital struggle. It comes back to the need to change the perceptions and assumptions that pervade our culture and imbue sport as a male prerogative. The need to recognise female athletic achievement in the professional sphere is vital, not only to do justice to the female athletes themselves, but for the example it sets to the younger generation of women. They need to see female achievement in sport validated in order to view their own efforts within that realm as legitimate. When female athletes are paid less, given less exposure on television and in the media generally – and when they are given media attention, demeaned – how are we to expect girls and women to be encouraged to play sport for leisure, let

illustration by Aran Macfarlane

alone pursue it professionally? Leading an active lifestyle is a health issue, but more pressing is the wider issue of equal opportunities that should be open to women no matter what career they want to pursue. Bouchard put her hands to her face in embarrassment after she was asked to twirl. But it’s not the likes of Bouchard who should have to feel ashamed; it’s those of us who participate in a culture of demeaning female athletic achievement – who use the off-hand remark ‘you throw like a girl’ – who should feel a sense of shame. •

Tasha May is a first year English Literature student and is the Pembroke Street photographer. You can find her reviews of all things foodrelated on the website.

39.


“Give us a twirl” At their post-match interviews for the 2015 Australian Open, Serena Willaims and Eugenie Bouchard were asked by a journalist to, “give us a twirl!” That Serena Williams and Eugenie Bouchard were subject to that infantilising request in their post-match interview at the 2015 Australian Open – that a journalist could conceivably believe it appropriate, before world-class athletes, to enact the role of a doting parent behind a video camera at their toddler’s first ballet recital – was baffling. The incident received its due share of media criticism and outcry, but what it represented was not an outlier (unlike the arguably objectifying connotations of Judy Murray’s christening of Feliciano Lopez, “Deliciano” Lopez). Rather, the request for Williams and Bouchard to twirl was paradigmatic of the pervasiveness of pejorative attitudes towards female athletes taken to a ludicrous extreme. In its cringeworthy explicitness, ‘twirl-gate’ only brought to the surface gendered assumptions which silently underlie the arenas of professional sport daily, breeding a culture of sexism and inequality in the industry. Perhaps most problematic is the fundamental assumption regarding the inherent superiority of male athletic ability. Serena Williams has highlighted the way in which this assumption is embedded in the linguistic discourse of male and female athletic achievement. While Roger Federer

38.

was lauded with the acronym “GOAT” (Greatest of All Time) after breaking Pete Sampras’ record for the most Grand Slams won in the open era at Wimbledon in 2012, Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016 was asked about being "one of the greatest female athletes of all time". The word “male” did not enter the discourse surrounding Federer. He was not the GMOAT – because that would have been a tautology in a world operating under the logic that to be the world’s best male tennis player is equivalent to being the overall best tennis player. This same sexism was at play in William’s Wimbledon press conference with the demeaning act of an interviewer asking a female athlete to twirl before a camera. The logic of the former discourse is the more insidious for the covert way in which it functions, and as such, represents an even more problematic paradigm. Refusing to play the demure role often expected of women in society, Serena Williams called out the covert sexism of the press’ discourse, replying to that journalist: "I prefer the word 'one of the greatest athletes of all time'". Perhaps what is most worrying is that while I have used examples of the challenges which beset women’s tennis, this is one of the sports in which female athletes are considered ‘better off’. Indeed, reforms over the last few years have seen female prize money in tennis’ Grand Slams equal that of their male counterparts. Yet, in many other sports the pay gap remains astoundingly vast. Within football for

example, while the prize money for the male winners of the FIFA World cup would be between 35 and 50 million, the Women’s FIFA World Cup prize money amounts to roughly 2 million. Unfortunately, such an inordinate pay gap between male and female athletes is a majority. When it comes to the world of professional sport and a discourse of “millions” in terms of prize money comes into play, there is a temptation to see it as negligible, immoral even, to be discussing the issue in terms of injustice. However, the pay gap in the world of professional sport is part of the wider struggle of women in all professions to be recognised as equals to their male counterparts, and it is a vital struggle. It comes back to the need to change the perceptions and assumptions that pervade our culture and imbue sport as a male prerogative. The need to recognise female athletic achievement in the professional sphere is vital, not only to do justice to the female athletes themselves, but for the example it sets to the younger generation of women. They need to see female achievement in sport validated in order to view their own efforts within that realm as legitimate. When female athletes are paid less, given less exposure on television and in the media generally – and when they are given media attention, demeaned – how are we to expect girls and women to be encouraged to play sport for leisure, let

illustration by Aran Macfarlane

alone pursue it professionally? Leading an active lifestyle is a health issue, but more pressing is the wider issue of equal opportunities that should be open to women no matter what career they want to pursue. Bouchard put her hands to her face in embarrassment after she was asked to twirl. But it’s not the likes of Bouchard who should have to feel ashamed; it’s those of us who participate in a culture of demeaning female athletic achievement – who use the off-hand remark ‘you throw like a girl’ – who should feel a sense of shame. •

Tasha May is a first year English Literature student and is the Pembroke Street photographer. You can find her reviews of all things foodrelated on the website.

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Pembroke Street Lent 2017 Issue 2  

Pembroke Street Lent 2017 Issue 2 - International Women's Day special

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