FEMINISM Charlotte Colombo
Wessex Scene Editor
Imogen Brighty-Potts The Hysteria Collective Founder Wessex Scene News & Investigations
Wessex Scene Deputy Editor The Hysteria Collective SubEditor
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through my years trying to break into the media industry, it’s this: it’s a man’s world out there. One of my most standout memories of work experience was sitting in a meeting an editorial meeting, my chair teetering on the outside whilst a circle of grey-haired white men who probably all went to the same private school were discussing the content that would be going into the latest print issue of their magazine. The only woman working there was chained to the phone and exiled to the photocopying room; her only respite being when one of the Very Important Men™ wanted a cup of coffee (black, obviously).
Although it is a man’s world right now, I have faith that it won’t be that way forever. In fact, most of my faith of this being the case sooner rather than later comes from producing this incredible magazine. Through the course of feminist magazine, over thirty women have demonstrated that they have the drive, ambition and talent to have their chair firmly inside that sacred circle of talent and prestige.
In this very special issue of the amazing content shared online via The Hysteria Collective and Wessex Scene, we have a team of incredible women discussing everything from sexuality, misogyny, sex work, body image, cosmetic surgery and the incredible things that unite and divide us. Something that couldn’t have been made possible by all the hard work of both teams, this collaboration represents a huge milestone for The Hysteria Collective and is a celebration of everything creative and womanly, for International Women’s Day.
The Hysteria Collective SubEditor
Wessex Scene Head of Design
Wessex Scene Head of Imagery
The Hysteria Collective Art & Photography Editor
Wessex Scene Sub-Editor
Wessex Scene Sub-Editor
Wessex Scene Sub-Editor 2
Thank you to everyone who donated to our crowdfunding and made possible, this issue, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for believing in a silly project started at my kitchen table, that is now home to an incredible team of women. Get hysterical: write, read, create and share. Use your voice and if you can’t find a platform for it, join us.
your editors, Charlotte Colombo Imogen Brighty-Potts X
FRONT & BACK COVER IMAGES BY DANI HOWE WESSEX SCENE
20 Feminists Welcome New International Women’s Men’s Day 24 The Lizzo Effect
“You own the rights your body and choices”: an interview with student sex workers “My chest is the best”...but so are all the rest: An exploration of body positivity in ALL women
Eating Disorder Awareness 26 #Catwalk4Consent: A Week 2020: Spotting the Reflection Subtle Signs 28 Meat Free Diets: The Gender 8 “Male” is the Medical Divide ‘Normal’ 29 Catcalling 11 Society Spotlight: FemSoc 30 The Wonderful Women of the 12 Reclaiming Hysteria Grammys 13
A Few Famous Male Feminists 31
Here’s to Women
14 In Defence of Meghan 32 Why I Unapologetically Need Markle Feminism 16 17 18
Herstory: Sor Juana Inés 33 Biphobia & Misogyny de la Cruz 34 I’m Having a Cosmetic She Made That: Procedure... Techn0logical Innovations Made by Women 35 Timeline of Women’s Rights in Britain Society Spotlight: WOCSOC W ESSEX SCE NE . CO . UK FB.CO M /WS CE NE @ OFFICIALWE S S E XS CE NE @ WES S EXS CENE
THE H YS TE R IAC OL L E C TIVE . C OM F B . C OM / TH E H YS TE R IAC OL L E C TIVE @THE H YS TE R IAC OL L E C TIVE @THE H YS TE R IAC O 3
Stretch Marks I wear them with pride, these silver marks around my sides, They remind me of the time we shared, when you were always right here, An extension of me growing within, I didn’t care I was no longer thin, With life and love my belly grew, stretching to make room for you. I stretched and stretched fit to pop, until one day the stretching stopped, My little angel finally born, my body no longer needed to keep you warm, That little face, ten toes, ten fingers - love filled me up so the pain didn’t linger, I looked at you that day and knew, my body, my heart and soul loved you. While my body will never look the same, these marks I have don’t bring me shame, They are the lasting proof that I had you, and I wear them like they are the best tattoo, From the visible signs of where you started, I would never want to be parted, My life, my love, my heart and soul I will treasure them until I grow old.
WORDS BY STEVETTE POTTS
FEMINISTS WELCOME NEW INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S MEN’S DAY Disclaimer: This is a satirical piece. It is in no means an attempt to discriminate against any gender or persons. The new date for equal representation, International Women’s Men’s Day (IWMD), is all about allowing women the chance to experience and celebrate life as a man as a woman. Though be careful not to confuse it with International Men’s Women’s Day (IMWD), that also coincidentally appears on the same date. In order to allow for complete equality, the day itself is split in half, and also occurs on two different days within a two-year span. Through its own Olympiad of equal rights, only every four years is IWMD celebrated at the same time on the same date. This is because the day is shared with IMWD and split into a morning and evening slot, while also being celebrated biannually on March 10th and April 10th, in order to alleviate any gender bias. With both April and March being name after ancient deity’s, Aphrodite and Mars respectively, the aim for IWMD is to ensure total equality amongst those celebrating. This does, however, cause some concerns as to whether sleeping in on these respective dates may be seen as offensive. While protesters have labelled the day as ‘pointless,’ those engaging in the celebration have concocted a list of criteria in order to fully appreciate life as a man as a woman. From defining clothing choices (shirts with buttons on the wrong side and mismatched, oddly long, stripy socks) to lifestyle additions (central heating off, windows open, and, of course, peeing while standing up), adaptations are somewhat small but have a huge effect on those participating. HYSTERIA COLLECTIVE
One woman who celebrated last year shared her experience with others, describing it as ‘weird’, ‘affirming’, and ‘eye-opening.’ She continues: ‘I never thought for a second that men would experience life so much differently from women, especially not in such a short space of time. Last year, during the morning that I celebrated life as a man as a woman, I had to make so many changes that I didn’t think it possible. I was actually meant to be buying a car that morning and ended up getting one that is a lot faster than it is generally practical, but I like to think that it has given me an extra bit of something that I was afraid to see before. I recommend everyone celebrating this day – a true milestone to achieving equality.’ The celebration has been criticised for affirming gender roles and not including those who don’t feel defined by gender. However, pioneer for the event, Lady Jane Doe, ensures this is not the case: ‘I created this day of celebration for everyone. My husband John and I thought it was really important to allow everybody the same opportunity to celebrate life as each other. However you identify yourself, there is always the chance to celebrate life as a man as a woman. And, more importantly, have a lot of fun doing so.’ Whichever way you choose to spend the afternoon of March 10th this year, make sure you take some time to reflect on others and how they must experience their life. It often isn’t easy for anybody, but together, we can make each day just that little bit more special. WORDS BY EMILY DENNIS 5
The Lizzo Effect Love her, hate her or somewhere in between, there is no denying that Lizzo has taken the world by storm in what feels like it was over night. In the past year, Lizzo has been releasing hits such as ‘Juice’, ‘Truth Hurts’ and ‘Good as Hell (ft. Ariana Grande)’ that saw her launch into the mainstream music scene in 2019. However you view her music, there is no denying that Lizzo exuberates positivity and installs that into her fans a.k.a the Lizzo effect.
Growing up in the late 90s to mid 2000s, the ultimate black feminist icon was Beyoncé. She had the voice, the attitude and the look - she was a figure many people looked up to. Despite Beyoncé’s status as an icon, it was not until the last few years that Beyoncé wanted to associate with the term feminist. Fast forward to 2019, times have changed and Lizzo is by far the embodiment of a great role model for the young and old. She is a proud feminist.
Of course Lizzo is not the first female artist to preach acceptance. For example, Adele was very vocal about criticism she received about her weight and how this has no correlation to her talent, but Lizzo is an artist that does not conform to the stereotypical female pop singer that is ingrained in our society. She has created a larger than life persona that exuberates wit, charisma, authenticity and above all confidence.
The Lizzo effect can be seen across social media too. By publicly ‘shooting her shot’ on Twitter with Niall Horan, people can see that she has a sense of humour and encourages others to take a chance. This authenticity is refreshing because Lizzo illustrates the idea of ‘sameness’ - the idea that she is just like everybody else. The countless videos she posts of herself going about life or giving fans the real talk implies that she has nothing to hide nor is afraid to allow fans to see the trials and tribulations. By exposing herself, she is able to build trust with fans because they feel close to her, thus allowing them to believe in the positive messages that she conveys in her songs and in her everyday life. This is what I mean when I say it is the Lizzo effect.
The media is very quick to body shame Lizzo and label her as ‘unhealthy’ because of her weight. However, body mass and weight have no relation to healthiness. Lizzo works out; she delivers enthusiasm and can dance for hours when she is performing and singing. Not only does Lizzo blast out tunes, she is able to command a stage and put on one hell of a show for her audiences.
WORDS BY JO LISNEY
Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2020: Spotting the Subtle Signs With Eating Disorder Awareness Week around the corner, this article is aimed at helping you learn a bit more about eating disorders. The major eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge- eating disorder but there are others like orthorexia, pica as well. If you are wondering why do we need an awareness week for eating disorders? Let me start by telling you a bit about it. Eating disorders aren’t just a person’s difficult relationship with food but also with their emotions! On average, people in the U.K. don’t seek help before experiencing eating disorder symptoms for almost three years. In a survey conducted by YouGov, it was found that one in three adults in the U.K. could not name any signs or symptoms of eating disorders. The chances for recovery increases the earlier an eating disorder is detected. Plus, there are so many misunderstandings and myths around eating disorders that need to be fought off.
Psychological, Emotional & Behavioural: •
So the more observant we are about people around us, the more help we can provide to those who need it!
Common warning signs to of an eating disorder to look out for yourself or in other people are:
Physical: • • • • • • •
Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both increase and decrease of weight Excessive exercising: If someone panics about missing even a single day of exercise or work out even if they aren’t feeling up to it. Abnormal laboratory findings like low hormone and thyroid levels, anaemia, low blood cell counts etc. Having eating rituals like arranging/playing with food or cutting food into very tiny morsels Low energy and tiredness Irregular menstruation cycles in women and decreased libido in men Frequent trips to the bathroom during or after meals
Changes in dressing style like starting to wear baggy clothes
Dizziness or fainting from malnutrition
Dental problems like tooth erosion, cavities, discolouration etc.
Dry skin, hair and brittle nails due to dehydration
Feeling cold most of the time even in warm weather as the fat in the body helps us withstand cold and people with little body fat can have difficulty maintaining their body temperature.
Poor body image: Negative or obsessive thoughts about body size or shape and negative self talk about their eating habits. For example: ‘I am so fat.’ or ‘I have no self-control’ Fear of eating in public: People with eating disorders might feel very conscious eating in public because they feel that others are watching and judging them. They might often avoid meals with other people. Preoccupation with nutritional content which might mean fixation on only eating foods that are ‘’healthy’’ or cutting out entire food groups. Using food as a source of comfort or as a form of self- punishment. For example: Refusing to eat or eating a lot due to stress. Mood fluctuations: anger, anxiety, withdrawal, loss of interest, irritability, depression etc. Secrecy and withdrawal from the world. It might also involve lying about eating.
Now let’s explore a little into the myths people have about eating disorders: 1. Eating disorders are a choice Eating disorders are complex psychological illnesses which are extremely distressing for the individual and their closed ones. Specialist treatment is required for recovery. 2. Everyone suffering from Eating disorders is underweight Disorders like ‘Anorexia’ may result in an individual being underweight but people with Eating disorders can be overweight or have a healthy weight. 3. Eating disorders only happen to women Research has shown that eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Let’s talk more about eating disorders! Let’s talk more about mental health! Let’s make it an everyday conversation! Let’s end the stigma and ensure that people can get the right help they need. If you are worried about yourself or someone who might be showing signs of eating disorders, you can visit beateatingdisorders.org.uk or call their Studentline on 080880 10811
WORDS BY VIDHI BASSI
Fine body hair due to deprivation of nutrition in the body Sunken or swollen cheeks (as a result of swollen salivary glands due to purging)
“male” is the medical ‘normal’
Editor’s Note: This article uses sex (assigned based on anatomy) and gender (associated cultural norms) in reference to women, as both have an influence on medical research and care. At least since Ancient Greece, the default human body was established as male. Hippocratic physicians thought of the female body as abnormal, and others believed that female bodies were simply male bodies turned inwards due to a deficiency in ‘vital heat’. This trend in thinking continued for the next several thousand years Even today, there is a prevailing belief that female bodies differ from male bodies only in size and reproductive organs, with the underlying understanding that men’s biology is the default. The medical stance was summarised by Leonore Tiefer in 1992: ‘Men and women are the same, and they’re all men.’ Indoctrination into this belief within the medical profession starts early. A 2008 analysis of recommended medical textbooks found that three times as many male as female bodies were used to illustrate neutral body parts. The study concluded that in western anatomy textbooks, the white male is presented as the ‘universal model’ for human bodies.
But women do differ from men in more than size and reproductive organs. Approximately 8% of the population have autoimmune diseases, but women make up about 80% of those affected. The reasons for this are not fully understood, though there is some idea that women have evolved a particularly strong immune response to protect developing foetuses – sometimes it overreacts and attacks the body itself. This could also be a possible explanation behind the results of studies that show sex-specific differences in vaccine outcomes - women develop a stronger antibody response, but also have more frequent and more severe adverse reactions. But differences in response to medical treatments are largely absent in the scientific literature, making the knowledge of sex-specific vaccine reactions somewhat of a rare gem. The medical sphere is plagued by a ‘gender data gap’, as Caroline Criado Perez describes it in her book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. Sex-specific knowledge within the medical community is ‘dependent on the availability of sex-specific data,’ she writes, ‘but because women have largely been excluded from medical research, this data is severely lacking.’ And when women are included in medical trials, the researchers often fail to examine the differences between the sexes. WESSEX SCENE
A 2014 report by from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston summed up the issue: ‘Medical research that is either sex- or genderneutral or skewed to male physiology puts women at risk for missed opportunities for prevention, incorrect diagnoses, misinformed treatments, sickness, and even death.’ Sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra, was discovered as a treatment for erectile dysfunction when it was being tested as a heart medication in the early 1990s. If more women had been included in the original trials, its possible effectiveness as period pain relief would have been discovered before 2013. And if women’s health was given equal consideration as men’s, further funding requests would not have been denied. One of the starkest examples of male default bias is so prevalent, it has its own name: Yentl Syndrome. In the film Yentl, Barbra Streisand’s character had to dress up as a man to receive an education, so the name came to refer to the phenomenon that women who have ‘malepattern’ Coronary Heart Disease are more likely to get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Because of this, women are 50% more likely than men to be misdiagnosed following a heart attack, which is not a surprise when the patient populations used to study the disease were at least twothirds male. This is especially worrying considering CHD is the leading cause of death worldwide. An editorial in the European Heart Journal said that contemporary data demonstrates ‘persistently more adverse outcomes for women compared with men’ – because a higher proportion of women do not have male-pattern presentation, relatively fewer women are treated, so more women die. The problem with male-default thinking in medical research costs lives. Women need to be included in all levels of research, and sex differences need to be studied, so doctors can provide care which is as informed about women as it is about men.
WORDS BY ELINOR AUSTIN
However, most women don’t present with the chest and left arm pains of a ‘Hollywood (male-pattern) Heart attack’. Instead, they have stomach pain, breathlessness, nausea, and no chest pain at all.
Society Spotlight:FemSoc What is FemSoc?
Why should you get involved?
I never realised how extensive feminism was until I joined the Feminist Society. Of course, I was already well on board with questioning the status quo and complaining about our patriarchal society (at which most people yawn….). But feminism entails so much more than being a “strong, independent woman”. Feminism stands for equality, and FemSoc made sure I delved into understanding how feminism concerns everyone, everywhere. We’re a society that’s passionate about raising awareness of intersectional feminism and talking about the important social issues that seem to get brushed aside. We ask questions and interrogate what’s going on around us; at uni, in our communities and across the world.
I think the real question is why not? All of us on the committee are passionate about having our voices heard, and uplifting the voices of those who are silenced. We want to learn and spread knowledge, and we’re interested to hear what you have to say.
What are our aims? Each week sees us engage with a new subject which we research and discuss at our Thursday night meetings. We’ve talked about a whole range of pertinent topics, from AIDS, to Hispanic Heritage, to mental health and, most recently, Black Queer history. We also did a really fun collab with Amnesty Society last semester where we jointly hosted a Clothes Swap. Coming up, we have a Fat Activism meeting and an exciting panel event at the Art House focusing on performative allyship specifically among trans and non-binary people. Some of our best meetings have involved collective mind-mapping where we debate how best to tackle the ever-present issues that exist at the university. It makes me hopeful that we can action change and create a better and safer environment for everyone. If we’re not talking about it, who will?!# More than anything, though, I am grateful to be able to listen and learn from the people around me. Our book club has been a great way to lead discussions and learn more about marginal groups. We started book club last year (2019) and so far we’ve had some brilliant conversations (with many more surely to come…). All of the books we’ve looked at have importantly placed women of colour, queer women and prejudice-facing minority groups at the forefront of our discourse – where they should be. HYSTERIA COLLECTIVE
Upcoming events include the Catwalk4Consent, our annual unconventional fashion show, where we disprove the myth that clothing = consent. While this should be a given, people are harassed and blamed for their clothing choices regularly. This event promises to be powerful, moving and certainly a step in the right direction for fighting against this unfounded stigma! Come along if you can – Friday 21st Feb at 7.30pm in The Cube. We’re really proud to be supporting the charity Yellow Door who help victims of sexual abuse in Southampton, so feel free to bring some spare change! We’re also planning a ‘sleep out’ in the coming months, so stay tuned on our social media! And keep your eyes peeled for more info on our Art House panel in March! You can find us on Instagram and Twitter at sufemsoc and on Facebook at Southampton University Feminist Society. Don’t hesitate to message us about anything! I am humbled to belong to a committee dedicated to educating others and ourselves on a whole host of contemporary issues. Everyone’s invited to come along to one of our meetings – let’s start a conversation! We have such a beautiful community of people each week and everybody is welcome.
WORDS BY LILY CORCORAN
Congratulations, you’re hysterical! And depending on the leniency of your husband or father, you might be entitled to a nice cure consistent of vaginal leechings-- because if hysteria originates in the female productive This was the prescription given to Charlotte system, then bugs must suck out all the delusions Perkins Gilman, a nineteenth century feminist of equality-- or a ‘rest cure’ pioneered by author diagnosed with “hysteria.” And because Mitchel. Under the latter system, you could this very publication is predicated on the expect to be confined to your bed for up to 23 concept of hysteria, I find it fitting to devote hours a day with your only exercise consisting of a few moments to the history of reclaiming sponge baths and “electric vibrator” treatments a diagnosis which has continued to entrap by your physician. women until the 1950s. If you find yourself asking what ailment precipitated Gilman’s Forbidden to read, write, paint, or engage need for medical treatment, you might be in any form of intellectual activity, a female interested to note that it was, quite simply, her patient could expect to follow the prescription literary career. outlined above: one which literally relegated her to staring at the wallpaper, prohibited from Hysteria originated in the late 1800s when developing or expressing any opinion. So, physicians like Silas Weir Mitchell decided this article is for every woman who dares to that women were suffering from mental illness contribute to this publication in direct defiance as a result of taking on roles incompatible of a diagnosis which would have seen her with their gender. This included the pursuit confined to bed rest or a ‘lunatic asylum’ until of higher education, disagreeing with one’s almost 50 years ago. (Because, yes, ‘hysteria’ husband, or train travel, each of which was remained on the books as a genuine medical a decision so scandalous, it was considered diagnosis until the late 1950s). And that’s why we to rip the uterus out of the body and cause a need every woman who keeps shrieking, keeps mental disruption so severe that women could writing, keeps creating in any form that demands no longer function in polite society. As such, her voice be heard. hysteria became a blanket term encompassing anything that could be considered wrong with Every one of our creative efforts is an attempt at a woman who transgressed against societal reclaiming hysteria, at reminding the world that norms. we deserve to shriek against the madness which would keep us repressed. That’s why we, as The And because these norms were primarily Hysteria Collective, stand in proud defiance of constructed by men, it meant that the medical the stereotypes which bind us, and we write on profession-- which was dominated exclusively in rebellion of the diagnosis which would keep by male physicians like Mitchell-- got to decide us from allowing our voices to be heard. that every expression of female individuality constituted hysteria. So, if you’re a female author who’s frustrated by the lack of equal WORDS BY ALYSSA CAROLINE-BURNETTE publishing opportunities in the nineteenth century or you’ve had zero orgasms this year and you want to write about your sexual dissatisfaction? ‘Live as domestic a life as possible. Have but two hours’ intellectual life a day. And never touch pen, brush, or pencil as long as you live.’ --Silas Weir Mitchell
A FEW FAMOUS MALE FEMINISTS ‘Feminism’ is defined as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, and a ‘feminist’ is simply someone who supports such a theory. Notice how the term is not gender-specific. Yes, despite the shame the word feminist often (inexplicably) carries, men can be feminists too. Listed below are just a few male celebrities who use their platforms to promote women’s rights.
4. Daniel Craig
Legend is an advocate for gender-parity, saying at the 2013 Chime for Change Concert, ‘All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place’. His 2014 music video for You & I (Nobody in the World) openly promotes female empowerment, with both female celebrities and ordinary women celebrating their individuality.
The front-man of U2 has been supporting women’s rights for decades. In 2004, he cofounded the ONE Campaign, a charitable organisation which tackles extreme poverty in Africa, providing particular support for HIV and AIDS sufferers, many of whom are women. In 2016, he founded another organisation named Poverty is Sexist, which specifically supports women living on less than $2 per day through struggles such as finding employment and keeping their families healthy. Controversially, his activism led him to be named the 2016 Glamour Man of the Year, an accolade which had only ever before been awarded to a woman. 2. Barack Obama The 44th President of the USA was open about his feminist views throughout his presidency, saying that he hoped women and girls would have ‘no remaining ceilings to shatter’ in future. In fact, the first bill he signed after being elected in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act which helps women file equal pay lawsuits against employers if they aren’t being paid fairly. 3. Chris Martin
The actor is currently portraying the infamous ladies’ man James Bond has openly condemned him as a misogynist, and supports the inclusion of strong female characters in the franchise. 5. John Legend
6. Ian Somerhalder The Vampire Diaries actor is a vocal feminist, and has been partnered with the Girls Impact the World Film Festival since 2015, raising awareness of issues women and girls face by encouraging them to create their own short films. He was also one of the faces of the UK Women’s Aid ‘Real Man’ campaign against domestic violence 2011. 7. Ashton Kutcher The actor is the cofounder of Thorn, an antitrafficking organisation aimed at targeting the sexual exploitation of children. He has also spoken out against women’s sexual harassment in the workplace, and promotes female sexual expression in film. 8. The 14th Dalai Lama In 2009, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism said in a speech in Tennessee that ‘I call myself a feminist. Isn’t that what you call someone who fights for women’s rights?’ It’s true. At the end of the day, equal rights are what feminism is all about.
The face of Coldplay has signed up to curate the Global Citizen Festival, an international festival raising money for the Global Citizen campaign, until 2030. Global Citizen is an organisation who wants to eradicate extreme poverty globally, and promote women’s rights in order to achieve equality. WORDS BY KATIE BYNG-HALL
In Defence of Meghan Markle
It’s no secret that Meghan Markle has been hounded by the media, especially since her marriage to Prince Harry. So much to the extent that on the 8th of January 2020, the couple announced that they would be taking a step back from being senior members of the royal family, which includes the loss of their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Despite the shameful treatment of Meghan by the press, people seemed to be shocked that they decided to make this move. The way the media has treated Meghan has been nothing short of abominable, and leaving behind their roles in the royal family is the smartest move Meghan and Harry have made. What makes the media’s treatment of Meghan even more shocking is that they do not treat Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, anywhere near as atrociously, which begs the question- is this a race issue? Undoubtedly yes. You only have to compare headlines about the two women to see the shocking differences in media opinion of them. The Daily Mail wrote about both Kate and Meghan holding their baby bumps. For Kate this is seen as a ‘tender’ moment, yet for Meghan she is labelled as ‘vain’ or ‘acting’. The media even goes as far as to say Meghan would put Princess Charlotte’s life at risk. Both Kate and Meghan had lilies at their weddings, which the Guardian notes for Kate’s wedding ‘follows royal code’.
Yet when Meghan used lilies the Express wrote that lilies are ‘toxic’ and put their ‘bridesmaids’, including Princess Charlotte, lives at risk. If you search ‘Meghan Markle’ into Twitter, many of the top tweets that come up are negative. People calling her a ‘bully’, ‘trashy’, ‘messy’, and yet no one actually has any explanation for why they believe it. Her hair doesn’t always fall perfectly, but does anyone’s? That doesn’t warrant the name calling on Twitter or branding her ‘trashy’. One such tweet says she is ‘a bully’ ‘manipulative’ and ‘a social climber’, yet there is not a drop of evidence for it. Meghan was famous before she met Prince Harry and had to give up her acting career, so you can hardly call it a career move. Having now left the royal family she doesn’t even get a financial gain. And at no point has Meghan ever done anything to warrant being called a ‘bully’ or ‘manipulative’. Prince Harry was 12 years old when he lost his mother. The press, just as they do with Meghan, vilified Princess Diana right up until her death. And by right up until her death, I mean that literally. Princess Diana died when the car she was in crashed in Paris as it was chased by the paparazzi. Photographers even took pictures of her in her last moments.
The 9th Earl Spencer, Charles Spencer, who was Diana’s younger brother noted she was ‘the most hunted person of the modern age’. It is no wonder then, having lived through the press’ treatment of his mother and her sudden death that he should want to remove his wife and child from the same hunting ground before he loses his wife and his child loses his mother. Before marrying Prince Harry, Meghan was a successful actor and was on Suits from 2011 to 2017. She is outspoken when it comes to feminism. For International Women’s Day in 2019, she spoke on a panel at King’s College London. She speaks out about equality, lack of education in less fortunate countries, especially for women, and the negativity of the press. She strives to empower, do good and be good. In Elle, 2016, Meghan said:
When doing the research for this article I wanted to find other articles that were positive about Meghan, yet I struggled. The articles certainly are there, but they appear mainly on blogs that you have to really look hard for. Even when the media isn’t commenting negatively on her, it’s only to say that there are more negative than positive headlines about her. I’m writing this article just over a week after the tragic suicide of Caroline Flack and the influx of #BeKind tweets, yet the disgusting tweets and headlines about Meghan Markle are still appearing every day. Not only do we need to strive to do better, we need to be better. We need call out the media for their vilification and racism, and we need to actually ‘Be Kind’, rather than just hash-tagging it. WORDS BY MEGAN CROSSMAN
With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I’m lucky enough, to inspire. Meghan doesn’t abuse her fame. She didn’t join the royal family for a career push or the fame that it brings. She married a man she loves. She uses the platform she both had before and that has been pushed further into the spotlight to speak about the important things and make a change. She isn’t narcissistic or manipulative. She fell in love with a man very much at the forefront of the media and she has been vilified relentlessly as a result. Now she wants to inspire others and live her life without receiving abuse.
Herstory: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Described as the ‘Mexican Phoenix’, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is nowadays recognisable as the face which adorns the Mexican 200 peso bill. Born in the 17th century, Juana was one of the most important polymaths of her time. However, her legacy faded shortly after her death and she remained in relative obscurity until the revival of her work by the poet Octavio Paz. Nowadays, her work in the fields of theology, linguistics, poetry, playwriting and music are receiving the attention they deserve. Born out of wedlock to a Spanish father and Criolla mother, Juana used to sneak into the nearby chapel to read. Unable to access a formal education, she taught herself how to read and write in Spanish, Latin and Nahuatl before moving to Mexico City to enter the court of the Viceroy. The rumours of Sor Juana’s intellectual capabilities were legendary, and at the age of 17, she was summoned to prove herself to a council of over 40 men, which she did “in the manner that a royal galleon might fend off the attacks of a few canoes”, according to the Viceroy.
Her opposition to the idea of marriage and her demand for intellectual stimulation led her to choose a life as a nun. After entering the convent, Juana led a life surrounded by books and with enough free time to read and write at leisure. In 1693, threatened with censure after writing a critique of a priest’s sermon, Juana ceased to write and died 2 years later while attending to her fellow nuns during an outbreak of plague. Sor Juana is considered an important protofeminist figure. Her writing is full of feminist ideas more than a century before the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Through a modern feminist lens, Sor Juana recognises the importance of the ideal found in Virginia Woolf ’s A Room Of One’s Own. The only way she could secure both money to write and a room of one’s own was to deny herself the pleasures of life and confine herself to the four walls of a convent. Not only her genius, but also her pure love of knowledge itself goes virtually unparalleled in the history of polymaths and savants. For her love of knowledge, Juana Inés gave up her freedom.
WORDS BY JOANNA MAGILL
She Made That: Technological Innovations Made by Women From nutritional foods when humans first walked the earth, to chocolate chip cookies (Ruth Wakefield, 1938); from formulating algorithms for computers yet to exist (Ada Lovelace, 1842) to developing new computers using quantum algorithms (Krysta Svore, 2018); from the phenomena of radioactivity and it’s detrimental effect on life (Marie Curie, 1896) to creating life itself, women have made so much for this world. I’m going to tell you just some of the most pioneering women who have made huge impacts. Marie Curie, the creator of the concept of radioactivity, is renowned and respected as the mother of the X-Ray machine, winning two Nobel Prizes for her work. With her husband Pierre between 1898 and 1902, they discovered two atomic elements, Plutonium and Radium. During WW1, she also helped developed the medical uses of small X-ray machines and they became known as ‘Little Curies’. Some created methods and formulas that actually surpassed the technology available to them. One of those was Hedy Lamarr, a Hollywood actress-come-inventor who devised Spread-Spectrum technology, a method to extend the bandwidth of information signals, making transmissions hard to detect or alter. Initially developed with her friend George Antheil as a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, her creation was so complex it was not able to be used until two decades later in the 1960s. Spread-Spectrum technology has since become the foundation of wireless technology. Another woman ahead of her time was Ada Lovelace, the creator of an algorithm that expanded on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and developed it to operate more than just calculations. Her approach, self-described as ‘poetical science’, arguably meant that she could question and scrutinise how developing technologies could be applied to everyday life; the perfect illustration of an engineer’s mindset.
While Lovelace was seen to be one of the founding figures of the modern-day computer, many more women have since expanded on her creation, formulating numerous programming languages, including Grace Hopper, Jean Sammet and Barabara Liskov. The algorithm for Spanning Tree Protocol, a method of creating links between computers and networks, was created by the ‘mother of the internet’, Radia Perlman. Women have also been making waves in the biological sciences: from Rosalind Frankin’s revolutionary work on x-ray crystallography in 1950s London, to Dr Wiratni Budhijanto’s new waste-water treatment invention in Indonesia. Budhijanto’s technique transforms solid waste in water into biogas and converts it into renewable energy, while being ten times more efficient than traditional processes. There are many women who have been causing stirs in the hardware category, like Caitlin Kalinowski, designer of Olulus virtual reality products. Kalinowski has also worked to champion other female engineers through Wogrammer and Lesbians Who Tech in order to showcase women and LGBTQ+ people in the STEM industry. Another woman using organisations to help women is Erica Baker, the Senior Engineering Manager at Patreon, a service ensuring creatives get paid for their work. She is also very active in recruiting women of all ethnicities into software development through Black Girls Code and Code.org. What is wonderful to see is people celebrating others in the world of STEM, especially women, who made up just 22% of the UK STEM workforce in 2018; but we still have a way to go (and I haven’t even mentioned the wage gap…). Women are persistently making things that make the world an innovative, efficient and better place to live. So listen and let her do her job.
WORDS BY ELLE BOGLE
Society Spotlight: WOCSOC
Women of Colour Society is all about creating spaces for women of colour to be authentic, vulnerable and most importantly, true to themselves. What is WOCSOC about? Women of Colour Society is a community and a safe space that invites women of colour on campus to feel heard, be vulnerable, open and build connections with fellow students. Although WOCSOC aims to centre the experiences of women of colour, we encourage non-women of colour and all gender identities, including cis-gendered men to engage in our events and learn about our experiences. What are our events? And how often do we meet? Our events are centred on providing women of colour spaces to voice their thoughts and experiences. WOCSOC typically meets twice a month. We host events like ‘sheet masks and shit talking’ where we meet monthly and provide a relaxed space for women of colour to discuss a variety of topics. Recently, we had a sheet masks event where we created vision boards and discussed setting intentions for 2020. We’ve also hosted a ‘Representation Night’, where we discussed the impact of women of colour in the media. We will also be holding collab events with other societies in March. Get in Touch You can find us on instagram at wocsocsoton where we are most active. If you don’t have instagram, you can find us on facebook and twitter under the same name. If you’d like to join us, we have membership active on the SUSU page and would love to see you at our next events! WORDS BY NICOLE AKUEZUMBA
“You own the rights your body and choices”:an interview with student sex workers WORDS BY CHARLOTTE COLOMBO
In the last two years, the number of students trying sex work has doubled. According to Save The Student, who ran a recent investigation into student sex work, one in 25 students (4%) have tried a form of adult work. This survey cited rising expenses and living costs as a primary cause for students being ‘pushed’ into sex work - but this is a very big and question-begging assumption to make.
This taught me that there was a platform for things like that but of course it never crossed my mind to do it myself and for money until I started university.
Beth: I was first introduced to sex work when I saw a girl, I knew from my hometown advertising her content on social media, and I was interested as to why she was doing it. She explained how much money she had made in such a short amount of time Why is it assumed that students, especially female and I was stunned, but being in a happy relationship students, don’t have much of a choice in the matter? at the time, I never considered it myself. Why is it so hard to believe that students see this as How long have you been doing sex work for? a viable, enjoyable and secure source of income? Indeed, Louis Theroux’s recent documentary Lily: I’ve been doing sex work for 3 years now since Selling Sex raised serious questions about the the beginning of university. way in which sex workers are seen - with subjects of the documentary criticising him for twisting Beth: I’ve been doing sex work for a year now. the narrative to make the sex workers appear vulnerable and victimised. What made you decide to do it? Was it sol If one thing is clear, it’s that narrative surrounding ely financial or other factors, too? sex workers needs serious rethinking. Lily and Lily: I suffer from a number of unpredictable health Beth, who are both in the final year of their conditions that make it very difficult for me to work university studies, create adult content on the website OnlyFans alongside their degree. They were longer than a few hours at a time. I wanted to be able kind enough to sit down for an interview with me to pick up my phone at any point and earn some cash from the safety of my own home. As my parents earn to explain, in their own words, the empowering over a certain amount, I get the minimum student truth about student sex work as a valid moneyloan, meaning that it doesn’t even cover my housing making option. rent. How were you introduced to sex work? A combination of these two factors drove me to choose the line of work. Lily: When I was about 14 me and my friends would visit Chatroulette (a live chat/webcam Beth: I initially started it because I needed money, site online) and that was the first time I was ever exposed to a stranger’s private parts online, being it but after talking to some girls within the industry, I realised it was actually quite a good job to have, just a chat site. as it paid more than I had ever been paid before. 20
FEMINISM It honestly feels good to have these people wanting to see you and talk to you. I started earning a lot of money, so I was able to quit my part-time job. I also love modelling, so being able to promote myself as a model is another benefit! What made you choose OnlyFans specifically? Lily: In the first two years of online sex work, I worked from various sites such as Reddit and Chaterbate. But the payoff was very hard, and you had to have certain pay accounts for the ‘token’ system to go into and it converted to much less by the end of it. When OnlyFans came into the limelight, I thought it was ideal as I can block certain areas of the world/country, make my own rules and draw out cash whenever I liked. It’s a safe and simple site compared to many others. Beth: I chose OnlyFans because my friend used it. I was fairly new so didn’t realise there were more sites available. However, I have gained a large following on OnlyFans so moving to another network now would be difficult. They are private, and good with security, so I feel safe. Why do you think so many students are becoming sex workers? Lily: to put it simply, university is a very stressful time for some people. I think people want to spend as much time studying and making friends as possible so holding down a job can be difficult. For me, my university life is very separate from my home life because I don’t visit home often and I don’t tell anyone from home what I get up to on a daily basis. Almost like a double life. It makes it easier for me to create this online persona and keep that separate from home life. So maybe that’s why people feel more inclined to get into it at university. Beth: I think more students are becoming sex workers because they world is opening up to sex work. People are more open-minded now, and it’s a great way of making quick money. You work from home, you are your own boss, flexible hours, great rate of pay. You can also be anonymous and chose how much information you include, so it’s great for people that want to stay hidden. Would you say you’re open about what you do with friends, family, partners and lecturers? HYSTERIA COLLECTIVE
Lily: Very. Although they do not know my online name to protect myself, I will happily talk to people about what I do as a job. However, I do not tell potential employers or colleagues as I feel it may have a negative impact. Of course, I don’t believe that is right, but it still happens for sure. Beth: I am open with my family, and my friends. However, there are certain people I wouldn’t want to know, due to my fear that they will judge me, or think of me differently. What are your boundaries when it comes to sex work? Lily: I show my face in tame (clothes on) images but not in full frontal nude content, this protects me to some extent from exposure if they ever were to go public with my own name. I haven’t had many unusual requests from clients but one in particular that I did refuse was urinating in a cup and pouring it over my body. Although I did not want to kink shame, I just felt that wasn’t true to me and made me feel uncomfortable. Beth: I ask people to tell me about about themselves when they subscribe to my page. This is so I can get a feel of what they’re like, for future reference. If someone doesn’t answer this, I don’t send them extra content. Due to the fact I don’t know anything about this person. All the photos on my page are fairly tame, and I don’t include anything more than necessary. I use my first name, and middle name. But it’s sort of just a stage name, as I link my Instagrams together. On my private, OnlyFans Instagram I have 13.6K followers. What do you think of the label ‘sex worker’? Is that the label you’d use for yourselves? Lily: Yes, I would say so. Although there are some clients who just pay me to be their friend, the majority is sexual. Beth: No. I don’t believe I’m a sex worker. However, I know others will disagree. I’m not having sex with anyone; therefore, I don’t think I am. I prefer the term ‘adult model’. What do you think about the current narrative around sex workers? Lily: Financially, I am aware that this is true for hundreds of women in sex work. 21
FEMINISM Especially if they are homeless or addicts. I can understand how abuse survivors may work in the industry as they may suffer some confusion around their sexuality. However, I believe that with OnlyFans, you are in complete control of what you post, who you interact with etc. So, it could possibly be liberating for a person to express themselves on their own terms online. From a university perspective I think people are more likely to join for financial aid and because they have the privacy of their own flat rather than family home. Beth: I disagree, If someone really didn’t want to do it, they wouldn’t (students). As Lily said, for some women yes maybe it is the only way to stay alive, or get drugs, but for students there are so many other ways to make money or get financial help. Such as grants, bursaries, loans, funding, jobs, credit. If it made me feel uncomfortable, I would stop. Following on from this, do you think there are misconceptions/stigmas around sex work?
I think it is safer and more acceptable now as people are talking about it. Of course, many people including my ex-partner, still think it is wrong and immoral, however I’m willing to bet my bottom dollar that they have watched porn at some point in their lives. Beth: Yes, it has. Although as I’m still fairly new, I don’t know very much about what it used to be like unfortunately. However, I’ve only recently started being more open and public with my work, as I’ve become more comfortable. What do you think of the current law around sex work? Lily: I think that the roadside and pimping laws are good as it is there to protect sex workers from being attacked or sold by other people. When researching the laws as I was getting into work I saw someone asking a law site for advice and the top reply by a ‘verified lawyer’ said “This website is designed for people who have real legal problems, not to help you set up a business selling pornography”.
Lily: Absolutely! I see it all the time on twitter and have to bite my tongue! People will reply to sex workers tweets saying ‘*this comment* is invalid’ or ‘you are not allowed to say *this*’ because we ‘get our Understandably the laws are different in the us tits out online’ or something of the sort. where this lawyer was from but I was shocked to see that so many people had agreed with this man We are forbidden to talk about things on twitter for shaming someone simply asking about the laws such as our romantic partners if we are sex workers regarding her work. because it somehow makes us hypocrites. also think that people automatically assume you are a prostitute when you mention ‘sex work’ so I tend to follow it up with ‘I sell nudes’ or something a bit specific.
How do you separate sex work from your sex life, if at all? Do you think it’s necessary to?
Lily: As real as I try to be, the content I make for OnlyFans is not 100 % authentic. Its near enough But I like the term because it gives people who do sell impossible to act completely shamelessly in front of a camera. But that is what people are paying sex in the industry the choice to disclose what they for I think, something more personal than public do without saying ‘I’m a prostitute’. / free porn. If a sexual partner agrees to take part in making content together, it becomes more fun Beth: Definitely. It’s always seen so negatively, however it’s really not. It’s just liked any job, and just than serious as its new and exciting for them. But because I do OnlyFans doesn’t mean I’m any less of a I personally have not had a boyfriend since being in the industry so can’t comment on that. If I did, person. I’ve had people call me a slag, saying I don’t I think I would want to keep most of our sex life respect myself. I have so much respect for myself, and I love my body! So why would I not make money private as making love to a partner is different to casual partners for me. from that? Do you think the perception around sex work has Beth: Funnily enough, I’m not a very sexual person. changed in the last ten years or so? How and why? Therefore, I find it very easy to separate them. My content isn’t very explicit, as I don’t enjoy that Lily: I think so. My perception of sex work in the aspect of it. distant past is standing on the roadside waiting for business but there are so many more options of sex work now due to the online world. 22
FEMINISM How has sex work changed your relationship with yourself and your body? How have you personally developed as a result of this? Lily: Sex work has taught me that despite my pimples, stretch marks, weird nipples and chubby belly, there are hundreds of men out there that love my body and are willing to pay lots of money to see it. This of course makes me feel desirable and sexy, but the compliment is far weaker when it comes from an anonymous account on the internet. Everyone wants real connections with real people, so to say that ‘hundreds of people calling you sexy must boost your confidence’ is not strictly true, it’s a short-term boost. Beth: It’s boosted my confidence so much. Before doing this, I would never post anything even slightly revealing on my social media, whereas now, I don’t care! It’s made me love my body, and every part of it in a way I cannot describe! What has been the best part of doing this? Lily: Shamelessly, the money! I’ve been able to enjoy a night out with friends at university without worrying about not being able to afford food the next day. And can afford to visit my family who live far away. That’s the best bit. Beth: I agree, the money. As awful as that sounds, it’s given me so many opportunities I wouldn’t have been able to afford prior to this work. I bought a new car, a pet, a lot of food! What has been the worst part? Lily: Honestly, the demand. Some people feel entitled to be demanding when they are paying for something. If I am busy for a few days and someone wants me to make personal content for them, it can sometimes be a stress finding the time. Beth: The fact I feel like I still have hidden this side of my life from the world, and certain others. I would love to open up and tell everyone what I’ve been up to, the companies I’ve worked for, the large following I have! This is a massive part of my life. But sometimes it’s best left private.
Do you see yourself continuing following graduation? Lily: I’m not too sure but probably not as I would love to go into the area of work that I’ve been studying for the past decade. Beth: Definitely. I want to continue to grow as a model, so this is a great way. And it will fund me whilst I aim to start my career. Would you call yourselves feminists? How would you define ‘feminism’? Lily: Definitely. I believe that feminism simply means the equality of the sexes. And in regard to sex work, I believe that man or woman, you own the rights to your own bodies and choices. Beth: To some extent yes! I think men and women should have equal rights, and their own choices when it comes to what they do, what they post, who they are. Following on from this, how would you respond to critics? Lily: I find it hard to understand how online sex work is oppressive. To my knowledge, all the people doing my form of work are doing it completely by choice and can leave any time they like. When has it ever not felt liberating to get your boobs out, really? Of course, I am aware that in some countries, women do not have freedom and choice like I do and the thought of someone doing this work against their will breaks my heart. Beth: Women, just do what you want! Do not let anyone put you down for what you want to do. Anyone that judges me now, I brush off. At the end of the day I’m my own person, and it’s my life.
“my chest is the best”...but so are all the rest: an exploration of body positivity in ALL women In 2020, we are hyper-aware of the world around us - both social and physical. Thanks to figures such as Jameela Jamil, Serena Williams, Laverne Cox and many more, the social world around us is buzzing with talk of body positivity and the want to express how we feel. Being happy within yourself can play a major part in your overall state of being and we should all be able to feel content in our own skin. With this in mind, I created a short photo series highlighting the things that the people around me love about themselves. It’s easy to find flaws in the way you look, but we should remind ourselves that there’s always something to love, even if you can’t see it right away. I sat down with these four models and opened up a conversation about body positivity and together they decided, and helped each other, pick something about themselves that they love and here are the results. These images capture this idea and serve as a reminder to ourselves that we are all beautiful in our own way.
‘My favourite state of being is laughing, so that’s why I picked my smile. During my teenage years when I had braces, I felt awkward about smiling or laughing too much. Now I’m in my twenties, even if I still had braces, I wouldn’t care.’ - Camille Allan, 21. 24
‘My favourite part about myself is my hair. I love how it is naturally, but I also like how versatile it is. Over the years I’ve had many insecurities, but I’ve always been happy with my hair.’ - Sarah Ahmad, 20. WESSEX SCENE
‘I have always been insecure of my body but as I have grown older, I began to love the parts of myself which made me most self-conscious when I was younger. That’s why I wanted to choose a part of myself which makes me feel good about the way I look. It is not always easy to love yourself, but learning to stop being a voice of criticism for myself, and instead choosing to be one of empowerment, has been one of my proudest achievements.’ - Daisy Williamson, 21.
‘I’ve always been self conscious of my freckles and when I was growing up I would always wish I had clear skin like everyone else. People would say that they made me unique but all I thought was that they made me uglier. It’s only now that I’m older that I’ve realised that they do make me different and not in a bad way. That’s why I chose my freckles because it shows that something you used to be so insecure about can become one of your favourite parts of yourself. ‘ - Caoive Eileen-Callanan Kelsey, 20.
IMAGES BY GEORGIA HUNT
#Catwalk 4Consent: A Reflection
On the 21st of February, we at the Feminist Society held our annual #Catwalk4Consent. The aim of the event is to dispel the myth that clothing equals consent.
Last year when I was social secretary, I did light work for the catwalk preparation. I didn’t have the opportunity to read any of the submissions due to the fact I was modelling.
Students and those in the wider community submit their accounts of sexual assault and violence and describe what they were wearing when the incident occurred.
This year as President, I actually had the responsibility of going through the submissions and was utterly stunned. Sexual misconduct is a serious problem in the UK and UK universities. Research from The Guardian concluded that “more than half of students say they have experienced unwanted advances and assault, ranging from explicit messages to rape.” Along with this a lot of students don’t actually understand what consent is and constitutes sexual harassment and violence, highlighting a significant failure in our sexual education teaching in lower school.
We then find clothing similar to the clothing described and call out for volunteers to model, do makeup, hair and collect money for Yellow Door. Yellow Door is a local charity in Southampton that does incredible work. They specialise in supporting people who have experienced or are at risk of domestic or sexual abuse, and much more.
The aim of this yearly event is to provide some much-needed clarity on what consent is and is not. That it has nothing to do with what a person is wearing, and never will.
I didnâ€™t really feel comfortable submitting an incident that happened to me when I participated in the catwalk last year, but this year I did, and Iâ€™m so glad I did it.
If you missed the Catwalk this year and would like to get involved, make sure to keep up with Femsoc next academic year around this time! Or volunteer at Yellowdoor firstname.lastname@example.org. We are still taking donations for Yellowdoor and you can donate at this link, we appreciate every penny: tiny. cc/Catwalk4Consent
WORDS BY HALIMA JIBRIL IMAGES BY GEORGIA DE VITA
It was a massive step forward for me, and I hope everyone else who submitted felt the same way.
Meat Free Diets: The Gender Divide Many people this year may be attempting to reduce their meat intake or were even brave enough to partake in ‘Veganuary’ and completely give up all meat, fish, egg and dairy products from their diet. If people are able to, committing to a vegetarian or vegan diet is one of the best ways an individual can reduce their carbon footprint. The Independent explains that animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions. It’s becoming increasingly clear that a meat-based diet is not sustainable. When one considers the current effects climate change is having across the globe, including the horrific wildfires in Australia, it is no surprise people want to do what they can to help slow the disastrous impacts climate change is having on our planet. Also, with so many companies introducing good meat-free options, it’s easier than ever to swap meat and fish in your diet for vegetarian or vegan options. What’s most surprising about this increase in meatfree diets is the huge disparity between women and men choosing to reduce their meat consumption. As a vegetarian myself, I rarely meet men who have stopped eating meat for ethical reasons. In fact, in the 5 years since I have given up meat, I don’t think I’ve ever met a man who’s reduced his meat consumption for ethical reasons. If anything, I find the people who are most resistant to my diet are men. The best way to describe this difference is to acknowledge that over time meat consumption has become a major part of adhering to stereotypical ideas of manliness. The idea that ‘real men eat meat’ is very much ingrained into society’s thinking. The relationship between masculinity and meat eating has been shown most adeptly through advertisements for food. Often when advertising meat-based products, adverts are geared more towards men, and advertisements for things like salads are geared more towards women. It is worth noting that when it comes to the advertising of salads and other ‘healthy’ foods, this has a lot to do with diet culture and the pressure for women to lose weight. A key example of this gendered advertising is how burger places advertise their food.
Adverts for burgers and the like are often overly sexualised. Carl Jr. (an American Burger place) released an advert in 2015 entitled ‘Everybody Loves Big Breasts’, which strangely enough was advertising a chicken burger. Sadly, this is merely the tip of the iceberg for Carl Jr.’s over-sexualised ads, with their 2015 Super Bowl ad for an ‘all natural’ beef burger including a nearly naked woman walking through a marketplaceI for one am still trying to figure out what that has to do with a beef burger. Although the objectification of women is used by many companies to sell products, in this case, it shows how the advertisement of a meatbased product is aimed at men. So, how then do we encourage more men, who are able to, to try and reduce the amount of meat in their diet? It’s probable that advertising vegan products using stereotypically masculine ideals is the way to go, perhaps something like informing people that vegan diets can be very high in protein, and that there is a significant number of vegan body builders. Unfortunately, until we as a society break down the gendered thinking that women behave one way and men another, it’s unlikely much will change when it comes to the gender divide of meat-free diets. Sadly, this is a long battle which feminists have been fighting for decades, and considering how pressing the need to help slow climate change is, it’s unlikely to be of help anytime soon.
WORDS BY MACEY MCDERMOTT
CATCALLING There are moments in life we remember more than others. Moments that just stick with us, that we can’t shake no matter how hard we try. This is one of mine. I’ll try to paint a picture. I’m fifteen years old. I’m in a PSHE lesson. The topic was sex education and puberty, but we were more specifically focussed on sexualisation at this point. My teacher tells us a story of being on public transport with her daughter, who was fourteen at the time. A man was staring at her daughter and started to make comments about her and how she looked. This initial story lead into other situations of her being shouted at, whistled at and jeered at. Across the room, I remember seeing so many girls share in pure disgust and horror. I hadn’t realised how often people – including young, underage girls – had experienced this. It was a little like that scene in ‘Sex Education’, where all of the girls share their stories of being harassed. So many people I knew, mostly girls but boys too, they had experienced that horrible feeling of being catcalled or jeered at. There was something really sad about it, because some of us just laughed it off and pretended that we were okay. In honesty, I think we all pretend to be okay about this stuff. But that realisation was completely shadowed by something that followed later. Maths, an hour afterwards, and some people are talking about the PSHE lesson. One guy (clever, friendly, popular, and previously someone I considered to be a good guy) made a comment that made my blood boil. ‘Why would anyone be staring at her? Her ass is like two sacks of custard.’
His concern wasn’t that someone, a girl, a girl younger than us, had been the subject of sexual harassment; he was concerned that she wasn’t attractive enough for that to have actually happened. I lost it. I shouted at him. I told him he was vile and how could he say that, that harassment was serious and that his ideas of attractiveness didn’t dictate who could be harassed. I asked to go to the toilet straight after. I sat there and sobbed. It terrified me that my peers had absolutely no idea how demeaning it was to be objectified like that. It terrified me that they didn’t care. Let’s fast-forward six years, to the present day. The number of times I have been shouted at, had a car horn honked at me, had whistling at me, is countless. The number of times this has happened to my friends - it’s countless. Catcalling is an unfortunate reality. It happens every day. In a world where the fight for equality is ever-growing, it just seems to become more common. I worry to leave the house in too tight a dress or too short a skirt, but that doesn’t matter. Fifteen-year-old me ingrained the shouts she got in her baggy P.E. kit into her brain and I remember. Blaming an outfit, or a victim? It’s never the right choice. We need to start an open conversation about catcalling and educate the people around us to be better. We must be better. WORDS BY KARRIAD SUMMERS-SHAWCROSS
His concern wasn’t that someone, a girl, a girl younger than us, had been the subject of sexual harassment; he was concerned that she wasn’t attractive enough for that to have actually happened.
The Wonderful Women of The Grammys
In 2018 the hashtag #GrammysSoMale was one of the highest trending hashtags, after the lack of female representation was so clear with only ONE female artist being recognised. The Grammy’s CEO, Neil Portnow was heavily criticised after his comment on how women need to ‘step up’ in order to gain better representation, suggesting that the gender bias of the Grammys is not the Academy’s fault. This comes with a history of the Grammys being seen to be very gender biased. Between the years of 2012-2017, it was reported by University of Southern California that over 90% of the nominees were male, meaning less than 10% of the nominees were women. One of the biggest shocks of the 2018 Grammys in particular was that Lorde, who was nominated for album of the year, wasn’t even invited to perform, but yet every man who was nominated for the same award was... Overwhelming evidence that women were being underrepresented at the Grammys meant that something had to be done. It was announced in 2018 that the Grammys would have a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in order to combat the lack of female inclusion. 2019 seemed to be the year that women were FINALLY getting the credit that they deserve. Alicia Keys hosted the award ceremony, making her the first female to host the Grammys in over a decade - and boy did she do an amazing job.
So how about 2020? It seems the Grammy’s are still under controversy, behind the scenes after allegations of corruptness and sexism were made by the CEO Deborah Duncan, after being placed on leave after uncovering misconduct within the academy. Deborah made complaints over sexual harassment, rape, and manipulated Grammy nominations. The artists are the reason behind the Grammys and when it comes to improvements in inclusion, there have undoubtedly been improvements in equality and diversity this year! Women won 36 awards, 13 of whom were women of colour! Yes ladies! The Grammys have stepped up their game, recognising the power, talent and solidarity of women. Lizzo in particular was nominated for 8 awards, being the most nominated artist of the night, and Billie Eilish, at 17 years old was nominated for the 4 most prestigious awards available. Incredible achievements. Are we finally seeing some positive movement? Yes. Has it taken way longer than it should have? Yes. The Grammys are still not perfect, there are still issues with female representation, particularly with the representation of women of colour; there are still issues with equality behind the scenes of the Grammys in regards to sexism and male power. However, the improvements made in the last two years have been remarkable and have shown how when women come together, we can make a change! WORDS BY DAISY MAY NEWMAN
Women took home 31 awards, which considering the amount of Grammys won by women in 2018, is huge! Major female artists, including Cardi B, Janelle Monáe, and Dua Lipa all performed their art spectacularly, giving memorable performances.
Here’s To Women WORDS BY AMY PENN Here’s to women who know where they’re going in life and know how they’re getting there, Here’s to the women than don’t even have a pla let alone a plan, Here’s to the women that fly through life by the seat of their pants and wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to the loud women. The quiet women. The shy women. The brave women. And the scared women. Here’s to women with long hair, Short hair Straight hair Curly hair And body hair! Here’s to women that have sex a lot, The women that have no sex at all, The women that have sex with men, The women who have sex with women, And the women who have sex for money. Here’s to the mothers, The nanas, The sisters, The aunties, The aunties that aren’t really are aunties, And the cousins that are more like best friends. Here’s to the women who dress up, Dress down, Dance in their dressing gowns at the party, And wear nothing at all. Here’s to the straight women, The lesbian women The bisexual women, The trans women, You are all women worth knowing and loving. Here’s to the fat women, The curvy women, The beautiful women with the big booties, The skinny women, The itty bitty titty committee members , And the women with the massive mammaries. Here’s to the disabled women, The scarred women, And the women who struggle in their mind sometimes. Here’s to the women in STEM, The women in law, The women in politics, The women in sport, Here’s to women everywhere. We salute you.
Why I unapologetically Need Feminism
Feminists do not despise men or hold the belief that we are better than men or feel that women should have special privileges over men. Feminists are not necessarily lesbian or bisexual because feminism does not define someone’s sexuality. Feminists don’t necessarily stop shaving their armpits or wearing bras, but believe that a woman should have the freedom to do so if she wishes without having to worry about the ridiculous beauty standards that society places on women. Feminists do not hate chivalry, please do keep the door open for us. In fact, keep the door open for everyone no matter their gender, it’s just common decency!
When women are sexually assaulted they are often the ones that are either shamed or simply not believed. Many women have also experienced wolf whistling which makes many women feel extremely uncomfortable, not being able to walk around in public without being harassed is why I need feminism. I need feminism because I still have to pay for sanitary products which become expensive over time and which many women simply can’t afford, the fact that I have to pay so much money for a natural bodily function that I can’t help is an outrage.
Feminism also doesn’t necessarily mean that we agree with abortion and that every feminist is always prochoice, what we do believe is that every woman has the right to have one as it is her body and therefore her choice. Feminists have to deal with a whole array of stereotypes, but not one feminist fits into a box.
I need feminism because I am still mostly defined by the way I look and not by my achievements. Our society values beauty tremendously, especially in women, being a beautiful woman is viewed as one of the best attributes of a woman. Forget the fact that I study Modern Languages at a Russell Group University, forget the fact that I am a black belt in Taekwondo or even the fact that I consider myself a good What feminism is, however, is the belief that all genders singer, I am conventionally attractive and that’s all that should have equal political, social and economic rights matters. and opportunities. Feminism is the choice to be who and what you want to be, free from restrictions from the I need feminism because of the amount of times that I have patriarchal society that we live in. been inappropriately touched (especially in nightclubs) by men. Ask any woman and they will almost certainly have a Although as a society we have achieved a lot in terms of story of when they have been inappropriately touched while women’s rights, especially in the Western world, there out in public. is still a lot that needs to be done. Although my reasons for needing feminism living in a developed Western I need feminism because if I decide to get married in the country may be different that women in countries like future I may be required to take my husbands last name due Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Democratic Republic of to traditions and religion. My last name is part of my Greek Congo, where their basic rights are being denied they identity, take this away and you are taking away part of my are still important nonetheless and need to be listened identity. Although some women may decide they want to to, this is why I need feminism: take their husbands name which is completely fine, they should not feel the pressure to do so, they shouldn’t feel I need feminism because of my innate fear or walking pressure to get married full stop. home when its dark on my own; a friend of mine once told me that she always holds her keys between her The idea that feminism is just a woman’s issue needs fingers when she walks home when it’s dark. to be abolished, feminism is for all. It for the LGBTQ+ community, it is for people of colour and it is also for men. The fact that she does not feel safe to simply walk back In a world where it is reasonable to say ‘grab [women] by home after having a movie night at my house not only the pussy’ demonstrates- we need feminism and I will be defines exactly why feminism is still needed, but is also a unapologetic of calling myself a feminist. sad reflection of our society.
WORDS BY CHARLOTTE KITROMILIDES 32
biphobia & misogyny This past year, I’ve learned a few things about myself and my queerness. One, that I had a lot of internalised biphobia to unpack and unlearn. Second, that experience and attitude was intimately attached with my womanhood. I realised the presentation of my sexuality was fundamentally down to appearing palatable to others. I would play on appearing gayer to my friends in the community, and I would let men sexualise my bisexuality. Hell, even calling myself queer feels more comfortable than calling myself bisexual. It sort of feels like bisexual has too many syllables and my throat closes up when I say it. The misogyny associated around women and bisexuality/ queerness made me pit myself against other women for an imaginary competition of who can appear the most wanted for men. This structure created a competition where my female experience and my pursuit of feminism was at odds with my own sexuality. As an activist within the LGBTQI plus community, I have definitely seen a bigger social and legal focus on gay and bisexual men (just look at any popular movie during PRIDE month). Trans women are considered the most vulnerable group in the community, and much of that is down to the misogynistic attitude that fundamentally criminalises and vilifies the feminine. We see the attack on gay and bisexual men as an attack on the feminine (see: Effeminophobia), and we see attacks on lesbian and bisexual women as an attack on the lack of the feminine, (when feminine is seen as something that men can profit or capitalise on). We see trans women being attacked by patriarchal structures against their femininity and we see TERFS attack trans women for their perceived lack of legitimate femininity.
The LGBTQI plus community has rarely made me feel queer enough to fit in. My experience of being a bisexual woman meant that I was fighting this internal battle, navigating how to be butch enough to be taken seriously in the bisexual and lesbian sphere; navigating the feeling I wasn’t gay enough to have genuine romantic relationships and connections with women. I was floating around all these stereotypical and inherently phobic attitudes that was rooted in my experience as a woman. The fear of exploring polyamory in case I’d be adding to my own communities stereotype of ‘greedy’ and ‘can’t choose’ left me feeling guilty; then when I did explore polyamory, I felt guilty that i’d decided it actually wasn’t for me and I was letting down so many queer women who’d advocated for it as the progressive way forward. What if i’m now upholding misogynistic and patriarchal power structures? Does that now make me a bad feminist or woman? So much of my queer experience has revolved around sex and relationships. The hypersexualisation of being a woman, and then being a queer woman (as well as being a fat woman, a woman in a senior position, a sex positive woman) has meant nearly every element of my identity has been fetisished to some degree. And this is my experience as a white, cis woman too. It gets a whole lot shittier when you factor in the fetishisiation of women of colour, the hypersexualisation of trans women and how sex workers who identify as women are treated.
WORDS BY LAURA BARR
I’m Having A Cosmetic Procedure… ...and I can feel my feminism fading away I have watched women around me for my whole life get some Botox here, or a nip and tuck there. I think it’s very easy as a feminist to look down on cosmetic surgery as if it sits as the direct antithesis of self love and body positivity. But if feminism is about choice, is it not about the choice of the woman who wants that surgery, or filler, or injection? But herein lies the problem. We as a society see women who are aged, fat, scarred, insecure or ‘ugly’ as less than, less worthy, less deserving of well, everything. And to be honest, that’s how I feel when I look in the mirror and see my scarring; it is a reminder of things I don’t want to remember sometimes. My scarring serves as a symbol for something psychologically traumatic and so I want to make that go away. However, I’ve been round in circles in my head, leave it, be proud of what you’ve survived, be a strong woman who doesn’t value her appearance above anything else. And then, I just want it gone. I want to run my fingers over flat skin, leave the house without makeup covering from my jaw to my eyebrows, and post photos of my bare face on social media without having to attach some cliche quote about body positivity and self love.
Walking into the clinic where I am having my ‘work’ done if you will, is a very surreal experience. The work consists of steroid injections, LED treatment and dermal layering, for the record. Across the walls are posters detailing other treatment options, a menu of weight loss programmes, chemical peels and labial reductions: as if photos of the models in magazines were broken up into a Mr Potato-Head style selection process. It really is a fascinating experience going to that clinic and I look around at the other people there: both men and women, and I wonder what it is they’re having fixed and what they think I’m doing. Have they noticed my scars and caught on? Or are they assuming I must be trimming my hips, my waist, filling my lips or forehead? I walked towards the car after my first treatment, and I turned to my girlfriend and asked her whether she was judging me for doing all of this. She said, no, of course not, because she understands. I judge myself heavily for what I am doing, but I also know that if I don’t do this now, my scarring will, with age and sun exposure, look worse and worse, and continue to be a reason for my insecurity and discomfort.
But I shouldn’t feel the need to have to explain that. Somehow we have created a society that is an amalgamation of anti-plastic surgery “feminism” and an over accepting commercialisation of the body, where we can chop and change ourselves into someone new. But my reasons for getting cosmetic surgery is no more honourable than that of a woman wanting to change her breasts or get Botox. I think as long as we are honest and open about cosmetic procedures it still has a place in feminism.
WORDS BY IMOGEN BRIGHTY-POTTS 34
Timeline of Women’s Rights Events in Britain The road to gaining equal rights for women in Britain has been a long one, and we haven’t reached the end yet. From suffrage to equal pay, reproductive rights to educational parity, women have been systematically oppressed until recent years when it was finally acknowledged that we deserve equal opportunities to our male counterparts. Here is a brief timeline of some key events which slowly removed the restrictions placed on women trying to hold them back from being independent and respected members of British society: 1865: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is the first woman to be recognised as a surgeon. She goes on to open her own medical school for women. 1867: The London Society for Women’s Suffrage is formed. 1869: The first women’s higher-education provision, Girton College in Cambridge, is founded by suffragette Emily Davies. 1870: The Married Women’s Property Act makes women legal owners and inheritors of their own money, even in marriage. 1878: The University of London is the first university to open its doors to women on equal terms to men. 1884: Women first play at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament. 1888: Women are allowed to vote in borough and county council elections. 1891: The right for men to use corporal punishment against their wives is removed. 1907: The Qualification of Women Act allows women to be elected as borough and county council members, and as Mayor. 1914: Britain gets its first female police officers. 1918: Female property-owners over the age of 30 become the first women eligible to vote in Britain. 1919: Nancy Astor is the first woman to become an elected Member of British Parliament. 1920: The Sexual Discrimination Removal Act allows women access to work in the legal profession and accountancy. 1928: All women are granted universal suffrage on the same terms as men. HYSTERIA COLLECTIVE
1929: Margaret Bondfield becomes to the first female Cabinet Minister as the Minister of Labour, 1929-31. 1930: Amy Johnson is the first woman to fly solo to Australia. 1944: The Education Act outlaws the marriage bar for teachers, so women can teach while married. 1956: Rose Heilbron becomes the first female judge in Britain. 1958: The Life Peerages Act means women can sit in the House of Lords for the first time. Nus reperci omnimus consequam, sin pa 1961: The contraceptive pill is first made available for married women on the NHS. 1967: The Abortion Act legalises abortion across Britain, excluding Northern Ireland. 1970: The Equal Pay Act makes equal pay compulsory between male and female employees. 1971: The first Women’s Liberation March is held in London. 1973: Women are allowed to join the London Stock Exchange for the first time. 1974: Contraception is made free on the NHS. 1975: The Sexual Discrimination Act makes it illegal to discriminate against women for the gender in the workplace, education, and training. 1979: Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. 1985: The Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act makes female genital mutilation illegal. 1986: Statutory maternity pay is introduced, meaning women continue receiving their salary during maternity leave. 1994: Rape in marriage is made illegal. 1999: The Sexual Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Act makes it illegal to discriminate against transgender people in the workplace. 2002: Gay, lesbian and unmarried couples are given equal adoption rights to heterosexual couples. 2004: The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act makes domestic violence a crime. 2009: Carol Ann Duffy is appointed the first female Poet Laureate. 2015: Libby Lane is the first female Bishop in the Church of England. 2019: Abortion is decriminalised in Northern Ireland. WORDS BY KATIE BYNG-HALL 35