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Showing posts from April, 2016

What a girly read should be, part II

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I had the pleasure last night of going to a Waterstone's event in Birmingham. Laura Bates, founder of the wonderful Everyday Sexism website, gave a depressing/inspiring talk about her work and why fighting sexism is still such an important job.
Some of the stories and statistics she gave were frightening, particularly about the way gender and sexual difference is dealt with in schools. Can you imagine how distressing it is for a teenage girl to be told that female sexuality is like Sellotape - if you use it on three or four different things, it loses its stickiness...? Yep, that's the kind of empowering information that schools are passing on. Helpful, I'm sure. 
But the evening was about much more than griping about how shitty being a woman is. There were also positive stories about women who have fought back against sexism in the workplace or whilst out jogging. I imagine being a female jogger must be a lot more entertaining if you're wearing a "Honk if you love f…

What a girly read should be

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I've always been a bit 50/50 on Caitlin Moran. For every column she's written that's felt both witty and important, there's been another that has missed the mark or felt like a facetious treatment of a bigger issue. Having only recently started this book, which is a mix between a memoir and a feminist manifesto, How To Be A Woman seems to suffer from some of the same problems.

When it hits - for instance, when she reminisces about her first period in a way that will be familiar to most women - the book does a great job of drawing attention to the pains and pitfalls that come with being a woman but also finding the humour in the situation, picking out the good in amongst the bad. It seems to be in its more militant moments that the book fails. Not because Moran is wrong but because she can seem a bit flippant about her topics, as if she has sacrificed some of the depth for readability. And it is eminently readable, no doubt.

Even with these reservations, this feels like t…

The most divisive of genres

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There are two genres that are likely to really divide people: horror and comedy. With horror, it's a Marmite thing: you either love it or hate it. Some people dig the dark side, finding catharsis in seeing danger from the safety of the sofa; others find it disturbing in a negative way, not understanding the fun of seeing Regan's head spinning or Leatherface wielding his chainsaw overhead. It's just a personality thing.

Humour is a more nuanced issue. Very few people have no sense of humour but a lot of people will have a different sense of humour to you. It's actually a significant field in personality psychology, as the varying types have very different traits. Humour can be a social issue, building a bridge between people or, if used negatively, as a way to demean others. I can be a mean joker - I'm the person who makes the comment that everyone laughs at then feels guilty for enjoying. I'm ok with this. It's just one of those things you have to keep an ey…