AD LIBIDO BY FRAN BUSHE REVIEW

by Carmina Masoliver

Female sexual dysfunction is a topic rarely spoken about, and according to Fran Bushe’s show Ad Libido, it’s also something that is light years away in terms of medical research when compared with male sexual dysfunction. Hello patriarchy! This show presents us with projected images of what “solutions” she has come across to dealing with pain during sex, all of which are both hilarious and hideous at once. It is clear that this is not the same for male sexual issues, where there are actual solutions which are often available to buy over the counter.

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VAGINAL KNITTING, GIRL ON GIRL CRIME?

by Jess Howard

Content warning: the article mentions menstruation and physical discomfort.

In 2013, performance artist Casey Jenkins from Melbourne, Australia, caused a storm on the internet by knitting for 28 days in a gallery space using wool she had inserted into her vagina. The piece was titled Casting Off My Womb, but was christened Vaginal Knitting by the press. Almost 3 years later, Jenkins is knitting from her vagina once more, producing a commentary on the abuse she received when her original piece went viral.Continue Reading

FGM (FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION) – IT’S A FIRST WORLD PROBLEM TOO

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Content warning: female genital mutilation

by Lauren Marsh

“Because women and girls are not valued equally as human beings, they are treated as less than such. Female genital mutilation is an example of this that has to be stopped” –Waris Dirie

I have just returned from spending 3 months volunteering in Nigeria with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) as part of the ICS programme. International Citizen Service (ICS) is a once-in-a-lifetime volunteering opportunity open to all 18-25 year olds, backed by the UK government.

There is a strong emphasis on guided learning for the volunteers and to engage with this all volunteers had to take part in something called an ACD (Active Citizenship Day) — the aim of which is to present a global issue to the rest of the team to raise awareness and encourage them to instigate change. My Nigerian host home counterpart Bunmi and I presented ours on the subject of FGM (female genital mutilation.)Continue Reading

KYLIE JENNER’S WHEELCHAIR PHOTOSHOOT

by Jess Howard

The Kardashian/Jenner family are rarely far from the press. From Caitlyn Jenner’s sensational Vanity Fair cover early this year, to the recent birth of Saint West, they are seldom out of the news. Recently, it has been model and the youngest of the Kardashian sisters, Kylie Jenner, who has been in the limelight.

Causing controversy by taking part in a photoshoot in which she posed passive and sexually in a gold wheelchair, Jenner’s photoshoot, directed by photographer Steven Klein, and accompanying interview, were part of a feature in Interview magazine, and it is explicitly clear why the internet has reacted in such a passionate and infuriated way. Continue Reading

REVIEW: THE WORLD GOES POP

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by Carmina Masoliver

I was moved to go to this exhibit with its promise that it would move beyond the mainstream artists we think of when we think of pop art, such as Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Richard Hamilton, working in the 1960s and 70s. I enjoy the work of these artists, but having seen them all before, I was intrigued to see more women exhibited, as well as those across the globe.

The literature on the exhibition states it ‘expands the notion of pop art into a far wider geographical context, showing how different cultures and countries contributed to the movement.’ With Warhol’s famous Campbell soup cans we had a critique of consumerism, yet the images shown at The World Goes Pop aim to challenge social imbalances, including the role of women and civil rights. Here, I will discuss some of my highlights from the exhibition.Continue Reading

BODY ART IN THE WORK PLACE

by Jess Howard 

Covering the body with tattoos has been a tradition among multiple socio-economic groups for centuries. From identification to decoration, the act of adorning the skin with ink is in no way novel or unique. Day to day it is incredibly common to see tattoos on people of all ages, from the first tattoo immediately after the 18th birthday, to the person in their mid forties with an exquisite and elaborate full sleeve. In short, ink is everywhere.

Yet the stigma attached to visual tattoos in the work place shows minimal chance of disappearing. When I started my first ‘proper’ job, I was told that tattoos were not allowed to be visible, and even today, ten pieces of ink later, I find myself wearing long sleeves to interviews and asking if my potential employer would like me to cover them up. Even I, a woman who has long loved body art in all of its forms, assume that the stigma is still attached.Continue Reading

PORNOGRAPHY AS ART

by Jess Howard 

Earlier on this month, Playboy magazine announced that their publication will no longer be featuring nudity as of March 2016. Citing the rise of easy access to internet pornography, the company has decided to pull their famous images from the publication in a bid to reconcile their disintegrating readership with their increasing online audience, which went nudity free at the end of last year.

Playboy made a name for itself during the 1950s, when sex and nudity where far less mainstream and far more taboo. Having previously worked for Esquire, after leaving due to a financial disagreement (when he was denied a raise of $5) founder Hugh Hefner set up the publication from his home in Chicago, Illinois. Unsure as to whether or not the publication would thrive, the first magazine was undated in case a second issue was not produced. Having purchased a nude image of film star Marilyn Monroe, taken before she had found success in the entertainment industry, Hefner placed it on the cover. As we now know, the magazine was to be a huge success.

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IN DEFENCE OF TELLING GIRLS THEY CAN

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by Carmina Masoliver

I have recently come across a lot of backlash against the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, including this article from The Guardian. Whilst I’ve read arguments that Sport England would do well to challenge the massive pay gap between men and women in sports, I reject the notion that it should be in spite of this campaign, claiming that it’s not needed, that it’s patronising, or that it’s actually about sex.

The taglines on the website that sums up the campaign is that ‘fear of judgement is stopping many of us from taking part in exercise. But as thousands of women up and down the country are proving, it really doesn’t have to’; ‘It’s a celebration of active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.’

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THE MALE GAZE WON’T CURE EATING DISORDERS

by Robyn Banks

Eating disorders and low self-esteem in women and girls have been making headlines in both feminist discourse and the mainstream press for years, usually being linked in a variety of ways to the media, be it advertising or the homogenous representation of women. 1.6 million people in the UK suffer from some form of eating disorder, of which 89% are female, and anorexia nervosa has been reported in girls as young as six.

The issue has resurfaced again recently after Dr Aric Sigman, a professor in child psychology, has said that boys are an ‘untapped army’ who can prevent girls’ diet disorders by telling them how attractive they find ‘curvy’ women. At the same time, France unveiled a plan to ban models deemed too skinny from the catwalk. Both of these prevention measures are well meaning, but both are rooted in a profound misunderstanding of eating disorders that could do more harm than good.

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WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL, 2015: PART 2

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by Carmina Masoliver

It was my third year of attending the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival, first envisaged and implemented by Artistic Director Jude Kelly, five years ago. The programme was full of interesting performances, discussions, and workshops. I’ll be focusing on some of the arts related events. Part 1 can be found here.

Sunday began with ‘Lips’ choir singing cover songs from artists such as Kelis, Sia, Destiny’s Child and Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer. They sparkled in a mix of sequins, shirts and bow ties, and drew a massive crowd. Poet Bridget Minamore began Who Owns Your Body? on the subject of street harassment, particularly highlighting the racial differences, reflecting on a trip to Peru.

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