On racism, call out culture and holding each other accountable for The F Word
On the democracy of the internet, the return of Spare Rib & how it might work around online feminism for The Guardian
A new post for The Guardian’s comment is free on the London riots:
Although I was 200 miles away at the time, I found out my local community was being burned, looted and decimated when I sawTottenham trending on Twitter. I wasn’t the only one. Tottenham resident Charlotte Haynes told me she’d been “following the #Tottenham hash tag” for up-to-date news since violence broke out in the streets.
Once again social media reporting overtook the news as residents of Tottenham took to the streets alongside journalists to document the damage. An alternative narrative emerged on Twitter and Facebook as rioting spread, and it proved starkly different to what official representatives were saying on our television screens.
One strong rumour that gained ground is that of a 16-year-old girl being beaten by police soon after the peaceful protest ended at Tottenham police station. An eyewitness told BBC News that “a young female had approached the police standing line and she was set upon by police and their batons”. Videos uploaded on YouTube from in and around the area further reinforce this rumour, documenting people caught up in the fray, shouting in disgust. The incident has been dismissed as unsubstantiated and consequently downplayed in media coverage. However, video footage – though unclear – has been uploaded, making such claims credible.
This social media explosion isn’t just manifesting itself on the internet, with BlackBerry’s free Messenger service (BBM) appearing to serve as a powerful tool. The Daily Mail pinpointed Twitter as fanning the flames, but its journalists couldn’t be more mistaken.
Read the rest here .
I’ve written for The Guardian’s comment is free about Nadine Dorries and her victim blaming on yesterday’s Vanessa Show.
Tucked away on daytime TV on Monday afternoon, Nadine Dorries was justifying her proposals for elements of abstinence-based sex education for girls. The Vanessa Show saw the Conservative MP go head to head with Julie Bentley, chief executive of the sexual health charity FPA. The women, along with presenter Vanessa Feltz and retired rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio, discussed the bill that was unveiled to the House of Commons two weeks ago.
When it was first introduced, Dorries insisted her aim was to empower teenage girls to say “no” to sex. There is really nothing empowering about teaching young women that their sexuality is not their own. Abstinence-based sex education teaches girls that sex isn’t something that they participate in – instead, it’s something they give in to. Towards the end of the debate, Dorries said:
“A lot of girls, when sex abuse takes place, don’t realise until later that that was a wrong thing to do … Society is so over-sexualised that I don’t think people realise that if we did empower this message into girls, imbued this message in schools, we’d probably have less sex abuse.”
Read the rest here!
I’ve written another piece for The Guardian’s Comment is Free, this time on Channel 4′s Joy of Teen Sex.
‘Society has always been reluctant to address teenage sex and its consequences, and the ongoing battle in parliament for compulsory sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools reflects this – Chris Bryant’s compulsory SRE bill is going through its second reading in the House of Commons. In any case, young people’s sex lives need to be debated further…’
Read the rest here!
I’ve written for The Guardian’s comment is free on the rising levels of youth unemployment.
‘I’ll let you in on a little secret – I’m terrified of graduating. The growing youth unemployment rates have loomed in the back of my mind for a while now and I’ve sat snugly in the student bubble for almost three years. Very soon, I’ll have to take those tentative steps out into the real world.
It’s not the early mornings or the daily grind I’m worried about. Instead, I wonder if I’ll get the opportunity to face those in the first place. After my graduation, I had planned to apply for a master’s degree, but postgraduate funding, which was already thin on the ground, has just received another blow with the coalition hinting at slashing funding for postgraduate courses….’
Read the rest here!