Empress Orchid – The Mistrusted Empress

I first heard about ‘Empress Cixi’ through a BBC documentary called ‘The Ascent of Woman.’ An impressive summary of a huge swathe of human history, the programme asked questions about the subjugation of women over the centuries, and examined the reasons behind it. Much of it was startling, such as the fact that covering women […]

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A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing

Personally, I’m not a fan of the word ‘genius.’ It’s derived from ‘genie.’ The idea that a little imp comes and sits on your shoulder and gives you an idea, and that’s where your fantastic work comes from. To me, that detracts from the graft, the inspiration, the dedication, needed in order to produce something […]

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Wearing Makeup Isn’t Empowering

Genderspecs – unpicking gender stereotypes, one blog at a time There’s an awful lot that can empower you these days. Shower gel, pants and even socks are being held up as things that allow us to assert our rights. To a certain extent, this can be true. The physical expression of who we are can allow […]

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What the ‘Consent’ Conversation is Missing

Recently, a man complained about being forced to go to ‘consent’ lessons at University. I can see his point. Not only is it a little bit insulting, but it’s probably a little bit late. But what else are Universities supposed to do? When one in seven women in University will experience some form of sexual assault, […]

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Are You Sitting Uncomfortably?

This week, I experienced a familiar feeling. Awkward, a little sweaty, over-exposed and defensive. This wasn’t a first date, or a public presentation, but a lesson on the novel Noughts and Crosses. In the incredibly diverse secondary schools I’ve worked in all over London, it always feels a little disappointing to answer, ‘here,’ to the inevitable […]

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Exposure

One of the key pleasures of reading (and, as it turns out, the one that makes you a better person) is the way you can be completely dissolved in the experience of a person which you will never know yourself. As a white woman living in London, there’s absolutely no way I can truly understand […]

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But I’m Not Ready!

It’s definitely a reason to be cheerful. In Devon last week, people were on the beach in actual bikinis (I was in my boyfriend’s shorts as I’d packed a little pessimistically). Flip flops were flapping well into the night, despite plummeting evening temperatures (I couldn’t feel my feet) and everywhere the glow of red faces […]

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