Genderspecs – The Gendered Gaze

Genderspecs – unpicking gender stereotypes, one blog at a time. The Gendered Gaze Come on, you’ve done it too, haven’t you? Described your mate Terry as a ‘man’s man’ or as ‘bloke,’ your mate Fiona as a ‘girly girl.’ These are broad brushstrokes we all recognise. Terry probably likes football, or some sort of sport, […]

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Characters we Love to Hate

I’m far more tolerant in fiction than in the real world. Hours of page-turning will be spent on characters I thoroughly despise, who wouldn’t last more than a few minutes in conversation or who would get a quick ‘delete’ from my social media if they expressed similar views. Or possibly an extensive reply under an […]

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It’s All About Perspective

One of the most powerful things in the world to experience is someone else’s perspective. It’s also one of the most frustrating. As anyone who’s encountered a view or opinion that they find utterly objectionable on social media, the TV, overheard in a bus (a broadcast of anything Donald Trump has ever said) the initial […]

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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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How to be Both

What are the conditions needed to be truly moved by something? I like to think it’s intensely personal, like falling in love. The intricate web of circumstance, location, what you had for dinner that day, your mood, how difficult it was to get where you were going. All of these elements can combine to produce […]

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The View from the Other Side

I’m trying to write a book with a dual narrative. It seemed like a good idea at the time. When I found myself wading in a sea of post-its, spending three hours on a Thursday afternoon shuffling them around to try and figure out how to intersperse the two stories I’d written independently of each other, […]

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Office Politics

I’ve never worked in an office. I remember a teacher I used to work with swapping for a more ’normal’ job. She spoke of the euphoria she felt when she could go to the toilet, literally, whenever she wanted. Non-teachers don’t understand the true meaning of bladder control, that feeling when you look at your […]

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Writing the Unwriteable

So what’s your book about then? It’s the obvious question, once you’ve fessed up to what you spend a large chunk of your time doing. There are several options here. You can keep it vague, although you run the risk of sounding pretentious: It’s about gender identity. You can make it very specific, more about […]

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