TYCI

SPINE // Reads Of The Year

Dec
28

Laura Waddell writes the latest article in our SPINE series, a regular book club feature for TYCI, this time asking friends, colleagues and literature junkies about their favourite books of 2016.

At this time of year, Reads of the Year lists are popping up in media outlets all over the place, filled with authors, journalists and broadcasters on what they’ve enjoyed most in 2016. Unfortunately, these lists all too often reflect subconscious bias, with some of them seeing male contributors recommend other men in 75% of their picks. I’m tired of Reads of the Year lists filled with men recommending men. To redress the balance and shake things up a bit, I’ve curated my own light hearted Reads of the Year list for TYCI, inviting friends likely to have fun and interesting suggestions to share their tips on their favourite writing by women in 2016.

For me, a few books stood out above the rest, and I’ve written about most of them in this column. From the cocktail-stick-sharp short stories by debut writer Lara Williams in the zeitgeist capturing collection Treats, to non-fiction Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City looking at artists inspired by alienation in the big city. Some of my favourite novels of the year were set in recent history, such as Bella Mia by Donatella di Pietrantonio (translated by Franca Scurti Simpson), following the emotional aftermath of families displaced by the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake in Italy with tender and well paced prose, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride steeped in 90s London, theatre, and love, probably my most eagerly anticipated publication of the year (my tear-stained copy didn’t disappoint); and in Han Kang’s follow-up to the success of The Vegetarian with Human Acts (translated by Deborah Smith), on the 1980 Gwangju uprising of South Korea. It may have been a challenging year for many but, perhaps unsurprisingly, it has also been a year that has brought us bold and original writing.

Regular readers of my SPINE column know that I’m just as likely to be reading something brand new as a book from a few years ago: reading habits don’t always follow the publishing calendar, and the same is true of my contributors. I asked for what they’ve most enjoyed and there are some brilliant sounding suggestions in here.

(more…)

Not Your Average Teen Tits

Aug
22

Edinburgh-based design student Rosana Exposito tells us about her most recent project.

Not your average Teen Tits. (1)

This series of work initially started from the knowledge that a lot of women dislike their boobs. I hate it when my friends put themselves down, so these artworks could be considered the creative equivalent of the very female ritual of saying, “No, you’re beautiful! No, YOU’RE beautiful” and I’m okay with that.
(more…)

Good Mental #9: Top Five Tips for Instant Weight Loss

Aug
17

Rosie Davies writes the latest entry in her Good Mental series on life and sanity, this time taking a satirical look at how the media talks about body image and weight loss. 

TYCI9

Do you ever accidentally catch sight of yourself in the mirror and feel like a big fat disgusting slob? That’s probably because you are one!

Here at Shame! we know how easy it is to let yourself go. We’re just like you! Whether it’s a cheeky crisp at the pub (3 calories) or a naughty oatcake with your soup (17 calories), we all need to let off steam sometimes so don’t feel too bad about those 20 calories – we’re all human after all and, like we’ve just said, we’re just like you, too. We wouldn’t be real women if we didn’t obsess over everything that goes into our mouths!
(more…)

All About That Place

Aug
15

Sarah Brosenstern discusses gender, leadership, and women in the workplace.

Occasionally when I mention a professionally accomplished woman who I know, such as my doctor or my mother (a solicitor), my fiancé will say (with mock incredulity), “A woman solicitor/doctor/supervisor!!? That’s impossible!”

Then he typically flails his hands, seemingly panic-stricken, and I usually laugh, sometimes forgetting what I was talking about in the first place.

But being a woman in the professional realm can be chaotic, with a barrage of social messages that come from men, other women, the media – you name it. Magazines frequently ask in wonderment “How does she do it all?” in regards to women who balance their careers, children, and domestic tasks. Or, the same publications promise that “You can have it all!” – If only you knew their secret strategy, hidden within the pages. (“Use your infant as mop!” or “Teach your Welsh Corgi how to make five-minute meals for the family!”)

These are my sister’s corgis. They will not help make dinner.

These are my sister’s corgis. They will not help make dinner.

(more…)

Anxiety, Apologising, and Beyoncé

Aug
11

Always trying to Be More Beyoncé, Terri-Jane Dow is bored of apologising.

beyonce

I apologise too much. I use “sorry” in place of “excuse me” and “pardon,” I preface questions with, “Sorry, but…,” and I would much rather leave all decision making to someone else. It’s very British of me, apparently, but more than that; it’s very specifically female. In 1949’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, John Wayne stated that one should “Never apologise. It’s a sign of weakness.” It’s a statement that seems to have hit Wayne’s hyper-masculine target audience, but outside of that demographic? Not so much. There have been a lot of articles recently regarding studies into feminine language – in short, compared to men, women are both more apologetic, and more concerned with others’ perception of their actions. Women are twice as likely to suffer from both anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders. There are studies into the reasons behind this; women are far more anxious to be perceived as being “nice”, whereas men, generally, are differently conditioned to prosociality. A study at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada, found that when they’re in the wrong, men are equally as likely to apologise as women; it’s that they just don’t feel like they’re in the wrong as often. If, then, there’s no scientific evidence for women apologising more, it really is a case of social conditioning. Alongside this knowledge is the fact that the most successful people I know – the ones who speed, spider-monkey like, to the top of the ladder, and manage to juggle the work / life balance with ease – are also the least apologetic.
(more…)

TYCI chats to Anna Meredith

Jul
26

annaposter

Last week, award-winning and celebrated composer Anna Meredith led a four-day residency as part of Brighter Sound‘s Artistic Director Series in Manchester. Alongside guitarist and composer Jack Ross, and visual artist Eleanor Meredith, the residency provided an opportunity for young and emerging female musicians and multidisciplinary artists to collaborate and create new work inspired by the Wonder Materials:Graphene and Beyond exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Produced as part of the programme for the Science in the City Festival, and in wider celebration of Manchester as the European City of Science 2016, the work will premiere at the museum’s Science in The City Late event tomorrow (Wednesday 27 July). Before the residency began, Stacey Walton conversed with Anna over email…
(more…)

Out Of The Closet

Jul
01

Amy Rodgers asks if fashion can challenge perceptions and raise awareness of trans issues.

Hari Nef.

Hari Nef.

“People often write fashion off as frivolous, but by inducing gender- nonconformity in the dream-life we offer to consumers, we show our power as a progressive force.” [1]

Gender blurring in fashion is nothing new of course. From Marlene Deitrich donning a man’s tailcoat in the 1930s film Morroco to the more Givenchy skirt wearing Kanye West, expressing ones gender ambiguously through clothes has become prevalent in the fashion world.
(more…)

On The Home Front

Jun
19

Forget faraway shores – you can learn a lot by exploring where you come from, says Anna Samson.

Dunnottar Castle. Photo by Anna Samson.

Dunnottar Castle. Photo by Anna Samson.

I’m Scottish but I live in London now, and have done for a while. And I’m mostly happy here – I’ve fallen hard for the cavernous museums, spicy street food and clubs that don’t close until the trains have started again. I’ve nestled in the corner of a tower block, and I’m in the city for the long run.

But Scotland has a habit of always managing to drag me back. Sometimes it feels like a weary mother tugging me back by the collar, sometimes it’s like a friend who turns up at your door on a Friday night with an already open bottle of Glen’s and a glint in their eye; either way, after a few months of being down the road, I always have to come home.
(more…)

Brock Turner and the Nature Of Consent

Jun
09

Laura Waddell explains how the Brock Turner case highlights widespread lack of understanding of consent.

Turner making his way into court in Palo Alto. Photograph by Dan Honda/AP.

Turner making his way into court in Palo Alto. Photograph by Dan Honda/AP.

I hope the Brock Turner case has shed light on what is meant by “rape culture”. If you haven’t read the testimony by his victim yet, I urge you to do so. It describes succinctly and eloquently not only the events of the evening of the rape and the lasting impact, but of how she has been systematically undermined and diminished since by the judicial system and the media. Her powerful testimony and excellent communication illuminates, depressingly clearly, the cultural problems surrounding sexual assault. An all too familiar accompaniment to such cases and discussions is default disbelief and malicious victim blaming and shaming: what is striking about this particular case is the sheer and stubborn lack of understanding Turner’s very vocal supporters have of what actually constitutes rape and consent.
(more…)

A Story Of Superhuman Vision

Jun
02

Living with a tone-blind narrative about identities or heritage can leave us feeling isolated. Daniela Pichardo wonders, as part of this month’s EXPLORATION series, how exploring history can help us see life in a different way.

(more…)