painting of a modern woman taking a selfie set against the background of Picasso's famous whores

Who and what do we take selfies for?

What's really in a selfie?   The ascent of image-centric social media platforms such as Instagram have given rise to a fascinating phenomenon: selfie culture. The social and cultural ramifications of this are, as yet, unclear. Are we witnessing the dawn of a revolutionary new age in which women can openly proclaim their confidence and…

The problem with ‘Mary Queen of Scots’

Visually sumptuous but historically ludicrous, Josie Rourke's attempt at a feminist re-telling of this 16th Century game of thrones ultimately falls foul of the same old tropes that plague historical storytelling. Cards on the table: I am a historian. So perhaps it's not quite fair for me to critique this film which is clearly not…

red telephone boxes in London at night

Two Faced: should there be a second referendum?

"Should there be another vote on Brexit?"   The question posed in the first of a new debate series: Two Faced. In Two Faced, the two sides of the argument will be presented in a fair, unbiased way with no persuasive commentary, no foregone conclusion, no allegiance. This is where you can find the information…

close up of Frida Kahlo's Self Portrait with necklace

Lessons in Self Creation with Frida Kahlo

The second in the new "3 lessons in personal style" series will be Mexican artist and icon Carmen Magdalena Frida Kahlo y Calderón. Where to begin when discussing Frida Kahlo? Her’s is an image that we know so well. Her trademark dark braided hair decorated with bright flowers, her colourful blouses and long, flowing skirts,…

blue red and pink graffiti of a screaming man

“The best men can be”, Gillette, Piers Morgan and the crisis of masculinity

Gillette's short film Believe caused quite a stir. When I saw the commotion online, I hadn’t actually seen it yet. So I went to find out what was causing so much offence. To be frank, what I found was pretty underwhelming. I was expecting something far more radical, to have caused so much fuss. What…

Keira Knightley as Colette and Denise Gough as Missy standing together in Colette (2018)

Colette, the Original French It-Girl

First in the new "3 lessons in personal style" series, we'll be taking a look at Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (better known simply as ‘Colette’). Keira Knightley’s dazzling performance as the proto-feminist fin-de-siècle author and performer Colette may spell a revived interest in her legendary personal style. In Colette, we see the author’s novels, and particularly the…

Maeve and Otis sit by the indoor pool

Dissecting Sexuality and Gender in Netflix’s Sex Education

Warning: Spoilers So I finished watching Sex Education last night. I was late to the party but made up for it by binging all 8 episodes on Netflix in 2 days. There was a lot to praise about the show. It could have so easily become a simple, trashy lame excuse for soft porn, but…