punk phd / feminism / motherhood

Monday, March 31, 2014

Death to the Diary?

I was talking to two students about research methods in sociology and trying to get them to tell me what might be used as secondary data. They'd listed government statistics, letters...I was trying to prompt them to offer diaries as a third and eventually we got there but as they both said after, "who keeps a diary?" It's interesting how diaries perhaps are becoming a thing of the past, at least for the new youth generation. I remember keeping one up until my teens but then the writing petered out (though I sporadically will keep one even now). Coincidently, that lapse emerged around the time the internet was becoming more commonplace. In fact, for the first few years of personally being able to access the online world more freely I kept a Livejournal which, as the name suggests, was basically a diary online. It was also the first thing for me which allowed an online presence in the sense of having a profile, a profile picture and presenting a virtual self. Then came the emergence of all the social networking sites we know today...Myspace, Facebook...and though not presented in the diary format like Livejournal they basically allowed for the same idea. Blogger I guess is a more closely related version of Livejournal. So is this where we see the death of the diary? Now that there is more widespread online access and platforms for doing so, have we found a new way to disclose our inner thoughts? Perhaps there is also a change to how we disclose such thoughts too. Facebook and Twitter for example tend to be characterised by short, sharp updates. Are the next generation losing that ability or desire to write lengthy diary extracts in their spare time? It's an interesting realm for exploration (though probably already tackled by various publications in some way, shape or form).

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness: Sexualization, Selfies (Self-Esteem)

The Sun's campaign with CoppaFeel! to raise awareness of breast cancer certainly seemed to raise a few eyebrows and my thoughts are in keeping with those expressed over at 'I was a Teenage Feminist' regarding the sexualization of breast cancer. There is also an extensive piece over on The Telegraph about the problems with The Sun's approach and the thoughts expressed there echo my own. In particular it raises the important point that the Page 3 campaign did not really have women at the centre of it, in the sense of Page 3 having always been geared towards men and for their entertainment. Yet statistically women are at a far greater risk of breast cancer.

So, this emergence of women taking make-up-free selfies for raising awareness seems to counteract that problem right? In all honesty, I can't slam any attempt to raise awareness for cancer because something is better than nothing but there are underpinning ideas to this campaign which irk me. Firstly, this rests on the notion of women hiding under their make-up on a daily basis and that being 'naked' to the world is something only to be done under extreme circumstances. It's been lovely seeing my friends in all their natural beauty but surely this should become more commonplace and we should celebrate this in a everday context, and not something used against us as if to say "you're so brave going without make-up", reinforcing societal ideals about how women should look. Secondly, raising awareness is one thing. But we need action to go with that. It's good to see people posting their make-up-free selfies along with reference to their donation but there's been an equal amount who haven't. It'll be interesting to see other takes on this. At the moment, all I've seen online is the particularly good piece over at Huffington Post which takes a A Beauty Myth stance on it (despite protests!). And on a not so unrelated note...Girlguiding have launched a body confidence badge to raise girls' self-esteem, hoorah!

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Kickstarter: Tales from the Punk Side

Kickstarter for 'Tales from the Punk Side' - a project pulling together voices from within the punk scene. Let's see this come to light!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Radio 1's What The F: The Story Of Feminism And Pop

I was really intrigued when I found out that Radio 1 were going to be broadcasting a show about feminism and pop. I missed out live but caught up on it the next day (headphones whilst sat in a very warm, sunny yard in March nonetheless!) It was a bit of a disappointment. Whilst I think it's fantastic Radio 1 are giving airtime to discussing feminism and bringing it to mainstream radio, there were two problems for me. 1) It seemed to lack real substance and just felt like it was skimming the surface... 2) ...and maybe that was because of the focus being feminism and pop music, rather than feminism more broadly, but if that's the case then it was also limited in scope. For instance, there was discussion of some of the issues concerning women in pop music but I was also expecting more on feminism within pop e.g. the impact feminism has had on pop music itself But as I've said, I do appreciate that it provided an opportunity for feminism to get public attention through a mainstream radio station. And having musicians such as Professor Green being quoted saying he considers himself a feminist may do some good in opening up some of the audience's eyes to issues concerning gender inequality.

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Four Female Punk Bands...

...that changed women's role in rock


Thinking outside of 'female punk bands'...Lydia Lunch tends to be a prominent feature on similar lists of influential punk females (and technically was also in a band albeit not all female) and I can see why.

For me, Katie Jane Garside was always quite influential when I was younger. I guess it might be hard to see her in the same vein as some of the other punk artists but Daisy Chainsaw gets close. I don't ever really see much wrote about her though in retrospectives concerning female musicians of punk or riotgrrl even.

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