Despite being published over 130 years ago, Jekyll and Hyde’s popularity remains intact. Directors, academics, authors and the riff-raff ourselves have spent centuries analysing what this work of fiction represents. Its themes and nuances transcend generations: magnetic and repellent all at once, the novel holds a place of privilege in the literary world as one of few novels to attract audiences from past, present and I have no doubt far into the future. View Post

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As the dust settles on a new dawn, the extent of last night’s carnage becomes palpable.

Doors have been rammed. On the streets are trails of stuffing from now vacated seats.

Abandoned tubs of popcorn. Pools of melted ice cream.

In some cities there are pile-ups of stray bodies; a stark reminder of those who collapsed in the sheer hysteria.

These all serve as black and white examples of what can happen when the world is not ready for Grey. Let alone 50 shades of it.

Of course, I exaggerate. There aren’t any stray bodies (at least none that I have seen). And as for ice cream left untouched, things did not get quite that out of hand. However, the hype that led to the hotly anticipated release date for E L James’s roman erotique, ’50 Shades of Grey’ – and the subsequent cinematic mayhem it has left in its wake – has taken me somewhat aback.

From stories of intoxicated middle-aged women being escorted from cinemas due to drunk over excitement and rowdiness, to fights (suppressed sexual tension?) and of course those odious reports of plastic coverings on seats in preparation for cinema screenings and, apparently, uncontrollable bodily fluids – it all seems, to use a favourite phrase of my lovely mother, just a little bit much. And I will tell you why.

In an age of readily available sexual content, I cannot imagine that the hysteria surrounding the film stems from the nature of the content itself, but rather from the idea that such content is available to watch in public, in a room full of strangers. Yet now it is available in cinemas, it seems an awkward social disparity has been unearthed. It is not often that cinema-goers get pissed beyond the point of social acceptability (unless you’re 14 and get kicked out of Love Actually for vodka smuggling, but that’s another story), or start fights for no good reason.

People here are dealing with something that they are, well, not entirely sure how to deal with. Hence the need for alcohol armour and deep breaths. It seems that, despite living in an outwardly progressive society, where women are continuing to explore the realms of an ever emerging sexual empowerment, it is still considered somehow shameful or embarrassing to admit publicly – through the simple purchase of a cinema ticket – that you enjoy sex.

As a result, it seems that instead of launching us skyward, into new dimensions of social acceptance in terms of sexuality and female liberation, the release of 50 Shades of Grey has instead highlighted British reserve at its very worst. The idea that women flock in their masses to view a sexually explicit film because they want to – good. Progress. The notion that they have to be drunk to do it, however, only reinforces society’s backward, yet seemingly unshakeable, idea that – 54 years after the release of the contraceptive pill – enjoying sex is still something women feel they ought to be ashamed of.

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Ah, the J-Law Nude Photo Scandal. The words on lips around the globe. The catalyst behind the newest flurry of trolling and sex offender hysteria. And the reason for my deep and utter disdain at the public’s latest display of inhumanity towards the celebrity world.

An act of hacking which is neanderthal at best, a criminal violation at worst and a whole host of wrongs inbetween, seeing the Jennifer Lawrence naked photo headline filled me with a deep sense of outrage and sadness simultaneously. The public reaction to the so-called ‘leaking’ of Lawrence’s private life has been split into two camps; many have shown great empathy for the ‘shamed’ actress, yet others take on the alarmingly backward view that it is, somehow, her fault. The argument ‘don’t do it if you don’t want people to see it” lies parallel with the idea of rape victims ‘asking for it’. If you don’t want the whole world to see your boobs, love, who do you think you are taking photos on your own private mobile phone? If you didn’t want to be attacked, sweetie, you really shouldn’t have worn that skirt out. The men in this world can’t control themselves, don’t you know.

It harks back to the topless Kate Middleton scandal and Tulisa sex tape, where much of the public took on the view that, somehow, these celebrities were acting out of turn. You’re a royal now, Kate, you can’t just kick back with your boobs out like you could’ve pre-Windsor. You really should’ve examined the surrounding countryside for long lens photographers before you unclipped that bikini, honestly. Tulisa, I know you trusted that boyfriend of yours to film you in a rather uncompromising position around about his crotch area, but now that you’re a celebrity, why did you think trust came into the equation? Don’t be so naïve, princess. Come on.

Arguments existed across the web and in the pages of magazines and newspapers which seemed to claim that both these women acted recklessly. This argument is not only fundamentally wrong, it overlooks the most important factor in the whole thing: that these women are HUMAN BEINGS. While fame may bring with it certain responsibilities – guns and eating disorders should not be glamourised, for example – one of the prerequisities to celebdom should not be to act like some sort of Victorian robot, to never step out of line and to always act, what, like a woman? It brings to light certain sinister social ideas of what female celebrities, in particular, are ‘supposed’ to behave like. A public expectation which doesn’t apparently apply to men; famous or otherwise.

Indeed, it does always seem to be women, tellingly, who are ‘caught out’ in this way. Apparently it is more entertaining for the internet population to view a shamed woman than it is a man, and they are targeted accordingly. Therefore, for those of you who are viewing these images, you are not only misaligning your own moral compass, you are prolonging the abuse that Lawrence – and all the other victims – should never have had to deal with in the first place. Take a good look at yourself and ask, what if this was me, or someone I knew? Fame and humanity should not be two separate entities. Remember that they are human beings and they deserve some respect, just like you or I.

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hairy-legs-in-heels

In the world of social media, there has been a substantial focus on the emergence of a new trend in recent weeks: hair. And I ain’t talking about the stuff on your head. ‘The Hairy Legs Club’ is an online community encouraging women to ditch the razors and reconnect with their inner werewolf.

Thrilling? Or just Thriller? Hmmmm…

While I agree with the fundamental concept – hair is a natural thing, why should women have to conform to male society’s ideas of what we should look like, yada yada yada, it all seems a bit been there done that. The ‘70s is well remembered for its hippy overtones; it was a decade which saw a whole lotta hair, on heads and beyond (but let’s not go into too much detail). It was also a time of bra swinging, Birkenstocks and the replacement of skirts in favour of trousers, on the grounds of gender equality.

Since then, the face of feminism has taken on a new identity. Rather than compromising our appearance in order to be taken seriously, women now embrace their femininity while retaining feminist values. This comes leaps and bounds ahead of forty years ago, when it seemed that to follow certain social expectations regarding personal upkeep –ie the removal of body hair – was to ‘give in’ to social pressure and submit to our male counterparts.

While I am all for a bit of retro fashion in the twenty-first century, ‘The Hairy Legs Club’ is one old school club that I won’t be joining. This is not because I feel the pressure to ‘conform’ to society, but because I feel that the world has progressed enough that women now have freedom of choice in regards to our appearance. Whether its our legs or our heads that we decide to shave, the beauty is that it is entirely our decision, and one that cannot be dictated. Over and out!

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