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CW: Police brutality
So, you’ve decided to flex your right to protest and are going to your very first march, demo, or other direct action. Great! More people should be politically active and in these trying times, every activist counts. Chances are, you’ll have a good time, will meet other politically-engaged people and can feel proud that you took a stand and fought for something you believe in.
It’s good to be prepared. I’m not an experienced activist by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m lucky enough to know some protest veterans and I’ve been cobbling together information so that I can share it with other newbies. In addition to reading this article and other information available on the web, I highly recommend attending a Green and Black Cross workshop. I went to one of their workshops (they’re free, so there’s no excuse not to) at the Protest, Policing and Civil Rights event held at SOAS Student Union a few days ago, and it was well worth it. The workshops go into more detail than I’m sketching out below, and going through the information with real life people will help you to retain the information and give you the opportunity to ask questions. The Green and Black Cross are brilliant at giving protesters information and support – please check out their website.

Wilkinson

CW: Body shaming

Don’t tell me you haven’t heard these words uttered time and time again, as each year we approach British summer time: “Are you beach ready?” and “Are you ready down there?” They’re usually heard alongside smiley women with perfect hair, smiles and, let’s not forget, “body confidence”. If you haven’t, I’ll assume you’ve been living under a rock for some time. Otherwise, you’ll have been exposed to the idea that you must be bikini ready by Wilkinson’s colourful display of ads.

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CW: Sexual violence, femicide

The Mad Max film series is mostly excellent but undeniably weird. The first in the series, Mad Max, is a cheaply, yet inventively, made exploitation film starring baby faced Mel Gibson and featuring eye-popping vehicular stunts. Its sequel, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, is unremittingly badass at every opportunity, topping the previous film with features such as a back-flipping feral kid who murders fools with a boomerang. It defined the punk aesthetic post-apocalyptic imagery that is now commonplace in the genre and is accurately cited as reaching peak Maxitude (at least until this year). The third in the series is Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which is, unfortunately, a disappointment. It’s haphazardly structured with an odd family friendly tone, only benefiting from the visual brilliance in its lavish sets and from starring Tina Turner. She is every bit as awesome as you would expect and arguably sets the precedent for great female characters in the series.

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So May 7th came and went, and we’re all left feeling like the kid who asked for iPhone, received a small, rectangle package, and opened it to find a calculator. Except quite a bit worse. It’s clear I’m in some kind of lefty-feminist bubble because I know only a handful of people who voted Conservative, compared to hundreds who went for Labour or the Greens, but there were 11,334,576 votes for the Tories. I’m not sure whether to be angry at the bubble for misleading me, or to love the bubble. If only we could go independent.

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CW: Body shaming, diet talk

I remember when the heady days of summer meant something different. They meant Soleros and Calypsos from the newsagents, or Jubblies from the freezer at home. They meant factor 30 sun cream, thick and sticky and white, and cycle shorts in lime green and neon pink, and they meant staying out too late on your bike because the daylight made your Mum lose track of what time you had to be in. They meant being woken up at 3am to go on holiday in the Costa del Sol and returning sunburnt on a chilly English morning, shivering in your fringed white t-shirt (emblazoned with a Spanish map on the front). They meant paddling pools, home to dead flies and stray leaves and unbridled levels of joy, and barbecues where you could eat beef burgers without anyone butting in to tell you that they were horse.

As you can see, the heady days of summer for me only retained their true meaning in the early 90s, before I hit puberty. Once my buds became baps, summer gained new meaning. And that meaning was bullshit.

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CW: Sexual violence

More academic than Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman but by no means dry, Finn Mackay’s Radical Feminism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) offers an alternative to the plethora of humorous and heavily autobiographical texts on liberal feminism published lately. The book gives the uninitiated an overview of radical feminism – its ‘definition’, history, arguments, etc – with heavy focus on its Reclaim the Night movement, recently revived thanks to the hard work of many activists including author Finn Mackay.

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Have you, like me, spent the last twelve years mourning the loss of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Fear not. For I’ve compiled a list of my favourite TV shows, carefully researched over many hours, that you can delve into to get that feminist kick. Some are new, some are old, some will make you laugh and some will make you cry, but all are guaranteed to make you feel much better than the average rape-tastic Game of Thrones episode.

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CW: Plastic surgery

I woke one morning recently with a pretty bad hangover and staggered to the bathroom to inspect the damage. This usually consists of checking whether my eyes are gummed together with last night’s make-up, whether my fake eyelashes are stuck to my chin or whether I have transferred a hand-stamp to forehead. This time, however, there was something new. Beyond the usual mascara catastrophe or gin-fed pimples.

I had forehead wrinkles.