Emanuela Militello | 28 May 2019
I am going to focus on the portrayal of women as supernatural characters in two ballads by notable German poets: Heinrich Heine’s ‘Die Lorelei’ and J.W von Goethe’s ‘Der Fischer’, in order to give an insight into how their characterisation of women is influenced by Greek mythology.
In both ballads, women use their voice to entice the man – in a manner reminiscent of the power of sirens in the Odyssey, where sirens are infamous for luring sailors with their voices and for their uncanny appearance. The unfortunate ones who listen to their seductive singing, shipwreck against the rocks of the sirens’ island and meet a horrible death.
Emanuela Militello | 28 May 2019
Eva Dieteren | 28 January, 2019
When I heard that Greta Gerwig directed a film starring Saoirse Ronan, there was an immediate sense of excitement followed by me convincing everyone I know to come and see it with me. When I saw the poster, however, I hesitated. It showed the character of Ladybird and what particularly stood out for me was her pink hair. It is not that I do not like pink hair, but the moment that I saw Ladybird I thought: please no, not another Manic Pixie Dream Girl film.
Maria Elena Torres-Quevedo | 10th July 2017.
Twenty-three years after the publication of American author Elizabeth Wurtzel’s memoir entitled Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America (1994), public opinion about antidepressants is still as rife with misconceptions, fear, and judgement, as it was when Wurtzel was first prescribed medication to manage her persistent and devastating depression. Writing in what is now a significant traditional of women’s narratives of mental illness— including Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (1963), Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted (1999), and Marya Hornbacher’s Madness (2008)— Wurtzel details the brutal development of her depression from early adolescence into adulthood, and notes the rise in illnesses such as hers across the country.
Charlotte Kessler | 26 June 2017.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of the best known contemporary feminists; she is a Nigerian writer of novels, short stories and feminist theory. In 2014, she published her essay We Should All Be Feminists after giving a Tedx talk on her approach to feminism and followed it up with her feminist manifesto Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions in March 2017. Written as a letter to a friend, and recommending how to raise her newborn girl, Dear Ijeawele makes powerful statements about feminism today. Issues addressed in Dear Ijeawele resemble those raised in Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist classic The Second Sex, published in 1948. I will examine how Adichie has furthered de Beauvoir’s feminist thought and made it more inclusive and therefore better suited to contemporary feminism. Adichie echoes, whether consciously or unconsciously, arguments made by de Beauvoir in The Second Sex about childhood, the mother and marriage.
Bradley Copper | 15 May 2017
The patriarchal trope of using a woman in order to explain some woeful truth about a man is of course a damagingly old one. This sexist setup, in which women are one-dimensionally portrayed so as to help a speaker come to some conclusion about himself or his world, while never honouring their experience, is a genric cornerstone that remains in so much literature to the present day. American rock band Counting Crows adopt a version of this trope in constructing femaleness or womanness—the songs are predictably not definitionally specific on this point—as a signifier of clarity. The band’s frontman and lyricist Adam Duritz imagines the women characters in his songs as being able to speak directly about their emotions in a way that he as a man cannot.
Erden Göktepe | 18th April 2017.
I must be honest, I had high hopes for the 2017 remake of Ghost in the Shell directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Scarlett Johansson as Major, the female protagonist, perhaps even for seeing something as intriguing as the original manga story and anime. Sadly, at the end of it, I simply felt indifferent and bored. Apparently, Hollywood has taken another well-written story with a phenomenal potential for audience impact and turned it into a breezy action movie….
Vicki Madden | 3 April 2017.
Anyone who knows me knows I love a good Final Girl. As a long-time horror film devotee, this unique figure has fascinated me ever since I first encountered her in the form of Alien’s Ellen Ripley. As Ripley shows us, the Final Girl is a bad-ass – she’s the last woman standing who’s left to defeat the monster through sheer wit and ingenuity (though occasionally, she still requires a man to rescue her – a trait inherited from the classic gothic stories of yore, no doubt). The Final Girl, as Carol Clover first described her in her seminal essay “Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film” (1987), is “intelligent, watchful, level-headed; the first character to sense something amiss and the only one to deduce from the accumulating evidence the patterns and extent of the threat .” In other words, the Final Girl is the audience’s point of identification – we root for her because, unlike almost everyone else in a horror film, she knows what’s up and she’s prepared to do something about it.
16th November 2016 | Robyn Pritzker.
From the moment fledgling researchers begin their independent work, the academic chorus rings out from all directions that their primary task is to find and fill in the various blanks spread throughout critical material. It is to contribute something new to scholarly discourse. Graduate students often struggle endlessly to find a way to make their work more unique, more interesting, and less like everyone else’s.
31 October ¦ Harriet MacMillan
Whilst many may not recognise her name, women living in Britain today owe Caroline Norton (1808-77) a great debt. Her zealous pursuit of reform led to landmark changes in the recognition of women in the law. Her campaigning directly propelled the passing of the Custody of Infants Act of 1839, which gave women the right to custody of their children. She also influenced the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870, which gave women the legal right to their own money. Although Norton certainly influenced the past, does her life still have resonance with contemporary feminist struggles? Can looking back on her story help us understand some of the challenges facing women, particularly famous women, today?
November 2, 2015 | Cherish Watton.
The Women’s Land Army was a civilian organisation set up during World War One and used again in World War Two until 1950. Women replaced men on the land, working in multiple roles in agriculture, forage (haymaking for food for horses) or timber cutting. What can we learn about the representation of women’s wartime work from The Landswoman journal?