Archive for the ‘comment|BOOK’ Category

“Because I’m a Man…”: Sexism in the 21st Century

In comment|BOOK, society|BOOK on January 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Sexism is a trait of our ever-changing society, affecting the modern day lifestyle in more ways than you could imagine.

In both heterosexual and gay relationships today, there appears to be a consistent need to search for the ‘man of the relationship’ and to determine which sex, ‘wears the trousers’.  These concepts are suggestive of a dominant ‘male’ figure and possibly a lesser ‘female’ figure. This is clearly an extremely dated view as most of us are well aware that women are more than able to make decisions, do D.I.Y and take on the role of the breadwinner. Further to this, the evolution of today’s families has seen an increasing number of ‘stay at home dads’, leaving the mother to provide for her family. Since 1993, there has been an 83% increase of ‘stay at home dads’ in the UK and popular films such as Daddy Day Care (2003) are a creative display of these changes.

Also, in popular culture, it is often thought more socially acceptable for men to sleep around, as it seems that when women have a lot of sexual contact, they are automatically depicted as village bikes. “Why are women different?”, you ask.  It appears that when it comes to sexual expression, women become objects of controversy.  Through the porn industry, women are seen to be performing for the satisfaction of men, demoting them to spectacles and arguably promoting sexism.

It could be perceived that a lot of men are intimidated by women who are confident and have high self-esteem.  Those who love their bodies and work hard to take on society’s prestigious roles become a threat. There seems to be a fascination with powerful women, such as Oprah, who have pushed the boundaries of modern sexism, throwing tradition out  in the most sophisticated of ways.

Regardless, there is still a struggle for women to break through the ‘glass ceiling’ and achieve their potential.  Does it pay to be sexist? The relationship between modern sexism and career outcomes (Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 69) found that modern sexism is positively related to promotions.  When relying on men for advice, communication workers received more promotions than their colleagues who were less sexist.

Sexual harassment has also been a significant problem for women at work. However, it is a costly mistake to assume that men are not exposed to the same abusive treatment.  Many individuals seem to overlook male rape, and some even refuse to believe it can happen, when in fact a man can be as much a victim of rape as a woman can.

The same can be said for male victims of domestic violence.  As males are deemed the stronger sex, the image of a violent woman is not easily accessible.  However, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and the American Psychiatric Association found that 50.3%, of women were the instigators of domestic violence 70.7% of the time. Where sexism has always been linked to women, it seems sexism towards men is alive in these cases, turning the idea of the victimization of women completely on its head.

Although modern sexism is a hard pill to swallow for both genders, it seems to be that in general, women are still fighting issues such as the ‘glass ceiling’ and will be struggling with these problems for years to come.  However, on reflection, today’s society provides a vast array of opportunities for women; allowing them to be confident and ambitious, giving modern sexism the kick in the balls it deserves.

BOOKlet’s Top 30 Albums of The Decade

In comment|BOOK on December 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm

After a significant era of music, BOOKlet counts down its favourite 30 albums from the past decade! Enjoy and Merry Christmas to all,

Natasha Devan


1. Kid A – Radiohead

2. Funeral – Arcade Fire

3. In Rainbows – Radiohead

4. A Rush of Blood to the Head – Coldplay

5. Final Straw – Snow Patrol

6. Absolution – Muse

7. The Blueprint – Jay-Z

8. Arular – M.I.A.

9. Stripped – Christina Aguilera

10. Is This It – The Strokes

11. Songs In A Minor – Alicia Keys

12. Hopes and Fears – Keane

13. More Than A Lot – Chase & Status

14. Vespertine – Björk

15. Oracular Spectacular – MGMT

16. The Eraser – Thom Yorke

17. Just Enough Education to Perform – Stereophonics

18. Neptune City – Nicole Atkins

19. Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea – PJ Harvey

20. Santogold – Santogold

21. Black Eyed Peas – Elephunk

22. Diary of Alicia Keys – Alicia Keys

23. The Black Album – Jay-Z

24. Rated R – Queens of the Stoneage

25. New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) – Erykah Badu

26. Jay-Z – The Blueprint III

27. I Am…Sasha Fierce – Beyoncé Knowles

28. Because of the Times – Kings of Leon

29. Veni Vidi Vicious – The Hives

30. Return of Saturn – No Doubt

Why Roger Hiorns Should Have Won The Turner Prize

In art|BOOK, comment|BOOK on December 9, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Although the work of Richard Wright was admirable, my vote was definitely with Roger Hiorns to win the Turner Prize.

If I were to name one outstanding work from any artist nominated for the Turner Prize, Seizure is one that first comes to mind.  Consisting of a council flat covered in blue copper sulphate crystals, Hiorns became the creator of nothing less than a striking environment.

Through Seizure and Hiorns’ exhibition at the Tate Britain this year, I could see no other artist as innovative as him.  Upon the entrance to his exhibition, the spectator is met with a sizeable floor piece of an atomised jet plane. At first when I saw his exhibition, I wasn’t overly blown away.  However, that changed when I came to learn the purpose of his art.

Hiorns bases his creations on the human illusion that everything lasts forever. To challenge this misperception of the world, he exposes materials to processes that demonstrate the destruction and erosion of nature, eventually reducing them to dust.

In order to create the atomised jet plane, Hiorns had the metal completely melted and turned into dust, leaving the floor of the Tate Britain covered in an array of black, grey and silver particles.  A heavy industrial object in which humans depend on, believing planes to always exist, is cremated just as the human body can be after death.

Where Wright displayed a talent for producing beautiful wall paintings, Hiorns re-interprets beauty throughout his works in a more realistic fashion.  In my opinion, Seizure was the most dazzling and innovative piece contributed by any of the four nominees, and this is why Hiorns should have been awarded with 2009’s Turner Prize.

The re-opening of Seizure is now being shown until Jan 3 2010 at Artangel, Harper Road

There Is No Such Phenomenon As “Girl Gangs”

In comment|BOOK, society|BOOK on December 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm

A hearing of two court cases involving violent crimes committed by teenage girls has raised the question – is there a growing trend of violence among young women throughout Great Britain? Two 17-year-olds involved in one of the noted cases are stubborn in the face of these concerns, stating that there is no such concept of “girl gangs”. 
Apparently, these crimes arise because of nothing but friendship.  Mates have to look out for each other.  If somebody is talking about you behind your back and making threats – this will not pass without action.  “You can’t just go around being bullied”  Tish, one of the girls involved in the hearing, argued that the violence involved in this incident was “not violence, that’s self defence”.

But is it? Inconsideration of the Rosimeiri Boxall case, the 19-year old girl who was tortured and bullied into her death, it is clear that self defence claims prove pitiful. In fact, Hatice Can, 15 and Kemi Ajose, 17 were participating in an example of brutal bullying and torture.  These girls try to blame their actions on their childhood and the character of their parents, but it comes down to an individual conscious choice.  In the previously mentioned case, Tish stated that she feels she has no chance because of her mother.  However, this point is soon brought to a close with the blunt realisation, “I’ve just got a temper on me” 

We can speculate about the ins and outs of violent incidents involving young women, but the statistics speak for themselves.  Even though women from the age of 16-24 have the highest risk of becoming victims of hostile crime in the UK, recent data has shown an increase in individuals turning to crime themselves.  Further to this, women’s rights group Engender have found that within a group of 14- to 21-year-olds, one in three girls and one in two boys thought there were circumstances in which it could be acceptable to hit a woman or force her to have sex.Youth Justice Board figures for last year further show that girls can now be blamed for approx. 21% of criminal offences that reach the courts due to the 50% rise in violent crime committed by young women.

The concern of rising female violence is not just restricted to the UK. Other western European nations report similar trends in female crime.  Over the past 10 years the rate for violent offences involving adolescent girls in Canada has increased at twice the rate for boys.

Dr Val Besag (Kidscape) claims alcohol and socialisation are to blame.  Girls have always been socialised into being kind and ladylike.  In the face of confrontation, girls would have to ‘go away and be friends’.  However, boys would be told to ‘fight back’.  There is obviously a cultural bias and a stereotype that men are more violent than women.  US psychologist Richard Felson states that motives for violence are identical for both genders – to gain retribution and to protect self-image

Evolutionary science has provided evidence that girls are just as violent as men but they take longer to become angry.  Women have a procrastinating nature.  However, abuse of alcohol and drugs shortens this time. Some terrible cases of bullying and murder have arisen from the use of these harmful substances.  All that has to be seen is a crowd of drunken girls on a Friday or Saturday night to get a vivid idea of these claims. 

It is clear that the concept of a “girl gang” is very prominent in our society.  Whether young females decide to cover up their actions by a vow of friendship or blaming their parents, these young girls are simply making the choice to create conflict as a group activity.

Lad’s Holiday: The Test of Trust

In comment|BOOK on November 2, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Lads Holidays: Test of TrustThe lad’s holiday has always been believed to pose a high threat to relationships.  Destinations such as Magaluf, commonly known as ‘Shagaluf’, regularly play host to these getaways that are the ultimate catalyst to the questioning of trust.

From reading a thread on The Student Room (TSR,, I found a definition of a lad’s holidays to be “sex, drugs and alcohol”.  Although this definition screams stereotype, it does ring true for destinations such as Malia and Magaluf that are without a doubt well known for the consumption of alcohol at clubs and bars around the area.  However, do all lads intend to have sex and get wasted? Of course not.  Like in any case of social interaction, individuals want to feel ‘normal’ and therefore conform to what they believe to be the socially accepted behavior at the time. This idea is extremely applicable to the idea of the lad’s holiday where lads will act erratically to gain social status within their friendship group. Also, they will do this to fit in with the rest of the lads outside of their friendship group, if they feel threatened by them as competition. Considering this, could it be said that lad’s holidays are just pictures of conformity? If five lads go away on holiday together and four are seeking sex, regardless of their relationship commitments at home, this can only make the other lad feel left out and possibly inadequate. The holiday becomes a conquest and those not taking part surely lose.

However, it is all fair and well criticizing men of being unfaithful and unruly, but has anyone ever considered what happens on girly holidays? Although the lad’s holiday is clearly known for cheating and rebellious behaviours, it is extremely sexist to say that girlfriends can be the only ones with worry and concern when their respective others go away.  Because the lad’s holiday is a stereotype, it is convenient to be ignorant of this issue.  Cheating is an act that can happen regardless of sex, age and personality.

Therefore, when gender is taken out of the question, we can take a general perspective on why lad’s or girls holidays pose threats to relationships.  It could be said that holidays create problems because they threaten the possibility of equal footing.  A comment from a woman on TSR claimed that her boyfriend going on a lad’s holiday wouldn’t be as bad due to the fact that she was going on one too with her girlfriends.  Is there some truth in the assumption that a man/woman may feel more insecure because while they are at home living a regular life, their partners are escaping from normal life and potentially having their cake and eating it too? Elements of balance and equality in relationships are clearly distorted by the presence of the holidays in question.

Another assumption which can be debated upon is the idea of temptation being greater in places like ‘Shagaluf’ in comparison to anywhere else. This is clearly wrong. Cheating is an act that happens regardless of location.  If the person in question goes to a club abroad and cheats, he could have previously cheated at home. Although both are different scenarios, the similarity is that you would never be there at the time or know for sure whether he was unfaithful or not.  Whether away in Magaluf or London, if you do not trust your other half there is simply no hope of a long-term commitment and it is lacking this, that creates the image of the lad’s holiday as a scapegoat for failing relationships.

By Natasha Devan