The Bernard Shaw is closing its doors

The Bernard Shaw is closing its doors

After 13 years, the popular southside pub The Bernard Shaw is closing its doors. Over the years, the local pub had grown to become a cultural institution, providing creative space for countless artists and musicians. Contributor Arianna Stewart interviewed one of them about the significance of The Bernard Shaw for the artistic scene in Dublin. While The Bernard Shaw will be missed by many Dubliners, its management recently announced that they have found a new venue by the Royal Canal on the northside of the city. A new adventure begins…

Watch our report here below!

Witches – a History of Misogyny

Witches – a History of Misogyny

On this All-Hallows Eve, witches will be painting the town black. People will be watching witchy movies, decorating their houses and gardens with witches to delight trick or treaters, and dressing up in some of the most reliable Halloween costumes: the spooky or sexy witch.  

The recent success of TV shows like The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (watch it for its shameless celebration of feminism and focus on gender!), American Horror Story’s Coven, books like Stacey Hall’s The Familiars, and literary characters like Hermione Granger, have brought witches – good and bad – back into the mainstream with a veritable bang! 

But while witches continue to fascinate as feminist symbols, the history of the witch is also bound up with a history of misogyny that still persists today. The Guardian recently published an excellent article entitled From Circe to Clinton: why powerful women are labelled as witches. In it, the author, Madeline Miller, writes how witches were feared because they transgress norms of female power and female sexuality. She details the types of women who were typically labelled as witches: older women and widows, foreign women (fears of witches are often grounded in racism), as well as women with political power like Joan of Arc and Anne Boleyn. This “othering” process conveniently served to root out women from society who were different and were seen as threats for various reasons. Fast forward to 2016 and the depictions of Hilary Clinton as a witch during the U.S. election campaign illustrate that the term “witch” is still a powerful label used in an attempt to subjugate women who are seen as usurping the status quo. 

Silvia Federici’s seminal book Caliban and the Witch considers how capitalism as an economic system helped to transform ordinary women into witches. Federici discusses how the transition to capitalism helped divide people along gender lines and how anger over the system was channelled into forms of misogyny that would set the stage for the witch trials in Europe. She writes that the witch hunts were a major political initiative – as well as a religious one – to control women’s bodies as “a means of production and reproduction”. Whether or not you agree with Federici’s theories about capitalism, there is no doubt the witch hunts represented a form of state and church-sanctioned gendercide or feminicide whereby tens of thousands of women were literally hunted down and killed. 

And while it might seem that witch trials and witch hunts are ancient history, this is unfortunately not the case. In the last decade, UN officials have reported a global rise in the number of women killed as witches. In India, older women are targeted as scapegoats or as an excuse to seize their lands and goods. In Saudi Arabia, witch-hunting is fairly institutionalised and women have been convicted of practising witchcraft by the courts. In Ghana, women suspected of witchcraft have been exiled to “witch camps”, as captured in Rungano Nyoni’s excellent film, I Am Not a Witch. In the US, a survey found that 21% of people believed in witches of the “evil” variety. 

So, while donning your pointy hat and stripy stockings this Halloween, it is important to take a moment to consider the misogyny that still permeates women’s lives – both in the form of severe human rights abuses but also in the casual everyday sexism whereby “witch” is still wielded as a pejorative term to suppress women’s agency by men who feel threatened by their power. 

 

Happy Halloween Witches!

 

Photo on Max Pixel

 

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Miss Representation (2011) Reveals a Glaring Reality Still Relevant in 2020

The documentary film, Miss Representation, came out in 2011, yet it remains shockingly resonant today in 2020. The film exposes how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. As an American woman, Miss Representation strongly resonates with me, but its message is relevant to women and girls everywhere.

Women and the Military: Harmful ‘Feminist’ Recruitment and Whitmore

The British Army has a poor track record when it comes to women’s rights. With this in mind, it is clear why many were sceptical of Whitmore defending her collaboration with the army in the name of feminist discourse. While the British Army’s use of feminist language in their PR campaigns could be interpreted as a sign of progress, it is important to question the intentions behind this move and, most importantly, who benefits from it.

Tampon Taboo: The Ad Ban that Displayed the Existing Social Stigma of Periods

The Tampax and Tea ad was banned in July as a result of only 84 complaints. It is maddening to think that anyone could call Tampons and Tea demeaning to women yet have no issue with the majority of unrealistic adverts for menstrual products.

Misconceptions of ‘The Pandemic as the Greatest Equaliser’ – Growing Challenges to Gender Equality in the Workplace during the Covid-19 Crisis

Many of us have heard the common phrase, ‘covid is the great equaliser’, being used to express our shared experience and hardship of the impact of the pandemic. However, upon reflection, our individual lived experiences of the pandemic cannot be described as anyway close to equal. One perhaps unexpected inequality that has been amplified during the pandemic is gender inequality.

New York Fashion Week stuts in the right direction

New York Fashion Week stuts in the right direction

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) made history in September when they showcased their most diverse casting of models. 

There has been a rise in the representation of minorities and other marginalized groups in media and other platforms, which has been met with praise and high success. Having people of different backgrounds lets people from all over the world see themselves represented on a huge stage. 

NYFW is being applauded for using people of all skin colours, body types, genders and sexualities across their 76 shows, which took place from Friday September 6th to Saturday September 14th. 

Out of the 2,203 models used during the week 44.8 percent of models on the runways were people of colour, this is 7.5 percent more than 2018’s 37.3 percent. Eight of the designers used more than 70 percent of models of colour in their shows, with Pyer Moss and Claudia Li using only models of colour to showcase their clothes. 

49 plus sized models were casted for this year’s season walking in 12 different shows, almost doubling from the 27 used last year in 8  shows. Chromat casted 13 plus sized models, which was the highest number this season, they also used 91.7 percent of people of colour. 

One show that was hailed for its diversity and inclusivity was SavagexFenty, which is Rihanna’s clothing line with Savage. Her casting got a lot of media attention for its diverse model choices which included models of different ethnicities, sexualities, genders and abilities (some models had prosthetic legs). 

In a clip from the show Rihanna said “It’s very important that the casting kind of tells the narrative of what the brand stands for, and what we stand for mainly here is inclusivity. That’s what I stand for with everything I create.” 

NYFW 2019 has helped in the fight to redefine beauty standards in the beauty and fashion world.

 

 

Photo on Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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Straddling the Line Between Party and Protest

STAND spoke to Evgeny Shtorn, Russian LGBTQ+ and direct provision activist, scholar and poet, and Rayann, community organiser, advocate for black queer folk in Ireland and poet. Both agreed that while Pride had accomplished so much, but was and still is, first and foremost, a protest.

Cultural appropriation and misappropriation, why is it important and what does it mean?

Ariana Grande, as well as many other celebrities, are finding themselves under fire due to cultural appropriation. But what does this mean? Cultural appropriation is adopting a certain element of another culture but being disrespectful in the process.

A Disability Inclusive Response to Covid-19

Covid-19 has thrown into the spotlight the inequalities which persist in today’s world. It has, in particular, highlighted the inequalities faced by persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are both directly and indirectly impacted by lockdown measures, which have been implemented across the globe.

As Corporations Shout ‘Black Lives Matter’, Their Track Records Raise Scepticism

While the importance of solidarity cannot be overstated, instances of self-serving, performative allyship with Black Lives Matter must also be recognised and addressed. Perhaps the biggest culprits of performative allyship have been corporations seeking to boost their public image.

The haunted lives of the Syrian workers

The haunted lives of the Syrian workers

Formalist filmmaking that has garnered several awards in the festival circuit, Taste of Cement directed by Ziad Kalthoum, is an unavoidable masterpiece. The visuals and sounds play an equally important role in the documentary. This documentary projects the plight of the Syrian migrants in Lebanon, who have little choice but to make a living by working on construction sites. The documentary demonstrates brilliantly the irony of the role of cement in their lives, where in one hand they are building a multi-story tower overlooking the Mediterranean sea while back home the only remnants of their homes are just cement and rubble. The vicious circle of structures being erected in one place and being demolished is the crux of this film and their lives disrupted by years of destruction as a result of the ongoing conflict.

Not much happens throughout the film. The director has avoided interviews of the characters in this movie but mastered his craft of piecing together the images and finds harmony between sound design and the background scores. There are hardly any dialogues except for the occasional voiceover by an unnamed worker describing the memories of his father coming back home to Syria decades before from Beirut, smelling of cement. His rough hands told him stories of a life that would eventually cast upon himself in years to come. A new generation of Syrian men embarks upon this journey to build the future while their own lives crumble beneath their feet back home. 

Cement is everywhere. In the air of construction in Beirut and in the howls of fear in Syria. The shocking images of rescuers trying their best to scoop out rubble to get to people who may be buried underneath are haunting. This contrasts with the silence of the Syrian construction workers quietly retiring to their living quarters to the bottom of the poorly lit tower by 7 pm while succumbing in silence to the shrieking images they watch on their mobile phones.

This film is ultimately a film on war and refugees who struggle for their lives in a world that has snatched their freedom to live.

 

Photo ©Basis Berlin on IMDB

 

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Miss Representation (2011) Reveals a Glaring Reality Still Relevant in 2020

The documentary film, Miss Representation, came out in 2011, yet it remains shockingly resonant today in 2020. The film exposes how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. As an American woman, Miss Representation strongly resonates with me, but its message is relevant to women and girls everywhere.

The Innocence Files Review

STAND News reviews the Netflix documentary series, The Innocence Files, a whodunnit with a cause. How does the series that covers the failures of the U.S. judicial system holdup?

‘Stop Filming Us’ – Questioning Neocolonialism through the Camera Lens

In Stop Filming Us (2020) Dutch filmmaker Joris Postema travels to the city of Goma in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where numerous conflicts and even more Western aid organizations have been in the past 25 years. The problem is, sometimes these Westerners would rather define Goma and its people on their terms. Can Postema portray the Congolese reality without becoming part of the problem?

The Obsession with Activism in Acceptance Speeches

Many of us may agree that millionaire celebrities collecting awards from other millionaire celebrities may not be a group best placed to preach to the general public about issues such as climate change and human rights. It has now become a mainstay of almost every award show, with celebrities seeing this platform as a challenge to make the most impassioned speech of the night.

Gods of Molenbeek: a look beyond terrorism

Gods of Molenbeek: a look beyond terrorism

A notorious place in Brussels known as a Jihadi hotbed, Molenbeek, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for the last few years. In her debut feature called Gods of Molenbeek, Finnish director Reetta Huhtanen tells us the story of this neighbourhood through the eyes and voices of 6-year-old residents. She definitely acknowledges its reputation but is certainly far from damning its residents. 

The superstars of this documentary are the six-year-old Aatos and Amine who are extremely deep thinkers, curious and bright. They ponder upon god, life and life after death. Aatos is Finnish and Chilean. He speaks French, Finnish and Spanish and attends a Steiner school while Amine is from a Moroccan Muslim family and is learning Arabic at school.

This film is a delight. The ever so interesting children of Molenbeek bring hope to the audience. As used to singing Happy birthday song in almost every other language, the social understanding of life and God is ever so varied with respect to every little kid growing up in this district. The director has responded to the label of Jihadi hotbed by keeping her point of view as close to that of the boys as possible. Molenbeek therefore, through this film, is shown as an accepting place with people from all faith and ethnic backgrounds living together and accepting each other. The child’s perspective showers throughout the movie reminding the audience where the truth lies and lets the audience ponder on what is forgotten which is to accept each other.

 

 

Photo by GeoMovies on Twitter

 

 

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Miss Representation (2011) Reveals a Glaring Reality Still Relevant in 2020

The documentary film, Miss Representation, came out in 2011, yet it remains shockingly resonant today in 2020. The film exposes how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. As an American woman, Miss Representation strongly resonates with me, but its message is relevant to women and girls everywhere.

The Innocence Files Review

STAND News reviews the Netflix documentary series, The Innocence Files, a whodunnit with a cause. How does the series that covers the failures of the U.S. judicial system holdup?

‘Stop Filming Us’ – Questioning Neocolonialism through the Camera Lens

In Stop Filming Us (2020) Dutch filmmaker Joris Postema travels to the city of Goma in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where numerous conflicts and even more Western aid organizations have been in the past 25 years. The problem is, sometimes these Westerners would rather define Goma and its people on their terms. Can Postema portray the Congolese reality without becoming part of the problem?

The Obsession with Activism in Acceptance Speeches

Many of us may agree that millionaire celebrities collecting awards from other millionaire celebrities may not be a group best placed to preach to the general public about issues such as climate change and human rights. It has now become a mainstay of almost every award show, with celebrities seeing this platform as a challenge to make the most impassioned speech of the night.

Peter Handke’s Nobel Prize win is deplorable

Peter Handke’s Nobel Prize win is deplorable

For the general public, literary prizes are not of particular importance. They boost sales for nominees and winners, and increase public knowledge of certain new releases. Of course, the judges of such literary prizes, and the institutions they represent, can use their elevated position to promote authors and works which inspire progressiveness, inclusivity, empathy, and unrepresented voices. This year the Nobel Prize for Literature, one of the world’s most respected and renowned literary prizes, chose not to do so. 

By awarding the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature to Peter Handke, the Swedish Academy are by default giving merit and support to a writer who has controversially supported the Serb campaign during the Balkan War and fall of Yugoslavia. The Austrian playwright, publically supported former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević during his UN tribunal trial for war crimes, and performed a eulogy at his funeral in 2006. 

Swedish Academy member Mats Malm has reported that the Prize is awarded on “literary and aesthetic ground. It is not in the Academy’s mandate to balance literary quality against political considerations”. Politics aside, to reward an €825,000 prize (and the literary canonisation that goes with it) to someone who has publically declared that the Bosnians massacred each other and denied the Srebrenica genocide is shameful. It promotes a un-humanitarian agenda of exclusion. 

The news has been received with criticism by leaders of countries such as Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, and other literary institutions such as PEN America. 

Some of the work which Handke has been awarded the Nobel Prize for, an award received by the likes of Hemingway and Beckett, include A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia, a travelogue which portrays Serbia as the victim of the Yugoslav Wars. 

The Mothers of Srebrenica, an activist group based in the Netherlands who represent the 6,000 survivors of the Srebrenica massacre, have called for this award to be revoked. Handke, in response to winning, has commented: “I feel a strange kind of freedom, I don’t know, a freedom, which is not the truth, as if I were innocent.” 

In my opinion, it is more than controversial to publicly reward Handke with such prestige: no literary merit can undo his vocal atrocities. 

 

 

Photo by Nobel Prize on Twitter

 

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Women and the Military: Harmful ‘Feminist’ Recruitment and Whitmore

The British Army has a poor track record when it comes to women’s rights. With this in mind, it is clear why many were sceptical of Whitmore defending her collaboration with the army in the name of feminist discourse. While the British Army’s use of feminist language in their PR campaigns could be interpreted as a sign of progress, it is important to question the intentions behind this move and, most importantly, who benefits from it.

Has COVID-19 Impeded Free Speech? The “Land of Origins”, COVID-19 and Personal Liberties.

COVID-19 is attacking not only our ability to be heard but also the legitimacy of that voice. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is one of the many prevalent examples where freedom of speech has been hindered by COVID-19’s continued exponential growth. Unlike other examples I could use, Ethiopia could disproportionately suffer from the stripping of such freedoms.

Accepting and Adapting: A Note on COVID-19 Context

This time last year, little did we think we would be in a position of worldwide quarantine, rendered helpless at the mercy of a deadly virus. Even more so, could we ever have pictured all that would go along with something that affects us and our lives to this scale?

Social Media Doesn’t Need to Stop. We do.

The solution to the social media pandemic that is affecting so many people’s mental health does not lie in avoidance of the App Store or at the touch of the iPad. It lies within us. We must start with the obsession we all have with ourselves to appear perfect.