News and views about writing, eating, gaming and watching

RSS

A sign at the entrance to the Yarl’s Wood detention centre. Photo: Aliya Mirza/Women for Refugee Women
Helen Lewis on Yarl’s Wood: we are detaining people indefinitely who have committed no crime
By Helen Lewis - 19 December 15:58

There are 13 immigration detention centres in Britain but only the name of Yarl’s Wood really resonates – it’s where nearly 400 stateless, powerless women – the majority of whom say they are previous victims of sexual violence – are held.

Candy Crush. Photo: Getty
Pity the MP caught playing Candy Crush in a committee - he's only doing what evolution demands
By Helen Lewis - 10 December 14:47

My contention is this: Nigel Mills was unlucky - the frivolousness of the way he chose to divert himself was not sufficiently disguised. The rest of us just zone out by checking our emails.

Anonymous activists meet in Brisbane wearing signature Guy Fawkes masks, 14 November. Photo: Getty
The limits of hacker activism: if you really want to change the world, you need not to be Anonymous
By Helen Lewis - 04 December 10:00

Activism is utterly impossible if you have no way of keeping track of your fellow activists and of forming even weak ties with them.

Face-off: detail of Self-Portrait (2014) by Derren Brown
Derren Brown’s tricks of the eye
By Helen Lewis - 04 December 10:00

Helen Lewis meets the illusionist and secret portrait painter. 

Five killer whales performing at “Marineland” in Antibes, southern France in 2008. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty
What hubris makes us think we can imprison a 22ft killing machine?
By Helen Lewis - 26 November 12:20

Be careful if you watch Blackfish, a 2013 documentary that tells the story of orcas in captivity, framed around the experiences of a 33-year-old male called Tilikum. By the end, you’ll want to stop people in the street to warn them not to visit marine amusement parks.

A child in India during World Toilet Day in New Delhi, 2012. Around 130 million households in India have no toilets. Photo: Getty
Choose your friends wisely – their friends could be bad for your health
By Helen Lewis - 06 November 10:00

A seriously ill patient’s condition affects not just their ­immediate family and friends but the next circle out, their children’s spouses, say, and the one after that, of those spouses’ friends.

A woman in shoes by Christian Louboutin. Photo: Getty
The empress’s old clothes: who are women dressing for, anyway?
By Helen Lewis - 05 November 13:09

Most of us will have had the sensation, at one time or another, of feeling as though we were dressed up as someone else. A new book and an exhibition explore what it means to be a "woman in clothes".

 

Tim Minchin: The satirist who ran out of upwards to punch
By Helen Lewis - 27 October 8:59

What happens when a satirist becomes a superstar? His targets have to get bigger, too – as Tim Minchin is finding out.

A harmless troll, via flickr.com/valeriebb, licensed under Creative Commons.
The battle against internet trolls shows that a compelling story will always beat cold, hard facts
By Helen Lewis - 15 October 12:58

The fightback against online abuse reminds me of the screenwriters’ adage: no villain knows he’s the villain. He thinks he’s the hero in a different film. So if you want to fight trolls, you have to counter the narrative they are pushing about what trolling is.

The Mount Pleasant sorting office in London, shortly to become “buy to leave” flats. Photo: Getty
If he thinks £2,800 a month in rent is “affordable”, Boris Johnson must be from the Planet Zog
By Helen Lewis - 14 October 11:30

Offering sky-high “affordable” rents instead of building more social housing is absurd. For the younger generations locked out of buying, the consequences are catastrophic.

Mother and child: Catherine Atkinson, Labour PPC for the Erewash speaks at the Labour Party Conference, 24 September. Photo: Getty
How do we get questions of care up the political agenda, when carers are too knackered to complain?
By Helen Lewis - 07 October 16:00

The toll exerted by caring – and how little a capitalist society values such a vital activity – should be one of the key issues for feminism. 

Lena Dunham, whose memoir has just been published. Photo: Getty
Lena Dunham is not real
By Helen Lewis - 24 September 10:56

Lena Dunhams Not That Kind of Girl is a confessional book where you cannot be sure if the confessions are true: it’s either a brilliantly ironic subversion of the form, or a deeply wearying put-on by someone who has no sense of who they are when no one is watching.

St Michael's at Marazion near Penzance> Photo: Getty
Devolution strikes back – but do Cornwall and Yorkshire want more powers . . . or just more money?
By Helen Lewis - 18 September 11:15

 If prospectors struck oil off the Falmouth coast tomorrow, I don’t see how anyone could blame the Cornish for rolling out barbed wire along the banks of the Tamar.

Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong'o. Photo: Getty
The challenge for the next century: how to stay virtuous when no one will know if you’re being naughty
By Helen Lewis - 15 September 13:33

From Google searches to dating websites, the rise of Big Data is showing us just how huge a gulf there is between what people say they want - and what they secretly desire. Who are we when no one's looking?

The guts to fight the power: Roxane Gay. Photo: Jennifer Silverberg/The Guardian
Does it matter if you’re a “bad feminist”? Roxane Gay doesn’t think so
By Helen Lewis - 12 September 12:52

Reading Roxane Gay comes as a relief – as being involved in feminism can sometimes feel more like voluntarily climbing into the stocks than participating in a social movement.

Jennifer Lawrence. Photo: Getty
Online abuse, leaked nudes and revenge porn: this is nothing less than terrorism against women
By Helen Lewis - 03 September 9:57

The abuse of women on the internet, like the hacking of female celebrities' naked photos, is not just intended to hurt the individuals involved. These are  deliberately outrageous acts designed to create a spectacle and to instil fear in a target population - in other words, terrorism.

A football fan eats chips before a match. Photo: Getty
Thin people don’t just eat differently to fat people. They live completely different lives
By Helen Lewis - 01 September 10:12

One of the biggest lies about obesity is that it’s simply about eating too much and not doing enough exercise – problems are often far deeper rooted. 

Social mobility and the New Statesman
By Helen Lewis - 28 August 12:37

What we're doing to tackle the “7 per cent problem”. 

Russell Brand addresses an anti-austerity rally in Parliament Square in June 2014. Photo: Getty
Many voters are to the left of Labour on the big issues. So why isn’t there a “Ukip of the left”?
By Helen Lewis - 21 August 13:35

There is certainly space in British politics for a party beyond the edge of Labour, but a left-wing alternative has yet to emerge.

Digital revolution: how technology has changed what it means to be an artist
By Helen Lewis - 09 July 12:46

A new exhibition at the Barbican shows how the technology behind video games is turbocharging the human imagination. But is it art? (Yes.) 

Is this Germaine Greer's #listeningtomen face? Photo: Getty
Mansplainers anonymous: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
By Helen Lewis - 25 June 10:37

Solnit’s lead essay became a viral sensation because many women recognised the experience of having their expertise instantly dismissed because of the lady-shaped package it came in. 

Rereading the Second Wave: why feminism needs to respect its elders
By Helen Lewis - 12 May 13:50

The Second Wave is often dismissed by today's feminists as offensive, outdated and obsessed with middle-class white women's problems. A new series of essays on the NS website will ask: is that fair?

Teenagers at an Alicia Keys concert wave their phones in the air. Photo:Getty
Stop worrying: teenagers are not internet-addled cyborgs with overdeveloped thumbs
By Helen Lewis - 15 April 9:15

. . .  in fact, they are probably better at navigating a world of smartphones and social networks than we crusties aged 20 and over.

Nicky Morgan, the new minister for women. Photo: Getty
In Nicky Morgan, David Cameron has just appointed a Minister For Straight Women
By Helen Lewis - 09 April 12:46

Loughborough MP voted against gay marriage, prompting the question: so is she just Minister For Straight Women?

Mars headlines Woodstock
Death on Mars: would you take a one-way trip into space?
By Helen Lewis - 24 February 10:08

Within a few decades, we will have the technological ability to send humans to the red planet - as long as they don't want to come back home again.

Julie Burchill, yesterday.
The uses and abuses of intersectionality
By Helen Lewis - 20 February 11:46

If there's one thing I've learned about feminism, it's that we should all try to be better; but we should also acknowledge that perfection is impossible.

No laughing matter: King Lear at the National Theatre
By Helen Lewis - 13 February 7:24

A big production for a big theatre.

The Tories’ Mrs Rochester, the truth about FGM, and the lobster-red baron’s revenge
By Helen Lewis - 13 February 4:55

On universal credit, and Nimco Ali’s campaign to have FGM recognised as what it is – child abuse – rather than a quaint tradition.

Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem: A revolution in the head
By Helen Lewis - 06 February 8:47

This book forsakes the traditional linear structure for a series of episodes, zipping back and forth through the decades – and the revolutions.

Pages