News and views about writing, eating, gaming and watching


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, 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.

John Nimmo and Isabella Sorley: A tale of two "trolls"
By Helen Lewis - 08 January 13:15

Yesterday, two people - a man and a woman - were convicted of sending threatening tweets to Caroline Criado-Perez. What do their stories tell us about the causes of internet abuse, and how to tackle it?

Fan art imagining Team Fortress, with women.
Do videogames need their own version of the Bechdel test?
By Helen Lewis - 07 January 11:01

Virginia Woolf wrote that the most striking sentence she read in literature was "Chloe liked Olivia". In games, what would the equivalent be?

I got it wrong: seven writers on why they changed their minds
By Helen Lewis - 17 December 12:18

Our culture values certainty and dogmatism. We should all be more open about the times when we were wrong – and what made us reconsider. Here, seven writers confess all.

Russell Brand, whose essay in the NS elicited a reply from Robert Webb.
Robert Webb vs Russell Brand: why comedians are the last interesting people left
By Helen Lewis - 31 October 13:59

Comedians, uniquely, have nothing to sell but their opinions, and the way they package those opinions. They don’t say attention-grabbing things to publicise their other work: saying attention-grabbing things is their work.

New Statesman
The perfect job application . . .
By Helen Lewis - 15 October 15:25

... probably doesn't exist, but here is what I like in an applicant.