News and views about writing, eating, gaming and watching


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The Second Wave is often dismissed by today's feminists as offensive, outdated and obsessed with middle-class white women's problems.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.

Damian McBride: Repentant spinner
By Helen Lewis - 02 October 11:05

Damian McBride is a bastard. And, unusually for a memoirist, he’s very keen to let you know that from the start, writes Helen Lewis.

The battle over gender: what makes you a man or a woman, anyway?
By Helen Lewis - 13 September 17:45

Adrian Dalton, Julie Bindel, Bethany Black and Gia Milinovich discuss the controversial issue.

John Lloyd, photographed by Lydia Goldblatt for the New Statesman.
John Lloyd: the brain behind QI
By Helen Lewis - 11 September 14:47

You probably haven’t heard of John Lloyd – but this self-described Stoic, whose career was derailed by depression, has probably made you laugh more times than anyone else.

Lip service: why vagina is the perfect word
By Helen Lewis - 28 August 10:06

The word “vagina” is medical enough to sound grown up and blunt enough not be cutesy. It is still jarring in normal conversation but you can mention it on the Six O’Clock News. Which, when you think about it, is close to what feminism should be like.

Dr Christian Jessen.
Dr Christian Jessen: "The word 'exploitative' drives me mad"
By Helen Lewis - 22 August 10:10

Helen Lewis talks to Dr Christian Jessen about Twitter diagnoses, self-promotion and the best of the NHS.

Who are the trolls?
By Helen Lewis - 29 July 20:50

What we know about the men (and sometimes women) who spend their days trying to provoke a reaction on the internet.

Women on bank notes: I was wrong
By Helen Lewis - 25 July 10:42

What looked at first to me like a trivial issue opened up a vital debate about the importance of women's achievements in our society.

Katie Roiphe interview: "There is a lot of unexamined feminist outrage against other women"
By Helen Lewis - 25 July 8:17

Helen Lewis talks to Katie Roiphe, columnist and author, most recently of <em>In Praise of Messy Lives</em>.

Susan Greenfield's 2121: the worst science fiction book ever written?
By Helen Lewis - 17 July 10:44

The neuroscientist's first novel has clunking cliches, terrible characters and dialogue about the "dissociation of reproduction from copulation". Finishing it has become a nerd challenge, writes Helen Lewis.