Pop culture, politics and feminism


Laurie Penny on gender: Society needs to get over its harmful obsession with labelling us all girls or boys
By Laurie Penny - 30 August 8:52

Germany has announced legislation to allow parents not to record the gender of their newborn - this is just a small step in the long march to equal rights and recognition for intersex, transsexual and transgender people in Europe.

New Statesman
Laurie Penny on bigotry: Extremists chased through London by women dressed as badgers – that makes me proud
By Laurie Penny - 28 August 15:52

But that feeling faded when I saw a drunk woman draped in a St George’s flag dragging an angry pitbull through the police line to scream, “I’m not racist!” in the faces of some bewildered Asian students

In Swedish, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was not known as Some Men Who Hate W
Laurie Penny on sexism: Of course all men don’t hate women. But all men must know they benefit from sexism
By Laurie Penny - 16 August 10:04

Anger is an entirely appropriate response to learning that you’re implicated in a system that oppresses women – but the solution isn’t to direct that anger back at women.

Laurie Penny on TV debates: Our news is dominated by people in expensive suits, shouting at each other
By Laurie Penny - 12 August 9:45

When "debating" on TV or radio, caring about the issue at hand is a handicap – because if you care, your opponent can make you angry, and if you get angry, you’ve lost.

Page 3 models.
Laurie Penny on page three: the real threat to young women’s health and happiness
By Laurie Penny - 27 July 10:45

David Cameron is wrong to try and ban pornography online when the casual objectification of women continues as a decoy for vicious xenophobia and social conservatism in the mainstream media.

Laurie Penny on the babies we don't care about today
By Laurie Penny - 22 July 15:38

Of all future subjects of our new infant overlord, none are more scapegoated than teenage single mums. Let's not forget about them and their children today.

Laurie Penny on welfare: The BBC is colluding in the government’s attack on benefit claimants
By Laurie Penny - 20 July 8:54

The cruellest thing about the benefits cap is not that it could make thousands of people homeless or force more families to depend on food banks (three of these open every week). It’s that it’s not really about people on benefits at all.

Laurie Penny on today’s teenagers: smarter, tougher and braver than my generation – and yours, too
By Laurie Penny - 19 July 8:58

Almost every time I speak to teenagers, particularly to young female students who want to talk to me about feminism, I find myself staggered by how much they have read, how creatively they think and how curiously bullshit-resistant they are.

Laurie Penny tax breaks for marriage: why should I subsidise other people’s weird lifestyle choices?
By Laurie Penny - 09 July 14:07

There’s no reason anyone should be herded into an archaic arrangement that does not work for everybody.

New Statesman
Laurie Penny on sexism in storytelling: I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl
By Laurie Penny - 30 June 9:35

Men grow up expecting to be the hero of their own story. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else's.

A demonstrator against Pussy Riot's prison sentence in London, 2012.
Laurie Penny on Pussy Riot: "People fear us because we're feminists"
By Laurie Penny - 22 June 10:12

A meeting the Russian punk-protest group.

A CCTV camera watches over festive Christmas lights
Laurie Penny on psychology: if you live in a surveillance state for long enough, you create a censor in your head
By Laurie Penny - 17 June 8:18

There is a significant psychological price to being constantly aware of the variety of ways in which your activity might be tracked.

A woman looks at pornographic videos and DVDs
Laurie Penny on the porn debate: the genie of unlimited filth is out of the bottle and no law can stop us polishing our lamps
By Laurie Penny - 13 June 12:18

The worst thing about this debate is that it turns a real-world, complex problem into a simple moral choice.

Laurie Penny on the information war: Bradley Manning’s case is about more than freedom of speech
By Laurie Penny - 03 June 8:25

The young soldier has become a symbol of the information war and its discontents.

Emily Wilding Davison.
Laurie Penny on the suffragettes: Emily Wilding Davison made the only choice she could bear
By Laurie Penny - 28 May 11:06

She made herself intolerable to a system she found impossible to tolerate.

Laurie Penny on The Eton Scholarship Question: this is how the British elite are trained to think
By Laurie Penny - 24 May 15:52

As one of the school’s scholarship exam questions shows, young boys are encouraged to think that humanity, compassion, even sense are secondary to winning. This is how we’ve ended up with politicians who will enact any policy, no matter the human cost, ju

Dove's new campaign.
Laurie Penny on beauty: I don’t want to be told I’m pretty as I am. I want to live in a world where that’s irrelevant
By Laurie Penny - 11 May 9:26

Beauty is about class, money, power and privilege - and it always has been.

Laurie Penny on sexual violence: This is not the "persecution of old men". This is the prosecution of rapists, and we should applaud it
By Laurie Penny - 10 May 10:52

It’s not just about Jimmy Savile, or Stuart Hall, or the BBC, or the Socialist Workers’ Party, or two American high-schoolers crying in court, or three young women chained in a basement in Ohio, or one dead girl in a hospital in Delhi. After too long, pe

New Statesman
Laurie Penny on Iceland's elections: A shattered fairy tale
By Laurie Penny - 08 May 13:58

After the financial crash of 2008, Iceland refused to bail out its banks and overthrew its government. But five years on, has its flirtation with an alternative to austerity ended?

Laurie Penny on the death of More magazine: a price worth paying for a better media
By Laurie Penny - 01 May 14:28

Do we need to mourn every lost job without further comment, even in an industry that’s becoming toxic?

Laurie Penny on Mars: Modern life is science fiction – but would you dare go on a one-way mission to Mars?
By Laurie Penny - 30 April 8:04

Would you sign up for a perilous journey, knowing that you’ve got just one shot at making the human race a bit better, a bit braver?

Laurie Penny on Thatcher: What we talk about when we talk about Margaret Thatcher
By Laurie Penny - 17 April 9:52

The left have been painted as tasteless, heartless people trying to make political capital out of Thatcher’s death. Only the government is allowed to do that, says Laurie Penny.

Laurie Penny on opinion journalism: Columnists now are like street performers – collecting coins in a hat and dodging angry racists
By Laurie Penny - 10 April 11:21

By 70, will I be screeching about immigrants from an enormous throne made of my clippings?

Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond in court.
Laurie Penny on Steubenville: this is rape culture's Abu Ghraib moment
By Laurie Penny - 19 March 13:10

The pictures from Steubenville don’t just show a girl being raped. They show that rape being condoned, encouraged, celebrated. What type of culture could possibly produce such pictures?

Laurie Penny on the F-word in modern Britain: feminism
By Laurie Penny - 16 March 9:21

It’s not enough for us to sit back and wait for the system of power to become a little more equal.

Laurie Penny on David Cameron: political correctness gone mad
By Laurie Penny - 06 March 16:03

The left has no monopoly on political correctness. Just try being rude about Margaret Thatcher. Right now, the list of things we’re not allowed to say about the rich and powerful is getting longer - and not just for professional writers.

Lord Rennard (r), who denies the allegations against him, with Menzies Campbell
Laurie Penny on the "Lord Grope" case: a system that discriminates against women
By Laurie Penny - 28 February 7:37

Systematic abuse happens when the system is abusive.