Politics for tired people


Shia LeBeouf at the premiere of Nymphomaniac. Photo: Getty
From Shia LaBeouf to Rolling Stone's frat house story, the trouble with "I Believe Her"
By Sarah Ditum - 14 December 12:55

When we talk about rape victims, “I Believe Her” is powerful because it’s simple; because it’s simple, it slides into being simplistic. Both the alleged frat house gang rape described by Rolling Stone, and Shia LeBeouf's accusations against a woman who visited his art installation, reveal its strengths and weaknesses.

A school photo of Hae Min Lee alongside the news of her ex-boyfriend’s conviction.
Serial reveals how much more we care about justice for a man than the life of a woman
By Sarah Ditum - 11 December 12:21

As the podcast tries to investigate whether Adnan Syed killed Hae Min Lee, a discrepancy emerges – it’s so much easier to spot the cultural misogyny when it is applied to race rather than gender.

Waiting for a customer in Paris. Photo: Getty
Why we shouldn't rebrand prostitution as "sex work"
By Sarah Ditum - 01 December 13:43

When we talk about “sex work”, we endorse the idea that sex is labour for women and leisure for men – men who have the social and economic power to act as a boss class in the matter of intercourse. And most damningly of all, we accept that women's bodies exist as a resource to be used by other people.

The valorisation of a twisted kind of compulsory patriotism have driven out sense. Photo: Getty
Tweeting a picture of a house is not an act of class warfare, whatever the Sun says
By Sarah Ditum - 21 November 15:18

The way that Emily Thornberry has been treated, both before and after her departure from the shadow cabinet, shows that our political class is beyond repair.

Julien Blanc. Photo: RSDJulien on Instagram
Free speech must be defended, but not Julien Blanc’s incitement to violence against women
By Sarah Ditum - 19 November 16:32

The American “pick-up artist”, who has been denied entry into the UK by the Home Office, directly promotes violence against women, and therefore forfeits the right to freely spread his ideas.

A woman waits by stacks of placards before a pro-choice demonstration outside Parliament in 2008. Photo: Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty
My body, my choice: from now on, abortion rights must be fought for from first principles
By Sarah Ditum - 06 November 12:55

A new push to criminalise sex-selective abortion shows us that the untidy truce that passes for abortion legislation in the UK is no longer holding. We must remake the law to recognise that women are people with rights over their own bodies.

Women make up 23 per cent of MPs in a country where we are more than 50 per cent of the population. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty
Stuff your revolution if it doesn’t include treating women as people
By Sarah Ditum - 03 November 10:51

If you want radicalism in politics, it has to start with feminism.

Naomi Wolf: was she a sleeper agent all along? Photo: Getty
Naomi Wolf is not a feminist who became conspiracy theorist – she’s a conspiracist who was once right
By Sarah Ditum - 07 October 12:00

No matter how odd her pronouncements about Julian Assange or the Scottish referendum are, we must never forget that once – with The Beauty Myth ­– Wolf identified a conspiracy that is real: patriarchy.

Hilary Mantel. Portrait by Leonie Hampton for the New Statesman
Hilary Mantel’s Thatcher story: this author is no innocent in need of defence from right-wing critics
By Sarah Ditum - 23 September 11:00

Of course Hilary Mantel knew what she was doing in writing her short story “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” – the precise application of words is her speciality.

Members of the ANC Women’s League protest outside the court in Pretoria. Photo: Getty
Oscar Pistorius is not guilty of murdering Reeva Steenkamp, the woman he killed
By Sarah Ditum - 12 September 12:00

The South African athlete has been found guilty of culpable homicide, not murder, following the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. In a world where men kill women and not the other way around, that means justice must bend to the male version of events.

Taylor Swift arriving at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars Party. Photo: Getty
Taylor Swift’s success makes me hopeful for the future of humanity
By Sarah Ditum - 28 August 16:37

Poet laureate of women’s inner lives, resolute booster of the girls who love her, healthily selfish, and heartily unconcerned with what the haters think about her: we could all do well to spend a bit of time in Taylor’s world.

Protests over the death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012. Photo: Getty
Violation after violation: why did Ireland force a woman on hunger strike to bear her rapist's child?
By Sarah Ditum - 17 August 15:00

As an onlooker to this case, what strikes me is the constant traffic of foreign objects through this woman’s body, imposing foreign wills. 

Ched Evans playing for Sheffield United in 2012. Photo: Getty
Ched Evans and Ma’lik Richmond: why should rapists get a second chance to be celebrated?
By Sarah Ditum - 15 August 12:31

Sports stars who are convicted of rape get to return as heroes on the field. If there were justice for women, rape would be a crime that makes us all turn in disgust from the perpetrator.

Supporters of employer-funded contraception rally in front of the Supreme Court. Photo: Getty
The knitting needle age: this US verdict shows our abortion rights are always under threat
By Sarah Ditum - 02 July 13:22

If you are a woman of my generation, you were born into an era of extraordinary good fortune, where you have the right to decide what happens to your body. But we mistook a truce in the war on women for a victory.

Sony promotional staff. Photo: Getty
Sex and the NPCs: Videogames are teaching their players to hate women
By Sarah Ditum - 23 June 12:35

Games tell a story about what women are for and how they can be treated, then gamers enact what they’ve learned upon any actual real-life women who wander trustingly into that realm.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore. Photo: Getty
Why do misogynists deserve the “privacy” the women they abuse are denied?
By Sarah Ditum - 27 May 10:26

From the case of Richard Scudamore to that of Justin Lee Collins, the lie that the public degradation of women is somehow a private matter for the men who perpetrate it has taken hold.

Actor Robert Helpmann as Shylock in the Old Vic's 1958 production of The Merchant of Venice. Photo: Monty Fresco/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
The whole damn literary canon needs a trigger warning
By Sarah Ditum - 21 May 16:07

Until we appreciate how much of our literature is potentially traumatic, how can we hope to make a culture that is not shaped by white supremacy and male violence?

Feminist campaigners. Photo: Getty
In this world that finds them repugnant, of course some women will be hateful towards each other
By Sarah Ditum - 16 May 11:47

In a society which regards women as generally despicable, how can we expect women not to be self-loathing and not to direct hate towards one another?

Sarah Ditum on Andrea Dworkin: Sex as terrorism
By Sarah Ditum - 15 May 9:45

The Andrea Dworkin I discovered when I read Intercourse is not the cold and closed figure of liberal myth whose massive shadow squats in judgement over all our pleasures. She's angry - but also incredibly warm.

Anti-abortion protesters in Belfast. Photo: Getty
Northern Irish women denied NHS abortions are the scapegoats of men's colonial wranglings
By Sarah Ditum - 09 May 10:49

The 1967 Abortion Act cannot be imposed on Northern Ireland by Westminster, but nor should penalising charges be imposed on Northern Irish women by the English NHS. 

Josie Cunningham. Photo: @JosieCOnline
Josie Cunningham and the Big Brother abortion: why do some women volunteer for a witch-burning?
By Sarah Ditum - 23 April 10:47

Josie Cunningham became famous for revealing she had her breasts enlarged on the NHS. Now she says she wants an abortion to go on Big Brother. In her determination to incite outrage, Cunningham is basically Abu Hamza with a double-D cup. Why do it?

Nadine Dorries' debut novel, The Four Streets.
Begorrah! Nadine Dorries’ The Four Streets is a bad novel, riddled with Shamrockese
By Sarah Ditum - 10 April 9:54

After her remarkable flights from fact in her statements on abortion, it's disappointing to find that Dorries is just not very good at making things up.

A Syrian refugee processing centre in Lebanon. Photo: Getty
The left is addicted to smartarse debunking. But arguments are won by telling human stories
By Sarah Ditum - 03 April 12:24

Debates about immigration and welfare show that we can become so absorbed in displaying our own liberal cleverness that we forget the people we are arguing for. A dry recital of statistics will always lose out to anecdote and narrative. 

Mannequins are a reflection of the way we see our ideal selves. Photo: Getty
Size 16 shop mannequins are bad for women’s health – but not in the way you think
By Sarah Ditum - 28 March 10:56

The way we present the female form spreads the idea that physical pleasingness is the primary guarantee of a woman’s acceptability to society.

Salimata Knight, an FGM survivor, in March 2004 at an event launching the Female Genital Mutilation Act. Photo: Getty
Why did the first prosecution for female genital mutilation take almost 30 years?
By Sarah Ditum - 24 March 11:03

The legislation outlawing FGM was introduced in 1985, but there were no prosecutions until last week. Why?

Who should get to speak into the microphone? Photo: Getty
“No platform” was once reserved for violent fascists. Now it's being used to silence debate
By Sarah Ditum - 18 March 10:24

The no platform of now doesn’t target groups such as the National Front or the EDL – instead, it’s aimed at individuals who certainly do not trail the organised muscle of a thug army behind them.

A woman pretending to eat a hotdog.
Against Cool Girl Feminism
By Sarah Ditum - 10 March 11:06

The Cool Girl Feminist doesn’t insist that men and women should be equal. The Cool Girl doesn’t even suggest there’s anything wrong with the man-woman hierarchy as it stands. All the Cool Girl demands is that she be seen as an exception.

Page 3 vs breast cancer: whose side are YOU on?
By Sarah Ditum - 04 March 14:29

The Sun's Page 3 is a malignant growth of sexism on our press, and trying to use it to raise awareness of breast cancer only perpetuates the kind of single-organ fetishism that makes it all the harder for women with the disease.

Moro, in London's Exmouth Market. (Image: Moro)
Why would anyone be snooty about Tony Gallagher swapping the newsroom for the kitchen?
By Sarah Ditum - 26 February 10:33

The former Telegraph editor's stint at Moro restaurant reveals an unspoken assumption: it's hard to imagine a man having an appetite for more than power and money in his work.

Judging sex: why can’t we have opinions about what we get up to in bed?
By Sarah Ditum - 14 February 10:47

Jesse Bering's new book, <em>Perv</em>, puts forward a rigidly harm-reduction approach to sexual morality (although at times his theories seem to be proposing the normalisation of child abuse images). But tolerance alone isn't enough. Shouldn't wanting to