Politics for tired people


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

To be a true memorial, the stories we tell about the Holocaust must be the whole truth
By Sarah Ditum - 27 January 11:23

As much as we want to protect our children from the atrocities humans commit against each other, we must help them understand that nothing can bring back the dead or repair those who lived the horror.

I didn't fully understand what it means to be pro-choice ... until I decided not to have an abortion
By Sarah Ditum - 21 January 9:06

After getting pregnant at 20, the life I thought I'd have suddenly vanished. Knowing that I still had control over what happened to my body helped me to come to terms with my new future.

Beyoncé's fists-up feminism is the climax of a revolutionary year for women in pop
By Sarah Ditum - 13 December 14:59

From Pretty Hurts to Flawless, Beyoncé has turned her extraordinary voice into a powerful tool for expressing hurt and fury at sexism and the cult of beauty in the music business. Why aren't men making music this good?

A mother and daughter walk in the park
Feminism and the Mummy Mystique: Why being a mother isn't the "full stop" on my life
By Sarah Ditum - 11 November 16:20

If you see yourself as a mother to the exclusion of all other roles, I think you become dependent on your children. You need them to need you.

New Statesman
Why Ann Summers' Halloween and Christmas kink is just another way of policing your sex life
By Sarah Ditum - 30 October 12:27

If you walk past Ann Summers' shop window at the moment, you’ll get the distinct impression that, even if it’s cold as a witch’s tit outside, you can have a hot Halloween in the boudoir. So why does none of it actually feel that much fun?

A female carer helps an elderly man in a care home
Ending the grey areas: Let's stop thinking of women as a resource to be exploited
By Sarah Ditum - 22 October 11:12

Whether in relation to rape, abortion or care, women are still viewed as something others are entitled to make use of. But it's time to do away with these grey areas of "duty" and recognise that the primary interest in what happens to a woman’s body belon

Riot Grrls: as a teenager, I never wondered - why is all my music made by men?
By Sarah Ditum - 16 October 9:53

"Riot Grrrl, with its DIY culture and its handmade, handposted fanzines is about making what should exist instead: the greatest political work in the world is to invent, invent, invent."