How could this possibly happen? The answer lies in why you forgot it

WARNING: This article contains distressing and triggering content.

It’s late November, 2009. The temperature hovers at 5°C as you make your way home from work. You’ve got your headphones on, and the treble rattles off into the dark. You’ve always walked back this way, down the main roads to the big converted Victorian factories, red brick illuminated in the yellow of the lamp posts. Young women in cheap coats lined in faux fur crowd at the traffic lights, armed with the weekly shop. An older man, thin and unshaven, leans forward and grabs at the buttocks of one of the…


Traditional political definitions have created a tribalist myth

We all know who I’m talking about, even if it isn’t ‘okay’ to say it, right? The bad people, with their evil ways, their uneducated ideologies, persecutory mindsets, and their ridiculous world views. You know, the Republicans. Or the Democrats. Or the Foreigners. Or the White People. Depending on who you are, we all have a group we define as deeply, unforgivably ‘Ungood’.

Traditional labels are making us create monsters out of moles

Since graduating college, I’ve come to the realization that most people are not extremely angry about queer theory or imperial colonial theory. People who aren’t incredibly clued up on white privilege are rarely the nazi monsters we created in our heads, and Uncle Max who works in credit management isn’t a greedy capitalist intent on enslaving Libya for oil profits. My mother called this newfound understanding Growing Up. Unfortunately, like that childhood fear of the dressing gown in the dark, tropes still die hard, even for me. But why?

I was reading a Facebook thread today on transgender rights (a…


Uncomfortable as it may be, we have to confront those who normalize abuse, taboos and fetishes

Sexuality, like all things, comes with the good, the bad, and the ugly. It can mean incredible closeness, intimacy and affection between you and your partner. It can mean a slightly embarrassing crush at college. And it can mean having an attraction that is so monstrously warped that an individual ends up causing serious harm, or even death. As the big media platforms and mediums rightly take aim at sexual abuse and violence, it does however raise an interesting question: how should we, as as a society, navigate harmful and dangerous elements of sexuality?

I, like many adults, find Arianna Grande deeply uncomfortable

A friend of mine, a hockey dad with three boisterous athletic daughters, discusses his latest worry at navigating a safe path for them in a world where girls as young as three or four are routinely sexualized and endangered through increasingly ugly pop culture. “I get that they want to be like their friends,” he says, anxiously, “But it really creeps me out when I see them copying sucking on their fingers, lollipops and a cutesy Lolita aesthetic. I’ve had to ban Arianna Grande in my house.”

It’s not really hard to see why. Queen of Lolita Pop, Arianna Grande…


I can’t stress this enough: branding and communication is vital

I’m used to people treating me like a stupid bimbo when they hear I ‘work in PR’. The expectation of extraordinary stupidity and a vacuous grin. The unnecessary attempts to simplify everything down to what they assume a stupid, boring woman who can probably look pretty at a shareholder meeting could understand. The problem is that real PR, PR at a level that actually saves you millions, requires a whole lot more thought and research than what you’d probably thought. As AZ found out, the hard way.

I could go off in a rant here about the number of (predominantly male) clients who have suggested that I research their sector, or insist on explaining ‘profit’ to me, but that’s not why I’m writing this. PR isn’t, contrary to popular imagination, calling boring board members ‘babes’ at conferences as you hand around useless leaflets saying actualize and optimize. We don’t really do press releases anymore. Conferences are more egofests than any genuine attempt at learning or releasing anything. A lot of PR is gritty research, networking, getting information from hardcore academia and investor documents into an understandable format…


And why your pick-up artist is making it harder for you

I’ve been on this planet for twenty-four long, drawn out years. Sometimes it seems like a lot longer, if I’ve spent too long going through my message requests. Throughout it all, from training bras to conference calls with Madrid, I’ve endured both the brilliant and beastly of male attention. I’ve seen success, and I’ve seen failure. I’ve been repulsed, and I’ve been overwhelmed.

And I don’t hate you, incels. In fact, I hope I can help.

Surprisingly for some, although definitely not for others, I haven’t always been the girl in the bright red lipstick rolling her eyes at frightened men in Players. In fact, if you knew me at all before I turned twenty, I think you’d find it surprising that I’d even be let into a club, let alone one where I’d have the dubious honour of having a Lord pin me against a vodka stained piano surrounded by hollow-hearted civil servants bellowing Mr Brightside. So, let that be a lesson to the bitter hearted among you: I was unattractive, too.

I was an…


As a Brit, I can tell you it’s a lot darker than you think

Have you ever been to the circus? I have, as a child. I remember the giddy hedonism of nostalgic stripes striping their way across the sky, as clowns beamed cheerfully at impressed toddlers. The air was acrid with gunpowder and the brilliant illusion of a fading past burnt its way into my eight year old brain, burying itself there for seventeen years.

Of course, it’s all a façade. The tent comes down, the clowns drink bitter lager in their trailers and the dancing elephants and lemurs are shut away in the gloomy hollows of iron cages. I’m sure you know…


Facebook thinks I owe men an apology. I can only hope this article helps heal their distress

So yesterday, I commented on a friend’s post: she had been struggling to report racism and sexism, but was still getting banned herself for extremely innocuous comments such as ‘you’re a f****** idiot’ and, hilariously, ‘silly sausage’. To my intense amusement, it turns out that I, too, was guilty of driving men into the pits of emotional despair through my unwavering hate speech.

I’m so sorry, men. Please, accept my deepest apologies

No doubt the men reading this are shocked by my venom, my unrivalled cruelty. You must be clutching your handkerchiefs and weeping at my utter betrayal of your gender. Because I am, basically, Hitler. What I’ve said…


I’ve worked out how to get back in shape without hating every moment

If you haven’t gained 5lb since December, congrats, but I think the majority of us in Lockdown Britain can contest to the fact that it is harder than ever to stick to a boring, low calorie diet when leaving your house could get you arrested and the only legal pleasure is a takeaway. Now, with April glimmering with a small hope at leaving the house, many of us seem to be plunging into fad diets and starvation plans. To this I say: expect to fail.

It’s not because you are weak willed. It’s not because you suck as a person. It’s because when you starve yourself, food becomes an obsession. Your body produces a hormone called Ghrelin that makes you feel really hungry. This lowers your ability to resist high calorie foods and your capacity to avoid over-eating and bingeing. Which believe me, matters even if you are confident you can fast for three days a week. Let’s do some light maths.

You’re a 5ft 6 woman and you never exercise because you hate it and you look stupid doing it. You need about 1,900…


The correct response to your child making a grown man sexually uncomfortable is calling the police

Here’s the thing, male teachers: you shouldn’t have found any of us sexy at thirteen. You shouldn’t have been aroused by the sight of our knees under our grey school skirts. You shouldn’t have had ‘uncomfortable’ urges at the sight of our Barbie crop tops. Because, if I’m honest, you shouldn’t have been teaching us while openly having pedophilic tendencies.

#PullYourSkirtDown

Never have I ever encountered any female teacher who was even slightly ‘uncomfortable’ (what a euphemism) around a 13 year old boy, no matter what he was wearing. They’ve never had to divert their gaze or write a letter to his parents about his ‘inappropriate’ uniform violations. Because that would be extremely disturbing. I’d advise absolutely anyone with sexual thoughts about children, particularly ‘uncomfortable’ intrusive ones, to quit teaching immediately and report themselves. And yes, that includes female children. Particularly teenage girls.

The idea that it is in any way a teenage girl’s fault for a forty year old man…


Short sci-fiction

“Time travel is infinitely more complex than one might think, at a quick glance,” he said, raising his voice so the back of the lecture hall could hear him. Half the room were on their phones, the others half asleep. “You might think of it as simply reversing ‘time’ as an entity, but you’re not. You’d have to reverse every single object, every single process. Every single molecule. And you’d have to do it step by step, across every change that has ever happened across hundreds of thousands of milliseconds.”

No one was really listening. It was late in the semester, a cold, wet day and too early in the morning for any concentration from a collection of uninspiring, mid-league undergraduates. But he continued, more for himself than out of any hope for them. “So let’s say you calculated all the changes you needed to go back a single minute. What would need to be undone? The sunlight in this room? The shadows cast? The synapses in your brain that make you aware of the present? The messages you’ve just sent to half your friends around the world? The oxygen…

Madelaine Lucy Hanson

Anthropologist with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually. madelaine@madelainehanson.co.uk

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