The left case for Brexit, or Lexit, or whatever you want to call it.

It’s been so long since I’ve posted on here I had to reset the password. Nevertheless, some thoughts.

It’s not inherently racist to want Brexit. Of course there are arguments beyond ‘we don’t like immigrants’. However, I am so certain that if we do vote out, it will become a mandate for the people leading the leave campaign to swing British politics further to the right and clamp down even more on immigration.
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Words are only part of the problem

[Content note: ableism, rape]

It seems everyone is losing faith in politicians these days, and you can see why when it seems every other week one of them is making headlines for having said something horrendously offensive. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get tired of public figures apologising for ill-chosen words, when usually the words they’ve chosen are only part of the problem.

Two days, two scandals. Both about words.
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Oklahoma to follow Texas with ’30 mile’ abortion bill: the War on Women rages on

2013 was a bad year for the Republican Party, women-wise. Between the resurfacing of Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” gaffe and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s astonishment that God hasn’t stepped in from stopping abortion in America from running “as far and foully as it has”, they rounded off the year looking like it’s possible they might have an image problem.

Texas senator Wendy Davis

Everyone’s favourite pro-choice Texas senator Wendy Davis. Photo: Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

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Sex myths without substance: Mislabelling Japan

I wrote a piece for the Independent after the ‘No sex please, we’re Japanese’ BBC documentary and a number of articles that have cropped up recently on Japan’s declining population:

Every few months, as if to remind us what a disturbingly odd place Japan is, an alarming Japanese news story explodes online. Western media outlets clamber over each other in their haste to cover the story, with every report of bagel headssnail facials or ritual head shaving being used as further evidence of a unique Japanese weirdness. A lack of understanding (and, sometimes, basic fact-checking) means that entire stories are lifted, often without critique, and churned into dubious clickbait. Earlier this year, widespread coverage of a supposed eyeball-licking epidemic among Japanese teens that turned out to be a hoax left more than a few editors red-faced.

This round was kicked off with an article in the Guardian looking at reasons behind Japan’s rapidly declining population. Since then, sound-bites have been repeated and distorted, and the spiralling birth rate figures have become a hook for a spate of ill-informed, voyeuristic articles that fail to note that the ‘weirdness’ they see before them is far from representative.

Read more here.

Sex work: thoughts on ‘selling your body’

Those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while will know that I’m firmly against the criminalisation of sex work. I call it sex work because the term recognises that, as with any other form of work, there should be terms of sale and workers’ rights and safe working conditions. Besides, sex workers pay tax.

But this post is less about the actual work than the language we use to talk about it. Specifically, it’s about the huge problem I have with the phrase ‘selling your body’.
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A lesson in how not to apologise, courtesy of Tequila UK

Last week, a promotional video was released on Facebook advertising a club night called Tequila UK, hosted by Mezz in Leeds. It was ugly. A presenter went around asking clubgoers ‘How are you going to violate a fresher tonight?’

This is kind of close to the bone, because I studied at Leeds. I’ve never actually been to Mezz but I’ve walked by it a few times.

You can read a few of the responses from the video below. HUGE trigger warning on this one…
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