Monday, 25 June 2012 16:40

Good Reads 25/06/12

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Each week, two E&M editors share their favourite European reads. From blog posts to essays, it can be anything that amused them, worried them or got them thinking about Europe.


Juliane, Diaphragm Editor 

Feminism: It's a girl thing

When I tell people that I'm a feminist, they often shrug and think I'm crazy. What's left for feminists to be mad about? Women can work in almost any kind of profession and the universities are filled with women. We've won the battle, some might say. Well, I beg to differ. The reason we still need feminists to speak up about the way things are is because there still is a problem with the attitude towards women. Unfortunately, it seems that the latest example of this has come from the EU - who apparently have not learned much from their last PR disaster. The video "Science - it's a girl thing" produced to attract more women to the natural sciences proves that we still have a long way to go in terms of changing attitudes towards women. Apparently, the EU thinks women need to believe that science is about pretty scientist girls and hot scientist guys in order to be attracted to it. The EU has withdrawn the video, but for me, the damage is already done. Think about how many people must have reviewed this video before it was released - and not one found it offensive? That's why I'm still a feminist. Read more about why it's a problem to think that girls can only be attracted to science when it involves lipstick here.

Brace yourselves: The festival season is coming

For me, summer equals festivals. Some people might not agree with me, but a dirty field, loud music, sleeping in tents and drinking beer all day spells happiness to me. I've already been to two festivals this year - Distortion Festival in Copenhagen (which The Rolling Stone magazine dubbed the European version of SXSW, the largest music festival in the world) and Northside Festival, the German Southside Festival's little sister in Aarhus, Denmark. In a few days, I'm going to Roskilde Festival for the 7th year in a row (hint: Keep an eye out on the blog...) - but there are dozens of other opportunities to enjoy the music, the beer and the beautiful people all over Europe. Here are a few options to choose from and be inspired by.

Tweet, tweet: I'm crazy

I love the idea. I really, really do. The Swedish government turns over a twitter account (@sweden) to different citizens each week, the idea being that the best people to showcase Swedish culture and mentality are the Swedes themselves. Well, it worked fine... Until Sonja got to make the calls. I'm not quite sure if it's for real or not, and some of the things are just outright offensive, but I can't help but think that her photoshopped picture of Freddie Mercury ogling a strawberry salad entitled "hungry gay with aids" is the most absurd (and possibly, if she actually means what's she tweeting, the most offensive) thing I've seen online in ages. Check out the story here.



Carmen, Brain Editor

Wardrobe Politics

The internet, especially twitter, reacted dramatically to the football match between Greece and Germany. No, I don't mean hatred from fans because of the crisis, but rather the reaction to Angela Merkel's outfit! Many were surprised to see the Chancellor jumping and cheering like a little kid, wearing a badly-fitting, styleless, and displeasingly green suit. Gasp! How can the most powerful woman in Europe disgrace herself (and her country) with outfits that men wouldn't want their wives to be seen in! And then it made me wonder: how important is a female politician's outfit at her job?

Apparently quite important. In an interview, Merkel's wardrobe advisor Bettina Schoenbach explained the logic behind "choosing the right clothes," in order to create the right message and image. "We all use clothes for a purpose. They have an impact on behaviour and underline a woman's power," says Ms. Schoenbach. "When a woman walks into a meeting and looks elegant, she can get more done."

So my fellow Europeans - how can we think about solving the Eurocrisis and other world problems when we cannot understand the (un)importance and (ir)relevance of wardrobe politics?

Europe is not sorry either

The Sheffield Doc/Fest refused to drop the documentary "Ai Weiwei: Never sorry," a documentary made by New York-based journalist Alison Klayman about the Chinese dissident's daily life and struggle, from their programme and was boycotted by the Chinese delegation.

Europe has taken a lenient position towards human rights issues in China in recent years, due to the Chinese financial "support" received by the EU. Many Europeans have been disappointed by this political trade-off, but we can still make our voices heard with a film ticket. (Trailer of the movie can be found here.)

Politics aside, this article shows the artistic value of the documentary, which is being shown now in cinemas across Europe.

Do YOU want your food genetically modified?

Here is a discussion between Europeans, including politicians and citizens, on whether GM food should be banned in Europe. Some argue that GM food is actually healthier for us. Others remind us that eating genetically modified chicken does not modify humans, genetically and that the chickens' DNA will not invade our body. Insightful or not, it is good to know the European civil society is engaged and, well, food conscious! 

Last modified on Monday, 25 June 2012 21:39

If the Editorial team had an actual office it would have to stretch from the corner of Britain to the edges of Spain, Sweden, Germany and beyond. (With frequent trips to America too) .  The term 'from the editorial office' then, is very much a figure of speech. 

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