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Performing Femininity

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The Harry Potter series on display in Windsor, England. Anton Ivanov/

Rethinking Harry Potter twenty years on

The twentieth anniversary celebrations of the highest-selling book series of all time are now coming to a close. 2017 has been a milestone year for Harry Potter fans in their twenties and thirties, who…
Hugh Hefner in 2001with Playboy ‘bunnies’. EPA/Glenn Pinkerton/LVNB

Playboy, Brooke Shields and the fetishisation of young girls

The passing of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner prompted both positive and negative eulogising. From one perspective, he was a revolutionary who helped to dismantle the long-standing secrecy and shame surrounding…
Neigeline advertisement, London, advertisement, 1895. Author supplied

Meg Ryan’s face and the historical battleground of ageing

The day after the horrific Orlando massacre, the highest-trending topic on Facebook was the appearance of Meg Ryan’s face at the Tony Awards. Like Renee Zellweger before her, the perception that Ryan has…
Damon Jah/flickr

Why ‘Uber for women’ is not discriminatory

A planned Uber-style service, currently named Chariot for Women, is recruiting thousands of female drivers across the United States. The drivers will only accept women and child passengers. The aim of…
Nabokov’s Lolita received numerous vicious reviews. Chris Lott/flickr

In the world of Goodreads, do we still need book reviewers?

Throughout history, book reviewers have sometimes been comically off the mark in their assessments. A New York Times reviewer described Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita as “dull, dull, dull in a pretentious…
The Wizard of Oz series was swept from US libraries in the 1930s and 1940s. Wikimedia

Sex and other reasons why we ban books for young people

When most people think of book censorship, they imagine political regimes and potentially book burning in Nazi Germany. What is little considered is that most books that have been challenged or banned are books for young people.