Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Opinion

Some Things Never Change: Body Positivity or Toxicity?
Lifestyle, Opinion

Some Things Never Change: Body Positivity or Toxicity?

By Beth McCowen As the weather gets hotter, and the events that have been in our diaries for months are finally rolling around, it’s time to switch up our wardrobes to include some summer attire after months and months of cosy jumpers and trendy scarves. As joyful as the sunshine, floral dresses, and holidays can feel, this transition in season, and therefore style, is easier for some than it is for others. Throughout the autumn, winter and even spring months, we often grow used to hiding away our bodies, our insecurities, under clothes in which we feel comfortable, usually on the basis that they show less of our skin than the alternatives that are more practical for the summer.  For those who have struggled with eating disorders, other health problems, or difficult relatio...
It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over
Culture & Literature, Opinion

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

By Olivia Taylor We are led to believe that everything that starts eventually has to end. Last year as a part of my compulsory ‘Thinking as a Critic’ English module we briefly discussed teleology, specifically looking at its relation to literature. In a philosophical sense, teleology essentially describes the purpose of something by its finality rather than how it came to be, and so when this theory is applied to literature, often it becomes apparent that continuity cannot always be as rewarding as closure may be. The state of closure brings about a sense of completeness, it yields satisfaction. When it got to the point of writing our final assignment for this particular module, I was drawn back to our previous studies of closure with a question titled, ‘For what reason, if any, is clo...
How Did Life End Up With Us?
Culture & Literature, Literature, Opinion

How Did Life End Up With Us?

By Felix Poreé and Olivia Taylor Introduced as the first book of a quartet titled "The Secrets of Life: From Big Bang to Trump", SS O'Connor's How Did Life End Up With Us? presents itself as an attempt to answer the most pertinent of questions surrounding the laws of life, from the start of the Big Bang all the way to the ‘decisions’ that organisms make that ultimately determine their chances of survival. One anticipates that such questions would require substantial scientific research, and although O’Connor admits he is not a scientist, his undertaking, given to the reader in a conversational writing style, is divided into specific chapters that aim to cover such topics as natural selection, gene mutations, and evolutionary change, down to parasitism, mutualism, and altruism. O’Con...
The Democratic Downfall of Journalism
Opinion

The Democratic Downfall of Journalism

Daniel Pearl was an American journalist. Near the time of his abduction and death, he had been working in Mumbai, India as the Southeast Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, but had travelled with his family to Karachi, Pakistan to report on the United States’ War on Terrorism following the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda in 2001. Pearl was recognised for his journalistic detail and his ability to empathise with how humanity - and our own human nature - is affected by international issues. Consequently, he was considerate of the reported portrayal of the Islamic world towards his Western readers. Nevertheless, during his time in Karachi in early 2002, Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by several Islamist jihadist groups working together, operating under the Lashkar-e-Omar umbrella. ...
<strong>Where do we even begin? </strong>
Opinion

Where do we even begin? 

I left the tube station, aggressively double clicking the side of my phone to ensure that Apple Pay, custodian of my Monzo card, was ready to do its job. The expected bout of hyper self-awareness kicked in, certain I was subjecting myself to the glares of the people behind who were shouting obscenities at me in their heads. I was absolutely sure of this. I went through the ticket barriers without a hitch, unlike a man ahead who had a less fortunate experience and, as a result, our lives intersected for a few brief minutes. Dressed in a blue suit with a carefully placed Prostate Cancer UK badge pinned at the lapel, he strolled through the station with a wide stance, and an increasing verbose rhetoric of disappointment. Without remembering his exact words, he claimed he was shocked and d...
<strong>‘Positive’ Discrimination: Race, Language and Labels</strong>
Opinion

‘Positive’ Discrimination: Race, Language and Labels

‘… “Reverse discrimination”, which translates to “Keep those Negroes running – but in their same old place”.’  – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnics). POC and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of colour). Catch-all, pre-packaged tags ready to slap on those boxes we call ‘people’, when we feel so inclined. Establishment guarantee included, free of charge. My gripe with race terminology has long been one of passive resistance yet complicit subscription. This is my guilty confession; more so, this is a personal attempt to unravel the netting of politically correct and functionally useless labels which colour (pun intended) our ever-growing vocabulary of racial identification.  A few mandatory disclaimers before I let loose. Conversations...
Nostalgia
Opinion

Nostalgia

Nostalgia: from the Greek Nostos meaning “return home” and Algos meaning “pain”. The word literally means the ‘suffering evoked by the desire to return to one’s place of origin’. Of course, today the word takes on a different meaning, yet there is definitely something to be said about the pain of looking back.  The complex emotion of nostalgia often depends on our experience of the present. It's ironic how a concept all about the past can be completely dictated by the present, and the prospect for the future. At times it can be hard to think back to a time when things were less complicated, less lonely, less painful - or just less. Knowing how good things once were can show you just how far you’ve fallen. It can make it seem impossible to claw your way back to that happy place. Th...
Fresh Starts
Opinion

Fresh Starts

What even is a fresh start? Is it when you finally decide to put in place that new skin care routine? When you paint the walls and move furniture around in a room to make it feel brand new? How about when you move to a new house, town, or country? When you walk into your first class in September, or when the clock ticks past midnight on New Year’s Eve?  Why do we look for fresh starts? What makes us feel the need to start over and do something different? Does it originate from a deep sense of stagnation? The feeling of not being good enough? Is it the sense that we could do better?  I once rented a house which had one of those patterned, textured wallpapers in the hallway. It was painted over with a fresh coat of white paint to make it look brighter and more modern, ready ...
No, I Haven’t Finished Yet
Opinion

No, I Haven’t Finished Yet

You didn’t orgasm, and now they’re rolling away from you. Their chest is heaving, and you aren’t all that out of breath. You get that sinking feeling that you’re done now. There’s a stickiness in between your legs and a heaviness in your chest, and you can’t articulate that deep discomfort you’re feeling. Maybe you did. Maybe it was the best sex of your life, but they’re already getting up and heading to the bathroom without you. It makes sense; they’re cleaning themselves up, but you feel rejected. Instead, you hug your legs to your chest and call yourself over-sensitive. Sex is a three-part story: the build-up, the act, and the aftermath. We know how the build-up goes; a coy dance that ends in people deciding that this, this is good. Sex itself, the climax of this performance. It’...
Westernisation of the Media
News, Opinion

Westernisation of the Media

What is the value of human life?  What is a “dominant western ideology”? It is best described as the propagation of a rigid geopolitical identity that prioritises western values, while concealing and alienating third world countries. As you can imagine, this is a deeply embedded narrative determining the discussions and outcomes in any political or academic space . Nearly all types of media coverage perpetuate western models of journalism, navigating desirable political views, and consequently overlooking the baseless claims that they might be making or insinuating.  Historically, the tendency to privilege and perpetuate narrow-minded western thought traces back to the Imperial age. During a time when minority groups were glorified, and the elitist perspective involved “saving ...