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This blog collates writing on women and media from across Scotland. If you’ve written a blog and are happy for it to be featured here, or would like to write something specifically for this site, get in touch.

Is a healthy social media possible? Keeping a positive mind-set about our bodies online and offline

By Petya Eckler, University of Strathclyde

As we spend endless days and weeks within the four walls of our homes in lockdown UK – with others or alone, with balconies or gardens or maybe just a window – many of us wonder how we’ll emerge from this isolation. “Divorced, broke, depressed, fat,” predicted one joke floating around Facebook yesterday. A before-and-after-lockdown photo showed Aquaman at quarantine day 1 who had turned into Rubeus Hagrid from Harry Potter by day 30. A meme shared by a friend showed a woman in lockdown making bread and mistaking her own protruding belly for the dough. My baking group posted a Fitbit photo between the waffles and scones, so we don’t feel fat from looking at all the food photos.

Even amidst a deadly pandemic, we still worry about how our bodies will look when they emerge from this crisis. All this isn’t entirely surprising though, as body image concerns are widespread and affect most of us even under normal circumstances.

From incidental to essential: Where is women’s pleasure in the sex we see on screen?

In this blog, Frances Rayner, founder of The Clit Test argues that it’s time the sex scenes we see on screen reflect what we know about women’s bodies.

“Pleasing, but ultimately incidental”.

That’s how sociologist, Dr Lisa Wade, has described the role assigned to women’s orgasms in the dominant cultural script around sex. This script paints penetrative sex and male orgasm as the goal of heterosexual encounters. Female orgasm is relegated - “a nice addition, a sign that the sex was good perhaps, but wholly unnecessary to the endeavour.”

Our cultural scripts have real life consequences. Women who have sex with men have alarming rates of unsatisfying, bad and even painful sex. The orgasm gap between men and women has been well documented; women who have sex with men are far less likely to orgasm during partnered sex than any other group.

Still a Man’s Game? Monitoring the Scottish Sports Media

By Andrew Jenkin, University of Strathclyde

For all the talk of COVID-19 and its impact upon men’s football, you may not have heard much about the implications of Coronavirus for the women’s game. Yet, given the different calendar for the women’s game - the new Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) season kicked off just over a month ago, for instance – the impact is arguably greater. Indeed, one of the early casualties of the lockdown was Glasgow City’s Champion’s League quarter final with Wolfsburg.

Gender Representation in the Media

In January this year, we launched our completely free online course on ‘Gender Representation in the Media’. Run in collaboration with Gender Studies at the University of Strathclyde, the course was a resounding success with participants from over 100 countries!

In light of recent circumstances, we’ve brought forward the start date of the next run of the course. It will now begin on Monday 6 April, 2020. More information – and a link to sign up – is available below!

Harpies and Quines and feminist magazines in Scotland

By Rachael Alexander, University of Strathclyde

Feminist newsletters and magazines have gained significant attention in recent years. From the British Library’s digitising of Spare Rib to the Canadian ‘Rise Up!’ feminist archive, the increasing accessibility of feminist publications has introduced them to broad new audiences. As we talk about in the final week of the ‘Gender Representation in the Media’ course, these periodicals were of vital importance for feminist activity and activism. For this reason – among many others – they are well-deserving of our attention.

But even with this in mind, and the broader increase in popularity, the Scottish context is usually overlooked. In this blog I’m going to think about why this is and dedicate some much-needed attention to Scottish feminist magazines, focusing on Harpies and Quines.

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