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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.

PODCAST: responsible reporting of sexual assault trials

Following on from our guidelines on how to report sexual assault trials in Scotland, and high profile court cases around the world and here in Scotland, we've produced a podcast exploring the role the news media has to play in responsible reporting of sexual assault trials. Hosted by Alys Mumford of Engender, it features:

Dani Garavelli, freelance journalist and columnist for Scotland on Sunday. She has won feature writer of the year at the Scottish Press Awards for two years in a row now, as well as being a regular finalist and winner at the Write to End Violence Against Women Awards.

Professor Karen Boyle, director of Gender Studies at Strathclyde University. Karen has written extensively about issues of feminism and the media and last year authored #MeToo, Weinstein and Feminism – providing a much needed feminist analysis of #MeToo and sexual assault allegations against high profile men.

Rape Crisis Scotland's Press and Campaigns Officer, Brenna Jessie. Brenna has campaigned on responsible media for much of her life, including with the No More Page Three campaign and on highlighting inaccurate and sensationalist reporting of violence.

You can listen to the podcast below, and if you have been affected by any of the things we've talked about today, you can call Rape Crisis Scotland on 08088 010302 or find them online at https://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/. You can also contact the Scottish Women's Rights Centre if you're not sure what your rights are - they're at ScottishWomensRightsCentre.org.uk.

There is also a transcript of the podcast available here.

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Gender Equal Media Scotland is currently looking for a Development Officer to help shape our vision for a Scottish media which treats women equally – as employees, as contributors and as subjects of media attention.

Feminists never buy the Sun (with apols to Billy Bragg*)

Engender's Communications and Engagement Manager Alys Mumford writes for Gender Equal Media Scotland about the misogyny of the Sun's recent reporting on JK Rowling. Follow Engender on Twitter @EngenderScot.

You can contact Scotland's Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or webchat with them at www.sdafmh.org.uk

The Sun is hardly renowned for its fair and respectful attitude towards women. From Page 3 to the countdowns towards young celebrities’ 16th birthdays, its desire for sales and clicks far outweighs any consideration for the impacts of sexism and misogyny.

Their latest front page to have, rightly, caused outrage features a quote from JK Rowling’s ex-partner, bragging about his abuse of her. Not only does this show a cynical exploitation of a ‘hot button topic’ (the interview follows a controversial piece by JK Rowling about her opinions on trans inclusion), but it amplifies the voice of an abuser in a way which will be very distressing to anyone who has experienced violence against women. It also plays directly into the well-worn tropes and myths around violence against women: a focus on physical violence, a centring of the perpetrator, a justification of abuse.

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.

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