When boys struggle at A-level, it’s a crisis. When girls do, it’s celebrated, by Sian Norris
It’s that time of year again, when papers post pictures of jumping girls while middle-aged white male celebrities pompously explain how failing their exams never did them any harm. It’s A-level results day!
This year, the Daily Mail greeted the results with a resounding “Let’s Hear It For The Boys” headline (it was later updated). For the second year in a row, male students outperformed girls. The Guardian, meanwhile, reported “the proportion of students in England gaining C grades or above in A-levels fell back this year, driven by a relatively weaker performance among girls”.
This shift towards improved boys’ results has come after a change to A-level courses was introduced. The new structure places more emphasis on final exams, with less coursework and fewer practical assessments. A 2013 study by the Independent Schools Association, as reported by the Telegraph, claimed that “a shift towards more end-of-course exams would […] have a disproportionate impact on girls who appear to favour coursework-style tasks”. …
Love Between Black Girls Has the Power to Save in Night Comes On, by Claire Heuchan
Angel is a girl with a mission. On her eighteenth birthday, she’s released from juvie after a year’s imprisonment. She leaves with two objectives. One: to find a gun. Two: to find out where her father lives. Newcomer Dominique Fishback gives a captivating performance in Night Comes On, the flashes of vulnerability in Angel making it impossible to look away from the devastating story. Angel’s mother was murdered by her father, who has been living free while his two daughters were shunted from foster home to foster home.
The driving force behind the film is Angel’s need to avenge her mother’s death. In her single-minded pursuit of these goals, it becomes clear that Angel is as determined as she is loyal to the memory of her mother. Only one thing has the power to shift Angel’s focus from revenge: her ten-year-old sister, Abby. …
The illusion of inclusion, by @wordspinster
Feminists (and other progressive types) talk a lot about ‘inclusive language’, and it’s generally assumed that we’re in favour of it. But what exactly is it? What makes a word or an expression ‘inclusive’? And are feminists’ purposes always best served by inclusive terms?
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, feminists criticising conventional usage rarely talked about ‘inclusive’ (or its antonym, ‘exclusionary’) language: we talked much more about ‘sexist’ and ‘non-sexist’ language. As the issue became more mainstream, other terms came into use which were seen as less overtly political and thus more palatable to people of moderate liberal opinions. Many included the word ‘gender’: it became common for institutions to formulate policies and guidelines about ‘gender equal’, ‘gender free’ or ‘gender fair’ language.
The concept of ‘inclusive language’ has become popular more recently, and it represents a further move away from the original feminist critique of sexism. ‘Inclusiveness’ is much more general concept: guidelines on ‘inclusive language’ may address concerns about the linguistic representation not only of women, but also of other marginalised groups like ethnic minorities, disabled people and LGBT people. And while most feminists would probably see this broadening as a good thing in principle, some (myself included) might argue that in defining the problem as ‘inclusion versus exclusion’ we have both narrowed the scope of the earlier analysis of sexism and lost some of its more radical insights. …
How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work), by @rae_ritchie_
WIN: DFO pulls down ‘Starving for Fashion’ billboard after protest initiated by 13 year old, by Melinda Tankard Reist
It’s so good to be able to share another win with supporters. This one thanks to 13-year-old Melbourne teen Naomi, who spotted this billboard advertising the DFO at Morabbin Airport in Melbourne
Naomi told her mother, long time supporter Gloria Anderson, who texted me the images and her daughter’s comments.
“I knew it was wrong because it was promoting anorexia, sending a message that you need to be skinny to be fashionable, which is obviously not true.”