Beautiful World, Where Are You

…Fantastic Sex Scenes

Beautiful World Where Are You is Sally Rooney’ hot ticketed, successive, novel. After the grand-slam of Normal People, enacted into a BB3 series, then aired on BBC 1 amidst lockdown restrictions, her new novel was much anticipated. Book shops opened early for its UK release; September 7th, within five day it had sold over forty thousand copies, conquering the book charts with literary splendor.

Sally Rooney was in the news afresh last week, the highly ethical author refused publishing rights to the Israli publishing house which she had worked with previously. This was inline with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), a Palistinion led culture and economic sanction group tackling Israli companies at the helm of segregation and human rights violations.

Beautiful World Where are You, is well worth the wait!

Well worth the wait!

**Spoiler Alert**

We were presented with an expressly up-to-the-minute Ireland. We had: Tinder dates, lengthy discourse over intercourse email, bi-sexuality and casual narcotics. Sally Rooney attended the Liverpool Literary Festival in October 2018 to give a reading from Normal People which had just been long listed for the Man Booker Prize. The 2018 Biennial was running over that period and the title, Beautiful World Where Are You is said to have been taken from the arts festival. 

As with Normal People we are afforded an outcry of excellent, but vividly real sex scenes. The two central couples in the narrative, Alice and Felix, Eileen and Simon are rampant in the bedroom department. Graphic touching prevails, at a point of passion Felix refers to Alice’s genitalia as Cunt. However, this is not crude or off putting, it is aforementioned in a rather seductive manner. What overrules in both relationships is the intercourse revolves around the woman’s pleasure. Equally, both men are ardent to ensure the woman orgasms before they ultimately release. The author provides the femme characters with the essence of sexual devotees all women merit. 

The author provides the femme characters with the essence of sexual devotees all women merit 


Sexuality is elevated throughout the plot, a major theme in her initial novel: Conversations with Friends. The relationship between Alice and Felix appears to have been developed from a short story ‘Mr Salary’ which she had published at an earlier stage. Alice and Felix are mutually bi-sexual, they confer over this early on in their relationship, both are comfortable with the scenario. However, we are not bestowed with a radical view of sexuality through the novel, their carnality  is essentially normalised. In a mid way chapter, Felix phones Alice to say he can’t make their arrangement that evening. He proceeds to go out with his friends from the warehouse in which he works,  intoxication on beer and casual narcotics follows. Back of several text messages to Alice, she complies to him coming over, culminating in him virtually passing out when his head splurges over the pillow. Could we have a more straightforward synopsis than this? A writer who keeps it real and reminds of all the insane encounters archived  in our long term memory.

The satire of Alice finding porn exploring annal sex on his homepage

A first-rate third novel which jet-packs us to a contemporary Ireland. On a Global stage, Sally Rooney is certainly one of the strongest Millennial authors to have emerged in recent years. Questions have to surface over the relationship between herself, a greatly successful fiction writer and the character of Alice, a prosperous author. Is she utilizing the character of Alice to vent her frustrations over the publishing world and her individual exuberance? Concluding during the early stages of lockdown, Felix being dejectively affected through lack of employment and intense boredom. The last chapter of the novel appears to jump forward eighteen months, perhaps constructed after the other chapters had been edited, the gap appearing more extensive as a result of everyday life changing so much due to the pandemic. A novel with feminist pursuits throughout also appears to be questionable when it transpires that Eileen is pregnant with Simon’s baby. What was once an on/off non committal relationship becomes a happy-ever-after tale on automatic pilot.

And…fantastic sex scenes

https://bdsmovement.net/

When ‘the Rag’ is ‘the Rag’

Let’s talk about Period Poverty

Period Poverty identifies with women and girls not able to afford menstruation products. Equally, the lack of understanding around menstruation and aims to reduce taboos around the subject.

The latest research from Plan International UK in regards to Period Poverty dates to December 2017. (https://plan-uk.org/media-centre/plan-international-uks-research-on-period-poverty-and-stigma)

To summarize: 10% of girls are unable to afford sanitary wear and 15% struggle with cost. 14% have needed to borrow menstruation products due to financial matters and almost 20% have chosen a less suitable product due to cost. Further details are given around taboo’s and stigmas around menstruation, the most alarming being 14% were not aware of what was happening when they started their period and nearly a quarter didn’t know what sanitary product to use. 

Period Poverty looks to have surged during the pandemic. ‘A bloody good period,’ the leading charity for supplying sanitary produce to food banks and community groups have seen a 6 fold rise in demand since the start of the pandemic. 

Period Poverty results in girls absent from school and women not present at work. Poorer standards of education may result in dropping out, girls becoming more vulnerable to violence, abuse and sexual exploitation. Adults most affected are often: refugees, homeless women, students and those on a low income. Principly, stigma and financial issues result in women not being able to have their period with dignity. 

What Can I do to help end Period Poverty?

Firsty, buy brands which give to period poverty charities, Always being a market leader. Make cash donations to charities such as action aid with tackle this issue globally and the homeless period which help women who are rough sleeping. The Period Project, Merseyside does incredible work, forefronted by Natalie Denny, she also provided opportunities for direct donation of unused menstrual items and there are opportunities to get involved further. Become involved in activism, Bloody good period promote opportunities through their website and signing petitions is not to be forgotten. Raise awareness through in person talks and via social media which has developed into a more powerful tool over the course of the pandemic. Finally, educate yourself, are you aware of what a menstrual cup looks like?

https://periodprojectmerseyside.com/

https://www.bloodygoodperiod.com/

Oppression; the push-up bra

 

Oppression colour copy

Oppression: the push-bra

Oppression identifies with a core item of woman’ under apparel as a leader in female subjugation: the Push-up bra.

A push-up bra pushes the breasts abnormally upwards to present the image of a larger cleavage. It is a fantastical projection of what women should look like, an imaged informed by the male gaze. The female presented has been hypersexualized, the figure of a centrefold pin-up popular with male magazines such as FHM and Playboy. We see an abnormal image of a female-shaped by the push-up bra, a girl who is stick thin but large breasted. We do not see the imaged of a woman with a large bosom balanced out by the healthy weight of her hips, we do not see a health athletic girl with a modest bust to match the slenderness of her body.

Push-up bras are unhealthy, they increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Not wearing a bra at all is not immoral or an invitation for sex, oppressive messages of the necessity of bra wearing are passed down from previous generations as part of societies dress codes.

In ‘Oppression’ we see the push-up bra presented by the barbed wire structure of the apparel which represents a restriction of bodily movement. Towards the top, we see stray sections which look to potentially burst the almost fake, balloon-like breast forms. On the lower section, the stray wire draws towards the rib cage showing a dangerously thin girl, possibly even anorexic. The pastiness of the skin and the lack of colour in her tome subterfuges the image of poor health.

The image of the woman is finished off with the ultimate image of Domination: the face being obscured from view with the low-economy household paper bag. The final stamp like font entitling the piece ‘Oppression’.

This is a strong graphical image of female oppression, an artwork which looks to promote breaking free from the restrictions: physical and psychological of the push-up bra.