opinion

  • Paying For A Boots Covid Test Is Morally Indefensible

    As NHS staff struggle to access vital testing, private tests are furthering the divide in an already increasingly unequal society, writes Dr Dominic Pimenta

  • I’m a survivor of baby loss fighting the taboos of miscarriage

    Women and men should not be secretly suffering loss, the “M” word must be spoken about and part of comprehensive fertility education

  • 'I'll stay fit in lockdown,' I said. What an absolute joke

    'I'll stay fit in lockdown,' I said. What an absolute joke. Six months of pandemic has taken its toll on my body. Maybe the only sane response is acceptance

  • There is nothing immodest or immoral in talking about periods, as Bodyform's new advert shows

    At 11 years old we were ushered into an empty classroom for "The Talk". Girls went into one room and boys into another, emphasising the secret nature of the things to be discussed. For about an hour, the nurse they had called in told us about the female reproductive system, periods and how it all worked. At the end there was a Q&A; and the brave few who raised their hands were given practical, shame-free answers. We all left with a “goodie-bag” containing a packet of tampons, a handful of sanitary towels and a booklet on how our bodies worked. Whilst the science was no secret and we had sex education lessons all together in our class, the idea that periods were “woman things” and not to be discussed with the boys was cemented in our minds.At 14, I read Carrie by Stephen King. From the brutal beginning (a girl gets her first period in a high-school changing room and believes herself to be dying), to the final blood-soaked climax, the whole book is a testament to the primal nature of menstruation and the negative associations. For Carrie, her blood inspires cruelty in other girls, religious insanity in her mother and, ultimately, her death as she leaves the book the way she entered it – blood-soaked and publicly humiliated. The book was written in 1974 but banned from American school libraries in 1992 due to the swearing, anti-religious themes and references to puberty.

  • Covid-19 has pushed Britain outdoors – but will the habit stick?

    Covid-19 has pushed Britain outdoors – but will the habit stick?. It remains to be seen whether our ‘alfresco revolution’ is sustainable or just another of No 10’s overoptimistic, short-term fixes

  • Britain's obesity strategy ignores the science: dieting doesn't work

    Britain's obesity strategy ignores the science: dieting doesn't workRather than counting calories and stigmatising fat, we need to take on the food and weight-loss industries

  • Think a 'mild' case of Covid-19 doesn’t sound so bad? Think again

    Think a 'mild' case of Covid-19 doesn’t sound so bad? Think again. Otherwise healthy people who thought they recovered from coronavirus are reporting persistent and strange symptoms - including strokes

  • Young people now read the news on Instagram – and it’s changing the way they see the world

    For those waking up and scrolling through a repetitive feed of lockdown sourdough starters, quarantine craft projects and kids scribbling their latest artwork, the news that a quarter of Brits aged between 18 and 24 used the Instagram as a main source of coronavirus news in April may come as a shock. The social media platform is now poised to overtake Twitter as a primary news source.At first the finding, part of a broader report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, seems rather unusual. Instagram is the ship that launched a thousand Z-list celebrities – the queen of whom, Kylie Jenner, is alleged to have overinflated the value of her digital presence. Instagram is where you to find out where the Love Island stars partied at the weekend, or to ogle at your favourite yoga influencer’s picture-perfect life.

  • People are using illegal drugs to help them cope with the mental distress of lockdown

    Necessity, rather than choice, has prompted some into “do it yourself” healthcare during the Covid-19 crisis. Thankfully dentists are opening again, so people don’t have to pick up a set of pliers to relieve toothache. But we’re beginning to get some insights into how people in lockdown are dealing with other aspects of our wellbeing – mental health in particular.These insights have been provided not by mental health services, who have recorded a downturn in referrals since the outbreak of coronavirus, but from a recent survey of illegal drug use. Although there have been a few surveys of drug use by various organisations, this survey not only asks which drugs people are using but crucially why they are taking them.

  • British fashion needs to slow right down, and lockdown is the perfect time to do it

    Sustainability has been a key topic in the fashion industry for many years now, but it has come under even sharper focus during lockdown.In May, the British Fashion Council and the Council of Fashion Designers of America released a detailed plan – and a warning – to the fashion industry on how they must slow down production and use the coronavirus crisis as an “opportunity to rethink and reset”. Time will tell whether brands take heed of that warning.

  • Elon Musk and Grimes should leave their baby out of their constant need to troll us

    Most people will likely know Elon Musk more recently for his use of Twitter missives than for his exploits as an entrepreneur with Tesla and his SpaceX programme.From the liberal left, Professor Neil Ferguson to even shareholders in one of his own companies, Musk is never shy of ploughing his own path and courting the media controversy that involves. The tycoon is obviously aware of the rewards, and the pitfalls, of such an approach for his brands. Whether he is doing it for his businesses or for his own entertainment is clearly of little consequence.

  • We are not ‘all in this together’ until the government steps up to protect domestic abuse victims

    “Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.”When your home isn’t a safe place to be, that vital public health message must seem like an incredibly difficult one to hear.

  • If you’re home schooling your children this summer, you can’t just forget about sex education

    With Britain’s families suddenly stuck in household lockdowns that span generations, one silver lining is that some of us are able to use the opportunity to enjoy unprecedented amounts of family fun. Cheerful gangs of relatives are getting up to mischievous raw egg japes and Les Mis-style singalongs. It’s all good wholesome intergenerational bonding.But if you find yourself struggling for a family friendly activity to fill some of the hours, how about having some conversations about sex?

  • Meghan and Harry were pushed away by us – if we’re feeling any loss right now, we deserve it

    I don’t think you have to be a memorabilia-clutching royal super-fan to be a little bit sad that today marks Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's last official engagement for a while.The couple will join the queen at the Westminster Abbey Commonwealth day service, a day designed to celebrate the cultural links between former territories of the British Empire – although it used to be the less politically correct “Empire Day” – in other words, a day dedicated pushing a sense of British superiority onto the rest of the world...

  • It's time for feminist men to start practising what they preach and do 'women's work'

    I regularly attend meetings where a group of women talk politics while a group of men look after our children. They cook and serve us a meal, and do the washing up, too. The meetings are of the Women’s Strike Assembly, a collective that – as part of a growing international movement – is struggling towards a red feminist horizon, “dismantling the capitalist patriarchal systems of power that oppress us all.”The global women’s strike movement calls upon all women able to refuse to work – we’re building a strike fund to support those who otherwise couldn’t – to do so on 8th March, International Women’s Day. Our strike won’t look like traditional industrial action, because most of the work women do is unpaid: preparing kids’ food (and picking it up when they spill it), washing bedsheets, remembering appointments, keeping husbands happy. Where “women’s work” is paid, it is often performed by women of the Global South, and therefore underpaid and undervalued.

  • Being a new father is hard. We should be supporting men, not demonising them

    It’s not easy being a bloke. On the one hand we want them to show their emotions more, speak up, not to bottle things in, but on the other hand we still expect them to be the “strong” ones when life rattles and we all go tumbling down.Remember the Friends episode where Rachel goes out with Bruce Willis and he’s a super macho man who never makes himself vulnerable with her? She pushes him to emote, then dumps him after the dam breaks, and he spends the entire evening sobbing in her arms about every little detail of pain he has suffered over the years. How deeply unsexy we all agreed it made him, sympathising with Rachel. In a society where the biggest killer of men under 40 is suicide, that scene may not stand the test of time.

  • Harry and Meghan's millennial oversharing is forcing the royals to be more transparent – it will be the monarchy's undoing

    Rarely has a headline writer’s coinage proved as bankable as "Megxit". The parallels between the two news events are unending: a seemingly snap decision that anyone looking hard enough should have spotted a mile off; outrage from the corners of society that precipitated the crisis; an outpouring of anger that, for some, smacks heavily of racism and xenophobia.The only difference between the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the Sussexes’ decision "step back" from royalty is that Harry and Meghan, at least, seem to know what they are doing.

  • The Male Beauty Industry Boom Is A Sign Of Regression – Not Equality

    Corporations are getting better at imbuing the same anxieties into men that women have about their beauty and bodies, says writer Dejan Jotanovic.

  • I'm a GP registrar – here's what's going to happen to the NHS now

    You may be forgiven for thinking this election began and ended with three words: “Get Brexit done”. But as an academic clinical fellow in general practice, I was left wondering: what does the Tory majority mean for the future of our NHS?Somewhat buried in election coverage was the news this week of the longest A&E; waiting times since records began – 12-hour trolley waits are five times what they were in 2012. This on top of the worst cancer referral and treatment waiting times on record. It’s been repeated so many times it’s almost lost its meaning, but the NHS is in crisis.

  • I’m a full-time parent to a one-year-old son. Where’s the support for me at this general election?

    In the great election giveaway, our main parties are outbidding each other to offer more free childcare, but neglecting parents who wish to care for their own young children at home. Free childcare encourages parents to entrust their babies and toddlers to professionals and return to work. It penalises parents who would prefer to do the job of raising their children themselves. These policies reveal a failure of imagination and threaten to skew parental choice.I’m a first-time mum to a one year old and I’ve experienced for myself the chasm of social support between the end of parental leave and the start of the school term following a child’s third birthday, when they become eligible for at least 15 hours of free childcare per week (more if both parents are working). Aware of parents facing the crunch, the parties are now vying to narrow this gap. Labour says it will extend paid maternity leave to one year. The SNP matches this pledge and wants to extend overall shared parental leave too.