Soapboxes

Comment's home of rants; weird, wonderful, weekly.

CHIVALRY’S UNDEAD 
by Emma Bancroft

I was on my way through campus to a lesson with my friend when a boy came up to us, took his earphone out and asked if we were going to the same lesson.

We said yes and continued to walk and chat. What happened when we neared the building sent my friend and I into a state of total shock. Our companion trotted a couple of steps ahead of us, held the door open for us and gestured for us to walk through first. We nearly fell over with astonishment. Perhaps the reason we were so stunned by this, is simply because it’s becoming a rarity. Where have all the gentlemen gone?

I’m not saying that women are incapable of opening a door by themselves, but when a man opens the door in front of you, lets you get on the metro first, or walks on the road-side of the pavement, it really does put a huge smile on your face.

RACIST SANTA
by Henry Holborn

We all love Christmas traditions, right? How about the less than sensitive act of black-facing in the Netherlands?

Defenders claim it is an innocent cultural practice, with no historical links to racism.Black Pete’s (Zwarte Piet) origins are a depiction of Moorish pages, who assist a white Santa Claus in giving out presents to children. This draws on similar European depictions of black people, such as ‘gollywogs’ in Britain, as the performers wear black curly-haired wigs and red lipstick.

Whilst the intentions of many people who participate are not malicious, the outcome is nonetheless extremely offensive. Protest movements have grown, and clashes intensified in 2016. Police have practiced institutionalized racism by cracking down on peaceful protests. Some of the public have also vocally defended the tradition.

The case in the Netherlands highlights a wider dynamic across the ‘West’: namely, the normalisation of racism in popular and political discourse. Wilders, Farage, Trump, and Le Pen are all complicit in this disturbing pattern.

HANDS OFF
by Sinéad Corkett-Beirne

What gives a person the right to think that it is acceptable to touch part of someone else’s body without their consent?

This is the question I voiced to two men who I confronted in public after they groped my derriere as I travelled up the escalator at Monument station last week. Although to them it might have been a mindless thing to do, I found it incredibly demeaning. They probably weren’t expecting me to turn around and give them an earful, but dismiss their actions instead. What a pair of arseholes, pardon the pun.

It comes as no surprise to hear that one third of women have recieved unwanted sexual contact when in public, according to a 2016 study by YouGov. This sort of behaviour shouldn’t be normalised.

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