Monday, 18 September 2017

Why the Tabloids' Presentation of Women is So Harmful

by Ellie Williams-Brown

A few weeks ago, Premier League footballer Wayne Rooney was caught driving while three times over the alcohol limit. To make matters worse, when he was arrested in the early hours, he was driving the car of a woman who was not his wife. It emerged that he had claimed they had decided to “romp”. Infidelity in marriages is not new, and neither is sexism in tabloids, but there is a specific kind that becomes increasingly apparent since the Rooneys became the centre of the media.

Since the incident occurred, the media have been placing pressure upon pressure on the Everton player’s heavily pregnant wife Coleen to stay with him. Social media users have reminded her that “millions of men” have done this and urgently pressed her to help her husband be “better”: it’s her duty.

Headlines of Wayne’s “week of turmoil [taking] a turn for the worse when his wife was spotted out and about without her wedding ring” seem a little ironic. Shouldn’t it be Coleen’s week of turmoil? It was her who had the father of her unborn child nearly cheat on her and “humiliate” her so that she feels, according to media reports, that “the whole world is laughing at her”.

It’s ironic how lightheartedly Rooney’s indiscretions against his pregnant wife are treated, especially by The Sun, which created a ‘hall of shame’ where women who had cheated on their partners could be called out and publicly humiliated.

What’s even worse than this casual brushing away of Rooney’s cheating is how the blame is shifted onto Coleen. Why hadn’t she taken fewer holidays? If she had been at home with the kids, not off with them in Majorca, this never would have happened! Why hadn’t she placed stricter rules on him or offered stronger ultimatums after previous transgressions? Doesn’t she know that Wayne is a “manchild” whose every need and want must be met by her, as he is so reliant and incompetent? Despite how outlandish many of these questions sound, a lot of them have been asked with a serious expectancy that Coleen should answer them.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Experiencing a Hurricane: A Personal Story

by Millie Braund

Last week, Hurricane Irma, a category 4 storm, raged across the Caribbean and the east coast state of Florida, U.S.A. The event was covered by news stations all over the world, and led me to think back to a similar storm named Hurricane Charley in 2004. Although only four years old, I vaguely remember experiencing the hurricane, but ultimately remember being told an abundance of stories when growing up, by my parents and older siblings, due to the fact that we were caught in the very middle of it. During August of 2004, my family visited our holiday home in Florida for what was thought to be a relaxing break. This is a story they shared with me.

When news of the storm heading our way first came, we were staying in a hotel for a few days on the beautiful, sun-kissed coast of Longboat Key, which lies on the west-side, commonly known as the ‘Gulf-side’ of Florida as it sits on warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Charley was predicted to hit landfall near Tampa, which is just north of where we were staying. As the storm came closer, the state authorities used television, radio and SMS broadcasts to order the evacuation of all people along the west coast affected by this prediction; This included us and about 1.9 million other citizens. At this point, we set off on a relatively long journey back to our holiday home near Orlando, dealing with the inevitable queues of traffic created by the evacuation; what would normally be a two and a half hour journey took us about eight hours.

When we finally settled back at our home, we tracked the storm on television. When it eventually made landfall in the early hours of the morning, it actually hit much further south than predicted. Shocking Floridians with its sudden change of course, the hurricane hit shore at a coastal town called Punta Gorda. The damage was devastating, due to the strong winds and the storm surge, which is where the sea level gets ‘kicked’ up due to the offshore wind. With the area being quite low lying and flat, the local impact was catastrophic. Sadly, several people lost their lives in Punta Gorda, amongst them some elderly people from a retirement community near the coast. The irony of our story is that, having been evacuated from Longboat Key, which did not feel the full force of the storm, the hurricane changed path, tracking diagonally across Florida, and right over where we had evacuated to in Orlando. So, we had to prepare the house for the oncoming storm - a direct hit; we brought all the pool furniture in and put sofas and beds up against the windows.

Photography: Lanner Falcons

by Tony Hicks

The Rise and Fall (And Rise) Of Portsmouth Football Club

by Sudeep Ghosh

Portsmouth Football Club, affectionately referred to as “Pompey” by its supporters, has seen a difficult road these past few years. It is surprising to think that the 2008 FA Cup champions had sunk to the fourth division of the English football system in under five years, in perhaps the greatest decline in English football history.

During their time in top-flight football, Portsmouth FC had gained a reputation for their passionate supporters. Although the ‘Fratton Park’ seats just over a mere 18000, significantly smaller than other top-flight clubs, the sheer noise alone would put larger stadiums to shame. The iconic stadium has played host to some of the greatest players in the football history, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Ronaldinho, George Best and Cristiano Ronaldo. Fratton Park was also used for the 1948 Summer Olympics.

Their high profile rivalry with fellow south coast side, Southampton was always exciting to see. Although Portsmouth FC dominated the rivalry for many years, Southampton FC currently find themselves the better side (unfortunately). However, “The Saints” find themselves in a trophy drought - spanning over 40 years since they last won the FA Cup - in 1976. Incredibly, when Portsmouth finished last in the Premier League in 2010, they immediately found themselves FA Cup final again. Although, they were not able to achieve the feat again, the FA Cup success continued for the crumbling side.

The darkest days for Portsmouth FC arrived in 2012, when they were in danger of liquidation. In an incredible feat of passion and loyalty, ‘The Portsmouth Supporters Trust’ was formed and thousands of fans invested to save their beloved club. They were successful in raising over £2 million, and became legal owners of the club, ultimately becoming the largest fan-owned football club in England in the process. The inspiring story was well received around the country, and many large clubs voiced their respect for the fans’ dedication to their club.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Photography: Storm on the Island

by Steve Page

Storm photo - taken while looking across to Isle of Wight from Southsea Hover Terminal on Thursday night

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Helena Normanton: First Woman to Practice at the Bar.

by Elizabeth Howe

In November 1922, Helena Normanton became the second woman in the United Kingdom to be admitted to The Bar. Although the first woman called was Ivy Williams, Helena Normanton went on to become the first woman to actually practise.

Helena Normanton’s early life is fairly unknown. She was born in London in 1882 and was accepted on a scholarship to York Place Science School in Brighton in 1896, having moved there after the death of her father when she was three. In 1900 she was a pupil teacher within the school, but was forced to leave when her mother also died and she was needed to help look after her younger sister and live with her aunt. In 1903 she began studying at the Edge Hill Teachers' Training College in Liverpool, where there is currently a Halls of Residence named in her honour. Legal historians have no real idea why she made such a radical change of location, yet another mystery of Normanton’s early life.

It is during this time that Normanton seemed to develop her passion for women’s rights, a passion that would be evident throughout her extensive legal career. She joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) under Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst. However, in a short space of time she began to feel that the WSPU was a flawed organisation in which the leaders made decisions without consulting the members, and a small number of wealthy women seemed to hold sway over the majority. In 1907 she and seventy other members of the WSPU split off in order to create the Women’s Freedom League (WFL). The WFL did not differ too far from the WSPU in its tactics as it became a militant organisation and over one hundred of its members were sent to prison for demonstrations or refusal to pay taxes. Only in the matter of destruction of commercial and private property and violence did the WFL criticise the WSPU as it was strongly opposed to these methods. As well as this, unlike the WSPU and the suffragists, Normanton and the WFL remained staunchly pacifist and refused to support the war from 1914-18.

Time Lapse: Art and Medicine

by Imogen Ashby

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

HMS Queen Elizabeth Arrives in Portsmouth

by Tony Hicks

Why Anne of Cleves was the Cleverest of Henry VIII's Wives?

by Eleanor Barber

Hans Holbein's portrait of
Anne of Cleeves
Although Anne of Cleves is often described as the ugly one of Henry's wives, she was undoubtedly the cleverest of them all, outliving Henry and surviving his son Edward’s reign and much of his daughter Mary’s reign. 

Before Anne’s marriage to Henry there is no mention of her lack of beauty and Thomas Cromwell had assured Henry that “Every man praiseth the beauty of the same lady as well for the face as for the whole body”. Before Henry became consumed with dislike for her looks, Anne was seen as a pretty young woman able to to be married to a high standing noble or a king.

Henry was not interested in his marriage to Anne from the start and was simply marrying her for the political alliance with the dukedom of Cleves, due to England dwindling allies at that point in Henry’s reign. This was also why Henry could not divorce her straight away, so as not to break the tentative alliance England had with Cleves.

Henry being so disgusted by her he did not consummate the marriage, later telling his doctor that he did not believe that she was a virgin. While Henry complained about his new wife, Anne was acting the part of a dutiful wife doting on her new husband. However, in contrast to Henry’s claims, Anne had little idea of a consummation was about as she told an attendant that she thought that she may be pregnant saying  “When he [Henry] comes to bed he kisses me, and taketh me by the hand, and biddeth me, Goodnight, sweetheart: and in the morning kisses me, and biddeth me, Farewell, darling. Is this not enough?”. This statement showed to the court and Henry himself, that Anne was a virgin due to knowing so little.

By spring 1540, Henry had set his eyes on a next wife, Catherine Howard, one of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting. In June 1540, Anne was ordered to leave the court by the council. Upon hearing that her marriage was being questioned, Anne fainted, fearing the fate of Catherine of Aragon or, worse Anne Boleyn (i.e execution). After their marriage was deemed illegal, Anne wrote a letter to Henry offering herself as his “most humble servant”. By the end of their marriage Anne had only been queen for 6 months.

Elizabeth I
At the end of their marriage, due to Anne’s compliance during the divorce , Anne was awarded Richmond Palace among other homes, and was declared the kings “sister”. She was above all subjects, apart from Henry himself, his children and any future wives he would have. He allowed her to live almost as a queen but without the ageing Henry, who was many years her senior and becoming increasingly unwell. She was given many new jewels and furnishings for her many new homes and benefited from the income that her homes and land provided.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Short Story: Hostage

by Lottie Allen

 Peace is a beautiful concept - appealing in every way. But once reality obscures your path, normality is lost in an ocean of grey.

The intruder remained unseen, unknown and unheard - nothing more than a shadow. Moving with easy grace, taking calculated steps; the epitome of perfection. The importance of this job was a heavy burden to carry, and knowing that one wrong step could expose him was his greatest fear.

His presence was an omen - a bad one.

When a soft voice called out, he was startled and stumbled clumsily. A moment of weakness. The noise seemed to ring in his ears. He almost didn’t notice a flashlight wavering and shining in his direction as he threw himself aside, chastising his rash behaviour and pitching up against the wall. Minutes passed and the flashlight edged back, warily.

Undiscovered, he composed himself and paused to adjust his hood. Each clouded breath was just visible in front of him, trembling imperceptibly. He wondered faintly, if he’d imagined the voice. A stillness had settled in the air and his skin tingled, unnaturally. Listening, he strained his ears for the familiar sound of soft footsteps.


Dread effectively paralysing his body. Abruptly motionless. Unease and insecurity drowned him, his breathing was ragged and loud. His knuckles clenched white and he pressed himself closer to the wall, forcing himself to go on. 

Time was of the essence; he could not afford distraction.