Sarah Bates

Testosterone Rex

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Testosterone Rex is a firm riposte to the recent book Testosterone: Sex, Power and the Will to Win, which places testosterone as so important that “a simple fact remains: without testosterone there would be no humans to have a history”. This bold claim is challenged by neuroscientist and feminist writer Cordelia Fine, who wrote the bestselling Delusions of Gender.

The Clan

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Based on a true story The Clan is about a criminal family in 1980s Argentina, a period when the military dictatorship was coming to an end and democracy was reinstalled. The Clan follows the Puccio family’s antics in kidnapping rich neighbours for a ransom.

It is a politically turbulent period, with their first victim having already been kidnapped before. It is never made explicit, but it is implied that father Arquimedes learned the tactics of extortion through working for the state.

The Rent Trap

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There are 11 million private renters in the UK. Staggeringly high rents, low interest rates and historically low social housing provision mean that vast numbers of working class people are unable to afford secure homes. On average private renters now spend 47 percent of their take home pay on rent, rising to 72 percent in London. In response to this a reenergised housing movement is attempting to take on the powerful private landlord lobby and the lack of affordable homes provided by the state.

Art Angels

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Pop music is political again. If it’s not that X Factor alumni Little Mix tweeted against the bombing of Syria, it’s that one of the most critically acclaimed records of the year is about climate change. Art Angels is Canadian Claire Boucher’s fourth studio album, and certainly her most ambitious to date.

On this, her first self-produced album, vocals are layered on top of each other, creating an otherworldly electropop. Sounds of the rainforest and the natural world are heard over energetic beats.

Students sell sex to pay for education

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A study released earlier this year made the headline-grabbing claim that 5 percent of students are sex workers.

The Student Sex Work Project, based at Swansea University, was set up to explore the specific experiences of student sex workers and review support networks and advice centres inside Higher Education.

The study has reignited debates around sex work, choice and sexuality. Sex work is defined as “the exchange of sexual services, performances and products for material compensation”.

Radical Feminism

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Radical Feminism is largely a history of the Reclaim the Night (RTN) protests, but Finn Mackay also explores some of the debates around the feminist movement in Britain today. She provides an interesting, if potted, history of the women’s liberation movement and the recent questions surrounding feminist organisation and ideas around language, privilege theory and intersectionality.

Nightcrawler

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Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, an unemployed thief who becomes a freelance video journalist to escape a life selling scrap metal.

With the aid of a police scanner and a car he is first to the scene of crimes, films the immediate aftermath and sells the footage to a local news channel.

While ostensibly a crime thriller, the real tension doesn’t come from the crimes, but from Bloom’s increasing desperation to appease the demands of news editors.

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