- Words Notion Staff
Rated Reads shares our pick of the best articles from around the web. This week: should Love Island be more LGBTQI+ and a menswear collection challenging whiteness.
With the return of Love Island to our screens this week, many of our timelines have been flooded with updates about the show. Amelia Abraham in Refinery29 questions whether the show’s tried and tested formula of boy meets girl is in need of a change-up.
“As for gender and sexuality, Love Island’s hyper straight and cis setup just doesn’t reflect how young people actually hook up today. The number of people who identify as heterosexual is consistently falling, with one YouGov study from a few years ago finding that almost half of 18 to 24-year-olds do not identify as entirely heterosexual. There are no good statistics on how many people identify outside of the gender binary in the UK but new research finds that there are 1 million non-binary adults in the US, while 41% of Gen Z have said they identify as neutral on the spectrum of masculinity and femininity. Clearly, Love Island’s not representative, but the question is: Does it have to be?”
Abraham takes care to answer the question thoughtfully, from looking at the risk of fetishization of the LGBTQ+ community, to the risk of stereotyping, homophobia, biphobia or transphobia.
Mahoro Seward interviews Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Işık about their menswear collection which goes against cultural appropriation, instead picking apart “whiteness” which, Seward argues, have “remained relatively immune to appropriation”.
Seward writes that their collection White Noise is an “inquest into how items like jodhpurs and riding boots, Fair Isle knits and sumptuous furs, become coded as the property of a socioracial milieu — rich white poshos, basically — and the subversive power of putting Brown and Black bodies in those clothes.”
It’s “’almost drag, isn’t it,’ Benjamin says. ‘It reminds me of this scene in Paris Is Burning, where the category is ‘Town and Country’.'”
Dazed deep dives into The Extreme Self: Age of You by novelist Douglas Coupland, editor Shumon Basar, and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist. The book examines the internet age in fourteen chapters, getting to the crux of our current crises.
Douglas Coupland tells Dazed: “I do think that with The Age of Earthquakes we identified a huge number of tendencies within the broader culture which, in their moment, seemed almost unworthy of comment, like, ‘Yeah, but so what?’ It was only when hyperpolarisation, BLM, and COVID ignited the fires that suddenly most of it made almost shocking sense. We staged ‘The Extreme Self’ in Toronto in the summer before COVID and many Canadian critics tried to posture and dismiss the show as flat-footed avant garde alarmism. When COVID and 2016 hit, we were the only show of any sort on earth that had any form of broad accurate diagnosis.”
Mochi – scrumptious rice flour bites filled with anything from bean paste to chocolate mousse – have taken over the world. Alice Cantor looks at why (though, to be honest, we’re not too surprised) and how the sweet treat is evolving, from cookie dough fillings to donut rings to cannabis-fuelled versions.
With the dessert selling out, new branches of mochi stores are opening across New York, Paris, and London.
As Victoria Mas’s bestselling debut The Mad Women’s Ball is published, Octavia Bright traces our fascination with “mad” women. The novel fictionalizes a shockingly real-life event in which women from Salpêtrière hospital were let loose into the city for one night only for the Lenten Ball.
Citing Jane Eyre, The Woman in White, and The Yellow Wallpaper as examples, Bright says “these works of fiction are all allegories for how the very real repressive forces of patriarchy drive women mad in the first place.”
Yet this trope has a more sinister presence in the present day, with Britney Spears “the perfect example: hounded by paparazzi until she snapped, then, against her will, placed under a conservatorship by her ‘concerned’ father.”
Michael Lanigan explores Dublin’s burgeoning electronic scene in the face of the city’s re-development. As tourism booms, the city’s musicians are struggling.
“In May of 2018, this sense of decline was compounded when a warehouse venue called Hangar was demolished and replaced with a hotel. In January of 2019, Tivoli Theatre, which hosted the District 8 club, was also torn down to make room for an aparthotel. But the heaviest blow came in April of this year, with the closure of the alternative cultural space Jigsaw. It was ‘the beating heart of the city’, says Honeychild. ‘There was no space that had been so universally used by people in Dublin’s music and arts community, and where migrant labour activists and tenant unions could organise.'”