Listen: Sylvia Patterson’s “I’m Not With the Band”

Listen: Sylvia Patterson’s “I’m Not With the Band”

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I’m just gonna come right out and say that this memoir, by longtime music journalist Sylvia Patterson, is one of my books of the year. Patterson has had an incredible career, spanning over thirty years and some of the most influential music magazines of all time. Whether writing about Bros, Britpop or her tough childhood, she is never less than witty, compassionate and engaging. The woman has a way with a killer sentence and a bonanza of wild experiences. You can listen back to my review on RTÉ Radio One’s Arena here.

Reevaluating Young Women’s Love of the Selfie: TEDx Galway

Reevaluating Young Women’s Love of the Selfie: TEDx Galway

 

When I got an email from my students last October asking if they could nominate me to do a TEDx Talk, my immediate reaction was ‘hell, no.’ As a broadcaster and lecturer, I’m more comfortable than most at dealing with public speaking but the TEDx format is a specific type of beast. No notes, no script; a live audience, yes, but not one you can volley with. It’s just you, on a stage, talking for up to 18 minutes about your big idea with no where to run and no where to hide.

I said ‘yes’ to the nomination because I believe in the power of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quip about doing something every day that scares you. Doing a TEDx Talk, I figured, would be my quota of being scared filled for the year. Anyway, there was no guarantee I would be accepted – until I was.

On February 6th, 2016, I stood on the stage of the Town Hall Theatre, Galway, and spoke about my PhD research, which examines young women’s engagement with the selfie. A PhD is a knotty and sprawling piece of work so I focused on a small but I think significant finding of mine: how Simone de Beauvoir’s analysis of women and narcissism in The Second Sex can help us better understand the appeal of the selfie to young women today.

The idea of the TEDx Talk format is that you finish by issuing a ‘call to action’. Mine was simply that instead of dismissing young women’s engagement with the selfie as narcissistic and self-objectifying, we should be striving for a deeper understanding, keeping in mind that female representation in our cultural, political and social institutions remains a work in progress.

I would never have gotten this opportunity if it wasn’t for my students from the MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights at NUI Galway. This talk is dedicated to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Independent Review: Meghan Daum’s Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed

Irish Independent Review: Meghan Daum’s Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed

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It is the social trend that often dare not speak its name – childfree by choice. American author Meghan Daum acts as editor of a fine collection of essays on the subject entitled ‘Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids’. I reviewed this recently published anthology for the Irish Independent, which you can read here.