Newly Inked Narratives: The Significance of Tattoos in the 21st Century

One of civilization’s most enduring practices is tattooing, originating over five-thousand years ago, it is curious then that tattooing is also one of society’s largest contradictions; a practice that has been both revered and stigmatized, even within the same culture. Tattoos are fascinating because they’re permanent markings that are always changing, their popularity and significance always in flux. ‘Modern tattoos’ (those ‘inked’ in the 21st century) especially stand in stark contrast with their counter-culture counterpart from the late 20th century. The catalyst for this change being that at the start of the 21st century, Western society experienced the death of its dominant narratives, leaving little in its place. A tattoo’s context shifts with each generation, and the only constant is that they become prevalent when society needs those bold, permanent markings; modern tattoos are bastions of stability and meaning in a society that has experienced a cataclysmic narrative collapse. Continue reading

The Importance of Mature Themes in Young Adult Literature

Our media is a moral battlefield. Throughout history people have taken all forms of media and altered/ adapted them to suit their means. The issue always at the forefront is: “What is acceptable for children?”, and throughout the last few centuries what is acceptable has excluded most of the human experience. Fairy tales have been censored, and young adult literature is altered in order to suit an always changing ideal of ‘age appropriateness’. This paper will focus on that process of adaptation and alteration, examining the evolution of Red Riding Hood and The Hunger Games. Specifically the historical context of censorship, the removal of key themes and ideas, and how doing so makes great works disposable. Continue reading

What BDSM Teaches About Authority, Obedience and the Self

A large part of social psychology is the study of power, authority and obedience, within all aspects of our society. However, there is often an overlooked aspect/ lifestyle within society which is nevertheless important to many and a strong reflection of social psychologist’s concepts. BDSM can be a lifestyle, it can be the nature of a relationship or it can be a purely sexual experience. Within mainstream society it is largely portrayed as a type of extreme, dangerous sexuality involving whips, chains, leather and uniforms, and for many that is what it is. It is also a reflection of society and of our interactions. Continue reading

The Story of J: Jane Eyre’s Transition from Doll to Person

Jane Eyre is about power, specifically the dynamics between an object and its beholder. Throughout Jane’s development both she and the men she meets will objectify her, and only at the end does she become a person. It is less a novel about romance, and more how Jane navigates the power dynamics in her life. Charlotte Brontë’s novel addresses this explicitly when addressing the Victorian taboo of idolatry, alongside subtle allusions. Power is the ability to define the situation/ reality for yourself and others, and throughout most of Jane Eyre Jane lacks the ability to define herself. When Jane does, she defines herself as a doll whose power is an illusion. The powerlessness Jane feels and her struggle to assert herself is a powerful theme, which readers over centuries have been able to relate to. Continue reading