BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Debate

  1. Butler’s Stunted Legacy: Twenty-First Century Perspectives on Sex-Work

    Over a century ago, Josephine Butler passionately campaigned against the Contagious Diseases Acts, which allowed the arrest of those believed to be prostitutes operating in seaports and military towns. In just three years, her efforts were successful but the discussion about the decriminalisation of sex-work remains as relevant as ever. Although the act of selling sex is not illegal itself in Great Britain, solicitation, procuring, and running a brothel are all criminalised under various twentieth-century laws. In Northern Ireland, even the first act is a crime due to a recent 2015 law there. Abolitionists argue that these laws expose sex…

  2. The Myth of Individual Action and Ethical Consumption as a means of solving the Climate Crisis

    On the 22nd October 2018, the government launched its plastic straw ban. The decision was made as a reaction to fears of the threat to marine life posed by the 150 million tonnes of plastic sitting in oceans all over the globe. It is estimated that, as a nation, England uses 4.7 billion plastic straws a year.[1] One finds, however, that while billions of plastic straws end up in our seas, this only amounts to about 0.022% (to 2s.f.) of the mass of plastic waste that hits our oceans annually.[2] So, in reality, the straw ban is an example of…

  3. In the wake of IS: “Holding them to justice”, and “deradicalisation”

    After many years of war and fear, the body which calls itself Islamic State has seen its territory reduced to only a few hundred square metres. However, as their support weakens, this gives rise to a new problem; how do we deal with those individuals who left the UK to fight for IS, but now want to return home? The issue is a complex one, given the brutal actions of IS and their direct attacks on UK land and citizens, on which many have strong opinions. More than 900 people travelled to Syria and Iraq from the UK; of this…

  4. Butler Talk: Broadcasting the News, Reflecting our Communities

    As part of the college’s Butler Talks, ITV correspondent Helen Ford visited the college in early November. ITV regularly holds their diversity panel, run by Helen, which is made up of members of the public and Josephine Butler students. Thus, the topic of representing diversity in television formed the majority of the talk. After a small drinks reception in the SCR, students and staff were led to the seminar room for Helen’s fascinating talk. The discussion highlighted the potential difficulties and possible solutions when attempting to fairly depict diversity in television. The attempt to show diversity in news reports seemed…

  5. Debate: Should Scotland become an independent country?

    Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since 1707. On 18th September 2014, citizens will have the chance to vote on whether Scotland should become an independent country in its own right, but opinions on the subject are polarised. Here, two Butlerites present either side of the argument for Scottish independence, a debate which has divided the nation. Yes: Kieran Devlin explores the reasons why Scotland should become independent… In this conflict of sneering demonising and contrived one-upmanship, where one “camp’s” mantra is fundamentally petulant fear-mongering, and the other’s fundamentally naïve uber-nationalism; rationality and objectivity is a myth. It’s…

  6. Fashion Debate Part 2: Fashion as an outlet for big ideas

    ‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening’ – Coco Chanel (cited in Madsen, 1991). ‘Hussein Chalayan is a politically engaged designer whose view of fashion succeeds in awakening an awareness of the challenges facing our civilisation’ – Visitor’s Guide to ‘Hussein Chalayan: Fashion Narratives’ (Le Musée de la Mode et du Textile Exposition, 2011). In many ways, despite its adversaries, fashion is an outlet for ideas, and big ideas at that. Although it can be a product…

  7. Fashion Debate Part 1: The fashion industry and the ‘image’

    ‘Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months’ – Oscar Wilde (cited in Esar, 1949). ‘Anyone who regularly contemplates clothing for more than five minutes a week is wasting their life as surely as the most lethargic, do-nothing heroin addict imaginable’ – Charlie Brooker (2007). Fashion has long been criticised for being vain and superficial. In more recent debates about size zero models, however, the industry has also been discredited for undermining women’s self-confidence and health. Liz Jones, who resigned as editor of Marie Claire in 2001 due to her failed…