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I May Destroy You (IMDY) was written and directed by, and stars, Michaela Coel, a black actress, screenwriter, producer, director and singer who was born in London. She is of Ghanaian descent. It is a comedy-drama that follows a young woman, Arabella (Michaela Coel),

in London, who realises that she was taken advantage of and her drink was drugged, on a night out with her friends. The series follows her life and the lives of her friends, Kwame (Paapa Essiedu) and Terry (Weruche Opia), who have also been taken advantage of.

IMDY is the rawest and most honest show I have ever watched. Despite it being a show that may cause some viewers to remember awful and personal incidents, I am grateful that issues such as consent, sexual assault, mental health, racism and queerphobia were addressed and portrayed in the UK. Attaching characters to such issues makes them personal and doesn’t allow others who may not face these issues to detach themselves from said problems.

Other linked themes such as friendship, black people within the LGBTQ+ community and careers, are highly topical in the real world. Seeing these manifested in the show made me feel seen as a young black woman in London who is about to enter the adult world. The reviews and comments about IMDY on social media revealed that I was not the only one who felt this way. The show put these topical conversations in the spotlight, especially on social media, which raises awareness and becomes a form of education. This is why it is the best British series I have ever watched. Michaela Coel’s ability to capture the reality of different Londoners' lives and weave them into the three main characters is a work of art.

We, as an audience, are given the space and time to explore the lives of Arabella, Terry and Kwame and watch how they intertwine. Their friendship group is played so well, it was quite hard for me to believe that they are acting. From each person behaving as a support system, allowing criticism to flow through the group, as well as having days where they argue, I was taken on that journey of what a real friendship can and cannot look like.

I was not only drawn to the realism and topics that were brought up during each episode. I was also drawn to the way comedy is intertwined so well, despite the intensity of the topics that are communicated, offering the audience a sense of release. Some episodes were very intense and raw I felt it would be difficult for me to continue watching, yet there were always points after such scenes that allowed you to relax, breathe and let go of the tension.

I love how this series can educate us on the different identities and people within the UK. We are able to see in depth how certain Londoners, who are not your stereotypical Brits, live and tackle what it means to be a Londoner and a minority.

AUTHOR: Olamide Taiwo

My name is Olamide Taiwo and I’m 18. I have always loved to write whether it be poetry, reviews, essays etc. Becoming a blogger allows me to write and publish issues that I see and go through. So I hope the readers hold on because this will be a pleasant but bumpy ride😊.

Pay discrimination in the workplace based on gender – surely that’s a long distant memory, right? Wrong. Pay separations based on gender for the same quality of work continue to hold women back and prevent economic mobilisation even in today’s society.

According to the Press Gazette, a shocking 91% of UK-based media companies paid men more than women on average in 2018, indicating the vast gap in terms of economic outcomes for both genders. Of the worst gender pay gap offenders, the Telegraph Media Group came out on top with a median hourly pay gap of 23.4%.

Whilst the UK is arguably in a ‘better’ position than other developing countries that have even more severe gender discrimination in the workplace than just a pay gap – with the existence of women in many senior executive positions virtually invisible – the gender pay gap is nevertheless an issue which affects all nations and must be combatted. Whilst the wider pay gap across all industries has largely shrunk in most countries, some are actually seeing a rise in pay discrimination, such as Portugal, whose pay gap rose to 17% in 2016.

Several UK media based organisations have pledged to address these issues by conducting investigations into pay and revamping their recruitment so that it represents a 50:50 gender split in the workplace. However, only time will tell if these changes will be effective. In order to combat this issue more globally, particular attention will have to be paid to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which addresses the promotion of gender equality and the importance of decent work and economic growth for each individual, regardless of their gender.

It is all well and good encouraging women to flourish in the media industry and take up key roles as presenters or executives, but until they are supported financially and feel encouraged to speak up, without an environment of discrimination, sadly there will be little progress. We must bridge this gender pay gap and heal the economic scars of the pasts, rather than continuing to let it divide us.

Photo credit: Nick Efford

AUTHOR: guest blogger, Lauren McGaun

As a woman and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, sex education for me was unhelpful to say the least. In fact, the only sex education I experienced in my Methodist school was in GCSE Biology, where we learnt about the science behind the different sexes and nothing more. Interestingly, my male friends in school were taken aside and provided with condoms and a brief explanation, while the other women and I were not.

It has been a while since I was in secondary school and I have learnt that sex education, or RSE, has recently been reformed. In 2017, Education Secretary, Justine Greening announced that she planned on developing a standard form of ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ within schools. This is due to be implemented in September of 2020, with improvements to the information provided by teachers about contraception, same- sex marriage and consent.

However, upon closer inspection of the full report of the proposed changes, I was disappointed to learn that discussions on the LGBTQIA+ community were mainly focused around the family image, and not actual relationships.

Whilst there are improvements in the overall teaching of sex education, with emphasis on safety and healthy relationships, there is a lack of information on pleasure and sexual acts, especially within LGBTQIA+ relationships.

There is also the concern surrounding the parents’ rights to remove their children from RSE up until the age of 16. Children deserve to understand RSE before they reach the age of 16, as usually their experiences and exposure will begin before that age.

While it is a huge improvement to the curriculum, there is still some way to go. There will be difficulties with religious schools, as we have seen with the protests outside of UK schools (although these are rare) alongside parental interference with the teaching. However, we are seeing progress that has been needed for many years.

AUTHOR: guest blogger, Katherine


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