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A Man on Women's Day

31st March 2011

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A female invasion of campus is probably a welcome idea for the majority of the male student demographic at Southampton University. However, the feminist fest Women's Day struck a chord of fear in the heart of this manly reporter on the seventh of March this year. 

A close friend and a stalwart radio presenter, sat cocooned in the basement studio, paralyzed by the possibilities attached to a trip to the upper level's vending machine; 'there's feminists up there...'muttered the media mogul, with a worried look that suggested suspicion that they might be listening.

Hours later, crippled by hunger, I took the plunge -surely demolishing this growing hunger would make up for whatever feminist barrages the top floor of the maze-like union may have in store?

As the weighty double doors connecting the stairs to the level four reception swung reluctantly open a whole world of womanly wonder was exposed. Directly before me stood a cardboard shack playing home to a wickedly perplexing female shaman. Hanging from the ceiling were for interconnected black shirts, the remnants of a theatrical display that Winchester artist Joe Ellis described as 'incredible' before leading me eagerly to his exhibit 'The Board Room' which lay inside a self-assembled plasterboard room;

The buoyant Ellis had collected ten pieces of great art work from local artists, inspired by an online article which suggested that thirty percent of all workforces should be female. The catch of Ellis' exhibit was that you had to guess which three of the ten pieces were the work of female artists, which proved devilishly difficult. Proving that photographs of newborn babies aren't necessarily always taken by women's hands.

After this embarrassing failure at gender-guessing I retreated hastily to the union cinema where a showreel of local female film makers was in full swing, I was greeted by a particularly impressive piece in which the application and removal of make-up in different stages was shown in the four quarters of the screen. The showreel was the neighbour to a whole market of female-themed fancies from feminist literature to hand-made accessories. 

Far from the male-damning persecution we had feared, the only problem with women's day was that the union looked a lot more dull in its absence.


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