Expand beyond your container: In conversation with Witch and Astrologer, Grace McGrade

I’ve been thinking about magic recently, and where we can find it during the pandemic. In part I of this series, I looked back at my childhood spell book and realised that I used (what I thought was) magic, in order to make sense of the world and try to take back some control over it. In this instalment, I spoke with the absolutely ethereal Grace McGrade on what practising witchcraft is really like, and how we could all benefit from a little more magic in our lives. W2W: Hi Grace! Can you tell

Do you believe in magic? Exercising control during my childhood

Like many kids, I used to believe in magic. I believed in fairies and trolls, and looked for evidence of pixies in my garden; I used to think the tree spirits would talk to me if I could only figure out how to hear them, and I left notes under rocks and studied where the rain smudged the letters, in the hopes it would reveal a fairy-message. I absolutely, unequivocally, believed. My conviction for magic extended to myself, and I believed whole-heartedly that I was a witch. I don’t know where thi

My First Week Meditating: Zelda Solomon

On the surface, university culture does not seem well suited to meditation. It’s full of all-nighters, parties, fleeting relationships, emotions, and high-stress work routines. Additionally, I am a university student who is filled with anxiety and of the type to think they never have enough time. I am in my final year and am making time for meditation for the first time in my life. This week is particularly stressful for work, but I am hoping to push past my resistance and practice meditation e

Growing on me: the cult appropriation of female body hair [@sophiahadjipanteli]

Dazed Digital profiled influencer Sophia Hadjipanteli, for their editorial on 2021 beauty trends, as the founder of the #UNIBROWMOVEMENT. Though her unibrow is natural, Sophia is white (born in Cyprus) and Dazed has, since, been critiqued for white-washing. The reality, for many South Asian and Middle-Eastern bodies, is that the unibrow is not a trend but something steeped in cultural history and stigma. Kurdish model, Deba, articulated the all-too-familiar patterns of appropriation – where some

DAY FOURTEEN: No Problem, I understand : digital antagonism and the algorithm

Zelda Solomon discusses the problems of digital discrimination and the racist underpinnings of algorithms, through the incident with An Nguyen, a Vietnamese curator due to exhibit at the Affordable Arts Fair, only to be rejected because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its associations with ‘Asianness’. One of the first examples I saw of anti-Asian discrimination in response to corona-virus was that of An Nguyen, who is a Vietnamese curator that was due to exhibit an installation at the Affordable

AI: A white utopia

In the age of technological naivety, robots and artificial intelligence were seen as raceless and objective machines. However, as anthropomorphic technology has advanced and more and more robots are being designed, a critical question has emerged: why is AI so white? Most AI is racialised as white, from the white humanoid Sophia of Hanson Robotics; the blonde-haired blue-eyed Cindy Smart Doll, to the dawn of AI Kismet, with its white colour, blue eyes, and light eyebrows. We see it in popular c

Dash & Lily : Showing interracial Japanese-American love on screens [#DashandLily]

Dash & Lily is the new Netflix series starring Austin Abrams and Midori Francis, and I am not ashamed to say I absolutely fell in love the first time I watched it. Based on the book by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, the eight episode series follows the relentlessly cheery Lily and the satirical holiday-hating Dash as they run around New York, writing each other clues in a red notebook. It’s about young love, getting out of your comfort zone, and Christmas magic. Its exactly the type of escapist

Conditions of Acceptance

One of the most popular Asian stereotypes is the doctor. Often depicted as calm, collected, with robotic-like intelligence, the Asian doctor swoops in to save the day. However, even when 20% of total National Health Service health occupations in the United Kingdom are BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic), and the 44% of BAME medical roles specifically are mostly Asian and Chinese, the stereotype of the Asian doctor has not prevailed in the fight against the Coronavirus. Far from celebrated, Asi

Is new “Zen” consumerism cultural appropriation?

In this unprecedented climate, an interesting symptom is the rise in self-help products and trends including tidying, skincare, remodelling and fitness; all, by my books, great things. However, over the past months we’ve seen a growing trend of new consumerism and faux-spiritualism that is perpetuated by Marie Kondo, Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand) and Queer-eye. Examples including “ten products that spark joy” on my timeline followed by “a minimalist’s makeup bag and how to create one.

How social media has polarised racial discourse

On 23 October in Congress, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez highlighted how Facebook does not fact-check their political ads, and how this can be used to manipulate the masses. This is an example of the complete lack of integrity evident in our news sources, which has been sacrificed in favour of profit. It is important to acknowledge this corruption on a societal-scale, because our model of conversation is now based on social media interaction, and this is one that values quantity of cli

Mindless Consumption : Asian Culture as Fashion Trend

In 2007, Dior’s Haute Couture collection by John Galliano consisted of exaggerated Kimono styles and geisha makeup which simplified Japan to its most basic cultural symbols. It is of no surprise then, that this collection was omitted, while Maria Grazia Chiuri’s cascading cherry blossom ‘Look 64’ was the centrepiece in the most recent exhibit at the V&A. Chiuri’s use of the motif was sensitive, complementary, and clearly well informed. Similarly, Maison Margiela’s cult favourite Tabi boot is an

Isle of Dogs & Cultural Appropriation

Isle of Dogs is a charming film and feat of stop motion animation. It’s set in a futuristic Japan, where dogs have been outlawed by the government due to complex cat-favouring conspiracy, and the film follows a young boy, Atari, who’s mission is to save his canine friends. The film has been met with a lot of praise for its visual beauty alone, and I personally admired the old-school animation techniques that we saw only hints of in Fantastic Mr.Fox. Things like cotton wool clouds during fights,