Ten Magazine #62

Ten Magazine #62 unsensored

And to Issue 62 we went… As you must know by now, each of the issue carries a theme which is reflected in the keywords on the cover of the magazine. For this one, the strap line is Pro-Choice, Uncensored, Codes, a nod to powerful women who are breaking the barriers of gender norms and what is considered to be the “right way” to be a woman today. Some of those figures are part of our newest issue, like our first cover star Adesuwa Aighewi (wearing Chanel) styled by another one of those women Anna Trevelyan, and photographed by Dexter Navy. But who better to let talk about the issue than our editrix, Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou. Take it away: the Editor’s letter…
“In 2006, Tarana Burke, an American social activist and community organiser, began using the phrase “Me Too”. In 2017 it became popularised after the American actress Alyssa Milano included it in a tweet, in which she encouraged victims of sexual harassment to reply and “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”. The words “Me too” were tweeted by Milano at about noon on Sunday, October 15; by Monday afternoon they had been used on Twitter more than 500,000 times. On Facebook, the hashtag was used by more than 4.7m people in 12m posts during the first 24 hours.
However, there does seem to be a moral divide between #MeToo and its critics, who disagree over where the responsibility for sexual abuse should be located – whether the onus should be on women to navigate, withstand and overcome the misogyny they encounter, or whether it should be the shared responsibility of all of us to eliminate sexism, so that women never encounter it in the first place.
We’ve never been more free to express ourselves, but as Nellie Eden so perfectly says in her piece, “We must still be prepared that our ‘sexy’ underwear may be used in court against us if we happen to fall victim to rape… It’s a difficult time to be young and female and thriving, and maybe the most difficult time yet to be sexy.”
When the social feminists of #MeToo call for changes that would make harassment, assault and other forms of misogyny rare, their very act of collective imagining makes such a world more possible. The more we stand together behind this demand, the easier it becomes to envisage a world where respect is common, where cruelty is rare, where all of us think with more empathy and intelligence about the lives of others, and where being a woman will not doom us to suffering or limitation.
The themes of this issue – non-censorship and pro-choice – are a way to explore how we navigate this new landscape. Is it possible to be liberated and free without self-censorship? Or is the real challenge being liberated from this spectre of censorship?
In our attempt to achieve and explore these ideals of freedom of expression, will we be vilified for being too overtly sexual and “asking for trouble”? Will a new puritanism infiltrate our psyche? It’s an idea the artist Arvida Byström, profiled in this issue, resists in her work, which weaponises pink, turning the cliché of femininity on its head. It’s also something the painter Celia Hempton explores daily with her unflinching but beautiful portraits of intimate areas of our anatomy.
We are now being actively trolled for how we express ourselves through the choices we make, how we behave and the way we dress. Censorship and judgment are everywhere and easily rained down on us by the call-out culture on social media, which has become the judge and jury of our times. I wanted to include these strong female voices and create an environment where we represent and respect their individualism. For me, this issue truly celebrates these women’s very personal liberated expression, without judgment.”
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