Archive for June, 2013

Time to Rewrite the Rules of Romantic Relationships?

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Guest Author: Dr. Meg Barker

We live in a time of deep uncertainty about romantic relationships. There has never been greater pressure than there is now to be a free and independent individual seeking personal fulfilment and pursuing our goals in life. At the same time, romantic relationships have been hailed ‘the new religion’ with the decline of spiritual beliefs and local communities, and with working life becoming more precarious for many of us. We turn to relationships to provide us with belonging, security, friendship, love, passion, and self-validation at the same time as wanting to remain free enough to follow our own dreams. It is no wonder, then, that we struggle with romantic relationships.

We generally respond to this uncertainty in one of two ways: either we turn back to old rules of relationships which people followed in the past or we try to develop new rules of relationships which might fit our situation better. In both cases there is a danger that such rules will become something that we cling to desperately, in order to avoid the distress of painful relationships or of being without such a relationship. Grasping onto the rules like this often makes things worse rather than better as we aren’t flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances or to make different commitments at different times or in different relationships.

My book, Rewriting the Rules, explores the old and new rules of relationships in a number of areas. For example, in the chapter on monogamy we start by exploring what it means to apply the ‘old rules’ in a world where people often have many close friendships and connect with new people all the time, and where sexual possibilities are available constantly over the internet. Then we turn to those who are writing their own rules in ways that open monogamy up, to additional sexual or romantic partners, for example. In the chapter on sex, we look at ideas about what makes ‘proper’ sex, and pressures to remain passionately sexual throughout a relationship, and we consider people and communities who have different kinds of sex – or no sex. In the chapter on gender we examine the conventional ‘Mars and Venus’ way of understanding problems in relationships and then consider other ways of viewing gender as something that may be more flexible and diverse, and other possible explanations for relationship differences.

In each case, we see that it can be problematic, in these uncertain times, to cling to any rules too tightly: whether those be the more conventional rules that we learnt growing up, or the new rules that are being proposed by various groups and communities. An alternative possibility is put forward: that of embracing uncertainty. What would it be like to recognise that relationships simply are uncertain things? That our desires and needs change over time? That being together is an ongoing conversation? That we connect with many different people in our lives in different ways? Some of these possibilities take the pressure off love relationships to be everything to us, challenging the idea of The One perfect person who will make our life complete. Suggestions are made about how we might do things differently in relation to getting together, relationship conflict, making commitments, and breaking up. Instead of seeing relationships as all good or all bad, we could hold onto the inevitable similarities and differences between us, and the fact that we are inevitably both free and in relationship together.

If we were honest perhaps we would all tick the relationship box which says ‘it’s complicated’, but recognising this can offer much more relief than trying to present a perfect picture of ourselves and our relationships to others. It can open up all kinds of possibilities for love, sex and relationships.

You can grab “Rewriting the Rules” at   (USA) (UK)   (JAPAN)



Author’s Bio: Dr. Meg Barker is a Senior Lecturer at The Open University – an online University in the UK – and also a psychotherapist specialising in sex and relationship therapy. Meg has been researching relationships and sexuality for over a decade and has published numerous academic books and papers on these topics, particularly in relation to openly non-monogamous relationships, sadomasochism, and bisexuality. Meg is co-editor of the journal Psychology & Sexuality, and co-organises the Critical Sexology group in the UK, as well as the organisation, BiUK, who produced The Bisexuality Report in 2012 and ran the first international academic conference on bisexuality in 2010. Meg has recently won an erotic award for their work which includes several books for therapists and other health practitioners on topics such as gender, sexuality and mindfulness. Rewriting the Rules is Meg’s first book for a general audience and you can follow the blog accompanying the book on and can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

A History of Spanish Film (1910-2010)

Friday, June 7th, 2013

 Guest Author :  Sally Faulkner

I saw my first Almodóvar film, the unforgettable Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, when I was an undergraduate student on a year abroad studying and teaching in Toledo, Spain. I was blown away! I adored the lead actress (Carmen Maura), the pace of the plot, the riotous colour palette, and the myriad references to other films and works of art – I later learned that might be called postmodern intertextuality. I always try to include this film on undergraduate courses for first-year students in the hope it will have the same effect on them! Nearly twenty years later, I was delighted to use a still from another Almodóvar film, “The Flower of My Secret“, on the cover of A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010. It’s an image of another of Spain’s wonderful lead actresses, Marisa Paredes, here depicted alongside her wayward husband in the film, played by Imanol Arias. Almodóvar captures their embrace in a fragmented mirror: the break-up of the image brilliantly matches the break-up of their marriage.

My motivation for writing on Spanish film is not only to share with readers my enthusiasm for the ways directors like Almodóvar use film form. I’m also fascinated by the interpretations that emerge when you place cinema within wider contexts, both intermedial ones (I considered the relationship between film, TV and literature in Literary Adaptations in Spanish Cinema) and political ones (the focus of A Cinema of Contradiction: Spanish Film in the 1960s).

While working on those books I became increasingly interested in questions of social mobility and cultural taste (or what Pierre Bourdieu called the acquisition of ‘cultural capital’). How did Spain’s 1920s industrial boom, the 1940s post-Civil War depression, and the mass movement into the middle classes from the 1960s onwards impact on film culture? As Spain became increasingly urban, industrial, capitalist and consumerist from the 1960s, how did this change what films were about? Do Spanish ‘prestige’, ‘middlebrow’ and ‘heritage’ cinemas exist? I wrote A History of Spanish Film to explore these ideas and to place Almodóvar in the context of over 100 years of filmmaking in Spain.

 Among the book’s highlights:

  • * Uniquely offers extensive close readings of 42 films, which are especially useful to students and teachers of Spanish cinema.
  • * Analyses Spanish silent cinema and films of the Franco era as well as contemporary examples.
  • * Interrogates film’s relations with other media, including literature, pictorial art and television.
  • * Explores both ‘auteur’ and ‘popular’ cinemas.
  • * Establishes ‘prestige’ and the ‘middlebrow’ as crucial new terms in Spanish cinema studies.
  • * Considers the transnationality of Spanish cinema throughout its century of existence.
  • * Contemporary directors covered in this book include Almodóvar, Bollaín, Díaz Yanes and more.


Browse the book A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010at (USA) (UK)




About Author :

Sally Faulkner is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Film at the University of Exeter, where she teaches courses on Spanish and European film, Spanish literature and Spanish language. Her research on Spanish film focuses on the intertwining of film, literature, politics, society and cultural taste, and draws on the theories of adaptation studies, intertextuality and intermediality. Faulkner is the author of Literary Adaptations in Spanish Cinema (2004) and A Cinema of Contradiction: Spanish Film in the 1960s (2006). Most recently, she completed A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010 , which she writes about in this blog. Follow her on Twitter.


That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empowers his Daughter

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Guest Author : Rick Johnson

Dad, you shape your daughter’s future. You impact every aspect of your daughter’s life for her entire life. You show her how women should be treated, how men should act, and how a man shows healthy love and affection toward a woman. You even determine how a girl feels about herself.  And, perhaps most importantly, you set the standard for how your daughter feels she deserves to be treated by other men.

This is a big responsibility, and it’s not always easy to carry out.  A daughter is a gift that needs to be treasured, nurtured, and even protected by a father until she is mature enough to take over that role herself.  The powerful influence of a father’s love and guidance can make the difference between living a healthy, fulfilling life versus one that is full of hopelessness and despair.

In That’s My Girl, I show you how to develop the close relationship with your daughter that you both crave. Using plainspoken common sense, humor, and advice I give you the confidence and the encouragement needed to take up the active, positive role that can change your daughter’s life—starting now.

Topics covered include:

  • * A father’s influence (what it looks like)
  • * Communicating effectively with females
  • * Bonding with your daughter
  • * What a girl needs from her dad
  • * Dangers she (and you) will face
  • * Protecting her
  • * Boys & dating
  • * She’s becoming a woman (changes—physical, emotional, hormonal, etc.)
  • * Character training, and
  • * A father’s powerful blessing


Men, your daughters are counting on you.  They desperately need you involved in their lives.  I work on a daily basis with too many women, both young and old, who carry the deep wounds from a father who either abandoned them, did not protect them from other males, or did not protect them from life’s cruel intentions. 

This book will help fathers understand their daughters on a deep level. It will help them develop the close relationship with their daughters that they each need and crave. Finally, it will help a man understand what his daughter needs from him as a father. I’ve also included some touching stories that will resonate with every father. Many women contributed their stories and experiences to help me explain to you how important a father is to a daughter. Please don’t take their input lightly. If you get a chance, read this book with your daughter. I think both men and women will appreciate what they will learn about themselves and their fathers in this book. 

Browse the book That’s My Girlat   (USA) (UK)   (JAPAN)


Author BIO :

Rick Johnson is a bestselling author of 10 books including, That’s My Son; That’s My Teenage Son; Better Dads, Stronger Sons; and Becoming Your Spouse’s Better Half. He is the founder of Better Dads, Inc. and is a sought-after speaker at many large parenting and marriage conferences across the United States and Canada. Rick, his wife, Suzanne, and their grown children live in Oregon.

To find out more about Rick, visit .


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