‘Emma Raducanu’s vigour and aggression may have shaken some preconceptions’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

Emma Raducanu
(Image credit: Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

1. Emma Raducanu leaves gender stereotypes in ruins

Libby Purves in The Times

on a useful sporting lesson

“You did not need to be a tennis fan to feel your heart hammer on Saturday night,” Libby Purves wrote in The Times. “Emma Raducanu didn’t need to win the final to delight us, but she did.” And in this “cheerful sporting event” is a “useful lesson both for very young women and for men who, often without really meaning to, regularly put them down”, Purves continued. While most women can “appreciate a bit of civil door-opening” the “female vigour and aggression on display the other night may have done some good and shaken some preconceptions”. Purves urged readers to: “Forget frangible blossoms: see two tigresses in their magnificent hard-trained prime, fighting it out in punishing heat with unhysterical grace, unbreakable determination and decisive, lightning-fast spatial intelligence.”

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2. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what life as a Muslim was like before 9/11

Nesrine Malik in The Guardian

on ‘hard daily realities’

“I try to remember what it was like to be a Muslim before 9/11. It is hard. It gets harder every year,” Nesrine Malik said in The Guardian. “I feel as if, before, there was a time when a Muslim was a much more complicated, much roomier thing to be – inflected with local culture and individual circumstances,” she went on. “Today, you can only be a good Muslim or a bad one. Either a ‘moderate’ or a ‘radical’. Either a Muslim who needs to be saved or a Muslim you need to be saved from.” The world we know now “seems to have been forged in a day,” Malik said. “Events and moments tumbled and settled into hard daily realities and attitudes that became impossible to undo.”

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3. Boris Johnson’s winter Covid plan will owe more to luck than judgement

Andrew Grice in The Independent

on a calculated gamble

“The confusion over vaccine passports, which ministers said last week were going ahead at the end of this month, sums up [Boris] Johnson’s frustrating position on Covid,” wrote Andrew Grice in The Independent. “He would like to trumpet that the pandemic is all over […] and life can return to normal but, having burnt his own fingers badly last year by predicting the virus’ imminent demise, cannot do so again,” Grice continued. “The goal now, rightly, is to learn to live with the virus. Johnson’s calculated gamble in lifting most restrictions in England in July did pay off,” he said. “But the prime minister was lucky then. He will need to be lucky again this winter.”

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4. When it comes to social care, politicians need to stop fearing the elderly

Camilla Cavendish in the Financial Times

on national assets

“Politicians are afraid of the old,” Camilla Cavendish declared in the Financial Times. “President Emmanuel Macron has still not managed to raise the French pension age above 62, although the country’s average citizen now lives to 83,” she said. “In the UK, the Labour leader attacked the prime minister for taxing lower and younger earners but simultaneously insisted he guarantee that no one would ever have to sell their home to pay for care.” Cavendish thinks “we urgently need to update our welfare state to reflect the fact that many older people are still working – and should not be exempt from National Insurance – while others are beset by chronic disease and do need support”. In short, she said: “We need to start seeing the over-65s as a national asset, not a liability.”

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5. Waller-Bridge is brilliant, but Indiana Jones is male to the core

Melanie McDonagh in The Telegraph

on rugged heroes

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a “terrific performer and writer”, wrote Melanie McDonagh in The Telegraph, following rumours that the actor is being lined up to replace Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones franchise. But her “clever, funny, female persona is all wrong for a character for whom the default adjective is rugged, as in Boys’ Own action-hero rugged”, she said. “Indiana Jones is – how can I put this – a man’s role.” It seems that “the notion that there are parts which men do well and which were originally intended for a man seems like a challenge for a particular kind of producer”, she continued, while “the politics of the age means they’re uneasy with prescriptive gendered casting”. But, concluded McDonagh: “Some parts are made for men. Can we not live with that?”

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