Beckie Smith

Beckie Smith is an international education and freelance journalist who also writes about Japan, media, feminism and current affairs. She has a degree in Japanese and spent time living in Kyoto as a student. She blogs at ciswhitefemale.wordpress.com.

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Ted Cruz speaks during an anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC

'Planned Parenthood sells dead babies' is the latest anti-abortion conspiracy

Allegations made against the family planning services provider may seem shocking, but they're just another attempt to erode women's rights in time for the presidential election

Why love hotels are thriving in Japan

There might be a general assumption that there's something seedy about the trend, but there's far more to it

Why is fruit so expensive in Japan?

The value of Ruby Roman grapes has rocketed since they were first put on the market in 2008 - when they were a snip at just ¥100,000 (£573)

Avril Lavigne's ‘Hello Kitty’ and the stereotypes of Japanese women

The singer has shown a complete lack of awareness of how the video fits into a wider view of Japanese culture

Sex myths without substance: Mislabelling Japan

These stories gain traction because they support a view of east Asia which is at best patronising and at worst overtly racist

Wendy Davis talked her way to a vital victory for US women last night

Let's hope the senator fights Texas' abortion bill a second time round

Will Sex and Relationships Education be included in the National Curriculum? I hope so...

With damaging misconceptions that are so widespread, educating young people about healthy sexual relationships is a matter of urgency

Beyoncé Knowles, the most beautiful person in the world according to 'People'

Admire Beyoncé for her music, not her feminist credentials

It seems people have been determined to shoehorn Beyoncé into the role of feminist icon for several years

‘Who is to blame for sexual assault?’ The language of rape

She should 'bear some responsibility'; 'his' life was ruined as a result; the perpetrators' lives 'fell apart'? Let's try looking at it from a victim's point of view for once

Shocked at the Japanese pop star who shaved her head for having a boyfriend and betraying band rules? Look around you

Minami Minegishi's band AKB48 embody the disturbing schoolgirl fantasy: naïve and submissive, yet unattainable - and the hypocrisy isn't unique to Japanese culture

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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement