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Beyond the Front Pages

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With Jay Z and his not-all-that-happy sister-in-law dominating the celebrity pages, and a hero cat called Tara on the front pages (remember when it was only the internet that loved cat videos?!), serious news was in short supply this week.

Or it might have felt that way. Meanwhile, a group of people whose names you quite probably don't know, were taking part in a televised debate to help decide who runs the European Union.

Not an insignificant event by any measure, especially the week before the European elections, and yet by current estimates hardly anyone in the UK bothered to tune in.

While #TellEurope trended in both Germany and Italy on Facebook, Brits were absent both from online chatter about the debate and their TV screens.

A sign of things to come? Those manning the voting booths next week will hope not.

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As if women politicians didn't have a hard enough time of it, a depressing new study released this week has discovered that the more 'feminine' a female candidate for political office looks, the more likely she is to be elected.

Yep, forget the sexist cat-calls during PMQs and the child-unfriendly debate times, not to mention the huge gender imbalance within the cabinet, now women with an eye on Westminster need to worry about how feminine their faces are as well.

Doing absolutely nothing to help move the conversation on when it comes to gender stereotyping, the US academic journal Social Psychological and Personality Science discovered that the more conservative an area, the more important it was for women politicians' faces to be judged feminine. And it's no use pouting and sucking your cheeks in, would-be voters will make a snap judgment about the femininity of those aforementioned features in less than a second.

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Where American scientists fail us (ok, okay, it's not their fault people are strange), a group of French schoolboys have restored our faith this week. On Friday, boys at 27 lycées in Nantes ditched their trousers in favour of skirts as part of Ce que soulève la jupe or 'Lift the Skirt', aimed at combating sexism in the younger generation.

The anti-gay marriage brigade were riled enough to complain, forcing school leaders to point out it wasn't compulsory for anyone to wear a skirt that day, but the teens themselves were all for it, with many donning stickers which read, "I am fighting against sexism, are you?"

What boys wearing skirts has to do with gay marriage we're not entirely sure, but here's raising a huge cheer to all those who took part.

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On the topic of students causing a stir, a new poster campaign from art majors at the University of North Texas, which depicts breast-feeding mothers in cramped, dirty bathrooms, has gone viral.

Aimed to rally support behind a state bill to protect mothers from discrimination when they're breastfeeding their babies, the class project has touched a chord with women across the world despite the fact the posters won't be formally distributed.

"It means we did our jobs right as art directors in creating a campaign that is getting real responses, and as students, it's been a wonderful feeling," one of the brains behind the project, Johnathan Wenske, told The Huffington Post of his 'When Nurture Calls' posters.

Maybe it's time we called on Wenske to have a think about mobilising interest in the EU? In the meantime, I'm off to fill in my postal vote.

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