News roundup for July 2001

Brace yourself for more ‘research’

Who says that girls will be girls? Excellent article by Natasha Walter criticising some of these studies on men and women.

Well, there have been so many scientific studies this month I’ve had to group them all together to get them over and done with. So here we go. This month, studies found that:

  1. …Women are bored with shopping for clothes and complain that they can’t get sizes to fit. Women also seem less loyal to one retailer than they have in the past. (Mintel)
  2. …Fewer women are having children than ever before, and women are waiting longer to have children (hardly surprising news is it?). The average age of childbirth is now 29.1, compared with 26.2 in 1972. The average age of fatherhood has also risen, now having passed 30 years for the first time. (Office for National Statistics)
  3. …Women are more likely to be happier in their jobs than men. (British Household Panel Survey)
  4. …Women are still doing the majority of the housework, even if they have their own job. Women spend an average 18.5 hours a week on domestic chores, compared to 6 hours for the average man. (Oxford University)
  5. …The British male is pretty much as you’d expect. A Government study of the ‘habits and attitudes’ of men found that football, Loaded, FHM, and watching tv soaps rated highly. They move out of their parent’s home later than women, spend an average of 45 minutes a day looking after children, and 63% of them are obese. They also still earn more than women, but are apparently three times more likely than women to be victims of violent crime. (Office for National Statistics)
  6. …Stone-age women used gossip to form social groups; a ploy to get more food by attacking other women’s attributes (so being bitchy helped women evolve, did it? Good grief). (New Scientist)

Hmmmm. Whatever. I don’t know, all these studies are fair enough, but do they actually tell us anything useful? Probably not.

Stillettos hurt? It’s your foot that’s at fault

The latest craze in New York involves using lasers to insert collagen into the heels of the feet to make wearing high-heels comfortable. It costs $200 a session and you need four sessions to really feel the effect. Lovely.

Can’t see that being very popular

Male contraceptive implants may exist by 2005

The implants will take the form of small rods placed under the skin. It uses hormones to block production of sperm and could last for three years. What’s the downside? Well, to maintain their sex drive, men will have to have injections of testosterone every four to six weeks. Can’t see that being very popular.

Gay couples in London can register their partnerships

Ken Livingstone, London’s mayor, launched the country’s first formal partnerships register. Although the certificate does not carry legal status, it is the first step to, one day, enable gay couples to marry and enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals.

Men becoming extinct? Er, don’t hold your breath

A woman needs a man… ah, you can fill in the rest.

More good news for lesbians came when fertility experts announced they had developed a technique to create a baby without sperm. Instead of sperm, a normal cell from any part of the body can be used. This means that women could be able to have a baby together which would biologically belong to both of them without the involvement of a sperm donor. Although the more traditional press are up in arms shouting about men becoming extinct (which presumably is what they think feminists really, really want), they seem to conveniently forget that the technique could help heterosexual couples where the man is infertile. So calm down, men aren’t likely to be defunct just yet.

Pro-life activists intend to be, well, active

The Scottish based anti-abortion group The UK Life League have announced plans to follow their American counterparts and publish names of family planning and NHS staff on the internet. They’ll also hold demonstrations outside clinics, vigils outside the homes of family planning workers, and intend to put up candidates in every seat in the 2003 Scottish elections. In league with other anti-abortion groups, they intend to widen their campaign to cover the whole of Britain. Friends, it’s about to get ugly.

Fines for sexual harassment by European law

A new European law means that employers may be taken to court and fined if staff are subjected to sexual harassment. The new law was passed by Britain and other members of the EU, and applies to all companies with more than 20 employees. A recent study suggested that 54% of women had experienced sexual harassment. If it happens to you, write it down straight away and keep a note. These cases can be hard to prove, so nip it in the bud.

Give me a young, impressionable mind…

Elle is bringing out a new magazine aimed at girls called Elle Girl. According to Sarah Bailey, the magazine’s editor, “Fashion, style and beauty is going to be the heart and soul of this magazine, and that will be the big difference with the other magazines in the sector.” Wow! Radically different, yeah, whatever. The magazine will feature high fashion: Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Donna Karen etc. Pester power will surely reach new highs.

Rape victims more likely to become pregnant, says New Scientist

BBC Report

Research published in the New Scientist magazine this month suggested that victims of a single act of rape are more likely to make a woman pregnant than a single act of consensual sex. This led scientists to wonder whether rape was an effective ‘evolutionary strategy,’ and that rapists commit rape to pass on their genes. They postulated that ovulating women unconsciously give off signals to show they are fertile, and that’s why rapists target them. Ugh. Psychologists have rejected this idea, saying that it is a dangerous way for some to justify the unjustifiable.

Will you have a girl or a boy? It’s your choice

Parents can now choose the sex of their baby. Couples have had this option in the UK in the past, but only for medical reasons such as to prevent passing on a hereditary disease that only affects one gender. But now, by travelling to a fertility clinic in the USA, prospective parents can choose to have a boy or a girl for whatever reason they desire. The fact that boys are wanted more than girls in some cultures makes this news kinda scary, but interestingly, the treatment is more successful in producing girls than boys. Even so, it makes you wonder.