Oliver James in Sunday\x92s Observer Magazine looks into research done by an American psychologist which points to a strong correlation between thinness and professional success \x96 he found that curvaceous women are less likely to be perceived as competent and intelligent than thin women, and that women who expressed a preference for smaller breasts and buttocks were more likely to chose \x91male\x92 careers and excel academically and professionally. The conclusion drawn was that high-achieving women aspire to \x91male\x92 body shapes.

The same academic correlated bust-to-waist ratios of women in magazines with the proportion of women working as professionals over the last century and discovered that in the decades when women pushed hardest to be taken seriously, a thinner female form was more fashionable than at other times.

This all suggests that there\x92s no change to the old \x91it\x92s a man\x92s world\x92 adage \x96 if you want to be a successful woman in it, you need to act, and even look, like a man. As James says, "we still have a long way to before the equation successful = male\x92 ceases to underpin our thinking".