News roundup for July 2001
A round up of the months news, compiled by Catherine Redfern
Brace yourself for more ‘research’
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:
- …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
- …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
- …Women are more likely to be happier in their jobs than men.
(British Household Panel Survey)
- …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)
- …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
- …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 evole, 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
Stillettos hurt? It’s your foot that’s at
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.
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
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.
A woman needs a man… ah, you can fill in the
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 Britian. Friends, it’s about to get ugly.
Fines for sexual harrassment
A new European law means that employers may be taken to court and
fined if staff are subjected to sexual harrassment. 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 harrassment. If it happens to you,
write it down straught 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 Karan etc. Pester power will surely reach new
Rape victims more likely to become pregant,
says New Scientist
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
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