News roundup for July 2001

A round up of the months news, compiled by Catherine Redfern

, 13 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


  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


  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 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.

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


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


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 by European law

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

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


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


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