News roundup for September 2002
A round up of the months news, compiled by Sara Vali and Catherine Redfern
Pot Noodle TV ‘slag’ ads banned
Pot Noodle ads with the tagline “The slag of all snacks” have been banned from TV after a record 310 people complained about use of the word ‘slag’. The ad agency argued the term referred to the product rather than to an individual and so should be acceptable post-watershed but the ITC disagreed, concluding that “the sixteenth-most offensive English word” was too vulgar even for the post-9pm audience.
Two women in legal fight for IVF embryos
Two women began a legal fight to use their stored IVF embryos, despite their former partners having withdrawn their consent for the procedure. The women argued that this was their only chance of ever having a baby, and that the treatment should be considered to be already underway – so the men should not be able to withdraw their consent. They also compared the procedure to a ‘normal’ pregnancy, saying that the men would not have the right to stop the pregnancy if the embryo was already in the womb – so why should they be able to stop it now? However, the case has important legal ramifications. Professor John Harris of the University of Manchester said that if the case succeeds, they will “have established that the man’s role ends once the egg is fertilised.”
Glamour seizes Cosmo’s crown
The ‘handbag-sized’ glossy magazine Glamour has become Britain’s best-selling women’s monthly magazine, ousting Cosmopolitan just eighteen months after it launched.
Ladyfest 2004 to be held in North East
The organisers write:
“As some of you might know, we are planning Ladyfest North East for 2004. We are currently organising benefit gigs across the North East region,if you are interested in playing at one of these please send us your demos so that we can arrange gigs for similar bands. Contact LadyfestNE@aol.com for details of how to send us your music. Also it would be *very* helpful if you could let us know when you would be available to play and how much you would require in travel expenses.”
Nigerian woman faces death by stoning
An Islamic court in Nigeria upheld a death sentence on a woman convicted of adultery, defying the government’s ruling that the verdict is unconstitutional. The court rejected Amina Lawal’s argument that the baby was conceived before sharia law took effect in the region. She will be stoned to death once she stops breastfeeding her daughter, not thought to be before January 2002.
All-male Perrier shortlist attacked
No female comedians were deemed funny enough for this year Perrier stand-up comedy award shortlist, prompting allegations of ‘male chauvinism’. The awards director pointed out that half the judging panel were women but the Equal Opportunity Commission’s spokesperson said she was disappointed that women were not getting the recognition they deserved. It was won by Daniel Kitson.
Boys’ GCSE failures spark new ‘lads’ row
The annual row over the gender gap at GCSE. “Many boys may think it is ‘uncool’ to be seen to be working hard,” said a spokeswoman. But cool to be on the dole, presumably.
Jamie Lee Curtis says Cosmetic surgery is pointless
Jamie Lee Curtis posed in a US magazine sans make-up and stylists and clad only in her underwear as part of her mission to shatter beauty myths. She also admitted to having cosmetic surgery – and that it did not work. “I’ve had a little lipo. I’ve had a little Botox. And you know what? None of it works. None of it,” she said, calling her glamorous personal image “a fraud.”
Women only newsworthy when waxing lyrical about their waistlines
Coming after the publication of Geri’s second (second!) ‘auto’-biography where she poses on the cover draped proudly in a tape measure, the Guardian asked why women only hit the headlines for their ability to gain or lose weight. Scarily, the standard LA starlet dress size is a British size four, which is an American size zero – meaning these women aspire to be nothing at all.
Mother ordered to stop breastfeeding boy, eight
A woman has been ordered by a court in Illinois to stop breastfeeding her eight-year-old son on the grounds that he is at risk of emotional harm. Lynn Stuckley argues they are not doing anything wrong but the court said her son was being exposed to ridicule after a national television chatshow showed a video of him suckling at their home.
America’s latest fitness fad: cardio striptease
Cardio striptease is the latest development in “fusion exercise”. Women are free to take off as much or as little as they want and the class is presented as an empowerment exercise: one manager called it “women being comfortable with their bodies and more confident in their sexuality”.
Increasing numbers of men affected by work and family life conflict
Labour MEP leader Simon Murphy has become the latest high-flying father to forsake his job in favour of spending time with his family, showing that the struggle to balance work and home life is no longer a female-only dilemma. So is this the beginning of a new era of equal division of childcare, or is it just that we are all working such long hours that we should not be surprised when even those at the top say they have had enough?
Ambitious ‘Noughties’ woman gets tough to get ahead
A survey revealed that women today are taking their inspiration from Thatcher as they put their jobs above their love lives. Successful women are prepared to ditch their femininity and out-lad the lads if it means they can smash through the glass ceiling. Psychologist David Lewis said, however, that women are not becoming like men but rather have a “survival strategy which well may make them the dominant sex in the future. The battle of the sexes is over and the Noughties women are savouring the fruits of victory.”
Victoria Beckham gives birth to baby boy Romeo
Victoria Beckham again had a caesarean for the birth of her son Romeo following the elective use of the procedure for her first child, Brooklyn, three years ago. This time, however, it was on “doctor’s orders” and nothing to do with David’s busy football schedule. Definitely not.