Thursday, September 30, 2010

Women drivers

On Monday, while sitting in a hospital waiting room, a nurse came by pushing an elderly patient in a wheelchair. I and pulled my legs in and tucked them under my chair. A man in his early thirties, who was sitting next to me, also moved his legs well out of the wheelchairs reach.

"Don't you trust my driving", the amused nurse commented casually. I smiled, but before I could reply then man injected sarcastically, "no, your a women'.

Yesterday, Kaite Price was fined £1,000 after police accused her of using her mobile phone while driving her big pink horsebox. Her statement to the court that she was "a typical woman driver", brought Mondays exchange to the forefront of my mind.

I am a women driver, with a clean driving licence and full no claims bonus. I know many women would can say the same thing. Statistically speaking (according to Sheilas’ Wheels insurers), women are safer drivers than men and have lower car insurance to prove it.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Michelle Mone's photos

Michelle Mone 38, the co-owner of UItimo is celebrating the loss of 6 stones. Her weight dropped from 17 to 11 stones. Success came after a three year diet and rigorous exercise regime.

Her celebrations involved posing in her companies underwear for all the world to see ... and admire? The photos are tasteful and she looks great in each one. The media response is any marketers dream come true; with pictures of a partially dressed Michelle, adorning the pages of many newspapers.

Michelle revealed that her husband Michael had concerns, but she went ahead anyway. She explained: “A lot of people in the business world will be shocked to see me do this....“But I want to empower women and show them that if you’re really unhappy about your body, you have the power to do something about it.”

Michele is clearly an attractive, intelligent and successful entrepreneurial women. This being the case, why did she feel it necessary to put her new body on public display. Does she want to:-

    i) be seen as beautiful as well as talented?
    ii) be envied by thousands of women up and down the country?
    iii) increase her celebrity status by conforming to it's beauty and body ideals?
    iv) give her company/brand massive free media coverage?

In all the board rooms I've been in, women work just as hard as men and strive to earn respect, while maintaining professional distance. Michelle's photo shoot is a complete departure from this ethos.

At this mornings meeting; the numbers of those in favour and against Michelle's actions were pretty evenly matched. What do you think?




Friday, September 24, 2010

Ordinary People

While many people pursue celebrity as a means of acquiring self esteem, recognition, success and wealth;  this inspiring video depicts someone who is the antithesis of the celebrity culture.

The video elegantly illustrates how an ordinary person, in this instance it's a women called Ellen Ripstein,  can excel in their chosen field.  Even though they may never become a media celebrity,  they are still able to experience significant personal achievement and a deep sense of satisfaction. Last,  but by no means least,  these ordinary individuals are also able to earn lasting respect from others.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hollywood women

Following on from the last blog, Gemma Arterton, 24 year-old British ex-Bond girl has recently complained that Hollywood was not taking her talents as an actress seriously. "I've nearly walked off very big films before," she stated while promoting her new Stephen Frears movie, Tamara Drewe. "And I would, too, because I don't want that [being hired for her looks not her talent] in my life."

She is not alone. She follows in the footsteps of veteran actresses like Raquel Welch and Marilyn Monroe; and more recently, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston and Lindsay Lohan. Marilyn Monroe's famous quote "Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and 10 cents for your soul", still rings true today.

Hollywood female celebrities have complained about the issue for decades. Today, the movie industry adopts a politically correct stance, known as 'The Coalition for Age Fairness'; which promotes equality and diversity. Despite this, the majority of movies are centred around an attractive white male hero, with at least one young female beauty adorning his side.

I can see why some actresses complain about how they are treated in Hollywood. Females are known to earn less, have less choice and have shorter careers (age) than their male counterparts. In the last 10 years, over 70% of all Hollywood acting parts, and 86 per cent of starring roles, were giving to men. Of the roles that went to females, only a measly 9 % went to women over 40.

"I don't think it's sexism," says British director Rod Lurie. "Hollywood will do what it takes to make money. They aren't taking a principled stand against women. They just don't see the audience going there."

For those who achieve Hollywood stardom, money and fame await; at a far greater level than most would have accomplished without it. This my be the reason why some Hollywood actresses are happy with the the status quo.

"None of it really bothers me," says 24-year-old Transformers star Megan Fox. "I don't know why anyone would complain about being a sex symbol. That's what our purpose is in this business. You're merchandised, you're a product. You're sold and it's based on sex".

Opting for a career in Hollywood is no different from any other career, in the sense that if you want to enjoy the benefits, you must must be willing to accept the negatives;  at least until you can change things from within.


Monday, September 20, 2010

A blessing and a curse

Earlier this month Raquel Welch celebrated her 70th birthday. During an interview celebrating the milestone, Raquel Welch announced that becoming a pin-up was both a 'blessing and a curse'.

'I've always wanted to be living proof that anyone can look and feel great at any age",  she told the Daily Mail's David Wigg.  'I was given a magnificent body and I have looked after it well. I never felt I could afford the luxury of letting myself go".

While being 'The Body Beautiful' in public, Raquel commented that she was aware of the fact that she was just "a symbol, a thing, an image, somebody without a voice  ..... people saw a creation of their own minds and never once considered that I was just an ordinary human being".

So, how can an individual resist the considerable external pressures to conform to societies beauty ideals?  The answer,  to paraphrase Raquel; 'focus on what you find fulfilling, do not try to be what other people/society think you should be'. 


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beckham bans size zero

It's somewhat ironic that size zero Victoria Beckham, now a fashion designer, has banned size zero models from her upcoming Fashion Week show in New York. Her decision is due to her belief that size zero models do not look healthy, the Mirror reported. A case of do what I say and not what I do?

The paper also reported that Mrs Beckham thought size zero models were not realistic and that they did not send a positive message to her fans. Surprisingly, she sent home a number of models without even seeing them after being told they were size zero.

A source said: "Victoria takes her role as a figure in the public eye very seriously, and is well aware young girls look up to her. This is why she gets so angry when people claim she doesn't eat properly - she does".

"She has three young boys to run around after, and a business empire to expand, so of course she needs to look after herself".

Hopefully, Victoria will become the epitome of her own message and adopt a more healthy weight herself.



Friday, September 10, 2010

Regaining lost weight

A new poll of 2,000 women, aged between 18 and 65, found that 60% said they are currently on a diet and 20% admitted to being on a 'continuous diet'. Sadly, it also found that 40% of those who go on a diet,  end up heavier than they were before starting it. Most noticed their weight increase within 3 weeks of it's end.

Being 'on a diet' inevitable means that it will come to an end. Once dieters have reached their target weight, the resumption of normal eating resulted in many dieters quickly pilling the pounds back on. 33% blame 'lack of willpower...the inability to say "no". Partners were also identified as culprits, for cooking unhealthy food or for serving extra large portions.

Dr Ian Campbell of the Jenny Craig weight management program said, "In the UK 61.4 per cent of adults are overweight or obese. Successful weight management requires a long-term commitment in order to lose weight successfully and for good."


Monday, September 06, 2010

The person behind the face

We like this video because it illustrates how much we attribute to others solely on appearance.  It also makes it every clear that there is much more to a person than what can be ascertained on first impression.



Thursday, September 02, 2010

Enemies of Reason

 Yesterday, I watched a portion of 'Enemies of Reason' on More 4. In it Richard Dawkins argued that irrational, superstitious thinking like astrology, New Age mysticism, clairvoyance and alternative medicine should be replaced with logic, observation and evidence; in other words, through reason.

While I am fundamentally opposed to many of Dawkins viewpoints, especially his stance on what he terms the "God Delusion", I do agree that science and common sense must not be ignored.

In the programme Dawkins stated that there was clear "prejudice against science's value", citing the decline in the number of students doing science at university. Physics places are down by 50% and chemistry is down by 33%.

"This", said Dawkins, "causes fundamental problems". The fashion throughout the education system is to "teach students to value private feeling more highly than evidence based reason."   There is a lot of truth in this argument; it can equally be applied to the issues surrounding body image and physical appearance.

Humans are unique in a multitude of ways, no two humans (except perhaps identical siblings) are physically the same. We come in countless different colours, shapes and sizes.  This being the case, why do the majority of people want to look like the celebrities and models they see in the media? It's time for everyone to recognise the absurdity of this particular desire, because humanly speaking, it truly unattainable.

In the words of Dawkins, "we must value verifiable evidence over private feelings, otherwise we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would obscure the truth".