Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Real women deserve a real ambassador

 

Wonder Woman is no ordinary woman. She is fast, strong, able to set captives free and defeat villains. For these and many other reasons, the UN believed that the iconic female would make a good UN Ambassador for Female Empowerment. The organisation hoped the superhero would help them to reach younger audiences worldwide. Addressing the UN in support of the decision actress Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in the original series, said:

“So wonder woman lives, do not doubt it; she lives in every woman. Wonder woman helps bring out the inner strength every woman has”.

Unfortunately, the UN’s decision to choose Wonder Woman to represent global female empowerment has been met with a deluge of criticism. There is considerable concern that her exposed flesh and attire stood a very real chance of trampling on cultural, religious, and geopolitical sensibilities.

UN staff mounted a silent protest with signs, one of which read; ‘real women deserve a real ambassador.’ Hundreds of them signed an online petition complaining that:“ the large breasted white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery thigh baring body suit, with an American motif and knee-high boots is not an appropriate figurehead”.

Talking to the BBC a female member of the public said; “I like what she stands for; I don't really appreciate what she's wearing”. Another lady stated: “although wonder woman is a great character I think that we can find someone better to represent women someone who's not so hyper sexualized”.

From the UN’s standpoint, it is clearly a case of it seemed a good idea at the time.

 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sindy - 'role model'

Like Barbie, Sindy has had a radical makeover. Pedigree Dolls and Toys , the manufacturers of Sindy, have stated that they want the doll to be a “role model” to young girls and present a more “realistic” image, both in body and the way she dresses. At the same time the company hopes that the redesign will make Sindy more appealing to both girls and their increasingly perceptive parents.

Sindy is now significantly taller (from 10.5 inches to 18 inches) with a notably larger waist than in the past. The new doll is dressed in comfy sportswear, jeans and jumpers; high heels have been replaced with trainers and boots.

Sindy has also acquired three friends: Zoe, Kate and Laura. All four dolls can be bought for for £19.95.

 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Weather with Lucy

A few nights ago, I sat watching the weather forecast on TV and found myself paying more attention to the presenter than to the details of the weather that was being presented.

The reason why I was paying such close attention to the professionally executed forecast was that it was presented by a disabled presenter. Lucy (@weatherwithlucy) is a young woman who was unapologetic about her disability; she did not try to hide her arm, but did her job just as well as an able bodied person would.

I hope we will all start to see many more disabled people in the media; that way we will pay less attention to their disability and more to what they are saying.

 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ban on surgery for smokers and obese

 

Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has announced that it will impose a six months ban on surgery for smokers and obese (BMI over 30) patients.

Medical evidence is on the commission’s side. Surgery is more effective for fit non-smokers and being obese increases the risk of surgical and anesthetic complications. Likewise with smoking, the risk of death within 30 days of surgery is over 30% higher for smokers.

The group hopes the move will encourage patients to take responsibility for their own health by losing weight or giving up smoking. It is worth noting that Harrogate and Rural District CCG is facing an £8 million financial short fall. Critics argue that the initiative is unfair and that it’s predominantly a cost saving exercise.

Ian Eardley, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “ The policies for smokers and overweight patients that Harrogate and Rural District CCG intend to impose ignore the public outcry that surrounded similar plans announced by neighbouring Vale of York CCG in September.

"They fly in the face of the intervention made by NHS England to prevent those plans from going ahead. "The Royal College of Surgeons is very supportive of encouraging patients to join programmes that help them lose weight or stop smoking before surgery.

'"However making it a condition of receiving that surgery, no matter how sick they are or how much pain they are in, is wrong.

“NHS England has already said that denying operations to a particular group - such as smokers - is 'inconsistent' with the NHS constitution.

"NHS trusts and CCGs are desperately looking for ways to save money in very challenging times but singling out groups of patients is not the way to do it.”

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Radio 4 Woman's Hour poll results

The results of a Radio 4 Woman's Hour poll of 1,004 women of all ages looking at changing attitudes towards marriage, money, sex, family, work and appearance was recently released.

Results:

Marriage

87% said they would marry the same person if they had their time over again.

One in 10 said they would marry someone different.

Work

60% of women under 55 are in employed compared with 62% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

More than half of women aged between 18 and 64 said the top reason to work was self-respect, followed by money and then colleagues and the work environment. Women aged 65 and over cited money as the main reason they worked.

Money
20% said money issues were the most urgent problem facing them and their family; 25 to 34-year-olds (28%) were the most affected.

Looks

Appearance mattered a lot to 18 to 24-year-olds, who said the negative word they would least likely to be associated with was fat (37%).

They said this was worse than being called "stupid" and "boring". Across all of the women polled, "stupid" was the word they would least like to be called (42%).

Women aged between 25 and 34 were most likely to have had cosmetic surgery (10%), to consider it in the future (46%) and to say their personal appearance mattered more now than when they were 21 (16%).

Sex lives

Nearly a quarter (24%) of women aged 25 to 34 claimed they were "extremely satisfied" in the bedroom.
Older women, in the 55 to 64 age group, were the least likely to be "extremely satisfied" (16%) and the most likely to be "extremely unsatisfied" (9%).

Family

Women who earned the most (£40,000-plus) were twice (8%) as likely as the lowest earners (under £20,000) to think having no children was ideal.

Similarly, childlessness was the preference among graduates (10%) than non-graduates (4%), and those in full-time employment (8%) than part-timers (2%).
More than half (56%) felt that two children was the perfect family size.

Worries

The biggest worriers were the 25-34 age group, who were the most likely to worry "a lot" about their health and family and friends' health (68%), having enough money in old age (53%) and making ends meet (51%). 27% of this group felt that they were less happy than their mothers at their age (compared to 43% of those over 65).

 

Friday, October 07, 2016

The problem with diversity

We have all read and heard about discrimination on the grounds of race (ethnic minorities), gender, age and sexuality. There has also an ongoing discussion and action being taken to increase diversity in organisations of all types, at all levels within them.

This week we heard a diversity story that is the antithesis of the accounts that we have become accustomed to hearing. It also highlights the negative consequences that planned increased organisational diversity can have on the unsuspecting majority; in this case white male.

On Septmber 26th Comedian Jon Holmes who worked for BBC Radio 4 tweeted:

“Sad to announce I’ve been axed from @BBCNowShow as ‘we want to recast with more women and diversity’ Tsk. And I didn’t even punch a producer.”

Explaining the circumstances in which he lost his job, Mr Holmes told The Mail on Sunday: “Should I, as a white man (through no fault of my own), be fired from my job because I am a white man?

"I mean, I know it’s a big ask and yes we’ll have to agree to draw a line under much that has gone on before, but what if we’re all just ‘people’, judged on merit? Call me crazy but what if, regardless of skin colour, or anything else, the best candidate gets the job?

"I’m not even asking for mine back. That’s not the point. I just wonder, what with all the pressure about being seen to ‘get it right’, we’re actually getting it a bit wrong."
He added: "I don’t think that discrimination of any kind is ever positive, however well intentioned everyone thinks they are, because someone is always going to lose out based on something they can’t help.

"Personally I want equal opportunities for all, irrespective of who or what they are. So maybe we should open up the debate."

The BBC's new diversity targets aim to ensure that women will make up half of its staff by 2020 and the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds will increase to 15 per cent.

A BBC spokesperson said: “While the Government's new charter for the BBC does set us diversity targets, we always hire presenters on merit.

“We’d like to thank Jon Holmes for his contribution, but our comedy shows are constantly evolving and it was simply time to create opportunities for new regulars when The Now Show returns this autumn."

 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Rise in teen bodybuilding

More and more teenage boys are taking up bodybuilding. The question, that we will discuss and propose some possible answers to, is why? Psychologists have suggested that the reason teen boys regularly visit the gym is that:

- they enjoy structure and routine.
- want to look more manly.
- they are trying to keep up with their peers.

Men's fitness magazine’s survey found that roughly 80% of teenagers take up bodybuilding because they want to be more muscular. If you look at the covers of the majority of men’s health and fitness magazines you will not fail to notice that the covers are filled with very muscular models/celebrities.
Figures published by the Public Health England (PHE) stated that one in three children are now either overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school at age 11. This being the case, young boys becoming interested in going to the gym could be viewed as a good thing; yes and no. It really depends on the reasons why individuals are opting to join a gym. Are they trying to improve their overall health and fitness level and/or taking pride in their appearance, or are they building muscle (bulking up) solely to enhance their appearance.

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