It doesn’t matter that the first phase of equality between the sexes was established in 1928, when women were finally given an equal vote to their male counterparts. And it doesn’t really matter that women have continued to fight for their rights ever since. Because believe it or not, no matter how far we’ve come, we’ve obviously still got a hell of a long way to go.
Because apparently, some new research has disputed previous research which suggested that women should dress like men to succeed in the workplace. Not true anymore, apparently, if the latest offering which claims that it is in actual fact skirts which give off a better first impression is to be believed.
According to the researchers, women who dress like, er, women, are considered more confident and likely to earn a high salary.
Well blow me down; I’d never have guessed that confidence lies in being yourself and not trying to emulate another.
So what’s the problem then, you may ask? This is gender equality at its peak, no? Finally, being ourselves is enough to keep up with the competition.
Well not really. Because isn’t the fact that we’re still being told what we should, and should not wear, a complete defeat of the purpose? Yes, we’re able to attain equality, but at what cost?
It gets even better when the co-chair of the study, Professor Karen Pine, issues a warning. “Be careful about the plunging neckline or micro skirt though”, she says. “Other research shows provocative clothing is viewed as indicative of low professional status.” No offence, but that’s like warning men not to go to work topless, and any woman who needs to be told that obviously isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. I don’t know if the fact that this was said by a woman makes it better or worse; yes, that this is not the brain child of a chauvinistic male makes it somewhat more digestible, but how much more worried should we be now that women themselves are getting involved in advising what should, and should not, be worn in an apparently never-ending fight for equality?
Nothing about this screams gender equality. It just isn’t. True gender equality would be moving with the times, accepting that trousers are as much for women as they are men, and no longer judging the female sex on their professional capability by what they look like. Bizarrely enough, it seems we still need a level of gender inequality in order to achieve some kind of equality.
I suppose there is a solution for all women who really don’t want to be judged at work on their sex. Walk around with a large X on your chest – you’ll never fool ‘em. Apparently it now works with passports.
After eight years of stories which suggest several health-benefits of eating chocolate, I have decided enough is enough. And don’t get me wrong, I’m as chocolate-obsessed as they come. But just how much longer are we going to try and justify what is little more than a guilty pleasure; a pastime we love to revel in?
First was the 2003 UK revelation that eating chocolate will boost antioxidant levels. Then in 2004 we were told, by researchers from both London and Hungary, that it is better than the best cough remedy on the market. 2005 the Italians told us that it controls diabetes and blood pressure, and in 2006 Holland said it gives a longer life. Then followed some repeats, with 2007 seeing the Germans re-claim that it lowers blood pressure, and 2008 we Britons repeating the supposed link between chocolate, diabetes, and heart disease. Then came the real clincher. 2009. The Spaniards. Apparently chocolate helps you lose weight. Give me a break (give me a KitKat).
And finally, the reason for this article – this week’s story, from our very own London galaxy (which has done little more than combine all previous research in this area) suggests that eating chocolate reduces the risk or coronary heart disease and strokes. But before we continue to get overexcited about these big claims, let’s take a time-out.
Because the researchers, writers, and anyone else who has vehemently continued to contribute to this dream have had no choice but to wispa the disclaimer that chocolate will still make you fat. Oh fudge.
Lead researcher in the Italian study, Dr Claudio Ferri, stated that although “dark chocolate contains antioxidants”, it also contains “a lot of fat and calories”, and that “people who want to add some chocolate to their diet need to subtract an equivalent amount of calories by cutting back on other foods to avoid weight gain.” Uh, thanks but no thanks. I’d give a dime to anyone who would even consider buying into that backwards logic.
This game of priorities, a paradise of bounty at the expense of something lesser, is perpetuated throughout the other studies as well. The German claim that chocolate relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure is somewhat marred by the admission that ‘the chocolate used in those studies wasn’t practical for people to eat every day because it either didn’t taste very good or was heavy on the calories’. Very good. It’s like telling me I can only be rich and famous if I live on Mars.
And even the hilarious suggestion that eating the special chocolate created by the Spaniards will help you lose weight is, well, somewhat pointless, as the extra ingredients which trick your brain into thinking you’re full give off a luminous green glow. “The chocolates may come to Britain if there is enough interest”, the article claims. How’s that going?
On to the latest offering from this week. Researchers, once again, warned that excessive consumption would result in other illnesses, like diabetes, which it is supposedly meant to protect against. They also suggested that chocolate could one day be used to protect from heart problems and strokes, if the sugar and fat content was reduced. Which brings us back to the chocolate which ‘didn’t taste very good’. What’s the point of eating a shed-load of chocolate if it doesn’t even taste like chocolate anymore?
And here’s the crunch(ie). This apparent obsession with chocolate being good for us is just part of a bigger problem - the i-generation which expects anything and everything. Gone are the days, it seems, that chocolate, and phones, and computers, and clothes, are but a mere treat. We must research until we find something - anything, that justifies the greed which is becoming part and parcel of our DNA. But here’s what we must accept – a school of research which continues to flake is not suddenly improved by sheer volume.
Honestly. Some people will try and get chocolate into everything!