Archive for December, 2011

December 31, 2011

Best Wishes for the New Year! Goodbye 2011! Hello 2012!

December 30, 2011

2011 Year in Sex Harassment and Discrimination []

by Doug Barry /

In a year marked by record-high unemployment figures, an international debt crisis, and a Kardashian family that’s draining money from taxpaying television viewers, many economists have struggled to find a suitable scapegoat for America’s economic malaise. Theusual suspects include nefarious hedge fund managers, two Middle Eastern wars, socialized medicine, lazy Europeans, and a hex placed on American manufacturing by Chinese wizards, but there is perhaps a bigger obstacle facing the American workforce: Employers are too damn finicky, often insisting that prospective employees not only demonstrate relevant work skills but also not be too markedly unique lest a set of different chromosomes, surgically altered genitals, or breasts upset the precarious stupor the other office drones have been lulled into.

Click here to read the rest of the article…

December 30, 2011

Women are at their most confident aged 52 []

By Jennifer Barton /

If you thought your late teens to early twenties was the time when you were at your most body-confident (you did wear those tiny bikinis back then, after all), you were mistaken. It appears that fabulous over 50 is more than just a saying since age 52 is when women feel their most body-confident and content.

At least according to the views of 3,000 women who were polled for a new survey on body confidence from slimming and lifestyle website The survey found that two-thirds of those questioned believed that the age of 52 was when women felt their happiest and were most comfortable with their bodies, inside and out, reports the Daily Mail.

50 per cent of the women questioned cited that many of their key goals had been achieved by age 52. London-based psychologist Rebekah Fensome attributes the verdict to women feeling most secure in themselves by the time they reach their fifties: “A woman in her 50s knows who she is, what her strengths are and values, as well as her weaknesses and failings.”

“You become more accepting of the things that you are good at and the things that you are not.”

In other body-confidence news, the survey found that women who feel confident about their figures will wear red (that certainly rings true for Mariah Carey in that body-con dress she sported last week to show off her post-pregnancy weight loss) while those feeling less body-confident will hide away in black (Dawn French came out on top for least body-confident celebrity). Holly Willoughby, Cheryl Cole, Nigella Lawson and Kelly Brook were believed to have the most body confidence.

Looks like they missed out on Lorraine Kelly, who – at 52 and in a fitted red frock (see pic above) – is clearly feeling body-fabulous. As she well should.

December 29, 2011

Do Sensitive Kids Turn into OCD Adults? []

By Cassie Murdoch /

How many times have you looked at a kid meticulously lining up a series of blocks, or refusing to eat anything green on their plate, or carefully putting on their socks in just the right way (because, duh, otherwise the seams press into their toes!) and thought, “Man, that kid is going to be totally OCD when she grows up.” Well, it turns out you might not be that far off.

According to new research conducted by Professor Reuven Dar of Tel Aviv University, there is a strong connection between children who are hypersensitive and focus on following strict rituals and adults who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Professor Dar found that there is a direct correlation between the way our nervous systems process sensory input and our development of ritualistic behaviors:

When children experience heightened levels of sensitivity, they develop ritualistic behaviors to better cope with their environment. In the long term, this is one potential pathway to OCD.

Professor Dar conducted two different studies to determine this connection. The first asked parents of kindergartners to fill out questionnaires about their child’s need for ritual, their habits of repeating certain actions or ordering objects in specific ways, their anxieties, and their reactions to sensations like being touched or smelling or tasting something unusual. The second study asked adults to fill out surveys about “their OCD tendencies, their anxiety levels, and their past and current sensitivity to oral and tactile stimulation.” Taken in combination, the studies established a link between OCD tendencies and high levels of sensitivity:

In children, hypersensitivity was an indicator of ritualism, whereas in adults it was related to OCD symptoms. As a whole, these findings provide preliminary support for the idea that such sensitivities are a precursor to OCD symptoms.

Dar believes that when kids are extra sensitive, they experience sensations in such a heightened way that it can feel like they’re being attacked; they develop rituals as a way of protecting themselves against these sensory overloads and to help them “regain a sense of control.” This behavior is also a symptom of adult OCD. While the connection makes sense, further longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the link between childhood and adult ritualistic behaviors.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons kids obsess over things, so don’t stress too much about the chances of him or having OCD. In terms of potential warning signs, Dar says, “If you see that a child is very rigid with rituals, becoming anxious if unable to engage in this behavior, it is more alarming.” But it also depends on the child’s age. In a five- or six-year-old, it might not be an indication of future OCD, but if it’s happening past the time a child is eight, then it could be a red flag, particularly if they suffer from anxiety.

Childhood Hypersensitivity Linked to OCD [ScienceDaily]

December 25, 2011

Video Of Little Girl Getting Pissed Off At Gender-Specific Toy Colors Will Make Your Heart Swell []

by Lane Moore /

I kind of knew I would love this video when I clicked on it and I was right. I just didn’t know how much I would love it.

In the video, awesome little kid Riley paces around the doll aisle while trying to figure out why companies are trying to “trick girls into buying the pink stuff instead of stuff that boys want to buy”.

What really wrecked me (in the best way) was Riley’s completely reasonable and insightful observation that, “Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses! Some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses! So why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff?” mainly because I remember being a little kid in the Hot Wheels aisle wondering why I never received those for Christmas, even though I secretly wanted them.

I was into action figures and superheroes at a young age but I remember that confused/nearly angry feeling I had upon realizing that no one had even considered that I might want anything other than pink toys or “girl toys” and I began to wonder if there was something wrong with mebecause I wanted something else.

But perhaps the moment that caused my heart to swell the most was Riley’s father answering her with, “That’s a good question Riley” in a tone that sounded both exasperated at the unfortunate truths she was speaking so clearly about, and proud as hell that his young daughter would likely grow up to be a force to be reckoned with.


December 25, 2011

A Holiday Tale: The Resilient Snowman

December 22, 2011

New Unfunny Crossdressing Sitcom Offends Just About Everyone []

by Margaret Hartmann /

Plenty of comedies are based on the idea that there’s inherent humor in men dressing up as women, from Some Like It Hot to Bosom Buddies. If you need proof that the entire concept is dated, look no further than the trailer for Work It, a new sitcom premiering on ABC in January. The 90-second clip is so unbearably unfunny that it almost seems like a parody of how idiotic sitcoms have become, and now several groups are slamming the series for being insensitive to the transgender community.

The L.A. Times reports that GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign took out a full-page ad inVariety asking ABC to pull the show before it even airs. The show follows two unemployed straight men who dress as women to get jobs at a pharmaceutical company that’s hiring female sales representatives. There’s no mention of transgender people in the pilot, but the groups argue that, “By encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters’ attempts at womanhood, the show gives license to similar treatment of transgender women.”

The groups say they want to send the message that cross-dressing in comedy is never acceptable, but there’s no redeeeming social commentary in Work It. In fact, while the characters lament the “mancession,” the show actually ignores the fact that transgender people are subjected to a tremendous amount of discrimination in the workplace. Herndon Graddick, GLAAD’s senior director of programs, explains, “The truth is, transgender people often have a very hard time finding a job and of those who do, more than one-quarter are fired because of their transgender identity.” Plus, 34 states have no laws protecting people from being fired for their gender identity.

Some argue that Work It is no worse than Monty Python characters dressing in drag or Kenan Thompson playing Whoopi Goldberg on SNL, but just to make sure the show offends absolutely everyone, the writers threw in a little racism and sexism. In the pilot one character says, “I’m Puerto Rican. I would be great at selling drugs.” As for the ladies, in addition to one of the main characters throwing out his large sandwich because real women never eat anything but lettuce, a pharmaceutical rep explains that the company is only hiring women because, “We find the doctors prefer to ‘nail’ the drug reps more when they are girls.” It’s pretty unbelievable that with all the people involved in getting this show on the air, no one pointed out that it’s not 1986, and people should be laughing during a sitcom, not cringing.

GLAAD’s Full-Page Ad Denounces ABC Cross-Dressing Sitcom ‘Work It’ [LAT]
Work It Doesn’t Work [GLAAD]

December 22, 2011

Can Depression Be Diagnosed with a Picture of Your Mom? []

by Jonah Lehrer /

Sigmund Freud gets a bad rap from modern science. (The immunologist Peter Medawar summarized the feeling of many with his remark that psychoanalysis is the “most stupendous intellectual confidence trick of the twentieth century.”) Sure, Freud’s theories mangled a lot of details — we no longer worry about penis envy or the Oedipus complex — but he was shockingly prescient on the big themes. In recent years, it’s become clear that, as Freud always insisted, the unconscious is the dominant force in our mental life. (What Freud called the id is now a network of brain areas associated with emotion, such as the amygdala and nucleus accumbens.) He was mostly right about the logic of dreams, which often regurgitate those parts of experience we store in long-term memory. And he was basically correct to imagine the mind as a set of conflicted drives, with reason competing against the urges of the passions. We expend a lot of neurotic energy holding ourselves back.

But there’s another Freudian theme that deserves a little 21st century appreciation: his obsession with the mother-child relationship and the way it shadowed people throughout life. Freud saw this parental bond as a dominant motive for behavior, influencing both our development as children and our happiness as adults. (The super-ego, for instance, begins to form when the incestuous desires of the child are thwarted by the father.) Although many of Freud’s particular claims feel like cultural relics, modern attachment theory has confirmed the crucial importance of the maternal bond. As Harry Harlow put it, “You’ve got learn how to love before you can learn how to live.” And it’s our mothers who often first teach us how to love. (Thankfully, human parenting is slowly becoming much more gender neutral. But this a recent cultural innovation.)

A new paper in PLoS ONE expands on this Freudian theme. The study involved a team of scientists at Columbia University, Beth Israel Medical Center and Albert Einstein Medical Center who performed fMRI scans on 28 female subjects between the ages of 18 and 30, half of whom were suffering from unipolar depression. (The patients were evaluated using the Beck Depression Inventory II.) While lying in the scanner, the volunteers looked at pictures of their mothers, a few friends and a selection of strangers. The scientists focused their attention on the left anterior paracingulate gyrus (aPCG), a brain area that plays an important role in the regulation of social emotion. Previous studies have linked the bit of cortex to error and conflict resolution and the understanding of intentionality.

By looking at the differential brain responses of depressed and control subjects after viewing those various faces, the scientists came up with an impressive diagnostic tool. In fact, the fMRi scans were able to predict the presence of depression in nearly 90 percent of subjects; the correlation between actual BDI scores and the predicted BDI scores based on fMRI results was 0.55, which is quite strong. Out of the 28 subjects, the fMRI diagnosis generated one false positive and two false negatives.

Click Here to Read the Rest of the Article




December 13, 2011

Your Daily Cute: Waving Bear

Pretty much describes it all!  :)


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December 11, 2011

Can You Tell The Difference Between A Men’s Magazine And A Rapist? []

by Anna North /

Well, this is upsetting. According to a new study, people can’t tell the difference between quotes from British “lad mags” and interviews with convicted rapists. And given the choice, men are actually more likely to agree with the rapists.

The University of Surrey reports on the study, to be published in the British Journal of Psychology. Researchers gave a group of men and women quotes from the British lad mags FHMLoadedNuts and Zoo, as well as excerpts from interviews with actual convicted rapists originally published in the book The Rapist Files. The participants couldn’t reliably identify which statements came from magazines and which from rapists — what’s more, they rated the magazine quotes as slightly morederogatory than the statements made by men serving time for raping women. The researchers also showed both sets of quotes to a separate group of men — the men were more likely to identify with the rapists’ statements than the lad mag excerpts. The only slightly bright spot in the study: when researchers randomly (and sometimes incorrectly) labelled the quotes as coming from either rapists or magazines, the men were more likely to identify with the ones allegedly drawn from mags. At least they didn’t want to agree with rapists.

Still, the results as a whole are pretty disturbing. Says lead study author Dr. Miranda Horvath, “We were surprised that participants identified more with the rapists’ quotes, and we are concerned that the legitimisation strategies that rapists deploy when they talk about women are more familiar to these young men than we had anticipated.” Her co-author Dr. Peter Hegarty adds,

There is a fundamental concern that the content of such magazines normalises the treatment of women as sexual objects. We are not killjoys or prudes who think that there should be no sexual information and media for young people. But are teenage boys and young men best prepared for fulfilling love and sex when they normalise views about women that are disturbingly close to those mirrored in the language of sexual offenders?

Many of the rapists quoted in the study talked about coercing women or having sex with them even though they were initially unwilling. However, so did the lad mags. Horvath says, “Rapists try to justify their actions, suggesting that women lead men on, or want sex even when they say no, and there is clearly something wrong when people feel the sort of language used in a lads’ mag could have come from a convicted rapist.” A lot of these stereotypes — that women say no when they really mean yes, or are “asking for it” by going out with a man or wearing a short skirt — have indeed been normalized, and it’s sad but not surprising that they appear in a lot of lad mags. Defenders of such statements like to frame them as innocent, or even helpful, observations. But perhaps the news that they sound just like rapists will make people — and magazines — rethink their words.

Middlesex University generously provided us with a copy of the quotes the researchers used. See if you can tell the difference between the rapists and the lad mags:

1. There’s a certain way you can tell that a girl wants to have sex . . . The way they dress, they flaunt themselves.

2. Some girls walk around in short-shorts . . . showing their body off . . . It just starts a man thinking that if he gets something like that, what can he do with it?

3. A girl may like anal sex because it makes her feel incredibly naughty and she likes feeling like a dirty slut. If this is the case, you can try all sorts of humiliating acts to help live out her filthy fantasy.

4. Mascara running down the cheeks means they’ve just been crying, and it was probably your fault . . . but you can cheer up the miserable beauty with a bit of the old in and out.

5. What burns me up sometimes about girls is dick-teasers. They lead a man on and then shut him off right there.

6. Filthy talk can be such a turn on for a girl . . . no one wants to be shagged by a mouse . . . A few compliments won’t do any harm either . . . ‘I bet you want it from behind you dirty whore’ . . .

7. You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are bitches . . . The bitches are the type that . . . need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy.

8. Escorts . . . they know exactly how to turn a man on. I’ve given up on girlfriends. They don’t know how to satisfy me, but escorts do.

9. You’ll find most girls will be reluctant about going to bed with somebody or crawling in the back seat of a car . . . But you can usually seduce them, and they’ll do it willingly.

10. There’s nothing quite like a woman standing in the dock accused of murder in a sex game gone wrong . . . The possibility of murder does bring a certain frisson to the bedroom.

11. Girls ask for it by wearing these mini-skirts and hotpants . . . they’re just displaying their body . . . Whether they realise it or not they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a beautiful body, and it’s yours if you want it.’

12. You do not want to be caught red-handed . . . go and smash her on a park bench. That used to be my trick.

13. Some women are domineering, but I think it’s more or less the man who should put his foot down. The man is supposed to be the man. If he acts the man, the woman won’t be domineering.

14. I think if a law is passed, there should be a dress code . . . When girls dress in those short skirts and things like that, they’re just asking for it.

15. Girls love being tied up . . . it gives them the chance to be the helpless victim.

16. I think girls are like plasticine, if you warm them up you can do anything you want with them.

Answers are below the links…

Are Sex Offenders And Lads’ Mags Using The Same Language? [University of Surrey]

Answers. 1. Rapist, 2. Rapist, 3. Lad mag, 4. Lad mag, 5. Rapist, 6. Lad mag, 7. Rapist, 8. Lad mag, 9. Rapist, 10. Lad mag, 11. Rapist, 12. Lad mag, 13. Rapist, 14. Rapist, 15. Lad mag, 16. Lad mag

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