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Archive for June, 2010

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves, But What About Each Other?

Women have always had a complicated relationship with each other, whether we’re singing a karaoke version of “I Am Woman” on a stage with our best friends

(dear god that was an awful movie) or tearing each other’s hair out, the female relationship can be a very fragile and complicated thing.

When I hear of a friend getting a promotion, I immediately think of how far from a promotion I am, I think it’s true for a lot of women. If your friend announces she’s met the man of her dreams, how quickly are you looking for a fault in her “Mr Right”? What about if she borrows your clothes and then gets more compliments for them than you usually do? That bitch!

I’m sure every woman has a story about when another female has stabbed them in the back, I’m also sure that they have even more examples of times when they have been the one doing the stabbing.
I have always wondered why women do this, why do we put each other down to make ourselves feel better? Why do compare our achievements negatively or favourably with one and other instead of just being proud of what we have accomplished? In short why are we competing?

Now you may think I’m being a little hasty to profile women in this way, and perhaps I am. Perhaps I am being a little old-fashioned to think that men and women are so different nowadays, perhaps men are from Mars and women are from Earth (the closest planet to Mars in case you were wondering.)

I thought about this, and I compiled a short survey about male and female competition (click the links for an example of each survey). As you can see the surveys are identical except for the genders. Now, as I have previously mentioned, I am not a scientist, I am an underpaid childcare worker with a mediocre high school education, so if you’re thinking that the survey might be a little rough, you’d be right. I do not have a psychology degree and I am not trained in survey writing or data analysis, this is just a fun little experiment I concocted. i got 20 males and 20 females to complete these surveys.

Let’s have a look at the results! Women’s results, Men’s results.

Click on the links to see the results of the surveys, now rather than go through all the results answer by answer I’ll just comment on the results that I found particularly interesting.

In the work section there is a question about a co-worker calling in sick after going out late drinking.When given the options on the survey 45% of the Women went with answer B indicating that they would give their coworker the benefit of the doubt. sounds lovely right? What nice supportive people we are, oh wait! No we’re not, because 45% of the Women picked C for the same answer indicating that they would keep their coworkers secret but may possibly use it against her later. Wow, remind me not to try any dodgy sick days on you ladies.

For the same question the 75% of the men were giving their co-worker the benefit of the doubt with 15% turning them into the boss and only 10% planning to use it against them. Hey at least those 15%  were gonna stab you in the front!

Ok, so that made the gals look a little harsh, let’s try to even the score and have a look at where the men might be displaying a little cut throat competitive instinct.

The social section, question 3.  The situation with the friend’s ex: 36.8% of the Men indicated that they would be flattered to be receiving this attention over their friend with 10.5% being irritated by the advances and  52.6% thinking that the best thing to do was ignore the advances. The ladies showed a little more loyalty with ony 20% being flattered, 45% being irritated and 25% ignoring it. That’s more like it girls, I’d trust you around my ex any day, you men better stay away though!

I don’t want to get caught up in too many statistics and numbers now. The survey was fun and had some interesting results, but now the more important question do Women compete with each other more than men do?

If so why?( Ok, so I’m going to sound like a whingeing chick from one of those “Female lawyer” shows from the late 90’s and I apologise in advance)

Being a Woman is hard, first off we work just as hard and get paid less, So we work harder and harder to try to get the career path we want  and then… “Uh-oh biological clock ticking, baby time!”  Or “nope, you have reproductive issues madam but please deal with them quietly as the rest of the world is uncomfortable with them”

Don’t even think about being one of those women who says they don’t want kids, everyone knows “those” women are evil. If you do decide to have kids prepare to wade through the thousands of conflicting views on how you should be raising them. If you do find your dream career you’ll probably find it harder to climb to the top than a man.  On top of that we are somehow supposed to be able to do these things while looking amazing and maintaining the perfect weight. I’m getting tired and grumpy just typing this shit.

So when you see another woman who’s holding it together a little better than you, who seems to be cruising along and easily achieving everything that she sets out to do, don’t you hate that bitch? I know I do. I hate her and she probably hates somebody else for the same reason and so on and so on until the whole process is a never-ending chain of bitterness and envy. The sad thing is a lot of these pressures that make us so competitive are put on us by ourselves. If we all just stopped judging how other women dress or how they got their job or whether their boyfriend likes us more, we might have more time to spend solving the bigger issues that affect us as a group.

I doubt it can be done, although… “Women get along only when they ally their powers against other women”  I nominate Sarah Palin.


Powerbalance Bands, scientific miracle or scam?

Recently I began to notice a strange fashion trend apearing around me. Little rubber wrist bands with a shiny hologramatic sticker imbedded in the top. I was intrigued, was this some new form of status symbol? A trinket to show that you are a member of an elite club? Or did these bracelets have some even more macarbre meaning? Perhaps they were the symbol of a seperatist religious cult.

When I finally asked someone who was wearing one about their meaning, I found out the truth was much more mundane. These bands were called “Power Balance Bracelets” a magic charm that supposedly gives the wearer greater balance and power.
They work, as my friend breathlessly explained by enhancing positive vibrations and dampening negative disharmonic vibrations. Apparently doing this will help your body to attain peak performance potential.

I am personally a natural sceptic and simply nodded and smiled (ocassionally throwing  in a “Wow ions, fascinating” for good measure.) My friend assured me that to hear about the power of the band was not enough and that the effects had to be experienced to be believed. I consented to undergo a test.

I stood with both feet together and my arms out, my friend now acting as a demonstrator pushed down on my left arm instructing me to resist this push downward as much as I could, I was unable to resist for more than a few seconds before my arm was defeated. Now I was told to hold the bracelet in my hand and the test was repeated, amazingly I was able to withstand the pressure on my arm for more than double the time of the first attempt.

In the second test I held my hands together behind my back and stood with my feet together. I was told that my friend was about to push down on my hands and I was to try and resist falling backwards without moving my feet. As soon as they began to push I was unable to keep my balance. I repeated this test while holding the band and as in the first demonstration I was able to hold my balance much more easily. My friend had an “I told you so” look on their face, apparently the Power Balance Bracelets had proved their point, or maybe not…

I said earlier that I was something of a sceptic, I will now correct that and say I am a complete sceptic. The tests with the band only made me more intrigued by the band and I began my research. I started with the science behind the bands, as my friends description of how they supposedly worked had seemed a little vague.

I thought the logical place to begin was the Power Balance Website, on the website under the how it works section the explanation given is:
“POWER BALANCE’S Mylar Holographic Disk (the same substance used to keep static electricity from damaging electrical components) has been imbedded with an electrical frequency that restores your body’s electrical balance, promoting a free exchange of positive and negative ions and align your body’s energy pathways.
The high density Disk acts much like a switch, resonating within your system and turning on your energy field while it clears the pathways so the electro-chemical exchange functions like the well-tuned generator it was designed to be.
When the static Power Balance Hologram comes in contact with your body’s energy field, it begins to resonate in accordance with each individual’s biological, creating a harmonic loop that optimizes your energy field and maintains maximum energy flow while clearing the pathways so the electro-chemical exchange functions like the well-tuned generator it was meant to be.”

Well, yes, obviously that makes perfect sense, glad they could simplify things for me. Now you may be aware that I am in no way a scientist, however that information made no sense to me, so I decided to google away and find any information that I could to simplify this theory. What I found however was similarily confusing explanations with a lack of eveidence to back it up.

Somewhere along the way I came accross this quote from  Harry Radcliff power balance rep. “It’s all about the test. In the stores, when people ask me what it is, I don’t even explain. Just do the test. I’ve done it with thousands of people, and 99%…they’re blown away.”

as well as “It’s a big step concept to get your head around, but the bottom line is, you don’t need to understand it for it to work. I do presentations all over South East Asia, so instead of trying to explain anything, I grab someone and just do the test. In Indonesia, every time, they turn to their mates and call me a witchdoctor.”

Ok, so, the test. Lets look at the test. These types of demonstrations are done using something called Applied Kinesiology which is a “science” used by many chiropractors and other alternative medical practioners, wikipedia describes it as: A practice within the realm of alternative medicine and is different from “kinesiology,” which is the scientific study of human movement. AK has been criticized on theoretical and empirical grounds,[7] and characterized as pseudoscience[8] and quackery.[7] With only anecdotal accounts providing positive evidence for the efficacy of the practice, a review of peer-reviewed studies concluded that the “evidence to date does not support the use of [AK] for the diagnosis of organic disease or pre/subclinical conditions.”

Whilst researching applied Kinesiology I came accross this video on youtube

I found this video to be very interesting and useful in understanding how these demonstrations are pulled off. So to summarize, if you really feel that you need to spend $60.00 to give you some confidence in the abilities that you already have, be my guest. Hell, where do I sign up for a franchise? Or maybe not, there have been a number of these so called magic cures that have come and gone over the years, all with similar “scientific” themes. Take the case of the Balance bracelet a metal bracelet that was supposedly electro-polarized by an undisclosed process. The makers of this product claimed that the bracelet had pain relieving qualities the Federal Trade Commission did not agree and the manufacurers were ordered to pay $400,000 due to their deceptive claims. I give powerbalance a couple more years at most before they face the same fate and another shoddy product comes to take their place. as always, a fool and his money are easily parted.