Slipped through the cracks

Are women getting prettier? Plus, a man's maiden name, the Jessica Simpson OK! magazine ruse and more

By Joe Coscarelli
August 1, 2009 2:32AM (UTC)
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This week at Broadsheet seemed to be all about beauty -- even the ugly sides of it -- from the dangers of fake tanning to the "curse" of cankles. Britney and Madonna's weights caused a stir (again) and even men got sick of Megan Fox, while Japan's women sold their sex appeal to survive these tough economic times. We considered the single female tactic of the fake wedding ring, as well as what girls can learn from horror movies and their ass-kicking leading ladies. Elsewhere, preliminary hearings began for the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, though the abortion episode of "Family Guy" remained on the shelf, per Fox's orders. Still, maybe we were just too caught up in ourselves, because here are a few stories we missed:

Evolution makes women prettier: New studies on physical attractiveness and reproductive success have found that women are getting more attractive over time, while men are aesthetically stagnant. According to researchers, better looking women tend to have more children than "ugly" women and those children tend to be both female and attractive. The daughters then go on to perpetuate the pattern, while men seem to experience no evolutionary pressures for their appearances to improve. "Physical attractiveness is a highly heritable trait," said one evolutionary psychologist. "If more attractive parents have more daughters and if physical attractiveness is heritable, it logically follows that women over many generations gradually become more physically attractive on average than men." Obviously.


What's in a name?: Monday's Globe and Mail featured a soulful essay by Josiah Neufeld titled "I look my wife's last name," about the process of doing just that, in what the author calls an agonizing decision (though it's apparently unremarkable that women have been making the same decision forever). Much to the dismay of his relatives -- especially his mother -- Neufeld both suggested and eventually made the name-change official as a dutiful "declaration of love" to his new wife, sparking a persistent comment section debate about gender roles and marriage in general.

No funds for abstinence-only education: The Senate Appropriations Labor Subcommittee passed an education spending bill for 2010 that does not include funding for abstinence-only programs, in what chairman Tom Harkin calls "another nail in the coffin" for the rigid sex education curriculum. Though shown to be ineffective, the programs grew under President George W. Bush, but have been slowly sapped of funding by the Democrat-controlled Congress since 2007.

China's "unfortunate situation": A new government health report from China indicates that about 13 million abortions are performed every year, "mostly for single young women who experts say know little about contraception."  Due to sparse medical information from the secretive government, it remains unknown how these statistics compare to previous years, but even for a population nearly four times as large, the figure dwarfs the United States' 1.2 million annual abortions.


Jessica Simpson, before and after: Gawker documented the desperate times at OK! magazine as the celeb weekly shamelessly concocted a Jessica Simpson weight loss cover out of thin air by messing with the chronology of its images, all in an attempt to mimic a high-selling Us Weekly cover from 2007. 

Joe Coscarelli

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