Archives for July, 2011

Aging

Me And My Big Nose

When I was a teenager in a predominately Jewish girls’ summer camp, we had a little joke: For your sweet sixteen, you got either a pearl ring or a nose job.

Several friends opted for the nose. I didn’t, although my nose is no less prominent than theirs were. I like my nose just fine. I have a nose like my mother had and my father had and my brother has. And my grandfather had, for...
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Books

Everyone Can’t Be Famous (Not Even for 15 Minutes)


In about the year 2047, I think we’ll see a lot of glum middle-aged people.

A recent study shows that television shows preferred by tweens (ages 9 to 11) have increasingly focused on the aspirational value of fame.

Fame topped the list of values recognized in the top two shows for tweens in 2007 ( American Idol and Hannah Montana), up from fifteen (out of sixteen) in 1967 (Andy...
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Body Image

Fat Talk: Why Women Do It



Guys know better.

When the woman in their life asks, “Do I look fat?” guys respond, “Gosh, I love you more every day, honey,” or “Now would be a great time for me to start painting the kitchen, don’t you think?” or “Hey, is that a UFO up there?”

Anything to avoid fat talk.

For women, however, fat talk is social currency.

A few years ago, I interviewed...
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Body Image

Love Your Fat to Lose It


The first step to regaining a healthy weight is loving your body as it is.

Research says so: Researchers in Portugal compared a control group of women trying to lose weight with diet and exercise advice only, with a group who also received an intervention focused on body image.

The scientists took various psychological and physical measurements for a baseline, and again a...
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Books

Self-Help Books: Take What You Want, Pass It Along

Here it comes, the avalanche of brain-training books, following the leaps and bounds made in research in recent decades. As we learn about the brain, the self-help industry is following the neurons to a happier, healthier you. Also with a better memory.

A book called Train Your Brain to Get Happy crossed my path recently, so I picked it up. (Actually, I got a press release and requested a review copy from the...
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Communication

Anatomy of an Apology

Everybody say hell yeah! because I received an apologetic note from radio personality/musician Danny Balis (a k a Delicate Blossom), whose on-air insults infuriated me and quite a few other women.

Not only that, but it’s a good apology, and one that had the intended effect: I forgive him.

Why was this apology effective? Danny has given me permission to use his note, so I thought I’d dissect it in light of a study...
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Consumer Behavior

Sometimes You Just Need a Pressure Release

It’s been a very long week, and not in a good way. Righteous anger is a bitch.  Trying to fit another thought into my overheated brain has been difficult and I've struggled to settle on something to write about. I didn’t want to write more about institutionalized sexism in the media. (Actually I did, but y'all have probably had enough.)

Casting around for something to get traction in my brain, I thought about ancillary...
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Bigotry

On Being Called a Fat Old Bitch

What an interesting few days I’ve had.

I write about various topics in my work, including music. Last week, I wrote a blog post for a local newsweekly’s website in which I was critical of a local band. It had snarky moments—Dallas/Fort Worth, where I live, is a snarky media market. But it had a point, and I didn’t accuse anyone of kicking puppies or eating babies or anything. I expected a rough-and-tumble response....
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Cognition

When You Can’t Stop Thinking About It

A friend was recently robbed at gunpoint on a dark street. She’s a little bruised from being pushed around, but she's generally OK. However, she says, she can’t stop thinking about it and wishes she could.

Not unusual. In the psychological literature, that’s called repetitive thought, and it can be a bad thing except when it’s a good thing.

As you probably already know, trying to suppress a thought is pointless—that old “don’t think about a...
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