I read my March issue of Reader's Digest last night, while listening to and occasionally glancing at ColorSplash, on HGTV. One of the articles in this issue has to do with memory and how to improve it. I was vastly disappointed. There wasn't anything new or exciting in the article. "Surely," I thought - although I may have actually said it out loud to Tom, who was pretending to watch David Bromstad and Danielle Hirsch, "this is all OLD news? All of these tips on how to improve memory have been said over and over. Don'tcha think?"
Tom gave a laugh, after I read a few. He agreed. Here's the rub - I think the memory tricks are aimed at... folks like me. Baby boomers who are overworked and overcommitted and just too busy to remember your email address, or your phone number or...our own, for that matter. And, we've read all the tips and tricks - a million times! If they haven't sunk in by now - well, I say just start writing things down. It works for me, and three million of my closest friends. (if you're under 50 and having memory issues - maybe this article was for you, not me)
Then... I turned the page...and I got to the good part. Women, it seems, remember things better than men. Yes, I know - nothing new there, either. Here's a quote, "Because of a higher rate of blood flow to certain parts of the brain (including those that control language) as well as higher concentrations of estrogen, women's memories have been shown to be superior to men's in a couple of key areas..." The article goes on to cite "stories" (how many women still remember those bedtime stories they read to their kids?, "frightening or stressful experiences" (making women better eye-witnesses, so they say), and... well, that was it. Scientific evidence proves women never forget.
Meanwhile, on the other Sunday thoughts,
Kimberly Garrison is taking on Queen Latifah, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Kimberly thinks Queen Latifah's (can I just say 'Queen'?) new gig for Jenny Craig is money based. She doesn't buy it that Queen is hoping to "get healthy." After all, this is the woman formerly shilling for Pizza Hut.
According to Kimberly, who is a certified personal trainer, "Clever advertising with celebrity endorsers generally adds insult to injury. I'm afraid the bottom line is that neither Jenny Craig nor Queen Latifah are about health or fitness. For them, it's all about the almighty dollar." Specifically, the "black female dollar." [she says, "...according to an annual report on black spending issued yesterday by Target Market News... black women are the single biggest influence in that growth."]
Pretty harsh, IMHO. True? I'm not sure, as I said before. I think you can be for Jenny Craig and Pizza Hut, and want folks to think twice about their weight relevant to how it's affecting their health. Queen Latifah may be gaining and not want to go overboard...she may be just trying to make a buck...or she may actually think her fans will follow her lead - and if they can't afford Jenny Craig, they will explore other weight control options - like visiting a personal trainer. Hey, wait a minute...the "masses" that Kimberly says can't afford Jenny Craig (hence, Queen shouldn't be shilling for them), likely can't afford a personal trainer, either!
I think watching Queen do the Jenny Craig thing will be interesting - and it actually has me thinking I should get to the gym. (I don't think I'd do the Jenny Craig thing well...but, I used to work out a lot and that is well worth it). Before moving on, I have to admit that this pic, borrowed from Kimberly's article, shows a very air-brushed Queen. Ah, ya gotta love Photoshop.
Now, on to Hugo Schwyzer and this post - found via a Google Alert - "Women's Studies: not dead yet, thanks." Schwyzer is a professor, he teaches history and gender studies, and he is concerned about the demise of Women's Studies in the UK.
According to a NY Times article, "Last women standing," the UK is dispensing with women's studies as an undergraduate discipline. Hmmm...
Hugo says we've pretty much folded "women's studies" into "gender studies" here in the U.S. and likely the UK has also. Or, maybe Esther Oxford, author of the NY Times article, is saying that about the UK. She says, "In the past two decades, departments across Britain have been forced to integrate into other departments or to close outright. Only MAs and PhDs appear to be surviving the cull."
In the end, she writes, "I used to resist this dispersion, but it is true that I can continue my work. We are mutating and transforming and yet still teaching women's studies within different contexts. We have not been extinguished."
Wow. "We have not been extinguished." That's a powerful statement - as if women's voices, in general, could be extinguished. And isn't that what this is - the sound of women's voices, finally being heard?
Here's what Hugo says, "Are the courses we teach designed to be ameliorative, to provide alternatives to the male-centered curricula? If so, what happens when we succeed (as we surely want to) in getting feminist ideas absorbed into the “mainstream”? Once we’ve achieved gender parity in the student body (which we have) and among the professoriate (which we haven’t, yet); once we’ve seen the inclusion of feminist perspectives in courses across the disciplines, will there still be a need for a specific discipline called Women’s Studies? Do we sow the seeds of our own destruction by moving in from the margins??"
From the truth of women's ability to manage language better and to remember better, to the reality that what we do can and will be scrutinized by our 'sisters', to the good or bad, all the way to academia moving to remove the discipline of women's studies and replace it with 'gender studies' as if the two are interchangable, women will not be marginalized or extinguished. We will, however, continue to be - women. Different from men.
And that's why I say you must market to us differently than you market to men. I do not ascribe to the belief that marketing should forget gender and just do a good job. A good job means knowing your market - with women, that's a complicated task. With men - not so much.