Controversy erupted in Great Britain and Scotland in September over materials related to same-sex relationships targeted at primary school children.
In Scotland, Catholic groups and others were angered by a project that uses dolls to teach tolerance for, among other groups, homosexual couples.
The so-called Persona Dolls were funded by Lesbian Mothers Scotland. According to a report in the Edinburgh News, educators bring the dolls to school and use them to tell stories to help children “unlearn discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.
Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph reported on a controversy in Great Britain over a pamphlet published by the government-funded Family Planning Association.
The pamphlet, “4 You,” is targeted at 9-11 years old, but includes material that some believe is inappropriate for that age group. Among other things, the pamphlet includes a cartoon depicting a young girl masturbating in the bath, a diagram showing the location of the clitoris, and the admonition that it’s “totally normal” to be attracted to members of the same sex.
Primary pupils to get lesbian doll lessons. Jason Cumming, Edinburgh News, September 26, 2003.
Attack on children’s cartoon sex guide. Sarah Womak, Daily Telegraph, September 27, 2003.
The explicit sex guide aimed at nine-year-olds. Laura Clark, Daily Mail, September 27, 2003.
When the first oral contraceptives were introduced in the 1970s, they used relatively high doses of estrogen. Acting on the widely held view that lower doses of estrogen were safer, pharmaceutical companies gradually replaced the high dose pills with low dose versions. A new study of women who took high dose oral contraceptives, however, suggest that the concern over the high dose pills was misplaced.
Researchers at the Oxford Family Planning Association studied 17,032 women who visited family planning clinics in England and Scotland from 1968 to 1974.
Of the women how used high dose oral contraceptive, the death rate was actually 11 percent lower than for women who did not use high dose oral contraceptives. Due to the uncertainties in epidemic studies, that should not be read as implying that high dose contraceptives had a protective effect, but rather that their effect on the total death rate is not significant.
Which is not to say that high dose oral contraceptives might not contribute to some diseases. The study found that users of high dose oral contraceptives had much higher death rates from cervical cancer than non-users. But this was more than offset by a far lower risk of ovarian and other uterine cancers among users of high dose oral contraceptives.
The study confirmed that the major risk factor among the women in the study, both users and non-users of high dose oral contraceptives. Heavy smokers in the study had a death rate 100 percent higher than that of non-smokers.
Death rate low in former oral contraceptive users. Karla Gale, Reuters Health, July 18, 2003.
Following the lead of an English civil servant, almost a thousand Scottish civil servants have filed complaints charging that dress codes requiring they wear shirts and ties constitute sex discrimination.
Staff members at Scotland’s Department of Work and Pension argue that since their jobs do not bring them into contact with the public, it is sexist to force them to wear shirts and ties while women are allowed to wear less formal attire.
The Scotsman quoted employment lawyer Euan Smith as saying that the men likely had a strong case,
I see no reason why they won’t win their case. The question is whether they [the employers] also apply similar conditions to the women.
I suspect it stems from the hot weather. Where it is roasting hot, if you insist on men wearing shirts and ties in the office and women are in T-shirts and jeans, it must be annoying for them.
Men take employers to court over dress code. Tanya Thompson, The Scotsman, July 16, 2003.
Many European countries have boards that monitor advertising and occasionally force advertisers to rewrite or withdraw advertisements that these boards consider to be deceptive. In Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid was forced to withdraw and rewrite an ad publicizing the threat of domestic violence.
The group had published a poster claiming that “one in five women in Scotland live with the constant threat of abuse.” The Scottish Advertising Standards Authority ruled that this claim was not supported by the study cited by Scottish Women’s Aid and forced the ad to be removed from newspapers and billboards until it could be corrected.
The new text of the ad, which the Advertising Standards Authority signed off on, now states that “A recent survey suggests that one in five women in Scotland have experienced domestic abuse.”
The feminists were outraged at the change, with Scottish Women’s Aid training support worker Liz Kelly telling Scotland on Sunday, “The time spent discussing [the ad] . . . would have been better spent on providing better services to abused women and their children.”
On the one hand, the existence of such boards is ridiculous. The solution to feminist misuse and misrepresentation of statistics is to point out there abuse, not censor them wholesale. On the other hand, while feminists in Europe tend to complain when ad boards rule against them, they usually have no problem running to advertising authorities to try to have ads they think are sexist or demeaning to women withdrawn at a moment’s notice, so it’s hard to generate any deep sympathy for them.
Ruling on domestic abuse adverts branded ‘childish’. Karen Rice, Scotland on Sunday, March 31, 2002.