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The Psychology of Fashion

The Psychology of Fashion

As the seasons change they bring with them hosts of new choices about what to wear.  How to manage to look chic and stay warm? And, as life gets busier, how not to over-heat physically or emotionally. The selection of something to put on is not just an aesthetic or practical decision. It’s also about what suits our mood. On a minute-by-minute basis, we are assailed by a range of emotions. And every morning we make a decision about what to wear. The two are closely connected. The selection of something to put on is not just an aesthetic or practical decision. It’s...
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Beauty: What Lies Beneath the Makeup

Beauty: What Lies Beneath the Makeup

Inspired by the media coverage of the no-makeup selfie campaign by Cancer Research UK, I decided to research the influence of makeup on women’s lives by setting myself up as guinea pig for my student paper at the University of Warwick.   One day I went out barefaced and the next I wore noticeably more makeup than usual. How would I feel? And how would other people respond to me? I normally wear minimal makeup, but the idea of going out makeup-free even for a day made me feel uncomfortable.  I was concerned about looking unprofessional at work and...
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Why We Shouldn't Try to be Perfect Mothers

Why We Shouldn't Try to be Perfect Mothers

‘Dear Sebastian,’ the letter began in a childish script. ‘Thank you very much for my Birthday Present. I love ‘Angelina Ballerina’ books. Love Yore God Daughter Eleanor’. I laughed. As any mother reading this will know, the likelihood that my husband Sebastian would have a) known it was his god-daughter’s birthday b) sent her a present and c) known that she liked Angelina Ballerina would have been as likely as me going six rounds at the pub. For the truth is, while women have made huge strides in the workplace, many men have not made commensurate progress at...
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Middle-Aged Women: Ignored or Liberated?

Middle-Aged Women: Ignored or Liberated?

I do not know any woman who has not felt discomfort negotiating the shift from young to not young.  Such difficulty does not stem from superficial vanity; it registers the changed social meanings women encounter as they become middle-aged. The brilliant writer and critic Carolyne Heilbrun was the first to point out that women, once they entered midlife, were considered story less.  Past the age in which they might drive the plot of a standard romantic narrative, they disappeared with a few words into settled, fixed characters, to whom nothing interesting would...
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Fertility and Mindfulness

Fertility and Mindfulness

In my role as a fertility expert I help women through the difficult and often all-consuming emotions they can experience while trying to conceive or going through fertility treatment. Women seem instinctively aware that their emotions can impact on their fertility. Sometimes they will say to me things like: ‘I’m stressed that I am stressed, because I know it’s bad for me!’ Through out our lives we will experience times of intense emotional difficulty and sometimes unimaginable stress. This is part of the human condition and in many ways how we cope and adapt to these...
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Arianna Huffington: "It's not all about money and power"

Arianna Huffington: "It's not all about money and power"

Arianna Huffington is founder and former owner of The Huffington Post. Her new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life  is out now. What’s wrong with the current definition of success? Our definition of success right now is based almost solely on money and power. And so to succeed, we lead lives of overwork, sleep-deprivation and burnout. These are actually considered badges of honor! We voluntarily drive ourselves into the ground, if not the grave. This idea of success can work—or at least appear to work—in the short term....
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Getting to Know Your Genitals

Getting to Know Your Genitals

As a psychosexual therapist I often deliver sexuality and sexual education workshops to the wider public, and I have delivered many training days to male, female and mixed gender groups.  The groups consist of people of all ages - ranging from as young as 16, to over 70 years old – which gives me insight into a wide array of thoughts and viewpoints. One of the topics which surfaces frequently, is the different relationship men and women have with their genitals.  Of course, there is a big difference between the sexes ... in males, genitals are external and boys from...
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Are Role Models Useful to Women?

Are Role Models Useful to Women?

The discrepancy between women’s intelligence and talents on the one hand and their career achievement remains a puzzle for the people who teach them, particularly at university level, as well as for professional mentors who may be bewildered as to why the advance towards equality remains so slow.  Earlier this year the University of Cambridge launched a book about successful women in which the breadth of Cambridge women’s achievements are noted and lauded.  While the aim is to embed and reward different kinds of success, there is a danger that such a project shifts focus...
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