Monthly Archives: March 2013

“Men are only interested in one thing about women… their teeth!” says toothbrush manufacturer

If there’s anything the media has taught us about men, is that they’re only interested in certain parts of a girl’s body, as the Daily Mail (which knows a lot about driving interest in girls’ bodies) explains:

Ladies, forget your figure or your face, it’s your TEETH men really take note of 

A dazzling white smile is practically essential for any celebrity hoping to make it onto the red carpet – they don’t call it a Hollywood smile for nothing.

But it seems that pearly whites are imperative when searching for your perfect man too, as a new study reveals the first thing men notice about a woman are her teeth.

According to the latest study, they rate as the most important feature for a man when checking out a new mate. 

Indeed, dental credentials took the top spot of the top ten things men judge women on, taking 58 per cent of votes.

Source: Daily Mail, 8 February 2013

See, men aren’t as bad as you thought, you big sexist you! It turns out men are way more interested in a woman’s gnashers than her knockers (I’ve no idea how that sentence didn’t end up in the Mail’s coverage; I presume it would have appeared in The Sun’s). We know men are more dentally motivated, because this opinion poll says so.

Dr Uchenna, Oral-B Smile Director, said of the results: ‘Make sure you treat your teeth every day – they’ll definitely thank you for it and it will make you feel more confident, so you’ll be proud to show off your gorgeous smile. 

‘People are becoming more aware of their smiles and I have seen a rise in my clients asking how they can achieve a naturally whiter smile.

‘Oral B found that almost one in three Brits do not brush their teeth twice a day, which will certainly not help to bag that second date this Valentine’s Day.’

Setting aside the fact that a ‘Smile Director’ is not a fucking job (it just isn’t), only a jaded cynic would suggest that this Oral-B’s Grin Queen commenting on a survey they’ve commissioned themselves, which happened to find that the field they exclusively work in is the most important of all, wasn’t real research.

I mean, it’s not like a toothbrush company telling people just before Valentine’s Day that they need super white teeth to get laid would have any kind of commercial gain from such a story… is it? 

“Sleep around – you’ll lose weight!” says adultery website

While faddy diets come and go, the Daily Mail – the newspaper that campaigned against online pornography and struck a blow for decency in an age of moral decline – has a novel way of working off that excess weight:

Having an affair ‘is better for weight loss than going on a diet’

Being unfaithful may be one of the most effective way to shed the pounds, a bizarre survey has found.

Just over half of men and 62 percent of women said they had shed pounds after embarking on an affair. 

Philandering men lost an average of 6lbs whilst the women claim to have lost 10lbs on average.

Source: Daily Mail, 20 February 2013

While the exercise benefits of a tumble in the sheet are almost universally accepted (albeit likely often overplayed), the extra-marital nature of this sex seems oddly incongruous with the Mail’s supposed campaign for decency and moral fortitude.

Are we to believe that it’s only illicit sexual encounters that will work off the baby weight or tune up the beer guy? Or is there something else going on here?

Although the survey, which was carried out by a dating website for married people seeking affairs, should clearly be taken with huge pinch of salt, experts say that there are several physiological reasons why being unfaithful might aid weight loss.

That’s quite a big although, and quite a pinch of salt – the survey was posted to promote an affairs website, a find-and-fuck site, essentially. Specifically:

A spokesperson for the dating website, UndercoverLovers.com, which carried out the survey on 3,000 of its adulterous members, said: ‘Having an affair can provide a huge psychological fillip.

‘It’s well known that we eat more, and less healthily, when we’re unhappy.’

It never fails to amaze me just how shady some of the companies behind the many legitimate-seeming stories in the Daily Mail can be – it’s as if their crusade for decency and morality is little more than a middle-England-pleasing facade designed to sell newspapers, when realistically their journalists will take any salacious and juicy-sounding story so long as it will shift newspapers and drive advertising revenue to their borderline-pornographic website…

“Couples row when things aren’t tidy!” says Swedish storage-solution retailer

I hate how untidy my flat gets, and so does my girlfriend… which is why I’m glad The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph are on hand to give my relationship the helping hand it really needs:

Couples row 104 times a year about mess (and one in five men STILL think cleaning is a woman’s job)

From debates over whose turn it is to wash up to niggles over the laundry, it’s commonplace for couples to bicker every now and then.

But according to the latest survey, British couple have 104 arguments a year about the mess in their homes – and it’s causing some serious rifts.

A staggering 2.4 million couples row twice a week about who should tidy up with arguments becoming so heated it affects their sex lives – and even causes some to break up.

In fact, the study found that two thirds of women (67 per cent) have refused to have sex when distracted by clothes that need to be folded, hung up or put away.

The research found one in five couples, 18 per cent, row at least once a week about which one is causing the mess.

Source: Daily Mail, 1 March 2013

British couples row twice a week about the mess in their homes, study finds

A staggering 2.4 million couples row twice a week about who should tidy up with arguments becoming so heated it affects their sex lives and causes some to break up.

Two thirds of women have refused to have sex when distracted by clothes that need to be folded, hung up or put away.

The research found one in five couples, 18 per cent, row at least once a week about which one is causing the mess.

Women’s biggest complaint was revealed to be their man leaving piles of clothes on the floor, with 36 per cent irritated by this.

Source: Daily Telegraph, 1 March 2013

I’ll stress two things up front: 1) I am not one of the 20% of men who think cleaning is still a woman’s job, and 2) I highly doubt 20% of men still think cleaning is a woman’s job at all, just as much as I doubt the veracity of any of these statistics, given all we know about opinion polls and the motives of the companies who commission them.

What I don’t doubt, however, is that this article from churnalist-extraordinaire Bianca London of the Daily Mail came from a press release put out by Swedish self-assemblers and horsemeatballers Ikea:

A spokesman for Ikea, who carried out the survey, said: ‘People have very different ideas about what “tidy” means, but it is still remarkable how many couples argue several times a week about mess and clutter in their homes.

‘It is sad some argue so much it affects their love lives or may even lead to them splitting up, when simple storage solutions could help them live happily.’

Ikea there, being as balls-out bare in the UK press as they would be in a Swedish sauna in explaining that buying Ikea products will put an end to arguing. The irony, which they absolutely HAVE to be aware of in writing this press release, is that no couple can visit an Ikea store without having the most blazing of rows.

“People put photos on Facebook sometimes!” says mobile network

When, exactly, is the best time to post a photo on Facebook? The answer is simple – there’s no answer to that, and it’s a meaningless question, because no time is better than any other to use social media, that’s kinda the point of it really.

Or, you could go with the Daily Mail:

2.36pm on Monday: The time you are most likely to email photos or post them on Facebook

If you notice your co-worker raising a smile at around 2.36pm on Monday and don’t know why, take a look at their computer screen – apparently that’s the time people are most likely to email friends with photos or post them on Facebook, according to a new study.

Figures reveal internet sharing peaks at this precise time for Brits who ‘wish it was still the weekend’ and try instead to reconnect with friends.

It also coincides with a post-lunch lull.

Source: Daily Mail, 3 March 2013

You might be thinking that 2.36pm seems oddly specific, as if it’s either been plucked out of thin air, or is a horribly-literal average produced from a range of answers. While it’s not easy to be precise about the provenance of this figure, it’s absolutely true that unusual and off-standard times stick in the mind easier, and are far more likely to make headlines (as some PR genius or other has used to full effect in the past).

It’s also equally plausible, in this case, that asking respondents to an online survey to select which hour of the day they’re most likely to post a photo to Facebook (remembering that even those with no idea – by which I mean the majority of us – are forced to select an option or forego payment), and then taking an basic average of all of the answers could easily produce this quirky 2.36pm result. 

Of course, what we do know, is that this online opinion poll was commissioned to get some company a few column inches in a national newspaper – step forward mobile network operator Three:

Oliver Topley, head of Insights at Three, said: ‘It’s really rewarding to stumble upon something online you know a friend will enjoy and share it with them.

‘Whether it’s a cute picture of a cat, the latest Harlem Shake video or downright daft stuff, it’s great to be able to bring a smile to someone’s face.

What Three really want you to know isn’t the exact time that you use Facebook, but that you can use Facebook on their network to share the silly things in life, whenever the mood strikes you, and their coverage will be there to support you.

Coincidentally, Three are running a major faux-viral marketing campaign over social media, where their irritatingly-contrived dancing pony video is remixed based on posts to Twitter and to Facebook.

Total coincidence, of course.

“Giving your boyfriend’s clothes to a charity shop is better than sex!” says charity shop

Ladies, don’t you hate it when your boyfriend refuses to part with that old jumper you hate, even after you ask him to? Never fear: all the other girls out there are taking matters into their own hands! Just ask the Daily Mail:

One in seven women admits binning their man’s old clothes without telling him (even though they have 16 items in the wardrobe they never wear)

Women typically harbour 16 items of clothing they never wear – yet throw out their partner’s clothes without telling them, according to research.

One in seven women (14 per cent) admits going behind her man’s back to clear out clothes she thinks do not suit him.

Source: Daily Mail, 4 March 2013

image

So, you see, it’s perfectly fine for you to find those clothes your boyfriend wants to keep and then to give them to a charity shop – we know it’s OK because all the other girlfriends out there are doing it, and we know all the other girlfriends out there are doing it because a charity shop (who wants more donations) says so:

The survey by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which is encouraging people to take unwanted items into its shops, found that a third of Britons feel ‘relieved’ following a clear-out, while 11 per cent of women say it is ‘better than sex’.

You hear that, ladies? Getting rid of your unwanted clothes – or those of your loved ones – is BETTER THAN SEX, says the charity shop wanting your unwanted clothes. If that’s not enough to convince you… well, the BHF will just have to commission another bullshit poll, really.

“The most important thing about a woman is how she looks!” says haircare company

In a world where men and women are increasingly considered equals, it’s great to see the Daily Mail finding time for some gold old-fashioned throwback sexism:

Young women admit they care more about their looks than their career prospects

British women aged 18-25 care more about ‘looking good’ than climbing the career ladder, according to a new survey.

The study, which asked single women to rank aspects of their life, found 41 per cent were more concerned about their appearance than how well their job was going.

One in five admitted prospects, promotions and pay rises meant less to them than having ‘perfect hair’, fashionable clothes and good make up.

As many as one in four admitted they would rather look like Frankie Sandford from The Saturdays than be as successful as businesswoman Karren Brady.

Source: Daily Mail, 5 March 2013

Alas, despite the many strides of feminism, it seems the modern-day woman cares not a jot about her career, and instead her pretty-little girlbrain can only concern itself with the superficial and cosmetic, with appearances and nice hair topping the list of things the lady of today cares most about.

Things get worse, as even fiscal security falls second to the insatiably materialistic female worldview:

The study also showed many women prioritise ‘great hair’ and ‘staying thin’ over renting or owning their own place and learning to drive.

The top priority for the 539 women questioned was going out with friends.

I think it’s frankly disgusting that all of the women of today care only about whether their hair looks nice before they go out with their friends. Unfortunately, it seems I’m alone in my view:

A spokeswoman for haircare company John Frieda, which conducted the study, said it ‘stands to reason’ that young women today are more concerned with their looks and friendships in an era when social networking means more pictures are shared online and rising house prices have made buying a first home impossible.

The John Frieda spokeswoman added: ‘It is incredible girls would rather have beautiful coloured hair and the High Street’s latest outfits than a pension in place, their own car, or their own house.

‘But this is because when you are in your early twenties appearance is of huge importance – and before life gets too serious and stressful, why should it be any other way.’

That’s right – it’s OK if your aspirations only stretch as far as looking good and having nice hair, ladies, because a haircare company (who can make your hair look nice) says so… albeit the same haircare company who created a survey designed to demonstrate that haircare is more important than all of the actual things in life that women actually care about. 

And, to round off this sexist slice of media nonsense, it’s worth mentioning that the survey designed to demonstrate just how vacuous and superficial today’s women are was conducted by… our friends OnePoll, from 72 Point: your one-stop shop for belittlingly-patronising and equality-busting bullshit.

“Garden sheds are really important to men!” says woodstain manufacturer

I don’t have a garden shed, which means I spend my life constantly embroiled in familial battles, according to the Daily Telegraph:

One in five men ‘uses garden shed to avoid family arguments’

Survey shows that over 20 per cent of men flee to their sheds to escape rows indoors.

It’s long been joked that men use their garden sheds as a way to get some peace and quiet away from the family.

Now, a survey has revealed that over a fifth (21 per cent) of men flee to their sheds to avoid arguments with ther loved ones.

Source: Daily Telegraph, 20 February 2013

It seems that for any man not wanting to be caught in the middle of the maternal maelstrom, a shed is of crucial importance. Says who?

The survey, released by woodcare products manfacturer Cuprinol, found that Britons are having a full-blown love affair with the humble garden shed, with 65 per cent of Brits owning one.

Almost half of respondents (49 per cent) said they would be “lost” without their garden sanctuary, with one in 10 (12 per cent) admitting they would rather spend time in their shed than with their families.

Huh – the woodstain and wood preservation company believes the wooden garden shed is highly important and worth, say, preserving? Who’d have thought it?

And as if to force home the issue further, the marketing department of cuprinol chimes in:

Kathryn Ledson, marketing manager at Cuprinol, said: “It’s clear that sheds are vital to the British identity and that they are an inspiration to so many of us.”

The survey was released to tie in with the 2013 Shed of the Year competition, which is sponsored by Cuprinol. Shedowners can nominate their sheds at www.readersheds.co.uk until May 3.

Sometimes, the transparency of these stories makes me despair. If you need me, you’ll know where to find me…

“Baking is popular these days!” says baking competition

Who would you want to bake with? The Daily Express knows:

Mary Berry beats Nigella Lawson to be voted Britain’s most popular baking companion

MARY Berry has already stolen the nations hearts – and stomachs – with her tasty concoctions and superior judging talents, and now the Bake Off Queen has been voted the person most people in the UK would like to bake with, according to a new survey.

The ever growing popularity of baking and cookery programmes on television, as well as books and magazines has led to a baking revolution in Britain.  

Over 50 per cent of people asked in a recent survey said that they now bake weekly, with almost a quarter finding the time to bake several times a week – showing how cake making has been embraced by the nation.  

Source: Express, 20 February 2013

image

Because, as the news article says, baking is really popular these days – something we can be sure is true, because the story came from a press release from The Cake Awards:

The research, released by The Cake Awards also showed that as well as the UK taking inspiration from cooking shows – many of Brits use baking cakes to relieve stress and help relaxation. 

So it seems that baking is a good idea, says an entirely-impartial party.

image

In fact, while the original press release might be hard to track down, the fact that the Express carries a link to the website for The Cake Awards gives the game away in quite spectacular style, given that the link reads:

http://www.thecakeawards.com/?utm_medium=Web&utm_campaign=PRESS+RLEASE_2&utm_source=PR_2

For the uninitiated, that long link is the Google Analytics tracked link, which The Cake Awards set up in order to track traffic to their website, and how much of that came from their press release. So, with that in mind, when you click this specially-edited link, they’ll see your traffic appear in their stats.

Much obliged.

“Men are liars!” says sales website happy to slander half the population

Which set of genitals make you more likely to be a liar? You may think it meaningless to even ask such a question, but the Daily Mail disagrees:

Men lie THREE TIMES more than women, study finds… and the most common fibs? ‘Yes, darling I’ve done it,’ and ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t have a signal’

Men are three times as likely to lie as women, a new study has found. 

And the average man lies three times every single day – or more than 1,000 times each year. 

In comparison, the study found that the average woman lies just once each day.

The survey of 2,531 adults across the UK shows that we are a nation of liars, with just five per cent of respondents saying that they told the truth ‘at all times’. 

The majority, 52 per cent, of men said that they lied three times a day on average; whilst one in seven, 14 per cent, said that they lied more than five times each day on average

Source: Daily Mail, 5 March 2013

It’s barely even worth pointing out the obvious flaws in this stereotype-hitting story, but we’ll go through the motions: this is a self-reported survey, so the most we could possibly say (if these results even prove to be a fair reflection of the survey done) is that men are more prepared to say that they lie.

There’s a number of reasons why men might be more willing than women to tell a survey about when they lie – only one option of which is that men actually do lie more often than women.

Another possibility may be that while men and women lie a roughly similar amount, societal pressures and familiarity with stereotypes mean men are more comfortable than women with the idea of admitting to lies.

Similarly, the same societal pressures may cause men to unknowingly over-report when they lie – not least because there isn’t a fixed definition of what counts as a lie, so in the borderline calls may be included more often by the parts of the population most often told they’re the gender who lies most.

And those are just the objections off the top of my head, and without seeing the data and sampling (without which, we can’t even tell how many of the respondents were of either gender).

A final, and most relevant to this blog, objection concerns the source of the data: 

The survey, cnducted (sic) by secret sales website HushHush.com, asked respondents who they lied to most regularly, and found that men and women are both most likely to lie to a manager or boss, with 31 per cent admitting that they lied at work most regularly. 

The idea that men lie significantly more than women – discovered via the medium of flawed self-reported opinion polls – is something of a headline-banker, with a moment on Google bringing up stories appearing on the BBC in May 2010 (placed by the Science Museum) and in the Daily Mail in September 2009 (placed by 20th Century Fox).

As we’d expect to see from research that’s driven by advertising rather than a quest for truth, each story has wildly differing results – with the 2009 survey finding that men lie twice as much as women (6 times per day for men), the 2010 survey finding that men lie 1.5 times as often as women (3 lies per day for men) and the 2013 survey finding that men lie 3 times as often as women (3 lies per day for men). The variance across the three surveys is entirely consistent with a self-reported and uncontrolled survey, of course.

Mark Pearson, founder of HushHush.com had the following to say:

‘It seems honesty is rare these days, but given the fact that the majority of us lie regularly, it’s hard to see anything changing anytime soon!’

Having been a keen observer of the media and PR industry for some time now, I have to say I quite agree with Mark’s parting sentiment.

“Men are liars!” says insurance company happy to slander half the population

Which set of genitals make you more likely to be a liar? You may think it meaningless to even ask such a question, but the Daily Mail disagrees:

Don’t ask your boyfriend if your bum looks big in this… he’ll LIE! Straight-talking survey confirms men fib to their girlfriends (so would Kanye West dare share the truth?)

If your boyfriend tells you that your bottom doesn’t look big in your new dress he is probably lying, according to a new survey.

Over a third of men (35 per cent) will fib when quizzed over the size of their partners behind, while the rest will either try and change the subject or blame the colour.

But while men are happy to indulge in straight-talking with their girlfriends they are less likely to tackle a work colleague over sensitive issues like body odour, with women twice as likely to speak up and say something to a stinky co-worker.

Source: Daily Mail, 4 March 2013

It really is a shame that men are so dishonest these days – if only they would be more straightforward, wouldn’t that be refreshing? For example?

And when it comes to dating dishonesty the Refreshingly Straightforward survey from insurance firm Hastings Direct showed that nearly a third (30%) of men have arranged to meet someone with no intention of showing up – though women are even more unreliable and are twice as likely to do this.

That would be Hasting Direct – the insurance firm who market themselves under the slogan ‘Refreshingly Straightforward’:

In fact Hastings Direct really are straightforward – they’ve created a very headline-friendly survey and written up the manufactured findings into a press release so neat and tidy that it was a doddle for Toni Jones to publish it to the Mail Online, as if this were actual news.