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What a doll!

Ever wonder why more and more robots look like women' After cyber babes such as tomb raider Lara Croft and Ananova (above), a computer-generated news reader, the latest on the block is Real Doll, a company that sells “the world’s finest love doll” (made of silicon). A US documentary filmmaker Allison De Frenis working on a project, ‘The Mechanical Bride,’ is exploring the motives of the (mostly) men who create machines in feminine shells and “the fantasy to create the perfect woman”. “People say a female figure will make the technology less threatening. So why make it a sexy female' Others would say that the only reason to make it look female is because you want to have sex with it,” she says.

What about health'

Women’s groups have reacted cautiously to the Union budget. They have hailed the allocations for education of the girl child and tax exemption on war widows’ pensions, but regretted that ‘gender budgeting’ has been put off. “We are very happy with the special mention of the girl child in the Rs 3,057-crore allocation. It was one of our prime demands,” said National Commission for Women chairperson Poornima Advani. She, however, regretted that no special allocation has been made for women’s healthcare, another of their major demands. About there being no gender budgeting this time, Brinda Karat of the All India Democratic Women’s Association admitted it was too much to expect it in this budget with barely a month left when the demand was made, but added that Chidambaram, instead on focussing on “analysis of data” to bring about a gender audit can simply make specific allocations for women in all sectors to achieve it.

 
 

Another Mrs Doubtfire

There is no good way to refer to a father who serves as primary caregiver. “Househusband” sounds dated, “stay-at-home dad” too long. So an unknown man came up with the name “Rebel Dad” as it occurred to him that he was at the leading edge of a social revolution. When he first quit his job, the at-home father searched for info about men similarly situated. But “there seemed to be little written about us, even less written for us,” he says on his website, www. rebeldad.com. His site is an effort to catalogue information about men like him. Interested' Check his website.

Straight from the heart

Looks like women still don’t know their own bodies. A University of Iowa report says women are less likely to receive immediate care for heart attacks because they are less likely than men to recognise the symptoms. Women are more apt to think their symptoms are related to heartburn or gastrointestinal problems. The study shows 45 per cent of men realised before going to the hospital they might be having heart problems, but just 27 per cent of women thought their symptoms were due to cardiac complications.

For your ears only

The Starbucks Coffee outfit in Richmond, Canada is struggling with a lawsuit alleging that it follows a racist dress code policy. (It fired two South Asian women, Aisha Syed and Benita Singh, for wearing nose studs in the workplace, citing “hygiene” as a reason. The South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), which is fighting the case on behalf of the two women, has been appealing to people to join them in protesting against Starbucks. SANSAD’s point is that Starbucks’ dress code accepts ear piercing because it is a “normal” part of women's ornamentation in the West, but rejects other forms of body piercing because these are considered “subcultural”. In prohibiting nose studs it degrades an important part of South Asian tradition.

Overheard… at least 17 TV commercials aired over the past year have a TV reporter — and not the ubiquitous housewife — selling everything from detergent powder to insurance policies.

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