The shape of the boy-girl debate

In a story in the May 26 Maclean’s on the age-old debate over what it means to be “male” or “female” in these progressive times, writer Ken MacQueen said the boy/girl debate may mean less than ever today, but it still means plenty. He cited the widely quoted study of Playboy centrefolds by Maryanne Fisher, a York Faculty of Arts PhD candidate in psychology, and Austrian researcher Martin Voracek. Fisher and Voracek looked at 577 consecutive monthly centrefolds. They concluded time has run out for the hourglass figure, as epitomized by Marilyn Monroe, the curvaceous star of Playboy’s first issue in 1953. In their article published in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal they wrote: “Centrefold models’ shapely body characteristics have given way to more androgynous ones.” MacQueen found that a similar conclusion had been reached by one Kevin Taylor, who sells Playboy back issues from his Hollywood Cowboys shop in Vancouver. “It’s interesting where we’re going,” said Taylor. “Everybody is going to end up being one sex.”

Grad fights for abused women’s rights

Osgoode Hall Law School grad Marion Wright knows a thing or two about abused women. In a May 22 story in The Standard (St. Catherines-Niagara), Wright says that in her work as an advocate for abused women she’s heard it all. “You hear so many things that are so awful,” says Wright. “I have stopped being surprised. I have heard too much.” Wright, who graduated in 1997, was hired by Women’s Place in December 1999 as the shelter’s first legal advocate.

Anger may have fuelled Catholic school lockout

Professor Barry Scully of York’s Faculty of Education suggested the Toronto Catholic District School Board may have locked out its teachers in part because it was angry at having to refund the cost to parents of cancelled field trips, reported the Toronto Star May 22. The Ontario government has introduced a bill that, if passed, would end the lockout and the teachers’ work-to-rule campaign that threatened graduation ceremonies and field trips. Schully also said the lockout may be just the latest indication of the failings of the provincial funding formula. “If you talk to the directors of education and you ask them at what point it’s going to be really hard to run that system, I think they’ve reached that time.”

Award winning students come to York

Matteo Perri, from St. Basil-the-Great Catholic Secondary School, is one of three students from Toronto who has been awarded York University’s most prestigious entrance scholarship, the Award of Distinction, reported the North York Mirror May 16. Maria Sagan, from Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School, was also selected for the award, reported sister paper the Scarborough Mirror May 16. The award is based on excellence in academics, community service and leadership.

Exploding myths about bats

York biology Professor Brock Fenton, Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, was in Muskoka recently exploding a few myths about bats, reported the Muskoka Sun May 15. One of those myths was that bats would help protect you from West Nile virus because they eat so many mosquitoes. “Little brown bats rarely eat mosquitoes,” said Fenton (little browns are the most common bat in Muskoka). “They need to eat half their body weight each day, so they would need to eat 2,000 mosquitoes a day. And that takes a lot of time. They prefer bigger bugs.”

York a major user of carpool resource

When you want to avoid the stress, hassle and smog of commuting by car, a carpool is your best bet. That is why the Black Creek Regional Transportation Management Association runs a carpooling service for employers – and York University is one of its biggest users, according to the Scarborough Mirror May 18. “With our ride-matching database we’ve managed to reduce the number of cars on [the Keele] campus from 36,000 to 33,000,” said Janet Lo, executive director for the Association, adding the group was also responsible for implementing a GO Train stop at the University just south of Steeles Avenue.