Right Now, You Are…

… making the most of the recession

While we’re not suggesting that unemployment is good for you, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (2009), smoking, drinking alcohol and over-indulgence in rich foods decline during a recession. Interestingly, the study also showed that during the Great Depression, life expectancy rose from 57.1 in 1929 to 63.3 years in 1932. Moral of the story? What we knew all along: there’s so much more to life than money!

… being pro-active about your health…

“Women are taking more preventative measures to maintain their health, like talking to pharmacists about alternatives to medication that can be detrimental to them in the long run.” So says Leslie Green, senior pharmacist at PharmaCross in MediCross Cape Town.

… single and want a baby? Oh, go on then!

Women are doing it for themselves according to the 2009 Female Nation Survey (FNS). The study, representative of more than 600 000 South African females, showed that 65% of women have never been married, yet, 57% have children. According to sexologist, Professor Elna McIntosh, single women can buy sperm from literally anywhere in the world – on-line or in person. At pacrepro.com, semen can be purchased and shipped in from California and locally, you can talk to your gynae, or visit the Cryobank in Johannesburg or the Cape Fertility Clinic. “She can choose from any of the sperm available on-line, or at a clinic, all without a man in her life.”

… not shy to take control in the bedroom

Searching for something a little saucy? Good news, shopping for something sexy has never been easier – or less cringe-inducing. “Women young and old are talking more openly about sex, being more assertive about their sexual needs, and are feeling free to buy erotic products like sex toys,” says owner of Whet Sensuality Emporium in Cape Town, Marina Green.

… loving connecting online

Thought cyberspace was filled with geeky guys bonding over the latest iPhone app? Think again. The bloggosphere has erupted with women creating on-line communities providing a space for comfort, consolation and support. In the US, according to a social media survey by BlogHer.com, over 40-million women participate in blogs every week, with about 15.1-million publishing at least one post a week and 21.1-million reading and commenting weekly. “Blogging gets people in touch with each other that would not have ever communicated before,” says Sue Maude, author and blogger of caffeinefreaks.co.za.

… caring and sharing

Local NGO, MaAfrika Tikkun has noticed an increase in the number of women volunteering for their community outreach programmes over the last year. “Generally, women provide so much compassion to people in crisis,” says Amanda Blankfield, marketing manager for the organisation. “There is nothing that can compare to the satisfaction gained from volunteering,” says Susannah Clarke a Master’s student and researcher who volunteers for People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty in her spare time. “My passion is to make a difference to people’s lives.”

… no victim

“South African women have been through so much pre- and post 1994, that they have built exceptionally high levels of resilience,” says Tony Dovale, Chief Resilience coach at LifeMasters.co.za. “Mindsets have also shifted from a victim mentality to taking far more responsibility for the self and ownership of their self-worth.”

… embracing your grey

Have a think about who in Hollywood is greying gracefully – George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, possibly even Brad Pitt come to mind? Now add a luscious line-up of ladies to your list because Jamie Lee Curtis, Emmylou Harris, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep are all sporting silver and looking confident, graceful and stunning while they’re at it. Before going grey in her late 30s, Jackie Burger, Elle fashion director was honey-blonde. “It’s a waste of time to cover up something that happens naturally,” she says. “I’ve made a pact with myself to embrace what age brings – and I encourage all women to do the same.”

… a dashing beauty

With life moving as fast as a runaway train, more women are turning to permanent make-up, fake tans and even hair extensions as a way to save time on beauty procedures, says Cape Town make-up artist and hair stylist, Candice Harker. “Because of all the technological advancements and continued research into the ever-booming beauty and health market, beauty procedures are safer than ever before,” she says. Even with these new treatments available, Harker still believes that less is more. “A good lip gloss and a solid eight hours of sleep can do wonders to your look.”

… putting family first

What we look for in a man has changed radically since the 1930s according to a study from the University of Iowa. Researchers compared studies from the 1930s with ones conducted in 2008. In the early part of the 20 century we wanted a man who was kind, dependable and ambitious but these days we favour a man more interested in having a family and a home, ambition be damned! Men too have changed their thinking: back then prowess in the kitchen and chastity were the stuff of true romance, these days it’s love and brains. We can live with that.

Author: Charlene Yared-West. Published in The Oprah Magazine, April 2010, Vol.9, No. 4, p. 126.(Please note that the copy posted above is the unedited version of what was published in the magazine and will differ slightly. To read the edited version of the article, please click on the images for an expanded view.)

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