Why blacks shouldn’t be priests

Abstract: If saying blacks shouldn't be priests is racist, why is saying women shouldn't be priests, not misogynist?... I have a confession to make: I've misled you. Well, only to a certain degree. You see this is not really about why blacks shouldn't be priests because, obviously, I cannot think of a single reason why they shouldn't be. But your reaction to the title of this piece is central to its theme and potential impact. And if you were drawn to the title because of some expected discourse on the matter of priests, you won't be disappointed. I'll get to them later. But let me first remain with the theme of the title, and let me ask you this: can you think of any reason why blacks shouldn't be allowed to be priests? What about bishops, or rabbis, or mullahs? Of course not; the

What glass ceiling?

Abstract: Let's discuss why the glass ceiling isn't... Every time a social commentator or political activist bleats about the ever present 'glass ceiling' hanging in the way of the advancement of women in senior management positions, I want to grab them by the ear and drag them off to the closest magazine stand. It is there where they will find the real culprit - splashed all over those glossy covers. The term 'glass ceiling' dates back to the corporate America of the early 80s. It only really became a 'legitimised' buzzword when it appeared in a March 1986 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Since then it has earned its colours as a rallying flag for feminists and equal rights campaigners. It's just a pity that their passion is blinding them to the real problem - the women themselves. They have no real interest

The digestive tract of love

Abstract: "Love you with all my heart"? A scientific impossibility, I'm afraid... One of the downfalls of being brought up in a home that embraced the pursuit of knowledge through robust and empirical scientific process is that I find this time of the year really gets up my nose. And I'm not talking about hay fever. My father was, during the 1960s, one of Europe's leading scientists. He was, by all accounts, something of a genius. Computers were his area of expertise, but his real love was scientific enquiry and the quest for logical thought. And he shared it with me in his own special way. He explained why Spock was the coolest character on Star Trek because he was purely logical in his thinking and didn't let piffly little things like emotions get in the way of his duties as First Officer on

Women’s Day? Shame.

Abstract: It's a pity that women feel they need a Women's Day... Women are amazing. History has seen them inspire great poets, rouse battles in their favour and heal the wounds of war. They give birth and they can multitask. All this and do men's stuff too! The South African woman of today is a far cry from the undemanding hostess of 40 years ago whose sole purpose was to adore and adorn her husband and make him a father many times over. She has been liberated by medicine and the march for freedom to a point where she now has control over her body, her mind and, thanks to Dr Phil, her soul. She is no longer emotionally or financially subservient to any man. In fact, she has the tools to make herself more powerful. Walk into any newsagent and you will

Women are better on top

Abstract: Why women can run government departments but can't drive taxis... When I heard the announcement of the new provincial premiers I thought immediately of Athens. You see 44% of athletes taking part in this year's Summer Olympics will be women. This is not surprising seeing there are so many of them around - women, that is, not athletes. Similarly, 44% of South African provincial premiers are women. Again, statistically speaking this shouldn't be all that startling given the large number of women there are in this country. And yet the media's commentators seemed genuinely shocked that so many women had "made it". It was as if a national soccer coach had just trawled through the crowd and picked people at random to play for his side on the day of a World Cup final. Perhaps this has something to do with another statistic: it's

Fairer sex? Yeah, sure

Abstract: There is nothing fair about the so-called fairer sex... Now that we're into the final week of Womens' Month, perhaps we can finally say goodbye to that phrase that has everything, and nothing, to do with women: the wholly inaccurate, grossly outdated and altogether condescending epithet: 'the fairer sex'. I can imagine you've gathered by now that I find the phrase 'the fairer sex' more than a little jarring. Every time I hear it being used it has the effect of someone tapping me very firmly on my forehead. It's not hurtful, but it is highly irritating and completely out of place in polite social discourse. Yet, it's somehow still hanging around, resolutely hooked into popular discussion; and it seems to be used, often a little too casually, to somehow encapsulate everything that is 'woman'. It worms its way into sentences such as, "We

What’s in a woman’s name?

Abstract: Women's rights remain unfulfilled as long as they're expected to take their husbands' names upon marriage... Women's Day has come and gone, but the rest of the month remains dedicated to women, so expect the continued lauding of women leaders, and the debating of issues around gender equality. However, during this time an elephant will remain in the room, seemingly unnoticed, sitting patiently in the corner, quietly knitting away. I never studied Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but I am familiar with one of its most powerful lines, uttered, importantly, by Juliet; and no, it's not the one you're thinking of. It's this one: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." In a nutshell Juliet predates women's liberation ideology by declaring that the cultural importance attached to a name is artificial, especially one

Why women are aways right. Sometimes.

Abstract: The psychology of why men should believe women are always right. Sometimes... My wife has a habit of being right all the time. Part of it's because she has multiple degrees, a searing intellect, a virtually photographic memory, and three best-selling books to her name; but it's mainly because she's a woman. What she and other women don't know though, is why this is so, and especially now. Before I explain everything I must plead guilty to the anticipated charge of generalisation. This is purely because of deadlines - I can't account for the behaviour and opinion of all women and still write it up in time for you to read it. There are three reasons why women are always right, sometimes; and interestingly science has a part to play in it, again, sometimes. Firstly, women are always right because you can't argue with them.

He’s just not that into psychology

Abstract: Psychology, it seems, has been hijacked by TV writers of female angst... Maybe it says something about the male human condition that when I die I want to do so in a blaze of glory, saving a toddler from an oncoming train, wrestling a Great White shark, or attempting to defuse a bomb with nothing but a pair of tweezers and nerves of steel. I didn't think it would be clutching my chest whilst crouched next to the psychology section in Exclusive Books. But it seems I have the female human condition to thank for that. When I left school I chose to study clinical psychology because it sounded cool. It was also, I believed at the time, a great place to meet girls. Most of my schoolmates had chosen to study science or engineering, and I certainly didn't fancy my university career

The handbag in your brain

Abstract: Sex, the handbag and neuroscience - they're all connected... There are few things more frightening for a man than being caught in the threshold of a full-on, high-end sales fracas, where branded handbags have been slashed in price, and where women have been unleashed to consume. The resulting frenzied whirr of claws, teeth and spittle can cause irreparable harm; and it's all being driven by an animal instinct. I doubt few women fully understand what is behind the madness that erupts at a high-end sale, and especially around handbags; but it's a wonderful examination of the more baser instincts of human behaviour; and lying, grinning and inviting, at it's very centre is our old friend - sex. As a science journalist and scholar of human psychology, I am fascinated at what drives human behaviour, and especially intrigued at the neurological triggers; i.e. events in