Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Real-Life Barbie Gives Her Friends and Family a Makeover, Turns Them into Dolls

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Real Life Barbie Family and Friends13

Valeria Lukyanova, better known as “real-life Barbie” shocked the world with her cosmetically enhanced plastic-like face which makes her look like a living, breathing Barbie doll. Even more shocking was when fellow Ukrainian, Anastasiya Shpagina, aka Animé Girl, teamed up with real-life Barbie, creating the world’s creepiest photo shoot.

Now her friends and family, including her grandparents, are getting in on the creepy action, covering their faces in gaudy makeup and striking rigor mortis-inspired poses. Try to hold back your gasps of horror when viewing these photos of real-life Barbie and her real-life friends and family made up to look like dolls.

When will the madness end?!

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Boob jobs attract staff

What can we offer you to renew your contract? Free language lessons? 5 weeks holiday? How about a free boob job?

A report in the New York Times described how nurses in the Czech Republic were offered such perks.

One nurse in the private sector who opted for the cosmetic surgery had breast enhancement and liposuction, worth over £3,000, which she would never have been able to afford on her €1,ooo a month salary – less than earned by a bus driver. … Read More

via SGandA on Management & Leadership edited with permission


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Fat just comes back!

You go through the agonies of liposuction (well it is to watch when you see it on TV and I’m sure you must be sore afterwards) and what happens?

The fat just comes back but in a different place.

I suppose if you could choose where it went it might not be so bad – it might save you a boob job – but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

Popular in vacuuming fat from the abdomen, bottom, and hips for the last 30 years, surgeons carried out over 3,000 liposuction procedures last year in the UK each costing between £3,000 and £5,000.

Researchers at the University of Colorado have now conducted the first trial to see if liposuction works in the long-term. They found that a year after the procedure the fat had returned but had moved to the upper part of the body around the shoulders, arms and stomach.

An obesity researcher at the university said that; “the body controls the number of fat cells and when one fat cell dies another grows to replace it”. Liposuction destroys the structure under the skin which may explain why the fat cells come back somewhere else. In the trial the women’s legs stayed thinner but the missing fat had re-appeared on their stomachs.

Research shows that where you store fat and what shape you are can have different outcomes for your health.

Some women are determined to do anything to improve their appearance and plastic surgery is now much more readily available: See: Beauty

Updated 31 May 2011: And if surgery is not bad enough a court case in France has highlighted the dangers of dieting.

Dr Pierre Dukan is a best-selling author whose protein-based diet is followed by Hollywood celebrities and who basically says you can eat as much as you like from a limited list and you don’t need to count calories.

In the opposite corner, and being sued by Dukan, is Dr Jean-Michel Cohen, another dietician, who says slimmers should eat a limited amount of most things and exercise regularly. Cohen is being sued for saying that there is a whole slimming industry, including doctors, profiting from these ideas.

He has also upset Dukan by saying that the Dukan diet is a potentially dangerous rehash of old ideas which can increase cholesterol and lead to heart problems and breast cancer. 

A recent report from the French health watchdog Anses surveyed these diets and 13 others and concluded that they all had dangers and weaknesses and that people would be better off just following a balanced diet. (Mothers with daughters take note!)

More than 80% of people who tried book diets put back their weight and more a year later and the head of the nutrition service at the Pasteur Institute said; “slimming makes you fat”.

Updated 25 July 2011: An article in the Sunday Times (24/7/11)providing more scientific proof that diets don’t work.

That won’t stop the diet industry’s efforts of course or the newspapers and magazines promoting them. British women start on average 3 diet regimes a year and spend £25k on diets over their lifetime.

Basically once you gain weight it’s there to stay. Fewer than 10% of people who diet keep the weight off, the other 90% put it back on within a year. There are some advantages to dieting as you probably eat more healthily and may exercise more but yo-yo dieting is not good for you.

The Medical Research Council’s National Survey of Health & Development followed over 5,000 men and women from birth in 1946, and 20,000 people born in 1958. They measured weight and blood pressure and assessed lifestyles.

Interestingly both groups started putting on weight in the 1980s and since then people have been increasing in weight throughout their life. Men tend to put weight on steadily but for women it starts slowly and accelerates in their mid-30s (perhaps after having children?).

The Health Survey for England (2009) shows that 14% of kids and 25% of adults are obese and at least the same percentages are overweight. Excess body fat leads to a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.

An endocrinologist, Professor Nick Finer, was reported suggesting that we have not evolved to tackle obesity as it has only become a problem since the mid-20th century. Previously there would have been an evolutionary advantage to be able to store fat in our bodies.

Even the idea of a set point for weight no longer seems true as it becoming overweight can rest it to a higher level. It must have a ratchet effect if losing weight doesn’t reset it lower.


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Beauty may only be skin-deep but….

How we look is important but to some people it’s everything.

In America 1 in 3 women think the way they look is more important for their self-esteem than intelligence or job performance.

Students said they would rather marry an embezzler, a shop lifter, or a drug smuggler than someone who was obese.

And 11% of them would abort a foetus if they knew it was  genetically disposed to obesity. It’s perhaps no surprise then that fat women are 20% less likely to get married than slimmer ones.

Now Deborah Rhode, the Director of Stanford University’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, has published a book; “The Beauty Bias: The injustice of Appearance in Life and Law”. In it she asks such searching questions as why they spent more on Sarah Palin’s makeover and personal shopper than on a foreign policy advisor? She discovered that good looking teachers are considered better educators and that attractive lawyers earned 12% more than their plainer colleagues despite being no more competent.

I’ve posted on this topic before, about tallness, attractiveness and earnings and about “erotic capital” and how (usually) women can exploit their looks. Taking a slightly different view Rhode refers to the “bloopsy” effect which is where beautiful women, especially those with big breasts, are considered dumb even if they have a PhD.  Attractive women have been known to be sacked for being too attractive.

But so have unattractive or ugly people and research shows that ugly criminals get longer sentences – one way to beautify the neighbourhood I suppose. Now it’s being suggested that you could be sued for calling people ugly or not attractive enough for a job. Don’t HR people and the diversity police have enough to do?

Updated 14 July 2010: Anyone watching last night’s Channel 4 programme “The Ugly Face of Beauty” would have been horrified by the sight of operations that went wrong. Or of an England footballer’s relative wanting to have the UK’s biggest boobs (double J) plus an unnecessary liposuction on her size 8 body.

But the really scary part was that 50% of 16-21 year olds say they would like plastic surgery. “Boob jobs” are the most popular in the UK at around £3,000 (but only £800 in Cuba) with many unscrupulous, not to say unqualified, clinics offering surgery as part of a holiday package. Next week: “tummy tucks” that end up looking like shark bites!