Women are mysterious creatures, aren’t they? I’m not being sexist. It’s just true, proven by history and periods and Hollywood. And it’s caused an awful lot of fuss, on balance — what with the terrifying hormones and hysterics and mind-boggling range of needs and desires, almost like we’re all different people. It’s why there’s such an important need to invest in studies about women’s mystery — as opposed to things like women’s medicine, or education, or workplace mentoring — and then report on it, widely, in the national press.
Because if there’s one thing the science of women is great at, it’s breaking down stereotypes.
For instance, a very important study recently laid to rest one of the great mysteries of western women when it proved that hair colour and intellect aren’t actually linked in any way. As we all know, blonde stupidity has widely been considered one the more mystifying phenomenon experienced by women (not by men, though. Never by men), and was, quite rightly, cascaded through our press as a matter of front page news (‘Blondes not dumb after all, researchers claim’ quipped The Telegraph, chippily — ‘but whether they have more fun is still open to question’).
Or how about a recent study commissioned by House of Fraser, that giant of social benchmarking, which laid bare the intricacies of the female psyche by asking 2,000 women to define what success means to them. And success indeed! Richly nuanced and thoroughly modern in its findings, this astonishing piece of work found that success for women today means, mostly, £49k a year, 500 Instagram followers, a rocking bod and cracking hostess skills. Hello progress.
For solving the mystery of female happiness in wedlock, we must all thank the landmark research by one Kitae Sohn of Kokuk University, South Korea, which suggests that what women really need for marital bliss is a tall husband. Indeed, the taller the husband, the happier the wife (until the 18th year of marriage, where plummeting happiness levels are presumably explained by the inexorable spinal shortening of advancing decrepitude). While these findings rest on data gathered from 7,850 Indonesian women — a country whose legal polygamy (for men only), fierce Islamic law and basic lack of gender equality may lead some to query it as a comparable source for western female experience — it was nevertheless reported by the world’s most reputable media as a universal female truth. And why not? Women are women, spades are spades. Good news for busy women everywhere — just look up!
And then, of course, there’s female sexuality: the greatest mystery of all. Happily, a study — funded, apparently, by ‘Brazil', and presented at the 2013 conference for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons — found that breast implants boost sexual enjoyment and desire in over 80% of cases (from a whopping 45 surveyed patients). Touted on the reliable Fox News with the headline ‘Breast Implants May Improve Women’s Sex Lives’ and explained in depth by the Daily Mail* (‘It’s about inner confidence’), this research basically puts to bed the thornier questions of female desire — the topic of anguished literary prose and general male anxiety for millennia. So men: now you know what to get the unwilling, dissatisfied lady in your life. And women: you’re welcome.
* Daily Mail, August 2015: 'Women with breast implants three TIMES more likely to commit suicide, study finds'
Despite this valiant work, however, there’s a whole lot of female mystery that still needs solving.
For instance, the Y-orgasm, as widely demonstrated by the adverts of all major yoghurt brands. How can normal women achieve it? We women can feast on the zero-fat goodness and open our thickly glossed mouths wider than is really advisable while doing so; we can sit on a swing and shake our locks and arch our brows in a smutty manner while licking a spoon back to front, slowly, fixing a random passer-by with a steamy gaze. We could do all that, whenever we eat a yoghurt. The question is, should we have to? And skin it however many ways you want: the ad-women are having more fun than your average hardworking Jo, chinning a fat-free face-full on her lunch break without, alas, the promised happy ending. Women aren’t eating it for the taste. Time to step in, science — or the Advertising Standards Authority. Either will do.
And what about the mysterious condition of female fame? When will science explain what happens to women's clothes, proportionally, as they ascend the great ladder of popular cultural consciousness (for more detail, see Ellie Goulding, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, or any woman on MTV, really in general)? Is there a formula? A direct ratio of fabric shrinkage to Instagram followers, as demonstrated by Kim Kardashian who recently, at peak fame, issued a cry for help with a naked SOS-selfie captioned “nothing to wear LOL”?
And then there’s the biggest mystery of all: women in the workplace. This absolute clanger — how do women find ‘work-life balance’ on this tricksy seesaw of professional-domestic winning — remains unsolved by science. And really, no one can blame science for this. For indeed, how can we find the time to have it all and be super all the time and, as Gwyneth Paltrow recently bragged, ‘have the ass of a 22 year old stripper’ to boot? Well, the truth is, no one can agree — but there are lots and lots of studies and interviews and endless women-only panels to help women decide. Some of the floated options include ‘divorce'; ‘abstinence'; 'childlessness' or ‘an army of domestic help’.
But where are the men in this work-life quandary I hear you say? Don’t they partake in both ‘living' and ‘working' too? Well, because work-life balance only happens to women, like babies and ageing, men are properly left out of such questions by science, or indeed, society in general (except, it’s rumoured, in Scandinavia — where, it should be noted, they are mostly blonde).
So many questions, so little time.