Index of articles
There is a new solution coming up for ugly old women. Normally they would just become man-hating feminists. But soon they can have their brains transplanted into a sex doll, and feel beautiful again.
One study hypothesized that Butea Superba has direct androgenic effects, as evidenced by 150-200mg/kg of the root powder causing a dose-dependent decrease in serum testosterone paired with side-effects commonly associated with androgenicity (increased serum ALP and AST; increased spleen weight).
The "Vagina Whisperer" Will See You Now
As far as publicity stunts go, the “first ever designer vagina showcase” was pretty damn effective. Timed to coincide with the spectacular runway parades that mark New York Fashion Week, the event was Dr. Amir Marashi’s chance to show the world what he can do: With a little slicing and suturing, he can give you the vagina of your dreams.
Inside the sprawling midtown conference room where the “show” would take place, sparkling rosé and cupcakes were served. Guests were greeted by a perfectly taut, hair-free, millennial pink silicone vagina model, which Dr. Marashi then used to explain the slate of procedures on offer during his powerpoint presentation of before-and-after vulva shots. There were the uneven labia minora that he’s trimmed (click), aging labia majora that he’s plumped (click), lax vaginal openings that he’s tightened (click), and those were just the surgical options. If you don’t like the idea of anesthesia, he can plump your lips with fillers, inject your G-spot with your own blood plasma to improve orgasms, or stick a laser wand inside you to painlessly tighten things up. If you didn’t walk into the showcase thinking your vagina was defective, you likely walked out of there worried over just how many ways it could be flawed.
For his part, Dr. Marashi, the self-described “vagina whisperer,” walked out with a lot of press. Yes, the concept was vulgar, but it got the job done: Over the next few days, there were articles in the New York Post, Jezebel and The Sun. He’s since been interviewed by Z100 and The Daily Mail, and outlets are becoming increasingly happy to add “vagina whisperer” to his other title, board-certified Ob/Gyn, as if it’s an actual qualification. All of this is why, two months after the showcase, I find myself in scrubs in a nondescript surgical center in Downtown Brooklyn waiting for Dr. Marashi to lead me through an up-close look at what this is all about. Yep, I’m about to observe a designer vagina surgery IRL, and it’s almost curtain time.
In the operating room, he’s telling me about how important it is to find a doctor who does these surgeries regularly. “This is why I do revisions a lot,” he says, in his slight Persian accent. “People think somebody is on Park Avenue so they’re good, but they might not do these over and over again.” He says he does these procedures three days a week, and has probably done more than 700 by now.
Dr. Marashi’s patient for today is lying on the operating table, knocked out, intubated, and covered by a sheet. She’s a 48-year-old mother of four who says she can feel nothing during sex. A nurse and surgical technician have just positioned the patient’s legs in stirrups, wrapping each one up in a sheet, so only her vulva remains exposed. Dr. Marashi is explaining that these cosmetic surgeries only make up half of his practice; he spends the rest of the time doing laparoscopic surgeries for pelvic pain related to endometriosis and fibroids. For those surgeries, “we listen to Enrique,” he says, and I assume he means Iglesias, but I don’t ask because he’s moving so quickly. “For vaginoplasties and labiaplasties, I want to get the right side of my brain to work, the more creative side. So I listen to Frank Sinatra.”
“Can we turn up the music?” Dr. Marashi asks with a wink, and “My Way” comes over the speaker. It’s a fitting song for a man who would later tell me he started doing cosmetic surgery because he likes to be “outside the box.”
Dr. Marashi sits down on his stool in between the patient’s legs and snaps a “before” pic on his iPhone. He slips on a pair of gloves and enters full doctor mode as he signals me to come take a look. Her vagina looks just as expected. But then Dr. Marashi spreads her lips, revealing a startling laxity and — "What’s that?" I ask, about the round, meaty tissue bulging down from the top of her vagina. “That’s the bladder,” he says. More importantly, though, is that her perineal body, the muscle tissue that separates the vagina from the rectum, is completely flaccid. He sticks a finger in her anus and pushes up to show me how weak and sponge-y it is, and how this creates a drooping of the vaginal opening into the woman’s butt. This is what creates the lack of sensation, he explains. The vaginal opening should hug two fingers, and it should be much higher.
“This is a patient who has had four vaginal deliveries,” he says. Her kids are aged 19 to 27, and she hasn’t enjoyed sex for a long time. Her first husband left her, and she blames her inability to grip his penis during sex as one of the reasons. But she’s in a new relationship now and she doesn’t want to put up with it anymore. (At least, that is what Dr. Marashi tells me. The patient declined to speak to me directly.) “She didn’t take care of it sooner because of the taboo that’s with it, or maybe she didn’t have the money, you know all these things that get in people’s way.”
The “taboo” that Dr. Marashi refers to is very real. Between 2010 and 2016, the United States saw a more than 100% increase in labiaplasties, a surgery to trim the inner or outer labia. No one is tracking the number of cosmetic vaginoplasty procedures, also referred to as “vaginal rejuvenation,” because the practice is too new, but experts estimate a similar increase in demand thanks to new non-surgical options and greater public awareness. (Kourtney and Kim Kardashian have both reportedly been “rejuvenated” via the new non-surgical laser options.) A lot of this rise has coincided with a surge in social media, reality TV, and endless amounts of free porn, which has, in turn, been blamed for creating an impossible standard of beauty for female genitalia — as if women needed yet another standard to measure themselves against, another reason to hate their bodies.
"Is this really what women want? Or is this really a form of new-age ‘circumcision’ based on an obsession with Barbie doll looks?," asked a scathing 2012 editorial in Obstetrics & Gynecology. A Jezebel article on Dr. Marashi’s vagina showcase described people who choose labiaplasty as women with minds “warped” by the porn industry. That’s what critics have said, and that’s exactly what I was thinking, walking in. But now that I’m witnessing the surgery, it’s not clear that assessment is fair.
Dr. Marashi uses a blue marker to map out where he will cut. Once he’s done that, Charles, the surgical tech, clamps her vagina open, and Dr. Marashi begins to cut away a diamond-shaped chunk of muscle and skin from the bottom of her vaginal opening. Then comes the most important cut: a deep crevasse into the perineal body.
“It’s really important to take your time and dissect this very meticulously, because behind here is the rectum,” and any crossover could lead to a dangerous infection, he says. Dr. Marashi then sews multiple rows of sutures into the perineal body, starting from further inside of her vagina until he gets to the outside, where he finishes with a row of stitches up from her anus to the new, lifted bottom of her vaginal opening.
“Remember in the beginning how close the vagina and the anus were together? You're gonna see in the end how far apart it’s gonna be,” he says.
In the end, I do see how much higher the vagina is. The hour-long process reminds me of a slower version of that magical strapless, backless bra Amber Rose has been advertising on Instagram: It’s as if he just threaded it all, and pulled the strings tight so that the whole vagina is miraculously lifted an inch higher. The final stitches are the tying of the bow that holds it all in place.
If I had to choose a vagina for myself, I’d pick this one over the one she had before. This makes me feel really bad, until I remember that there are also the anatomical realities here: Sewing it all back together with multiple layers of sutures is not just for aesthetics; this is a repair job for that muscle. This repair will also create a lift in the bladder that may even help alleviate stress incontinence, not to mention making penetrative sex feel good again for her partner, yes, but also for her.
It’s hard to square all that with the way Dr. Marashi has marketed himself, and indeed the way the entire, fast-growing crop of “cosmetic gynecologists” have marketed this burgeoning industry, as though this is just about having pretty, youthful genitalia. In the operating room, it’s clear that selling this the way women were sold facelifts, Botox, or even breast lifts is not quite right. Having sagging breasts and wrinkles may not make you feel so great about yourself (especially in our youth-obsessed culture), but those things don’t make sex physically impossible to enjoy. And they have nothing to do with a problem as distressing as incontinence.
To hear Dr. Marashi describe it while he’s actually doing the procedure, women choose this surgery mostly for functional reasons: to make sex better, the way it was before they had a baby or three, and to stop peeing their pants (even just a little bit) when they sneeze or lift weights. So, why on earth is the best way Dr. Marashi can think to market himself a grotesque showcase that frames everything in terms of how the vagina looks? More importantly: Why is this woman paying out-of-pocket for a one-time tune-up for her perineal body, when her partner could easily get insurance to cover his lifetime supply of Pfizer’s Blue?
To even begin to answer these questions, you have to understand where “cosmetic gynecology” came from in the first place. Plastic surgery — cosmetic gynecology’s closest cousin — has always been controversial, but it has also always been a mixture of reconstructive surgeries (like implants after breast cancer) and elective surgeries (like breast lifts or implants simply because you want them).
Cosmetic gynecology seems to be a similar mixture — but thanks to a toxic combination of entrenched sexism and continued dismissal of women’s sexual concerns, even the reconstructive procedures are still deemed frivolous, unscientific, and ironically, misogynistic.
The truth is that gynecologists have always done vaginoplasties and labiaplasties, but historically they would only do them for women with “true” medical problems, such as uterine prolapse (when the pelvic muscles collapse completely and the uterus descends into the vagina) or labial hypertrophy, which is when the labia minora or majora are extremely long or uneven. Outside of that, most doctors deemed them unnecessary, says Marco Pelosi, III, MD, a pioneer in the field. “There has always been a chasm between what doctors consider a problem and what women consider a problem when it comes to their sex lives,” he says.
Variations in labia length are totally normal, as any gynecologist or even anyone who watches porn regularly, can tell you. And while, say, painful sex or prolapse are “real” medical issues, constant irritation caused by your long labia or even a change in sensation after childbirth are not, according to traditional medicine, Dr. Pelosi explains. So for years, the procedures remained unpopular thanks to low awareness and low interest among women, as well as low adoption among qualified physicians.
Then, Sex And The City happened. Brazilian waxes became very popular — and baldness meant better opportunities for women to actually look at (and, yes, scrutinize) the physical characteristics of their vulvas.
In a post-Samantha Jones world, the gates opened: Women were much less shy about openly complaining to their doctors about their sexual dissatisfaction. And when their doctors didn’t listen, they found another doctor. All of a sudden, women had gotten the message that they deserve pleasurable sex. This created a huge opening for the few doctors who did offer these vagina alteration services to grow their businesses.
On the East Coast, Dr. Pelosi (along with his father Marco Pelosi, II, MD) — who had been offering elective vagina procedures since the ‘90s — began training surgeons in Bayonne, New Jersey. Eventually, due to demand, the father-son duo founded the International Society of Cosmetogynecology in 2004; they were the first to coin the phrase “cosmetic gynecology.”
Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, Dr. David Matlock had trademarked the term “laser vaginal rejuvenation” and started a franchise business where he performed surgeries and, for a hefty fee, trained other doctors in his procedure. This allowed doctors to use the term to market the procedure, which is essentially a slightly modified version of vaginoplasty, the same way he did. This being L.A., Dr. Matlock also managed to swing an appearance on an episode of the E! network’s Dr. 90210 in 2006, giving "laser vaginal rejuvenation" its first national spotlight.
Soon, as a workaround to Dr. Matlock’s hefty fee, other doctors just dropped the “laser” and started calling it simply “vaginal rejuvenation.” This prompted the American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) to issue a scathing committee opinion in 2007 deeming the marketing practices and franchising surrounding the term “troubling” and the procedures “not medically necessary.”
But warnings from ACOG didn't do much to stem the rising tide of demand. As the rise of social media and Dr. Google continued, labiaplasty alone started to explode in popularity, experiencing a 44% increase between 2012 and 2013 (the first period for which data was tracked). Dr. Matlock only grew more famous — and not necessarily in a good way. He went on The Doctors with his wife Veronica, who got a vaginoplasty, labiaplasty, and “pubic liposculpting” from her husband. And who can forget when Brandi Glanville, the Real Housewife, infamously charged her vaginoplasty to her cheating ex, Eddie Cibrian’s, credit card? Dr. Matlock was her doctor.
Soon, there were myriad non-surgical options for “enhancements,” each one more bizarre than the next. There were liposculpting and fillers for your vulva, followed by g-spot injections (which would supposedly improve orgasms), and targeted skin lightening treatments that would change the shade of a vulva to Carnation Pink. In hindsight, the vajazzling phenomenon — the iconic ‘00s trend of adorning your waxed pubic area with rhinestones — seems inevitable. And while it’s easy to roundly mock all the upgrades and accoutrements, the thing is, the vulva was having a moment, one that no one seemed to notice except to mock.
Most recently came the big innovation (and the big money-maker): lasers and radiofrequency devices that use thermal energy to tighten the vagina. FemiLift, the machine Dr. Marashi uses, came first in 2013. Then MonaLisa arrived in 2014. Both machines are FDA-approved for “vaginal laser ablation” to induce the growth of collagen in the vaginal walls. This is said to not only tighten and lift the vagina, but also to improve the health of the mucosal lining, making lubrication easier. Another side effect: The lifting may help some with stress incontinence, and in some cases may even shorten labia. Other machines that use thermal energy technology to the same effect: ThermiVa, Diva, IntimaLas, and more.
No doubt the ease in getting non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation has coincided with the huge increase in demand. According to data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), more than 10,000 labiaplasties were performed by plastic surgeons in 2016, a 23% increase just from 2015. Now more than 35% of plastic surgeons offer the procedure, compared to 0% in 1997 when the society started their surveys. But the full breadth of designer vagina procedures remains a mystery, since nobody is tracking the variety of procedures that fall under the term vaginal rejuvenation, nor the number of doctors performing them, according to a spokesperson at ASAPS.
Because a laser treatment or an injection requires no anesthesia or downtime — all it takes is a series of in-office visits that amounts to having a laser wand inserted into your vagina — “it became a gateway,” Dr. Pelosi says. “Once you have a nonsurgical way to address some of the needs, it becomes way easier to do. It’s like Botox. Now everyone does Botox.”
Sandra*, a 31-year-old mother of one, has spent the past five years since the birth of her daughter yearning for her pre-baby vagina. Before she gave birth, sex was great. Now it’s lackluster. It wasn’t until she started Googling her symptoms and found her way to Dr. Marashi’s website that she realized there was a single thing she could do about it.
“After you have a baby, everything changes,” she says. “I realized during sex I wouldn’t stay as wet, and it just felt different. Also there were the urination issues, too.”
“This is definitely going to help a little bit with that,” Dr. Marashi says, handing her a pair of protective glasses. She’s laying on her back with her feet in stirrups and a paper gown over her lower body, ready for her second of three treatments with Dr. Marashi’s FemiLift machine. This time, he has outfitted me in a white coat to serve as his assistant while observing Sandra’s procedure.
It’s hard to say exactly how common Sandra’s situation is, but any mom (or any doctor) can tell you that it’s pretty prevalent. We all know that childbirth changes things. Another thing we can say for sure: A full third of women who have given birth vaginally have some damage to the muscles responsible for vaginal tightness. Vaginal delivery is the strongest predictor of developing a pelvic floor disorder, such as uterine prolapse, rectocele (when the rectum bulges into the vagina), or cystocele (when the bladder bulges into the vagina). The feeling of “looseness” that so many women come to plastic surgeons and cosmetic gynecologists to fix may actually be one of the earliest precursors to true prolapse, per a 2014 study in Surgical Technology International.
The treatment takes 10 minutes, tops. We all put on our protective glasses. Dr. Marashi replaces the glass cover on the probe, which looks like a clear dildo with a mirror on the tip to direct the searing light, with the one Sandra had to purchase. Each patient must bring her own personal probe cover ($150, not covered by insurance) with her to appointments.
Next, he inserts the probe, attached to a long bending metal arm that is connected to a machine. He steps on a pedal while simultaneously pushing the probe in and out and twisting the probe around inside of her. Every time Dr. Marashi presses the floor pedal, the laser is turned on and the mirror directs it to burn 81 tiny holes into the lining of the vagina. With the twisting and maneuvering, what you end up with is thousands of tiny holes, which draws a lot of healing blood flow to the area and promotes the growth of collagen, making the skin more taut. Industry-sponsored studies have also shown that it makes the vaginal lining thicker, which is why lubrication is easier. This is repeated three times at increasing levels of intensity. As his assistant, I press the button when he tells me to, to ramp up the intensity.
Afterward, Sandra says that it didn’t hurt at all — just a bit of tingling and burning toward the end. But it was hard not to notice the grimace on her face when the laser was all the way turned up.
Even just after the first treatment, she already feels some difference: “Sex is amazing,” she says. “It’s much better.” And now after this go-round with the laser, she should feel 70% of the potential effects; she can have sex after just two days of healing. In another 4 to 6 weeks, she’ll come in for a third appointment, and that’s when she will really see how amazing this treatment is, Dr. Marashi promises.
But it’s unclear how “amazing” the treatment really is in general. The machines are FDA-approved, which means they are safe to use. Many of the studies on the non-surgical options show positive results as far as improving lubrication and stress incontinence, but the studies are small, with only short-term follow-up. There is also not a lot of high-quality data on how well the machines work for improving vaginal laxity or sexual satisfaction. In practice, the experts I interviewed said although women can expect some result, it can vary widely depending on the particular patient and how experienced the person doing the procedure is — which is risky considering the cost ranges from $1,200 to $4,000 depending on the device.
The same can be said of the actual surgeries, in part due to the same reason there aren’t statistics on vaginal rejuvenation surgery: It’s still an ever-evolving term, and it can mean different things to different doctors. One 2012 paper from The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery says it’s difficult to study whether vaginal rejuvenation surgery “necessarily, usually, or reliably” improves sex because surgeons don’t want to share their surgical techniques (this is why ACOG hates the trademark model; when surgical techniques are “owned” by a doctor, they become hard to evaluate independently), and the outcome measurements are fickle (it’s difficult to reliably measure sexual satisfaction).
Otherwise, a few smaller studies have been conducted on specific techniques: One 2016 Turkish study of 68 women who chose surgery after complaining of vaginal laxity found that 88% said they were satisfied with the results after 6 months. There were no serious complications, except that 10% of patients reported pain during sex at follow-up. Another 2014 study conducted in Iran followed 76 women for 18 months following an elective vaginal surgery to address sexual complaints. At six months, researchers found that sexual satisfaction increased on average a few points on a validated sexual function questionnaire, but that painful sex and dryness had also increased. By 18 months, though, sexual function scores increased significantly, while the pain and dryness issues disappeared. These results are promising, but again the studies are too small to be certain, and results can vary based on minute changes to the surgical technique.
Still, many women swear there are completely valid reasons for these procedures — that their lives are changed for the better because of them, even for the procedures that seem totally about looks, like labiaplasty. “Absolutely love this doctor. He is very respectful and listens to what you have to say and doesn't give you the run-around,” reads one of the many breathless Zocdoc reviews for Dr. Marashi. “He performed a labiaplasty due to an accident I had a few years back and omg it looks sooo good like as if the accident never happened.” Katina Morrell, 41, another of Dr. Marashi’s patients, tells me she got a labiaplasty because her long labia made working out uncomfortable.
Jennifer Walden, MD, a plastic surgeon based in Austin, TX, who does “a high volume of labiaplasties and vaginoplasties,” was among the first wave of doctors to see the potential value of the laser machines. She also happens to be a woman, the mother of twins, and to have tried two of the procedures herself: ThermiVa and Diva. As a practitioner, she describes vaginal rejuvenation procedures as “absolutely, the opposite of misogynistic.” As a patient she describes the results as simply “awesome.”
Before the laser machines hit the market, there was nothing to offer women with sexual complaints other than surgery, which, unless they had a severe injury, could cost up to $12,000. There was no treatment for mild or moderate stress incontinence, outside of the “disastrous” vaginal mesh surgeries that were only worth doing for the worst of cases and medications that hardly work, she says. There was also nothing outside of estrogen creams (which are too dangerous for some women with a history of breast cancer or heart disease) to solve dryness or other lubrication issues. The laser procedures can still be pricey, and they don’t work as well as surgery. Also: the effects may only last for about a year, but still, it’s something, Dr. Walden says.
“Within the past 5 years, we’ve seen a sort of a-ha moment happening for women. It’s become okay for women to talk about their labia and their vagina with their doctors. It’s become okay for women to finally talk about sex and the real issues they’re having,” she says. “And, at the same time, we’ve finally had something to offer them.”
Yet the conundrum persists: Why then, on God’s green earth, is “vaginal rejuvenation” marketed as a frivolous lifestyle choice, instead of a possible treatment for a legitimate problem?
Well, partly it’s that the majority of pioneers in this field are men, and so the desire and need for these treatments is framed from their perspective — ah, the male gaze at work. Add to that the general cultural tendency to code all things female as frivolous and vain and to reduce women to their looks, alongside our inability to talk openly about female sexual pleasure, and it makes more sense.
It is the marketing of the treatment — not the treatment itself — that risks preying on women’s insecurities, and it would be a mistake to ignore the ugly fact that though vaginal rejuvenation is a positive for some (maybe even many) it does create a perception that there is a perfect-looking, or even a perfect-working, vagina out there, and no, you don’t have it.
In my time with Dr. Marashi, there was a 43-year-old mom of two who learned about Dr. Marashi’s Femilift procedure from Groupon, who had no sexual or urinary complaints. She seemed most attracted to the idea of being 18 again.
Then there was the second vaginoplasty I observed on surgery day. It was identical to the first, technically, except that the next patient was much younger, a mother of one, who was in a new relationship with a man who is “small,” Dr. Marashi explained. Her perineal body wasn’t nearly as damaged, and she had no visible signs of bladder prolapse. The idea that she did it for her partner made me sad, and before I could ask Dr. Marashi his thoughts he said: “Honestly she could have gotten away with this. I told her she could wait. But she said no, she doesn’t want to have any more children, and she’s with this new guy. So that’s her reasoning.”
In that moment, all over again, I was reminded of the critics who say this whole thing is just a gold rush of money-hungry, often male doctors willing to pathologize normal biology in service of making the vagina the final frontier in plastic surgery. That all this boils down to is a sanctioned form of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), just another way to reduce women’s bodies to mere objects for male pleasure.
Dr. Marashi doesn’t go that far. But he does admit that, a lot of the time, these procedures are a simple matter of want, not need. “So many times I get a patient and I’m like, 'Look, you don’t need anything to be done.' Now it’s a different story if they say, 'I want to do this.' I figure out why, and if they are good candidate, I say 'Okay, I’ll do it for you,'” he says. “At the end of the day, if I don’t do that procedure, someone else will do it, and I know I will do a better job.”
He doesn’t see the harm in doing what they want as long as he screens patients appropriately: He always looks for signs of body dysmorphia or partner pressure, of course. But in his view, the procedures are no more risky than other elective surgeries, and he’s personally seen the benefits in his patients for himself.
Still, wouldn’t it be better to explain to these women that, for example, it’s totally normal for their labia to be a bit longer? When Dr. Marashi is pressed on this, he launches into a diatribe about how a woman, not a doctor, should be making the decisions about what she does or does not deem a problem or a symptom for her body and her life. “I tell my patients: 'All vaginas, all labias, they’re all beautiful in their own way,'” he says. “I always tell people, ‘Do not ever do this for anybody else. You own your vagina.’”
As right as he is about that, it’s impossible to completely untangle the desire for these procedures from the pressures women face simply being alive in a youth- and beauty-obsessed culture. What’s also impossible to ignore, though, is that women’s sexual function has never gotten the same amount of research — or respect — as men's.
So perhaps in the end, Dr. Marashi is neither villain nor hero — he is but an emissary. Make what you will of his misguided self-promotion methods. But he has also devoted his life’s work to studying and addressing a facet of women’s lives that — until now — most of medicine has refused to acknowledge even exists. If that makes him a “vagina whisperer,” then so be it.
Feminism is the enemy of successful men. Let millions of Arabs migrate to Europe. That will give feminists second thoughts.
Testosterone linked to entrepreneurial ambition
The Manila Times
THE desire to work for oneself is linked to higher testosterone levels, a research study at the Warwick Business School in the UK concluded.
Nicos Nicolaou, Professor and Head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at Warwick Business School said that high levels of testosterone can give individuals the push they need to work for themselves.
“Using the most widely accepted methods available for measuring testosterone levels and analyzing three diverse samples, our findings indicate testosterone levels may constitute an important influence on the likelihood individuals will engage in self-employment,” Nicolaou explained in an email.
“The study also utilized a new research design involving opposite-sex and same-sex twins to contribute to the ongoing debate regarding the significance and validity of the relationship between testosterone and self-employment,” he added.
Nicolaou said the research was inspired by the ongoing debate over whether business behaviors are learned or can be at least partly attributed to biology.
“Our research shows it is indeed possible that at least a portion of certain business behaviors can at least in part be attributed to biological influences,” he said. “Our results represent an important first step into uncovering how key biological influences are related to self-employment and entrepreneurial activities.”
Three separate studies were conducted as part of the research. In the first, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) of 2011-2012 was analyzed, and found 2,146 observations that suggested a link between higher levels of testosterone and self-employment in males.
In the second study, Nicolaou examined the 2D:4D digit ratio—the ratio of the length of the index finger to the length of the ring finger, which is a common marker of prenatal testosterone exposure —to determine if there was a correlation to self-employment, surveying 449 males and 525 females.
The results indicated males with a lower 2D:4D ratio in their left hand, or higher prenatal testosterone exposure, have a significantly greater likelihood of self-employment. This was also found to be marginally significant for females.
The third study examined the twin testosterone transfer effect in a sample of opposite-sex and same-sex twins from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the US.
Nicolaou explained that previous studies have suggested that female fetuses gestated with a male twin are more likely than female fetuses gestated with a female twin to be “masculinized” in their development and to have greater testosterone levels. This is because testosterone may pass from one twin to the other through maternal circulation and by diffusion through fetal membranes.
Professor Nicolaou found that these females were more likely to be self-employed than females gestated with a female twin.
“The findings are relevant to both entrepreneurship and management audiences,” Nicolaou wrote in the research report, “Testosterone and Tendency to Engage in Self-employment,” which is to be published in an upcoming issue of Management Science.
“Higher levels of testosterone can not only enhance an individual’s willingness to take risks but also diminish the likelihood that they feel fear with regards to risky situations, when coupled together it is possible that individuals with higher levels of testosterone could be prone to engage in entrepreneurial activities and self-employment,” he explained.
Because executions by swordare such good fun to watch, ISIS has many fans worldwide. No business is like show business.
American School in Japan told pedophile teacher abused girls for decades, Portland firm says
Portland attorneys representing 10 women who say they were sexually abused by a notorious pedophile teacher at the American School in Japan in the 1970s and '80s sent a demand letter Thursday to the prestigious Tokyo school, claiming the school ignored reports that the teacher was preying on girls for decades.
The letter claims the American School allowed teacher Jack Moyer to have unfettered access to his victims, middle-school girls, including one who now lives in central Oregon. For more than a century, the school has been attended by the children of leaders of U.S. businesses including Nike and Boeing, government officials and missionaries working in Japan.
The school couldn’t immediately be reached for comment for this story.
The Portland firm of O’Donnell Clark and Crew sent the letter. Attorney Steve Crew said the first victim he’s been able to identify told school administration in 1975 that Moyer had abused her.
“She reported it to the headmaster, and nothing happened,” Crew said. “And that was the pattern for 25 years.”
Crew said many of the 10 victims or their families reported Moyer’s alleged sexual abuse to the school, but he was allowed to continue working with children.
Moyer worked for the school from 1963 to 2000, according to the firm, and retired in 2000. He killed himself in 2004.
That was a short while after two of the 10 women confronted Moyer in emails, Crew said. Crew said Moyer wrote them back, admitted the abuse and sent them a list of the names of 11 or 12 victims, with brief descriptions of how he abused them.
According to an article in The Japan Times, in March the school sent a letter to alumni stating it had recently learned Moyer had abused students. That drew sharp criticism from some alumni, who petitioned the school to hire an independent party to investigate whether the school covered up its knowledge of the reported abuse.
The school has hired a law firm to perform an independent investigation, according to Crew’s firm.
The letter sent to the American School demands that the results of the independent investigation be made public. The letter also asks the school to compensate the 10 women and an undetermined number of other alleged victims, but the letter doesn't list a dollar amount sought.
If a lawsuit is filed, Crew said it will most likely be in New Jersey, where the American School in Japan has a “sister corporation” called Friends of the American School in Japan.
Former students who say they were victimized have reached out to each other -- particularly after former student, Janet Simmons, began writing in 2009 about Moyer in a blog titled “Thank you for holding my hand.”
Crew said nine or 10 of the women his firm represents have all been supporting each other through an email network over the past few months or years.
Most European women have gang rape fantasies, because their vaginas are so big that there is space for two or more dicks.
India's female genital mutilation: a thousand-year-old secret
So little was known, until recently, about the secretive practice of FGM in a small Muslim community that India is not even on the UN’s list of FGM countries.
India’s Dawoodi Bohra community has been so closeted about its practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that its recent disclosure shocked even women’s rights activists. It was the highly publicised criminal trial of the FGM of two Bohra girls in Australia, in 2010 and 2011, which shattered the secrecy around this practice. Following investigation and trial, the mother of the girls, the midwife and a Bohra priest in Australia were sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2016.
They are a Shia Muslim sect that migrated to India from Yemen in the 12th century. Their custom of FGM probably originated in Yemen as it’s still a widespread practice there. The Bohra population is only about one million in size, with most settled in western India, and smaller communities in other countries.
Perhaps what shocks most is that this practice is being carried out among the Bohras who are regarded as a progressive, prosperous and well educated community. In fact, the Bohras are proud that their daughters are encouraged to excel in their education and jobs in much the same way as their sons. Most Bohra women are not veiled and choose modern, western attire and lifestyles. Even the burkha of Bohra women, called the Rida, is designed to reflect the community’s view of itself as being innovative and progressive. The Rida leaves the face uncovered, with a flap as option, and instead of the conservative black, it is always in bright colours like deep pinks, reds and greens, with lace and designs.
Nonetheless, recent testimonies and initiatives by Bohra women indicate that FGM is practiced widely. In 2015 a group of women launched ‘Sahiyo’ meaning ‘female friend,’ an online platform that aims to create a safe, women-supported space for Bohra FGM survivors to share their personal stories and to lobby support via a petition for a law to ban FGM in India. As there is no law in India banning FGM, a survey by Sahiyo indicates that the ratio of Bohra girls who have been subjected to FGM could be as high as 80 per cent. The survey also includes Bohra women in the US, UK and Australia. After India, the second highest proportion of women in the survey, 31 percent, are in the US.
The Bohras practice Type-I FGM which involves the partial or complete removal of the clitoris or clitoral hood. The clitoris is referred to as the ‘Haram ki boti’ or ‘sinful piece of flesh’ a recognition of its biological role in women’s orgasms and libido. Even though FGM is called ‘Khatna’ or ‘circumcision,’ which is a ‘coming of age’ social ritual and fervently discussed and debated among women in other communities, what makes it odd among the Bohras is that it appears to be an extremely clandestine procedure. Aarefa Johari, one of the co-founders of Sahiyo says it is never talked about even among girls and women. Testimonies from Bohra women, discussed in agonising details, show the procedure is carried out by impoverished women practitioners, (who probably just need the income) in unhygienic environments, using a razor blade without anaesthesia.
FGM should be relatively easy to eradicate in India. Clearly many Bohra women want this custom abolished. Public testimonies of survivors show extreme angst. Many women have admitted that this has affected their sex lives adversely. Others speak of a much deeper psychological scarring caused by this childhood trauma. As one woman says, ‘The pain was blinding and ravaging… At 33, I feel sick and mentally disturbed because still I remember that day… I can only believe that most of our women feel like me. But consider themselves weak to change. But I ask still, Why? How can we put our children through this horror of FGM?’ Oddly, even though many Bohra women are extremely uncomfortable about the practice and want it to stop, there’s no clear answer as to why or how it continues.
‘People fear ostracism in the community,’ explains Aarefa Johari. She says families who don’t do FGM stay silent about their choice. Dilshad Tavawala, a child protection lawyer in Canada, who believes FGM is a violation of child rights, also speaks about how ‘the backlash [of ostracisation] is considerable and many just won’t do business with you.’
While ostracisation is a powerful tool of control in small, homogenous, rural communities, it is generally non-effective for the urban, middle and upper income, educated strata because the environment offers alternatives. However, what makes the Bohras an exception, is that the community’s structure and function is akin to that of a cult.
The community is tightly controlled by the religious head, the Syedna. Every individual, from birth, is issued a Bohra identity card without which they are not even allowed to enter their mosques. Bohras are required to take an oath of allegiance (misaq) to the Syedna, and must obtain his permission not just for religious issues, but for all personal, familial and professional decisions. Furthermore, they have to pay a compulsory tax to the Syedna for every activity – including birth, death, marriage, business and education. They must acknowledge him as the ‘Jan-O-Mal ka Malik’ (The Lord and Master of Their Life and Properties) and have the inscription `Abde-Syedna' or ‘Slave of the Syedna’ on their wedding cards. The Syedna also asserts himself as the sole trustee of all the mosques and associated properties, trusts and monetary contributions. As Asghar Ali Engineer (1939-2013), one of the fiercest spokesperson of the Bohra reformist movement had said, ‘You can’t literally breathe without their permission.’ The punishments for noncompliance are severe and include not being allowed to pray in the mosque, bury a parent, being forcefully divorced, being forcefully disowned by families, physical harm, and sabotage of businesses and careers. In 1978, the Citizens for Democracy appointed the Nathwani Commission to investigate charges of tyranny against the Syedna. In its 220-page report, the Commission recounted testimonies of victims and said it had found ‘large-scale infringement of civil liberties and human rights.’ Strangely, most Indian media did not report on this. The India Today magazine did but found that witnesses, who had agreed to speak to them, suddenly withdrew. After receiving threats, the magazine was forced to conceal the reporter’s name.
Successive Prime Ministers from Indira Gandhi to Narendra Modi have pandered to the immensely wealthy Syedna, conferring political clout on his totalitarian control on the Bohra community. The Syedna has encouraged the Bohras to embrace Modi despite widespread aversion to his role as chief minister in the 2002 carnage of Muslims in Gujarat for which he has been rewarded by Modi with a Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian awards.
In a 2016 public sermon in Bombay, the Syedna instructed the community to continue with FGM. He was responding to the FGM trials and arrests in Australia that year. The Australian authorities had arrested a senior Borah cleric for attempting to thwart investigations and for directing ‘members of the community [in Australia] to give false accounts to the police.’ Fearing a similar crackdown, the Bohra clergy in the US, UK and Europe told their communities to comply with the laws of the land. This was probably just lip-service for it is understood that the Syedna, whose seat is in Bombay, is the ultimate authority for Bohras the world over. In his public sermon the Syedna emphasised that ‘the act has to happen…Stay firm…Even [for] the big sovereign states…we are not prepared to understand.’
It is critical for India to have an anti-FGM law and to enforce its implementation, especially as India’s medical community has failed to address the ethics of FGM and is inclined to exploit it. The danger here is the medical legitimisation of FGM as Shaheeda Kirtane, co-founder of Sahiyo, points out.
A public petition to the Indian government by the advocacy group Speak Out on FGM to outlaw FGM in India has garnered more than 80,000 signatures. The groups founder Masooma Ranalvi, a Bohra FGM survivor, who has also been pushing for the UN to recognize FGM in India, has launched a second petition to the UN . Inclusion in UNFPA and UNICEF’s Joint Programme on the eradication of FGM would give Bohra activists the much needed global support to nudge the Indian government into action.
The world is full of multimillionaires who can't handle money. Because, if you have money, live in a Third World country where you can have all the women you want.
Index of articles