This & That:
Gender differences, the return of the princess, karaoke etiquette...
In our Relationship Survey, we asked guys and gals if they thought men were really from Mars, and women from Venus. Most of our panel was in consensus: they found that there was ample difference. But are these differences a cause of genetics or environment? Consider these findings:
So next time you think it's a typical male or female response, stop to consider whether it's really typical or if it's something that we have forced upon ourselves to be typical.
- Gender similarities are common when we consider cognitive abilities and achievement.
- Gender differences are largest when behaviour is measured in terms of self-report, i.e. women are more likely than men to report that they are more nurturing, even if that is not the case.
- Gender differences are largest when other people are present, i.e. women are especially likely to react positively to infants when other people are near.
- Gender differences are largest when gender is prominent and other shared roles are minimized, i.e. at a singles bar, gender is emphasized strongly, while at a work conference, the work role will be emphasized, not the gender role.
- Gender differences are largest when behaviour requires specific gender-related skills, i.e. men might be especially likely to volunteer to change a tire.
The Return of the (Pop) Princess
We thought it would all be over with the breakdown of Britney Spear's sanity and Christina Aguilera's stint as a raven-haired drag queen, but another whole slew of teen pop stars are back. Here is who's who in the barely-nineteen pop scene:
Yes, I know - Avril isn't really pop. She's punk rock all the way, what with her devil-may-care-attitude and flipping the bird on "Total Request Live" and all. Except that her sound is totally radio-friendly, and her songs are as hard-edged as a butter knife. She may hate the pop scene and all the princesses in it, but too bad for her: she's one of them.
Latest Single: "Don't Tell Me" ("My Happy Ending" is enjoying heavy radio airplay).
The Songs Tell Us: Maybe Avril wouldn't be so angry if she stopped dating guys that give her ample song ammunition.
This is another proud Canadian girl who isn't afraid to rock out. FeFe's sound is like a chameleon - one minute punk, the next minute retro. Granted, she doesn't seem as angry as Avril Lavigne, so she loses some street cred.
Latest Single: "Everything" ("Don't Go (Girls and Boys)" is enjoying moderate airplay).
The Songs Tell Us: FeFe's chameleon style is refreshing, but in the case of "Don't Go (Girls and Boys)," it's just a big mistake.
The teen queen has built an empire around herself, and now wants you to buy her records. If you're looking for the anti-Avril, she is it. Her songs are light and airy, nothing to write home about. Ditto her clothing line, Stuff by Duff.
Latest Single: "Our Lips Are Sealed," co-starring her big sis Haylie.
The Songs Tell Us: Duff is as tough as a newborn kitten. If my money had to be anywhere, it would be on Avril. Expect Duff to do well with her pre-teen following.
Jessica Simpson's little sister ain't so little anymore, and now she's got a record and a reality show to prove it. But no, she's not at all like Jessica. Look at the black hair! The Chrissie Hynde haircut! The mean growl in her voice! Not at all like Jessica.
Latest Single: "Pieces of Me."
The Songs Tell Us: Ashlee sure can sing, but her stray from pop music is more like a leaning. We suggest an Alanis Morissette-type makeover if she truly wants to branch out on her own. And perhaps some therapy. (Editor's Note: I was wrong about the singing part...)
Be a star, not a dud, by following these simple tips to having a rockin' good time at karaoke.
Karaoke aficionados and newbies alike, take heed: just like any sport, karaoke has its own guidelines to keep everyone happy and from losing an eye. But unlike any sport, these guidelines are not clear-cut or written in stone. To ensure that everyone has a good time, there are some things that should be present, such as courtesy, respect, and a great selection of songs. Here is a snippet from my upcoming and yet-to-be-written book, How to Sing Like a Karaoke Diva But Not Act Like One:
- Whether you're in a group of five or fifteen, you should never act like a microphone hog. If you find yourself holding the microphone for two consecutive songs, regardless of whether people have encouraged you to keep on singing or whether these songs were meant for you, it's time to relinquish the microphone. Relax, it'll make its rounds to you again.
- If you find that you're punching in song after song, it's time to pass the remote to someone else. People around you have come to karaoke to hang out with their friends and sing, not listen to your one-person concert.
- If someone has selected a song and is patiently waiting for it to come up, give them the microphone. There are usually two or more in a room anyway, so you may have a go at the song too, but make sure that the person who has selected the song has priority.
- Never signal that your song is a solo, even if the other person(s) singing with you may butcher the song or take over your grand finale. Again, it is not a one-person performance or your final chance at "American Idol," so you can save that for the shower.
- Regardless of how badly or out of tune people may sing, keep the comments to yourself. You do not base your friendships on how well a person can sing. They did not come to karaoke with you to hear your Simon Cowell impression. And besides, you came to have a good time, and negative comments can and will spoil that.
- If you choose a song, make sure that you want to sing it. If you're choosing it for someone else, make sure they want to sing it. Remember, at karaoke, time is money.
- If you have a wallflower in your group, encourage them to sing. A fun and relaxed environment will put them at ease (see #5), but if they're unrelenting, you should respect their wishes.
- And perhaps the most important one…pay your share.
Simon Fuller must be tired. And yet, year after year of grinding out poppy, radio- and television-friendly "talent," he still keeps on going. The man that has brought us such sensations as the Spice Girls, the "Idol" franchise, and S Club 7 has now unveiled his latest Frankenstein's monster…S Club 8.
So does that mean that this is the end for S Club 7? Oh, you knew it was coming. After its oldest member hit 26 they were just asking for it (channeling The Backstreet Boys - adolescent pop groups do not translate well in adulthood). In 2002, Paul, one of the indefinable male members of the group, split to pursue a different sort of career by joining a ska band. After that, S Club 7 went by the simpler moniker, S Club, and released its final film, S Club Seeing Double, in 2003. In May, they announced their plans to split up.
And along came S Club 8, formerly S Club Juniors, an evil spawn of an even more evil franchise. And now, there are eight of them, and only one has hit the legal driving age. S Club 8 offers us the same bland pop and awkwardly choreographed moves that S Club 7 had given us for four years. But now, there are eight of them. There is no need for backup dancers or singers. There is not enough time in their all-too-blissful prepubescent videos to show us all of them. If they were pitted against an army from The Lord of the Rings, they would outnumber them 2:1. If a member were replaced, there would be no alarm because we wouldn't notice it. They are just that many.
The BBC website offers us this tidbit about the members of S Club 8:
Frankie: Frankie's no stranger to showbiz. She goes to the same school as the cousin of Jo in S Club, and has appeared as a cheerleader on SM:tv. Described as pink, girly and flirty, Frankie admits to being a bit of a shopaholic.
Rochelle: Rochelle admits to being the group's resident nutter! Like Frankie she's also no stranger to showbiz, having appeared in Whistle Down the Wind in London and done some modelling. She's dreamt about being a pop star all her life and takes her teddy, Squidge, everywhere with her.
Even after looking at the site for several minutes, I could still not distinguish between Hannah, Daisy, and Aaron, although I knew Aaron was supposed to be one of the three boys in the group. In a couple of years, if Simon Fuller keeps up with his exponential band member count, he will effectively use up half of England's youth population aged 12 - 20.
So how long is S Club 8's shelf life? Hopefully not as long as it takes to forget their horribly cookie-cutter music videos. ¤ C.Ho.