When Exercise and "Physical Culture" Became Good for Women, Too

Turn-of-the-century publishing magnate, Bernarr Macfadden, who I mentioned in a previous post on thermal dieting, was serious about physical fitness. As in writing an eight-volume encyclopedia on the topic, serious. Among his multiple publishing endeavors that made him a household name and a millionaire in the early 20th century, Macfadden launched Physical Culture magazine in March 1899, featuring a 25-page opus on bodybuilding and a snappy tagline declaring "Weakness is a Crime." Lasting until 1955 when Macfadden died, Physical Culture magazine churned out typical health and fitness stories on longevity, diet, exercise and even "correct breathing for magnetism and charm."

(Women's) Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Science concluded a long time ago (circa 1974) that laughter is contagious. Now we know that women are the best at spreading the joy around. Study participants listened to around 50 audio clips of various types of laughter, such as open- versus closed-mouthed chuckles, and rated the female belly laugh as the most pleasurable.

LIFE Magazine's Vintage Fat Shaming

In the 1950s, the term "fat shaming" had yet to be coined, but the demeaning practice was certainly alive and well. Even though the average waistline was slimmer then than now, LIFE magazine published a multi-page spread in its March 1954 edition on "The Plague of the Overweight," which led with the declaration that "The most serious health problem in the U.S. today is obesity." According to statistics compiled by insurance companies at the time, around 3 percent of post-World War II Americans were considered obese, and "[were] drastically prone to diabetes, gallstones, hernia, kidney and bladder impairments and complications during surgery and pregnancy"...

History's Original Dumb Blonde

In wondering when and why such a random stereotype arose, I had figured it had plenty to do with Marilyn Monroe's 1953 performance in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" in which she plays the preferable blonde (which is kind of funny when you consider that Norma Jean Mortenson was a brunette when she first headed out in Hollywood). It turns out, however, that the original dumb blonde -- the ODB, if you will -- came around a couple centuries prior...

This Is What a Year's Worth of Makeup Looks Like

For a not-so-lovely visual of just how much makeup women cake on their faces ever year, take a gander at "Natural Beauty." Over nine hours, two makeup artists slathered 365 coats of makeup on the model.

Do vegetarian and vegan diets affect menstrual cycles?

A Stuff Mom Never Told You listener wrote in a couple weeks ago inquiring whether vegetarian and/or vegan diets can affect a woman's periods. After doing some digging for studies and expert opinions, the simple answer is that there is no simple answer.

Do women apologize more than men?

Hollywood icon John Wayne once said, "Never apologize. It's a sign of weakness." Is that masculine advice why it's thought that women tend to apologize more than men? Caroline and Cristen examine how men and women say "I'm sorry," and myth-bust the stereotype of women as the sorrier sex.

Women in Math

One of history's earliest-known female mathematicians was Hypatia, a scholar and philosopher who was later stoned to death by an angry mob. While conditions have certainly improved for math-loving women today, plenty of obstacles still remain to attracting more girls and women into these numbers-driven disciplines.

Women in Engineering

Engineering has some of the widest gender gaps among the STEM fields, despite having some of the most fascinating -- and lucrative -- career options. Cristen and Caroline explore women's contributions to engineering, why industrial engineering attracts the most women and female students' altruistic motivations for pursuing the challenging degree.

Women in Tech

Why are fewer women than ever before pursuing computer science degrees? Lauren Vogelbaum of TechStuff stops by the show to discuss the tech industry's gender gap and whether the "brogrammer" culture is a sexist reality.