It’s generally mothers who teach their daughters how to cook – and in doing so strongly influence their eating patterns, even as adults

A qualitative study led by CREDOC in March 2004, on 26 mother-daughter duos, confirms that the majority of the time, mothers are the ones who introduce their daughters to cooking and to flavours. What’s less intuitive, however, is that these initial basics in cooking will form the dietary habits of girls during their lifetime: lots will continue to feed and cook “like mum”, even after they’ve left the family home…

The first thing the study shows is that while mothers introduce their daughters to cooking, the process of transmitting information is rarely conscious: mothers don’t ”teach” their daughters to cook, instead they make dishes in front of them and allow them to stir a mixture, add spices, etc. While mothers themselves had to help out during their childhood, especially in large families, they haven’t imposed this on their daughters, for whom learning about cooking is done as they go along and not through voluntarist teaching. It’s by watching and imitating that young girls take their first steps in cooking: “With my kids, I did the same as my mum did with me: I didn’t ask them to help, they just got involved if they wanted to,” tells one of the girls.

Domestic home help services, a precious aid for women

Used more and more by active women to avoid being overwhelmed with household chores, domestic home help services are an excellent way of offloading certain obligations… for a relatively inexpensive price.

Particularly interesting from a financial point of view due to the tax relief that home help services benefit from, they are being resorted to more and more by young active families, mainly when the mother goes back to work while her child is still young.

How do women recruit their employee?

According to a CREDOC study from 2008, the majority of families choose their domestic help based on feeling. Their recruitment criteria are generally quite vague, revolving more around the person’s interpersonal qualities and the first impressions they give, rather than their specific skills (the majority of employers admit to not knowing the level of education of their employee!). Entrusting one’s house or child to somebody requires total trust, and that’s the criteria that dominates the most: 98% have complete trust in their employee and 35% even consider them to be a friend or member of the family. In fact, two-thirds of the time, employees remain with the same family for at least two years.

It’s mostly women who are in charge of recruiting people thanks to word-of-mouth: they follow the advice of friends or acquaintances who have already made use of domestic help services. Women also handle the “social” aspects (daily instructions, conversations, etc.), whereas men generally handle administrative aspects (writing up the contract, preparing payslips, etc).

Reading, an illustration of the feminisation of cultural practices

For a long time dismissed from the scholarly world of books – it took them 350 years to enter the Academié Française, as Laure Adler and Stéphane Bollmann remind us in Les femmes qui lisent sont dangereuses (« Women who read are dangerous« ) – women have largely made up for their setback: today, they read on average 5 books more than men each year, and represent 53% of the market for novels.

Reading has become more and more of a feminine affair over the last thirty years: while essays, comics, science fiction and detective stories are by and large read by men, almost all of the other categories of books are bought by women as a majority. There are fewer women who never read, and amongst the French people who claim to read regularly, women read more books than men (INSEE 2005 <> ), all socio-professional categories and ages combined.

Tags : ,

American mums are short on friends

After the birth of their children, women tend to go out less and dedicate less time to each other. Focus on the family unit is to the detriment of relations with friends. According to a study led by CafeMom, mums claim that while they know a lot of people, they rarely have true friends… which they miss enormously.

On average, mums have two true friends, and 30% think that none of the people they know can be considered as a friend. These relations are therefore superficial, involving people with whom they share some nice moments but whom they don’t feel they could rely on in times of crisis.

While they converse a lot with neighbours (particularly mums whose children go to the same school), these relationships are not considered to be very close for two-thirds of them. Moreover, 32% never speak to their neighbours.
The concept of « local community », with solidarity and mutual aid amongst neighbours, isn’t a reality for them: « You shouldn’t believe what you see on Desperate Housewives, I’ve never been greeted with muffins when moving to a new area! » says one young mum ironically.

Wearing perfume, an almost sacred beauty ritual

The majority of women put perfume on every day, so much so that 143,000 bottles of perfume are sold every day in France (source: Planetoscope). And what might seem like a simple beauty step has a much deeper cultural dimension in reality…

The use of perfume goes back to antiquity when it was used in religious rituals (as offerings to gods, for embalming bodies amongst the Egyptians). Perfume was therefore originally associated with sacredness. Today still, this theme can be found in many adverts: perfume is seen as a mysterious essence because it’s invisible yet extremely powerful, almost magical.

It was during the Renaissance that it started to be used in a similar way to its current use: perfume and glove-makers made scented gloves for aristocratic women, designed to enchant men who followed in their footsteps. It was only in the 19th century that the atomizer was invented and women started to disperse their perfume on the hottest parts of their body (nape of the neck, wrists) to better activate the particles.

CafeMom website creates an indicator of mums’ quality of life

CafeMom’s indicator came into being because of an observation: as mums are generally the bond that cements family relations, their mood greatly influences the overall frame of mind of the household.
This is why, in summer 2010, the site decided to create the MomIndex, a bi-annual index that measures the quality of life of American mums.

The aim of this new type of index was to show that mums’ satisfaction in life doesn’t just depend on their level of education or their salary, but on human factors above all else. CafeMom identified 5 major themes that influence mums’ wellbeing: themselves, their children, their relationships, their financial situation, and the world in which they live.

Tags : , ,

Beauty and sensuality are significant assets in the job market

For some decades, studies have shown that people who are considered to be physically beautiful are at an advantage in a number of areas, both private and professional. Three recent books confirm this trend by showing that beauty has become a major factor in building a career… but they disagree about the measures to take to wipe out this discrimination.

Source : The Economist.

Beauty facilitates life: this isn’t a dubious statement but a postulate that has been scientifically proven on several occasions. Since 1974, Mr Efran showed in his study « The effect of physical appearance on the judgment of guilt, interpersonal attraction, and severity of recommended punishment in a simulated jury task » that ugly-looking defendants are more severely punished during a trial than those who are considered beautiful. Likewise, attractive-looking people are more likely to gain a place in a queue, benefit from help when they need it, etc.

In the professional field as well, the influence of physical appearance has been recognised for several decades. In 1981, Mr Solomon showed, with supporting experiences, that job applicants’ clothes were often a decisive factor in recruitment (“Dress for success: Clothing Appropriateness and the Efficacy of Role Behavior”).

Innovation must create an original and special relationship by being closer to the women

Meet Dr. Marcel Saucet, Marketing, associate professor and researcher at the University of San Diego. He heads laboratory, expert advice in marketing innovation.

What do you think are the most promising innovations aimed at women sectors?

Cosmetics: During the last 15 years, cosmetics are one of the few sectors of growth. Recent studies have shown the average market growth of 5% in terms of quantity. We can compare cosmetics to new technologies and indeed, this is an area that does continually evolve, and the products become obsolete very quickly as it lacks in the innovation in products, ideas and in the distribution. New beauty box, Birchbox allow consumers to test several beauty products every month when they get subscribed.

Another innovation in the way we distribute with the Lush brand that offers cosmetics for women: Once a year, magazine sellers are clients and little interest except that of the view by itself and thus attract new consumers. Cosmetics are also changing rapidly with new technologies. The case for example, companies that specialize in makeup that offer their clients to test new makeup applications via augmented reality. While you are alone in front of your phone without makeup, applying a clear picture of who you are made up!

Lacoste Women – they’ve got bite

A polo shirt with an embroidered crocodile. This is the hallmark of the legendary French company Lacoste. Officially born in 1933, the famous shirts adorned with their badge is based on the story of the international tennis champion René Lacoste – dubbed the « alligator » and « crocodile » in reference to his tenacity on the court. Following the diversification of his offer, the brand has managed to develop its image.

“If brands do decide to address gays, they don’t include lesbians”

A meeting with Amandine Miguel, spokesperson for Inter LGBT, head of Lesbian Visibility

What do you think of gay marketing (brands who particularly target the homosexual community)?

Firstly, it is wrong to think that the “gay marketing” label includes all of the LGBT community (although it is often used in this respect in Anglo-Saxon countries). “Gay marketing” primarily addresses homosexual men and not lesbians or transsexuals who don’t interest brands due to their weak shopping power, remaining invisible within the public community. There is a clear difference in shopping power within the different components of the LGBT community (we are talking in a general sense here, casualization is unfortunately everywhere). On the one hand, the procedure that the state imposed in order to change the marital rights for this community was a lengthy, costly and degrading process, which places them in an extremely precarious situation. On the other hand, it is women that are most affected by insecurities, thus lesbians as well as women are directly impacted.

Should brands speak in a specific way to the lesbian community? Or is it discriminatory?

It all depends on how they are addressed in our community as it is not an act of discrimination to address them as a particular community. Yet defining the “sexual communities” is difficult, as the culture and references that the L, G, B and T share are not the same. And if you are stubborn enough to believe in the existence of a common culture but also an alleged universality of a “LGBT culture”, you immediately fall back into the traditional sexist view: which confuses the masculine and the so called neutral universal with the “LGBT culture”. It is said that the identification of the gay culture also acts as a representative of the LGBT culture.