Try Sloughism, not sexism

28th November 2003 at 00:00
As the book's co-author, it was great to read that How to Clone the Perfect Blonde was considered a "godsend: a quick and cheerful overview of the most significant recent discoveries and developments" (TES, Friday magazine, November 14).

Cheerful is an important word here as the book is aimed at those who are interested in science with - and this is a crucial addition - a sense of humour. Perhaps this is where the reviewer needs a helping hand because Tom Wilkie also thought the first three chapters contained an excess of male fantasies and "sexist stereotyping". As a result, I feel obliged to point out that the provocatively named title chapter does explain that this "perfect blonde" can be male or female, brunette or redhead or even a golden retriever if that's your cup of tea. I have also yet to meet a woman who wouldn't like her own domestic goddess (chapter 2) while the quoted example of someone who badly needs to lose their lovehandles (chapter 3) is in fact male. Admittedly a male with yellow skin and four fingers, but male nevertheless in the form of Homer Simpson. As for that illustration, by Jamie Keenan, of a thin woman coming out of a larger woman's body, I thought it was brilliant. So I think irreverent is a more accurate description than sexist stereotyping. After all, we also propose wiping out Slough with a black hole although, strangely enough, no one took exception to this.

Sue Nelson Science amp; environment correspondent BBC News

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