Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Improved Status Of American Women

  Jean Nidetch (1923 -)
Jean Nidetch is the founder of Weight Watchers, a company that has changed the lives of both women and men through dieting. She has been voted on of the 100 most important women of the 20th century[1] because she has allowed people to live for longer simply by eating better and doing more exercise. The idea of losing weight and keeping off the weight has revolutionised the health industry as society encourages fitness and healthy eating through the use of food packaging and advertisements. Steps have also been made in schools to cut down salt and sugar intake in school dinners; this is all based upon the idea of Weight Watchers but in a different context.

However Weight Watchers has struggled to keep up with the advances of the 21st century, the Washington Post states that "Americans looking to shed a few pounds are looking, instead, to free fitness apps on their smartphones, a simple shift that has devastated one of the most iconic names in weight loss."[2] This shows that today’s societies do not want to discuss their dieting habits with other people and would rather deal with the issue themselves. The use of apps on smartphones is quick and easy to use so saves people a lot of time and is personal to the user. Often taking personal information to cater for various recommendations regarding what foods to eat, how many calories to consume and how much exercise they should be doing.

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000)
Lamarr was both an actor and an inventor; in 1942 she had an idea to help the war effort in World War 2 with the help of George Antheil. Together they developed anti-jamming device which could be used to prevent enemy spies from intercepting US Military messages. This invention was also known as "frequency hopping", as a result of this their invention also assisted in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and to this day is still used in military communications. Furthermore this invention allows our modern day technologies to thrive as it enables people to use huge amounts of cellular devices such as mobile phones, wireless communications and faxes. By being able to control the different frequencies means that companies can handle hundreds of thousands of calls at the same time.  Finally in the 1990s they both received the recognition they deserved by winning multiple awards. A significant achievement for Lamarr was being the first woman to receive a BULBIE which is a lifetime achievement award.

"Lamarr proved that beautiful women also are intelligent, crashing stereotypes that many people hold. She invented a technology that enables some of the most popular modes of communication today."[3] To some extent this perception of beautiful women as not being intelligent still exists today, however the fact that Lamarr was both successful in the entertainment industry and the field of science shows that this is not the case. It is her invention that modern society revolves around today with mass communication and internet; therefore she has not only revolutionised American society but the whole world.  

[2] Drew Harwell, Americans’ new way of losing weight has left weight watchers behind, Washington Post, 29th 0ctober 2014

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