Orchard Song

February 13, 2018

Cool murmur of water through apple-wood
Troughs without number
The whole orchard fills, whilst the leaves
Lend their music to slumber.

Sappho
Fragment 13
Translated by H De Vere Stackpoole

A boy girl

Psychologists often find that parents treat baby girls and boys differently, despite an absence of any discernible differences in the babies’ behaviour or abilities. One study, for example, found that mothers conversed and interacted more with girl babies and young toddlers, even when they were as young as six months old. This was despite the fact that boys were no less responsive to their mother’s speech and were no more likely to leave their mother’s side. As the authors suggest, this may help girls learn the higher level of social interaction expected of them, and boys the greater independence. Mothers are also more sensitive to changes in facial expressions of happiness when an unfamiliar six-month-old baby is labelled as a girl rather than a boy, suggesting that their gendered expectations affect their perception of babies’ emotions. Gendered expectations also seem to bias mothers’ perception of their infants’ physical abilities. Mothers were shown an adjustable sloping walkway, and asked to estimate the steepness of slope their crawling eleven-month-old child could manage and would attempt. Girls and boys differed in neither crawling ability nor risk taking when it came to testing them on the walkway. But mothers underestimated girls and overestimated boys – both in crawling ability and crawling attempts – meaning that in the real world they might often wrongly think their daughters incapable of performing or attempting some motor feats, and equally erroneously think their sons capable of others. As infants reach the toddler and preschool years, researchers find that mothers talk more to girls than to boys, and that they talk about emotions differently to the two sexes – and in a way that’s consistent with (and sometimes helps to create the truth of) the stereotyped belief that females are the emotion experts.

Cordelia Fine
Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

Happy

February 13, 2018

Who is there in the world who senses and knows all, and is at the same time determined to be happy?

Jack Kerouac
Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954

Nonsense…

February 13, 2018

What if I slept a little more and forgot about all this nonsense?

Franz Kafka
Metamorphosis