All kids love log!
Have you heard the pseudo-scientific news? Human girls are biologically programmed to play with dollies like little mommies! A recent study suggests that female juvenile chimps play with sticks and nurture them like babies, whereas male juveniles turn their sticks into weapons or other manly toys–it’s scientifically proven. Echidne has the goods, as I knew she would. She’s got an interesting follow-up post on a 2007 study of a Senagalese chimp community that found that female adult chimps led the way in tool-making and killing in their communities–but as she notes, that study didn’t go viral now, did it? She writes, “[I]t’s every bit as significant as the new stick study, only it shows female chimps as tool makers and as killers. So are we going to draw conclusions about human society from that one, too?”
One of the aspects of these studies that purport to show the essential or biological basis for gendered behaviors in humans is how selective we are in looking to the non-human animal kingdom for justification of human behaviors. After all, what is “natural” behavior? $hitting outdoors, scratching our crotches, and smearing our scent everywhere is “natural,” I suppose. Human societies have developed multiple different technologies and etiquettes for dealing with all of these “natural” needs and urges. Continue reading
"They blew him up???"
It’s rough out there for a robot. Check out this story from the Denver Post this morning:
A robot met its end near Coors Field on Wednesday night when the Denver Police Department Bomb Squad detonated the “suspicious object,” bringing to an end the hours-long standoff between police and the approximately 8-inch-tall figurine.
Denver police spokesman Matt Murray said a citizen called police at 3:27 p.m. to report the presence of the plastic, white, toy robot, cemented to the base of a pillar supporting a footbridge near 20th and Wazee streets. Police closed 20th Street between Blake Street and Chestnut Place but did let a few people past the police tape to retrieve cars parked in nearby lots.
Nobody was allowed within about 100 yards of the robot.
Thank goodness state and local governments got all of that federal grant money after 9/11 to purchase anti-terrorist equipment and beef up their bomb squads! Continue reading
When I read Zuska’s comments about Science Cheerleader, I thought Science Cheerleader had to be a parody. Apparently it’s not–but it is in fact a total joke, because (for example) it suggests that “What Everyone Needs To Know To Be A (sic) Science Literate” is the cheerleaders from the Philadelphia 76ers in spangly bras and short-shorts reading the words of an actual physicist. The actual physicist does not don a bra-top and short-shorts and read the science concepts himself. I wonder why not? Maybe because he understands that it’s never a mark of status to appear publicly in a state of undress? (In my period and field, for example, the only people portrayed as unclothed are enslaved people–and they’re almost never represented as wearing clothing at all, whereas 17th and 18th century portraits of white people are more portraits of clothing than of individuals. Clothes make the man, indeed!)
Anyway, back to science. Zuska writes:
Okay, let’s play what if. What if the Science Cheerleaders are responsible for making just one girl stick with her science & math classes – isn’t it all worthwhile then?
Let’s say the Science Cheerleaders do keep one girl in advanced science or math classes, but make three other girls feel like they have to pornulate themselves in order to be 21st Century Fembot Compliant While Doing Science, and make five d00ds feel like it is perfectly okay to hang up soft porn pictures of sexay hawt babes in the lab and harass some colleague because hawt science women WANT to be appreciated for being sexay and smart! – is it still worth it?
She then goes on to describe an effective outreach program she worked with to get more girls, especially girls who would be first-generation college students, into STEM fields. Continue reading
How-dee! La Famille Historiann, such as it is, had a fantastic weekend camping trip in Arches National Park. I swear, ANP must have the friendliest, cutest, and nicest park rangers in all of the 50 states–how do they do it? And the Devil’s Playground Campground was not just pictureseque, but immaculate. I mean, eat off the bathroom floor immaculate, and I’ve never said that about a public restroom in my life. (I’ve never imagined saying it about a public restroom, quite frankly.) This may have been due to the fact that a number of campers and RVs were camping closest to our local bathroom in the park, but there were plenty of other tent campers like us. You can do a lot worse for 20 bucks a night, friends. The wind- and rainstorm we endured Saturday night was dramatic, but hardly a deal-breaker. But be sure to make on-line reservations–unbelievably, on Halloween weekend, this campground was full.
You were all so good while I was away! I wish I could give you all some of the candy that we have leftover after Halloween, for which we inevitably over-purchase. So, these bibelots will have to do:
- First of all, check out Dr. Cleveland, who it turns out is a dude. He explains why it’s not the same thing when a student comes on to a straight, white male professor as when a male student does the same–or is otherwise inappropriate–to a female professor: “Basically, all a male college professor has to do to repel such invitations is ignore them. A student has a fantasy, no matter how durable or ephemeral, of being pursued by an older man; if the older man doesn’t pursue, that’s pretty much the ballgame. . . . Does the student just have a garden-variety crush, or is she actually hoping to act out her fantasies? Doesn’t matter; there’s not much she can do without the male faculty member’s cooperation. Male privilege is not only powerful, but it’s convenient. A woman professor, unfortunately, doesn’t have to distinguish the male students with harmless crushes from the ones who are prone to act out, either, because the young men who want to act out do. If the script is ‘man pursues,’ a young man with a sexual interest in his professor is apt to make unequivocal gestures.” Continue reading
Twisty Faster has an absolutely spot-on analysis of the problem with boys making movies for boys–a.k.a. modern Hollywood and the crapola movies it makes (h/t to commenter MsMcD.) It’s hard for me to excerpt without giving away her punchline, but it involves her listening to a recent interview with (in her words) “two Hollywood dudes who had something to do with making ‘Toy Story 3.’ The Hollywood dudes start[ed] talking about ‘getting to the emotional truth of the characters.’ I have, with my usual painstaking attention to detail, transcribed the portion of the interview in which they reveal how they went about getting to the “emotional truth” of a Ken doll character:”
Hollywood Dude #1: I don’t know if you had any Ken dolls when you were growing up; I certainly didn’t. But my friends’ little sisters did and we made endless fun of Ken. Ken’s just a-a-a whipping boy […] We thought, well what does it feel like to be a guy who’s a girl’s toy? You’re a guy, but you’re only played with by little girls. And then further, he’s just an accessory to Barbie. You know he doesn’t carry equal weight to, with Barbie, he’s really no more important than a pair of shoes or a belt or a purse to her, and we knew that he would have to have a complex.
A-HAHAhahaha!!! Now that’s a “world upside down” moment: men as accessories to women, or even as toys for them! Little girls as the Untouchables of the playground! Yet another movie that’s all about exploring men’s subjectivity and men’s emotions!!! Well, you know what Twisty will do with that, but to quote the brilliant entirety of her post would be plagiarism, and this is a respectable ranch so we can’t do that here. Please, for the love of Dog, click here and read. Continue reading
This creepy doll by Hans Bellmer, 1935
I can’t let the coincidence of this pass me by, since we’re talking about dolls and the objectification of girls’ and women’s bodies again. Squadratomagico has a great post up on the off-label hormonal engineering of baby girl fetuses who have tested positive for (gasp!) Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, which means that they frequently have ambiguous genitalia, may possess a strong interest in softball, and “as a group have a lower interest than controls in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role.”
(Well, what thinking woman doesn’t agree with that last bit? Seriously: if you dig scrubbing crusty surfaces and wiping snotty noses and bums, that should be a symptom of clinical depression, not normative behavior in any adult, male or female. Most of us do that junk because we don’t want the state condemning our houses and taking our kids away.)
Click immediately on this link to join the discussion. I left a comment over there, so I’ll be following that thread. Something else I didn’t mention in my comment is the odd equation of childhood behavior with adult predisposition for motherhood among these alleged sufferers of CAH: “As children, they show an unusually low interest in engaging in maternal play with baby dolls, and their interest in caring for infants, the frequency of daydreams or fantasies of pregnancy and motherhood, or the expressed wish of experiencing pregnancy and having children of their own appear to be relatively low in all age groups.” What a stupid way to think about children or the importance of play. Continue reading
Remember all of those dolls and doll parts I’ve found running on back roads and country byways in Colorado, Michigan, and Maine? Well, here they are–you can’t see it very well, but there’s a blue-haired doll in the mint pot on the left that looks like it was designed to be a dog’s chew toy, too. Naked Barbie-like doll, doll in the homemade dress, and creepy doll head are all standing guard over my mint, parsley, sage, catnip, and lavender. (The garden looks pretty scrubby, I must admit: the sage is a re-plant just introduced, the mint leaped around the pots that were to contain it, the chives are totally overgrown, and the parsley needs to be decapitated and revived somehow.)
Here’s a view of more of the beds. In the top left bed is garlic and brussels sprouts, and in the right foreground is yarrow and a just-starting-to-bloom red hollyhock. (What’s eating the hollyhock leaves? It seems to happen to every hollyhock in my neighborhood lately. They still seem to bloom and come back every year nevertheless.)