Miscellanea, August 2, 2021

miscellanea /mɪsəˈleɪnɪə/ n. pl. : a collection of miscellaneous objects or writings [Latin]

This week in miscellanea: raising boys; talking about miscarriage; the Mother Tree; challenging gender norms through art; and American residential schools.

How to raise a boy: my mission to bring up a son fit for the 21st century

This article begins with a scenario that was immediately familiar to me: an incident with a young boy that makes clear how easily gender stereotypes can seep into a child’s life. In my case, it was my 3-year-old son referring to the passenger seat in our car as “the woman’s seat” and not allowing me to drive the truck on our make-believe construction site. The dad here, concerned about raising his son “better,” seeks information from a variety of sources, including some books that sound like very good resources for parents of boys.

It’s not just about raising gentle, empathic boys. It’s not just about explaining to those boys that there are certain structures preferable to men and we want to dismantle those structures. It’s about explaining why we want things to be more equitable, because if and when they are, boys will get to be not constantly leaders but also followers, they will get to fail, they will get to spend more time at home [in domestic roles], and they can do all of those things without their very humanity being called upon, without them being told: ‘You are less of a man because of this.’” The Guardian

America needs to talk about miscarriage

I would argue that many countries do. I had two miscarriages with no support from my family doctor for the first. I was very fortunate to be self-employed for the first and able to control my workload, and to have a very supportive boss for the second so I could stay home for a few days. I just read Jen Gunter’s Menopause Manifesto. Maybe we need a book like that for miscarriage to support those suffering pregnancy loss and share facts so they don’t blame themselves. 

“...there’s growing recognition that people who go through a miscarriage need time to heal, physically and emotionally. Earlier this year, New Zealand became the second country in the world to provide paid leave in the wake of a miscarriage. Meanwhile, individual companies are beginning to offer miscarriage leave for employees — the Pill Club, a company providing online birth control prescriptions, announced such a benefit earlier this year.Vox

Finding the Mother Tree: ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes

I recently finished Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake which talks about fungi and mycorrhizal  networks. Suzanne Simard’s work is referenced in this book, which I highly recommend. Simard popularized the term “Mother Tree” to indicate that relationships between trees are similar to those of a mother and child. This is a great story of her persistence in pushing her theory for which she was initially “slaughtered.” (Figuratively, of course.) I’m adding her book to my “to read” pile. 

That science is what she dedicated her life to, finally coming to fruition with the Mother Tree project, but Simard warns of the urgency to protect those ecosystems for their role in fighting climate change and preserving biodiversity. Reforestation and adjusting harvest techniques is only one part of the shift needed, she says, explaining we also need to cut less and consider ecosystem values like carbon sequestration, water and biodiversity, not just the price a two-by-four will fetch on the market.” The Narwhal

How Three Young Nigerian Artists Are Standing Up to Conservative Gender Norms

A short but really interesting look at three Nigerian artists who are challenging gender norms and stereotypes, in Vogue magazine of all places. Each featured painting has deep meaning, but I particularly love “She Will Not Be Silent.” 

She Will Not Be Silent (2020), was created in the middle of Nigeria’s lockdown, at a time when the country had seen a surge in acts of gender-based violence targeted mainly toward women. Inspired by other women who defied quarantine orders and took to the streets to protest, as well as the momentum generated by people speaking up on social media platforms, Olusanya created an image of two dancers dressed in white, which she describes as an homage to women all over the country who are creating an impact, no matter how great or small. ‘The women of my generation are working hard to fight oppression,’ she says, ‘and it’s something I’m proud to be a part of.’” Vogue

Reckoning with the theft of Native American children

I’ve shared a few articles about Canadian residential schools. This article offers a brief look at US residential schools and their impact on subsequent generations of Indigenous Americans.

What I’m really all about right now is changing the national narrative to one that helps us understand the United States in a fuller way. Let’s move away from this valorous story of nation-building to one that takes in everything. Let’s get rid of feel-good stories that gloss over all the pain, tragedy, exploitation, and destruction. I’m here to tell you that students can take it.” Vox

Image by Crystal Smith

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