Re: shulamith firestone et al.

Mon, 20 Feb 1995 20:16:37 EST

Dear anthro folks: I replied to Ralph's posting to me
initially "back channel" (as John McCreery likes to say).
But since he meant the posting to be a list item, too,
here's a copy of my response to him.
Anybody have any new data on sex-specific colour/spatial
recognition differences. When I went looking a few years
ago, the studies I found (claiming universality) were
done at schools I recognized to be men's colleges. Funny
thing, the study would start off with sentences like:
"Over a period of six years, students in introductory
art history courses at Yale were assessed for memory
retention etc...." Now since the date of the study
indicated the work had been done in the early 1960s, well
one would imagine it to be an all-male study population.
Anyway, interesting stuff to poke around in for those
of you looking for underexplored social scientific
areas of study. mk
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
'tis true, 'tis true, the S.H. gibe's not yours.I finally
picked up some print-outs this afternoon and lucky me I'd
printed your first posting. Now, if Danny will find us
that "miscreant" who fiddled with your post, we might get

Why did we expect differences...? Well, because there's
heaps of opinion about how women are closer to the earth,
closer to the seasons, biorhythms, more intuitive, emotional,
"psychic" and so forth and so forth and so forth....and,
there's art criticism based on such. F'r instance, women
paint womanly things and that's why the critics/powers-that-be
never give them proper access to the goodies.

It's so accepted a division of creativity, that my findings
for this one group are startling. Anyway, by the summer I will
have the text of the book done (Eye of the Artist: Shamanism
in Contemporary Art, Continuum Publishers, New York) with all
the nifty data and you'll be able to look it over yourself.

It's an exploratory study, so there's much can be done with
it to check the findings out further.

One fourth of the sample were self-identified native artists,
too. Again, no statistically significant diff. between their
visions (nr., type, frequency, interpretation, etc.) and
those of non-native artists. Where there was a diff. was in
the initial understanding. Native artists accepted them as
visions, a gift, a good thing; non-native artists feared they
were going mad and in any event they hid them even after they
came to welcome them. When Icame along the general response
was "thank god, somebody is finally asking the right Qs!"

Oh, I just spotted a feature article on the research in the
Sunday New York Times editorial section. I did not like the
description of "mother-ese" (defined as talking to babies in
rhyme with the example given of the nurse asking the baby,
"Ooo, ooo, have you a boo-boo") Honestly. I don't know a
nurse or a doctor or a parent who would speak to a baby in
those terms. I sure didn't. My daughter is a dean's list
student in Classics. Her first poems and short stories were
published before she was ten. I'd have killed anyone who
talked to her in "baby talk." NOW, I would suspect that
soothing sounds and rhythmic sounds are very, very helpful
in the development of language, and so is patterning. But

I'm a poet; there's lots of non-rhyming poetry--in non-western

Maureen Korp, PhD
University of Ottawa