Friday, 3 December 2021

Cake shopping. Masks. Gender stuff.

My daughter and I have been out buying a Christmas cake this morning, hoping to get one before they all sell out, getting our Christmas a little bit more sorted out. I already knew our local small Tesco had none but we thought the large Sainsbury’s on the retail park next to IKEA might be a good place to look. No, it was very disappointing. Only small, miserable-looking cakes available. So we went to the Marks and Spencer next door. Not the best selection I’ve ever seen but we now have a cake. 

Of course, I should be making my own cake but really I should have done that weeks ago if it was going to happen. I have a friend who always makes her cake in October and allows it to mature but that has never been my thing. I do a lot of other baking for Christmas but making a cake is a step too far.

In the shops we visited this morning, all the staff were masked, as should be the case. On Wednesday in the Uppermill coop it was not the case. Most customers seem to be complying. 

Meanwhile we are just hoping that Christmas will be able to go ahead. Germany is seeing an increase in Covid cases. My German friend has had her flights from Manchester to Hamburg cancelled. Life keep being disrupted. 

Meanwhile, I’ve come across a new word which seems to have arisen during Covid: ambiversion – combining introvert and extrovert traits. Apparently it is very “now”. “There is a theory that Covid and its attendant stresses and circumstance changes recalibrated our preconceptions about how we relate to others. Extroverts have been forced to explore a quieter life that some found they appreciated to an unexpected degree, and introverts are flourishing in a less hectically connected world, or alternatively, realising how much they need and miss human connection. We are becoming, or realising we already were, ambiverts with contradictory and complex needs in our relationships with others, not just tick boxes on a personality test.”

Genome editing in mice has been making progress, according to a news report on the radio. They hope to be able to select the gender of mice used in experiments, and of chickens. This will prevent the need to cull mice and chickens of the wrong gender - male chickens don’t lay eggs and so are rejected in egg producing places. I don’t know which is the preferred gender for laboratory mice but some of them are also culled. Gender selection will avoid this. 

On the human level, I imagine gender selection will not be an option but according to this article pollution affects gender.

“A study of half the US population and the entire Swedish population examined more than 100 possible factors and found, for example, that mercury, chromium and aluminium pollution correlated with more boys being born, while lead pollution increased the proportion of girls. Proximity to farming also affected the sex ratio, possibly due to higher chemical exposures.”

My daughter and I were talking about gender-stereotyping this morning over coffee before we went out shopping. This was a consequence of watching her smallest child play with a farm set. This farm set is quite ancient in toy terms. It lives in a box in our kitchen. We must have bought it originally for granddaughter number one, who is now 23. She used to set up farms with animals and fences and people to take care of everything. Her younger sister, granddaughter number two, now 18, played in a similar fashion. Their brother, now 16, played principally with the tractors, ignoring the animals altogether. Their smaller sister, now 5, sorted the animals into families and created elaborate adventures, often involving the youngest members of the “families” getting up to mischief. And now the smallest member of the family, aged 2, like his older brother, concentrates all his attention on the tractors, the combine harvester, the various farm trailers that can be attached to them, anything, in fact, with wheels! 

As far as we can work out all the children who have played with this farm have been treated in exactly the same way. At no time has gender-specific play been encouraged. All the children have had soft toys and have kicked balls around. They’ve had the same story books read to them. So maybe some children just conform to their gender-stereotype without any encouragement. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment