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Story Archives

Filtering by Tag: 2015-10-09


Gregor Ehrlich

By Gregor Ehrlich

A few years ago, my mother developed an interest in photo pairings — images that looked like other images. She developed an eye for odd similarities. Sometimes she would photograph a farm boy because his nose looked like former president Bill Clinton’s, or a checkout girl who looked like Vermeer’s girl with the pearl earring.

Once she had me float on my back in bay water, to resemble a photo of her father, the rabbi, taken in the Dnieper River, in Poland, right before the Nazi invasion in 1939. When she found a photo of my great-aunt Ida in the old country, feeding chickens in the yard of a farm, she was very excited. Aunt Ida was of the era when cameras were still new and suspicious, and family lore has it that Ida always refused to have her picture taken. My mother decided to restage this rare photo, with herself in the starring role. She spent about three months getting the outfit together — sewing a dress and getting the right shoes. Rather than procuring live chickens (our days of owning livestock had ended with a move to the suburbs), she used a papier mâché ornamental chicken that my father had bought at a garage sale, probably someone’s souvenir from a holiday in Mexico. She got the right kind of basket, and then even put seeds in it.

I took the photo, and then reworked it in Photoshop to better resemble the older photo. When I handed her the print, she found it hilarious that I had labeled it “My Mother Is Crazy.” [From “A Life in Chickens,” Guilt and Pleasure, Issue 3, Summer 2006]


What do men learn from their mothers? What do daughters learn from their fathers?

Is personality transferable across gender lines?


Gregor Ehrlich is a writer, artist, animator, and producer.


Lauren Wilkinson

By Lauren Wilkinson

As a woman, when I walk down the street, I try to pick up clues from the people coming toward me. Are they friendly? Are they threats? Should I move to the side or avert my eyes? What guides me, largely, is intuition.

What is intuition? It’s an expression of intellect. What is intellect? It’s many things. Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, has outlined two different cognitive systems inside our brains. System 1 is a largely unconscious mode of reasoning. It involves fast thinking. System 2 cognition is analytical and slow.

Intuition is a part of System 1 thinking. It’s is our ability to instantaneously and subconsciously pick up on social clues: the note in a friend’s voice that suggests they are angry with you, or the almost indiscernible expression that suggest they are lying. 

Intuition, long the stuff of myth, is recently the stuff of study. Last year, a study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology (a real journal) suggested that women are “more intuitive” because of lower prenatal testosterone exposure. The study was interesting, but not compelling. I would be more interested—and more convinced—by a study that investigated the link between a woman’s reliance on her intuition and her relative sense of personal safety. Perhaps is more likely that there are social factors at play, and not biological ones. Perhaps it is simply that people are trained to respond differently to potential dangers. As a woman living alone in a big city, I walk down the street alone in a big city. My awareness of my own lack of power is a source of power.


Do men and women have different kinds of power?

Are the powers of different genders in conflict or are they complements?



Lauren Wilkinson grew up in New York and lives in the Lower East Side. Her debut novel, L’American, is forthcoming from Random House.