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Appreciating Culture and the Happiness of Children with @casadetake

For more photos from Shunsuke, follow @casadetake on Instagram.

“I try to capture the Japanese landscape and culture through my family life with Sora and Itaru,” says Shunsuke Miyatake (@casadetake), who lives in Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture. A father of an outgoing five-year-old girl and a restless three-year-old boy — both very curious about everything from insects to music to outer space — Shunsuke always has his camera ready for moments when the little ones absorb themselves in something interesting in their environment. “Through my kids, I want to share aspects of Japanese culture and sceneries,” he explains, “from the traditional ‘wabi-sabi’ aesthetics to the history and to the edgy modern art in the cities.”

For this Children’s Day, celebrated annually in Japan on May 5 to appreciate the growth and happiness of children, Shunsuke looks back on some of the favorite captures of his kids. Those moments include when Itaru became glued to the window when he saw a Japanese garden for the first time, and when Sora and Itaru sat and sang at a park on a cloudy day during the rainy season while they patiently waited for sunshine. “I love this photo,” he reflects back on the latter, “because the innocence I see in my kids makes any gloomy day of the rainy season seem brighter.”

My personal favorite is the claim that 37 different cultures attest to the divergent features that men and women like in mates, which can now be safely ascribed to nature – until you control for gendered economic inequality, at which point the apparent divergence disappears.[5] It wasn’t nature at all; it was history and sloppy scientific reasoning. My second personal favorite is the presumptively evolved disposition for men to be attracted to women with a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.67, the same as that of the stereotypical 36-24-36 Hollywood starlet. Again, naively cross-culturally supported, until you try to control for familiarity with Hollywood. Then it breaks down quickly.[6] Again, history and sloppy scientific reasoning; what passes for cross-cultural generalization in evolutionary psychology tends to appall scholars actually familiar with cross-cultural analyses.[7]

Another problematic idea to students of human evolution is the broad assumption in evolutionary psychology that an evolutionary explanation for any particular feature is ipso facto an adaptive explanation. But again, our knowledge of human evolution tells us that (1) non-adaptive or even maladaptive traits can evolve under appropriate demographic conditions (notably, small population size); (2) those were precisely the conditions under which the great bulk of human evolution occurred; and (3) origin and modern use do not map well onto one another, for either biological or cultural traits. Consequently, there is not the slightest reason to think that any specific feature has to have an adaptive explanation, much less that we have a reliable method for ascertaining it. While of course there are features of the human form that are probably the result of adaptive selection – for example the distinctive shape of the human pelvis in relation to the vertical posture of our ancestors – the human mind seems to be characterized by the opposite condition – adaptability, not adaptedness.

The next women’s college to announce it will accept trans women as students is a big one: Smith College, the largest of the Seven Sisters. 

In a statement on the college’s website, Smith president Kathleen McCartney and board chair Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard explained that “concepts of female identity have evolved” since the school’s founding in 1871. “The board’s decision affirms Smith’s unwavering mission and identity as a women’s college, our commitment to representing the diversity of women’s lived experiences, and the college’s exceptional role in the advancement of women worldwide,” they wrote. Smith’s announcement follows decisions by Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Mills, and Simmons college to admit some trans applicants.

The policy change follows the school’s 2013 decision not to admit Calliope Wong, a trans woman who was denied admission from Smith because a federal financial aid form indicated she was male. In an FAQ released with the announcement, Smith clarified that it still considers itself a women’s college, and, as such, will only accept applications from students who self-identify as female — meaning trans men and students with non-binary gender identities are not eligible for admission.

Finally. Finally. Finally. Keep ‘em coming. 

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What happened? I haven’t seen a single “MIRAME” post in my dash. Well Hey Everyone My Name Is Peter and I’m a gay and proud Latino and the guy next to me is my boyfriend nahno-g (Daniel)… I’m posting my selfies today to participate in a movement called “MIRAME” for Cinco De Mayo! I am very proud of my culture and proud to be a Latino PLUS I’m proud to be Gay ☺❤👬

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Mirame. Because for most of my life I’ve lived in the U.S. I never understood why people give Mexicans so much shame for our culture and then dare to mock our food and festivities. Both of my parents and I are Mexican. For all of my life people have always joked about immigration and that’s not okay. Immigration ruins people’s lives and it is not something to made fun of. For all of the years we’ve been in America I see my dad struggling to work, coming home stressed, but yet, he still gets up every morning and goes to work. He’s the most hardworking man I know. My mom does everything she can to provide for us and take care of us and I am so grateful to have them. Even though Mirame isn’t as popular as BlackOut, I’m really glad we’re doing this to acknowledge other cultures in our society.