(urth) sexual dimorphism in aborigines

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Sat Apr 13 03:51:16 PDT 2013

From: Marc Aramini

> I actually wanted to involve Gerry's opinion of the scene in
> question here, when Seven Girls Waiting and Sandwalker
> first meet.  There is a mysterious dialog between them, with
> him saying something like he hasn't experienced something
> that she has, being alone up on high ground with nobody to
> bring her food, and she makes a comment like, you are a
> man, it won't come to you until you are old.
> Are they talking about weakness in general or actual ability
> to forage and hunt?  Because there are two females in Fifth
> Head of Cerberus who have leg problems: Aunt Jeanine and
> Phaedria.  It seems as though the mother of Pink Butterflies
> has hung around this oasis tree longer than normal.  Is it
> because her mobility is limited?  Do female aborigines have
> a congenital weakness of the legs or are they talking about
> something completely and utterly different there?  It seems
> as if its more than just being among people with the ability
> to hunt.  Perhaps there is significant sexual dimorphism
> between male and female aborigines.

She is able to walk fine later on, e.g. when they walk a longish distance 
"if was far" to the bees nest.  And later still, she follows him down the 
river.  At some point she is captured by the Marshmen, but there is no 
indication that they carried her (and the baby) the rest of the way.  So I 
don't think there is any evidence for any great level of congenital weakness 
of the legs in Seven Girls Waiting herself [question: why ask the above and 
ignore this possibility?], let alone all abo women or all women everywhere.

So I assume that at the time she was about to give birth, her clan needed to 
travel a long way to find food.  She could not travel, so they left her at 
the oasis where there was water and a small amount of fish near at hand.

Note also, that the references to Aunt Jeannine and Phaedria having leg 
problems also suggests that other women do not!

It would be different if whenever any male character was walking with a 
random woman, the author indicated, perhaps quite subtly, that he had to 
slow down - *without* giving any particular reason such as the woman having 
sprained her ankle.  Now THAT would be a real clue, as I would understand 
it, to the possibility that there is some significant issue related to 
women's ability to walk, which the narrator, being part of a particular 
society and speaking to us as if we were also part of it, does not feel the 
need to mention specifically.  [I would expect us to be informed explicitly 
later on, though.  However, it is possible that something like that could be 
left for us to deduce from other evidence.]

- Gerry Quinn

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