June 05, 2008

Dress Up and Stay Home

Researchers studying birds had already found that heightening male birds' colors makes them more attractive to females.

This time they found out that the more attractive appearance, at least in the bird world, triggered changes to the animals' body chemistry, increasing testosterone.

The article reminded me of a passage from one of Gary Snyder's essays in The Practice of the Wild.

Florence Edenshaw, a contemporary Haida elder who has lived a long life of work and family, was asked by the young woman anthropologist who interviewed her and was impressed by her coherence, presence, and dignity, "What can I do for self-respect?" Mrs. Edenshaw said, "Dress up and stay home." The "home," of course, is as large as you make it.

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