A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2016 Apr 20, 00:02 -0700
Gary, you wrote:
"At the risk of appearing politically incorrect"...
Observational comedy about the different styles of local (down the block, here to there) navigation among men and women has been around for decades. It's only a bit 'politically incorrect' since, after all, it supposes no innate superiority of one strategy of navigation over another. But sure, just between you, me (and that big phallic tree over there), our way is sooo much better. Chicks navigate by recipes. Guys navigate by visuals. That's the comedy version of how it's done, at least. And yes, the hunter-gatherer evolutionary model is not unreasonable. Maybe it does work that way...
"I think you see these distinctly different way of dealing with direction today when you examine the way males and females give directions. "
Of course we should remember that we can't easily disentangle innate behavior from cultural training. Boys are raised to navigate like boys! Girls are raised to... well, sell cookies. Imagine a world where 12-year-old boys went door-to-door selling 'thin mints' instead of hiking cross-country with compass in hand. Yikes.
Throwing political correctness to the wind, I often say in my navigation workshops, 'celestial navigation is women's work'. I mean that literally and without any negative connotation whatsoever. Celestial navigation, even from the early nineteenth century, was an acceptable domain in which women could work and excel professionally. We should take pride in this. Celestial navigation is one of those unique fields that has provided opportunities to intelligent, mathematically-inclined women in the western world for nearly two centuries. How rare is that?!