Sunday, July 04, 2021

Portal Math

Last week I read a poignant short story by Aimee Picchi (Advanced Word Problems in Portal Math) which had me feeling all sorts of feelings about doing math at different points in my life and how the people around me reacted to it. Coincidentally my sister found some of my elementary school report cards in boxes she’s been going through. These days, I note, I’m surrounded by women who enjoy math!

Still, I wonder what my path might have been like if I’d been more (or for that matter, less) supported in my mathematical explorations in high school? Which portals would have opened for me? Which would have closed?

Picchi offers three endings to her story. In that spirit I offer two alternate trains of thought.

The portal in MY refrigerator is not functioning as expected. When I open the freezer door and reach into the ice bin, it has apparently connected to a tropical island rather than the arctic facility it has reliably opened to in the past. No ice appears no matter how I wave my hands. Penny, can you help? 

I also read a thread on Twitter by a #tradwife. TA;DR (too awful, don’t read — advice I should have heeded): women aren’t really meant to do math or science. I’m still trying to wrap my head around a theology that holds that God created women capable of doing, say, quantum physics (to pick a random example), but they shouldn’t actually do it, and if they do, they certainly won’t be happy. They would be 100% happier cleaning house and forgetting all that nonsense. Seriously. Quantum mechanics is apparently objectively evil when done by women. Or is it original sin? A temptation to be resisted by women. I just can’t find a coherent theology here.

No comments:

Post a Comment