A qualitative study led by CREDOC in March 2004, on 26 mother-daughter duos, confirms that the majority of the time, mothers are the ones who introduce their daughters to cooking and to flavours. What’s less intuitive, however, is that these initial basics in cooking will form the dietary habits of girls during their lifetime: lots will continue to feed and cook “like mum”, even after they’ve left the family home…
The first thing the study shows is that while mothers introduce their daughters to cooking, the process of transmitting information is rarely conscious: mothers don’t ”teach” their daughters to cook, instead they make dishes in front of them and allow them to stir a mixture, add spices, etc. While mothers themselves had to help out during their childhood, especially in large families, they haven’t imposed this on their daughters, for whom learning about cooking is done as they go along and not through voluntarist teaching. It’s by watching and imitating that young girls take their first steps in cooking: “With my kids, I did the same as my mum did with me: I didn’t ask them to help, they just got involved if they wanted to,” tells one of the girls.
In the past, socialisation of young children only occurred in certain situations, including the family unit, at school and amongst peers. However, the increasing availability of television and internet access has changed this traditional pattern. Whereas children’s environments generally used to be controlled by parents and schools, nowadays children have unlimited access to media content. This development has brought about a number of concerns: the feeling of a loss of control could lead to potential media intrusion or invasion on daily life… Various groups have attempted to take control of this problem. For example, the European Council provides clear, standardised guidelines which allow guardians to control and avoid any potentially negative media influences on children. However, the amount of freedom that the small screen allows is still widely disputed and feared by the public.
Is Television an accessible resource or a threat to education?
In recent years, the number of murders committed by teenagers has multiplied, and it is commonly believed that the killers may be influenced by excessive consumption of ultra-violent media content. This belief has been challenged by philosopher Marie-José Mondzain in his book « Can imagery kill?” In the book he disputes the idea that exposure to violent content can directly influence behaviour. This imitation theory is based on the assumption that teenagers have no ability to put information into context or the capacity to take information in any way other than imitating it. The fear of such images does not just concern video games, but almost every type of visual content, whether it is reality (TV news) or fiction (cartoons, advertising…). Children’s TV programs are therefore perceived as potentially dangerous.
Neuroscientist Lise Eliot published a book in the US in 2009 called « Pink brain, blue brain : How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps — And What We Can Do About It » in which she shows, with scientific evidence to back her up, that male and female brains are similar overall even if some differences do exist between the sexes. With the book’s release in France on the 1st of September 2011, here’s a summary.
American Lise Eliot explains that she wrote this book because as a mother and as a scientist, she was curious to understand if the differences she observed between girls and boys were due to nature or upbringing. In short, Lise Eliot wanted to revisit the nature versus nurture debate but with neuroscience’s most modern tools: the bibliography which lists the studies she used to support her claims totals 46 pages!
And the conclusion she makes from this mass of scientific data is enlightening: « At birth, boys and girls are definitely different in some ways, but they are fundamentally the same. »