A Time of Fragility
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A still from the film “Little Women”, 1949. Source: Everett Collection/East News
Opinions

A Time of Fragility

The Brightness of Adolescent Girlhood
Kamila Dzika-Jurek
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time 8 minutes

What is childhood for a teenager and what is womanhood for a nine-year-old girl? Between one and the other side of growing up, there stretches a time of experiences that are difficult to reconcile. Rebellion against the world and a great need of tenderness go hand in hand here.

When growing up, girls become beings from another reality overnight, the inhabitants of a distant planet. They start talking differently, moving and laughing differently. To the world looking at them, they remain mysterious beings, especially for boys, who mature later. I imagine that they perceive the girls as beautiful and at the same time strange beings, covered with some thick dust that no one can comprehend. “We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn’t fathom them at all,” says one of the protagonists of Jeffrey Eugenides’s book The Virgin Suicides (1993). This is a boy from the neighbourhood who, along with his friends, follows the lives of the five mysterious Lisbon sisters every day.

The girls in the novel – counting in sequence from the oldest to the youngest: Cecilia, Lux, Bonnie, Mary and Therese – are between 13 and 17 years old. One day, they show up with their parents in a quiet neighbourhood of Detroit. They occupy a house among beautiful, sprawling elms, which they will later defend against the politics

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The Eccentricities of Lady Lovelace
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A portrait of Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, possibly by Alfred Edward Chalon, circa 1840
Science

The Eccentricities of Lady Lovelace

The Life of Ada Lovelace
Piotr Żelazny

She was a woman ahead of her time. She caused scandals and lost considerable sums of money betting on horses. She also foresaw changes that went unnoticed by her contemporaries – fellow inventors who were less creative than her. Meet Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer.

Gender equality was non-existent in those times. Ada Lovelace could not become a member of the Royal Society in London, since membership status in the British academy was a privilege reserved for men. So she signed up her husband, who participated in the society’s sessions, copied articles from its library and shared his notes with his wife.

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