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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET “IT’S A GOOD THING YOU’RE FAT!”: WHY CULTURE MATTERS 31 spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” We must learn to stop evalu- ating children by how well they do adult tasks. If we never change our rubric, they will always appear deficient. Shifting our understanding to appreciate children as members of a separate culture permits us to do just that. Viewing childhood as a culture does not release adults from their responsibility of caring for children; adults will still determine many pieces of a child’s life, such as setting the daily schedule, deciding the menu, maintaining the environment, and intervening on issues of safety and security. A cultural lens model of childhood offers a wholly new style that embraces children not as imperfect adults or partially formed human beings, but as complete and distinct individuals. In the same way that Franz Boas believed his cultural lens model had the power to undo racism, it is my belief that applying this cultural lens model to childhood holds a similar transformative power. The Curious Case of Childhood as Culture Andrew Solomon’s book Far from the Tree describes the distinction between vertical and horizontal identities. According to Solomon, ver- tical identities are “attributes and values [that] are passed down from parent to child across the generations not only through strands of DNA, but also through shared cultural norms” (2013, 2). Characteristics such as ethnicity, race, and language are typically part of a person’s vertical identity. A horizontal identity, by contrast, is an “inherent or acquired trait that is foreign to [a person’s] parents”; the person “must therefore acquire identity from a peer group” (2). Sexual orientation and ability are horizontal identities because children do not automatically share those with their parents, and often find the greatest support in their search for identity among a peer cohort. Childhood is a kind of unique horizontal identity that can exist almost unnoticed within society. I think it is so hard to recognize because, while we were all children at one time, our move from child- hood to adulthood happened so gradually it was almost imperceptible. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL