Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The gender blender

This morning I read a provocative review of a new book called, aptly, Delusions of Gender. In it, the author throws down a gauntlet, taking particular aim at studies claiming that gender differences in ability are primarily biological.

I'm glad to see books like this, in the sense that I think there are far too many people (okay, mostly men) out there who need convincing. However, I'm not sure that they'll be convinced by anything like this. Will that stop me from reading the book and possibly sending copies to all my friends with daughters? Probably not.

Especially the ones who have one of each: the boy who likes robot toys, and the girl who likes the easy-bake oven. Do they accept any responsibility for this? Of course not. How could parents possibly be biased?

But for those who don't have an open mind about the question, I'm not convinced that battling it out is going to help anyone.

I'm so tired of fighting all the time, I actually passed up a coupon for super-cheap martial arts lessons. There was a time when I would have (and did) jump on these kinds of opportunities, but lately I just feel like I'm shadowboxing all the time. I'm making myself tired, but I'm not landing any hits on my opponent. And I'm not really any more prepared when I find myself on a dark street at night.

I'm still encountering these gender-biased assumptions regularly in real life.

In a rather heated example, I had a long argument with a "friend" over Facebook chat, who was arguing about gay marriage and how it's not just important but also easier for women to take care of children than for men to take half the responsibility, and how this is why the traditional formula of one man + one woman is better.

I was trying to tell him that being a woman does not, by default, make you a better parent. At all. And that breastfeeding does not, by default, prevent all possible health problems later in life, or anything remotely like that. I was breastfed, and I have terrible allergies, and I still kind of hate my mother. Yet I still hear, on a regular basis, that allergies and "bonding" are two of the biggest reasons why breastfeeding is so important.

I also try to point out that there are just as many studies showing that it doesn't matter as there are studies claiming that it's absolutely essential.

And when I see both men and women using breastfeeding as their default, fallback excuse for a) whining all the time about their kids and b) making excuses for why they don't try harder to share the parenting responsibilities equally, it makes me want to bean them on their heads with dirty diapers.


In a more subtle example, more than one friend has suggested I should really consider a Perma-doc type of position, just to stay in academia. It's usually a guy who uses his own wife, or another friend's wife, to illustrate his point, which usually goes something like this:

"She's really happy, she's the right-hand person of this PI, the lab is all women, she's the senior person who oversees all the benchwork and he writes all the grants, so she doesn't have to worry about funding. He's such a great mentor, great boss. He offered to help her get her own lab and funding but she didn't want to. I mean, you've never had a great mentor like that, it would be so good for you."

So I say, Uh, I'm gonna have to stop you right there, buddy.

I have to point out that I have, indeed, had "great mentors" who would have been happy to keep me as their right-hand person. The problem was that none of them did more than offer to help me get my own lab or funding. When I tried to take them up on it, the offer somehow dematerialized.

Or, it turned out they didn't really know how to help, or the offer was actually to help me help them get more funding for their projects, with some nebulous offer to eventually help me get my own projects funded independently.

Yeah, right.

I mean, what?

As in, what rock are you living under?

Because at the end of the day, I sincerely doubt anyone would be pushing me in the direction of aspiring to be the Perma-doc version of the lab harem's best wife if I were a guy.

Historically speaking, that is where women have always been welcome in science. In the supporting roles. Not leading.

But somehow, maybe because I happen to be female, nobody seems to hear me when I say I think I'd be best utilized in a leadership role.

And yet, the younger women seem to see it. They say how discouraging it is that they won't be able to join my lab someday.

And then I have to read these idiotic emails from various women in science groups lamenting how they can't figure out why more younger women don't want to go into science. And how we need to do more outreach with little girls to get them interested.

I keep trying to tell them, there's no inherent difference in girls vs. boys at the level of interest. All kids, when shown cool science demos, think it's fucking cool. Because it is. And only some kids want to know how it works. And only some kids are encouraged to pursue finding out how stuff works. Probably, in our culture, we do encourage boys more, but I think that difference happens more at home than it does at school.

The real problems come later. The glass ceiling is still there. And it just cuts deeper the farther you go up.

At the end of the day, it always comes back to this. Somebody wants to know why it's not fair, why it seems like we're not treated equally.

And some jackass will try to console us by saying it's because our brains are different. Or because we have boobs.

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28 Comments:

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Louise said...

I haven't heard this Perma-doc description before but I certainly know a couple of women who are in that position and you are right, it would rarely, if ever, be suggested as a viable career choice for a man.

Great post!

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Kea said...

Uh, I'm gonna have to stop you right there, buddy.

I wish I had more opportunities these days to set people straight, but I hardly talk to anyone anymore. I'm still struggling to find enough food to eat, after moving towns yet again.

The two or three doods who try to console me keep telling me that everything will work out in a year or two, because heh, look at how well they have been doing lately. And it's true that they are starting to get rewarded for all our effort. Only I don't see any of it coming my way. I cannot even imagine any of it coming my way. The mind numbingly average harem queens just stick their noses up at me, and I suppose the kings just keep on back stabbing, although they probably don't need to because we are easily forgotten.

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger Kea said...

As for the biology thing ... sigh. Once, on one of my rare visits to my so called family, I argued with my ex sister in law about this. She was quite fond of the bell curve books, finding that they justified both her lifelong dislike of mathematics and her son's 'male brain' autism. I only tried for about 10 minutes, because it was clearly pointless trying to refer her to real research. And her profession? Journalism.

 
At 2:55 PM, Anonymous cynical former post doc said...

It depends on who gets asked the follow up questions and get the positive reenforcements.... (as for the children I mean).

As for the leadership thing. I SO get what you say. It's funny, I've always said "I don't want to depend on my husband to give me money, i.e. be hired and love the man who's in charge of the lab... eggs in one basket anyone?

(Yes, might be too negative here but I'ev seen a lot of shafted women when their boss/husband/PI decides to take a new wife. Not to mention the thing that I do not want to work as a "support person for my husband since I am a better leader than he is"... which of course, I'm not, sinc eI have boobs... of course... (

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous (another) former academic said...

Many, Many moons ago, I attended a symposia by one of those 'concerned women in science' groups.

They presented the results of study trying to find out why so many young women who entered college planning on becoming engineers dropped out. Their conclusion was that the women, on average, had a wider array of skills and interests.

So when they hit the big 'weed-out' courses, the guys hunkered down, because they weren't sure what they would do if they quit, and the women said 'fuck this, I guess I'll be an Econ major instead'.

I'm not sure if that finding holds up, or has been replicated, but it is a reminder that the difference between 'failing' and 'quitting a rigged game' isn't obvious to those still in the system.

 
At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Sasha said...

I agree with you that women are welcomed, even celebrated, in science as long as it is in supportive non-threatening ways. I'm a female grad student in the sciences, and I know that my PI (the chauvinist that he is) has bad mouthed the female PIs in my department simply because they are female. And, to be honest, the more I learn about academia, the more I wonder if I can survive in such a toxic environment. No wonder universities struggle to find women and minorities to fill their positions.

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger Kea said...

Sorry for hogging the comments ... but this reminded me of an (slightly off-topic) experience I had as a teenager. One of many special activities that I was pushed into as a gifted child was a course for 'Young Entrepreneurs'. I really didn't want to do it, because I was not interested in business, but the adults thought that was what I should do. So I sat sullenly in the first meeting, only half listening to what was going on, and then it came time to elect the Managing Director. Everyone insisted that I do it. At first I was somewhat surprised, because I have never been a popular person and never wanted to be. But then I realised that they valued my judgement, fairness and obvious leadership skills.

Clearly, I didn't learn much from that lesson, which has never repeated itself.

 
At 6:47 PM, Anonymous prodigal academic said...

My Dad once asked my why so many young women were so angry. I told him it was because when we were kids, everyone told us "you can be whatever you want to be, so follow your dreams", and that turns out to be a lie. The magnitude of the anger is proportional to the degree of belief in the lie of equal opportunity.

On kids, I can say that I breastfed both of mine and my husband was still an equal parent. Babies spend lots of time doing non-eating things, and if they can survive daycare, they can survive Dadcare.

Also on kids, I have one of each. My daughter likes trucks, dinosaurs, and princesses. It looks like my son will also be liking trucks, dinosaurs and princesses. Some of our relatives are upset by the princess thing, but we are ignoring them. It is really hard to attempt "gender neutrality" because everyone undermines you at every turn. People treated mine differently as infants for Pete's sake!

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger Eleni said...

I'm not sure I'm understanding this "Perma-doc" position, but my interpretation is that someone with a PhD is staying as the right-hand person of some other PI without any intention of starting her own lab with her own funding? It sounds like something someone with a master's could do. And the problem would be the same one that some M.S. lab techs find. While it might be a nice job--all the science without the grant writing (and without a lot of the recognition, but maybe some people don't care)--how old is the mentor person? Because I know lab techs who have been at it for a long time, are very skilled and making a good salary, and then their PI retires, the new PIs in the lab hired to replace them are younger and not being paid as much and have less grant money, they can't support the experienced lab tech, and the lab tech is left without a lab. So if you're going Perma-doc, you better be sure your PI will be working forever.

Anyway, the whole gender bias issue drives me crazy. It's kind of like as long as people believe there is a difference in interest, there will be a difference in interest, because the cultural influences are so strong.

 
At 8:52 AM, Anonymous former post doc said...

another former academic raises an excellent point! I've seen research lately about the "speciality" and the "diverse" difference in how we raise children. The whole "how come so many girls ride horses but the top 10 riders in the world are male"... and there they concluded that when it turned serious and you had to focus on ONE thing (i.e. riding) every day of the week the girls lost out since they wanted to be good in school, hang out with friends and cultivate eq (doing chores at the house) etc... whereas the boys/men were able to focus solely one one thing (partly becasue it never ocurred they would fail... and if you move into one subject that much , surely it will pay off somehow).

Of course, in science it's not as obvious with the pay off.. but it sure is easier to engulf yourself in your passion and only stay in the lab while someone else is outside "understanding you have a passion" and not dressing up/playing the game/putting all egss in one baskeet since in the end "don't you want to have a job that's paid, rather than dibbling on the sort of genius but never made it"?

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

I agree with much of what you said. I know it's rare, but I'm a male, and I have worked in a lab where the PI was a woman, and I have an open invite to join a lab run by another woman, once she gets it set up.

There is a valid point made here, but there's a lot of luck/societal influence involved too.

 
At 4:01 PM, Anonymous FrauTech said...

Another great post Ms PhD! I mean, it's bad news, but it's nice to know other women like me exist out there. If it wasn't for the internet I'd have no idea.

I have so the perspective of supporting women getting an easier time of it. I used to be an admin, and while I was treated with less respect people were in general nicer to me, had lower expectations for me, and seemed to think I could easily move up in the admin world assuming I didn't become a b@#$ like that other woman. Now in the technical world (in industry, where at least I don't have to worry about funding) getting the interesting, technical work is always hard. Need someone to build a rig? They will ask that guy. Need someone to start going to meetings and take minutes? They'll ask me. Need someone to write a report? That'll be me again but of course with the technical input from my superiors. I think the worst part is nobody believes you. And I'm not the shout it from the roof tops kind of person, but any hint that I think I've been treated differently a few times the dudes just get huffy and walk off (now who's getting emotional...)

Prodigal Academic sums up my experience. By the time I went through childhood, high school and college women were told they could be anything. Yeah there's still societal gender stereotyping out there (women are good multitaskers! and good with people!) but as a kid my sister was going to be an engineer and I wanted to be a scientist (than later lawyer, than later diplomat, now engineer, while my sis is a programmer). The level at which your dreams can be crushed varies too. I worked at a non-profit clinic for a while and things weren't perfect but as a starry eyed and bushy tailed young women I didn't notice anything at the time. Then came soul crushing private industry. So yeah, I'm angry. Also I wasn't breastfed and my mom even smoked (!) while pregnant with me and I have a decent IQ, am almost perfectly healthy (overweight, but nothing else), so clearly it's a crapshoot. Sometimes I doubt the validity of breastfeeding statistics, not that I question anyone's decision to do or not do so, just I suspect so many other factors at play.

 
At 4:01 PM, Anonymous FrauTech said...

Another great post Ms PhD! I mean, it's bad news, but it's nice to know other women like me exist out there. If it wasn't for the internet I'd have no idea.

I have so the perspective of supporting women getting an easier time of it. I used to be an admin, and while I was treated with less respect people were in general nicer to me, had lower expectations for me, and seemed to think I could easily move up in the admin world assuming I didn't become a b@#$ like that other woman. Now in the technical world (in industry, where at least I don't have to worry about funding) getting the interesting, technical work is always hard. Need someone to build a rig? They will ask that guy. Need someone to start going to meetings and take minutes? They'll ask me. Need someone to write a report? That'll be me again but of course with the technical input from my superiors. I think the worst part is nobody believes you. And I'm not the shout it from the roof tops kind of person, but any hint that I think I've been treated differently a few times the dudes just get huffy and walk off (now who's getting emotional...)

Prodigal Academic sums up my experience. By the time I went through childhood, high school and college women were told they could be anything. Yeah there's still societal gender stereotyping out there (women are good multitaskers! and good with people!) but as a kid my sister was going to be an engineer and I wanted to be a scientist (than later lawyer, than later diplomat, now engineer, while my sis is a programmer). The level at which your dreams can be crushed varies too. I worked at a non-profit clinic for a while and things weren't perfect but as a starry eyed and bushy tailed young women I didn't notice anything at the time. Then came soul crushing private industry. So yeah, I'm angry. Also I wasn't breastfed and my mom even smoked (!) while pregnant with me and I have a decent IQ, am almost perfectly healthy (overweight, but nothing else), so clearly it's a crapshoot. Sometimes I doubt the validity of breastfeeding statistics, not that I question anyone's decision to do or not do so, just I suspect so many other factors at play.

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Cloud said...

I agree in general on the Perma-doc phenomenon. But I have to say... the perma-doc in my grad school lab was a man.

On the kids- a good, non-threatening book laying out what science does and does not say about gender differences, and how our responses to our babies might create and/or amplify those differences is Pink Brain, Blue Brain, by Lise Eliot. It was very thought-provoking. But I have two girls, so no first hand experience with how I might respond differently to a boy baby vs. a girl baby.

I've never understood the "mom has to be primary caregiver because she breastfeeds" argument. WTF? I'm not breastfeeding 24x7- or at least not anymore. The first 6 weeks are a bit like that- but that's only 6 weeks. They seem like an eternity at the time, but they're actually over pretty quickly. And there are PLENTY of other useful things my husband can do while I'm breastfeeding. Like @prodigal academic, we're equal parents in my house, it is just that one of us has the responsibility for making milk.

 
At 12:27 AM, Anonymous app said...

I don't buy the argument by the commenters above who suggested that the scarcity of women at the top levels in science or other activities is because they don't want to focus on just one thing and "put all the eggs in one basket". This doesn't fit at all with what I've seen in reality. Sure there were some female students in my uni course who fitted that stereotype. But there were also smart guys who liked to party all the time and were a lot more into the social side of uni than the academic side. Of the ones who were into academics, I didn't see any gender difference between the males and females regarding willingness to focus and be single-minded. If anything, the female students were more single-minded than us guys. So I think there's another explanation, but rather than spell it out I'll illustrate it with some examples.

(1) The best student in my uni course was female. After taking some classes with her I could tell very clearly that her top exam marks weren't just because she studied hard but because she was head and shoulders above the rest of us in natural academic ability. But somehow, when the time came for her to start doing research, she wasn't picked up by the top profs in the dept. She ended up with a quite mediocre prof working on not very interesting stuff. Other top students (males) were picked up by the top profs (also males of course) and set to work on cutting edge stuff. One of them did well and went on to become a prof himself at a R1 uni in USA. As for the female student, she managed to continue in academia and eventually got a faculty job at a small and not very important uni in the country. If she had been picked up by the top profs and set to work on a hot topic I expect her career outcome would have been very different. If this is how it goes for a female student who is head and shoulders above her peers, then it's not difficult to extrapolate and work out the likely career outcome of female students who are as good as, but not better than, the top male students.

(2) Not long ago I was present at some scholarship interviews. There was a female candidate whose exam grades and leadership credentials (the other supposedly important criterion) were just as good, if not better, than other students who had already been approved for the scholarship. She was kind of girly and gushing at the interview, and afterwards the interviewer (a male sexist of the Old School variety) made an equality "femininity = intellectual weakness" and rejected her on that basis. (To spell it out: he said he thought she was intellectually weak and therefore shouldn't get the scholarship.)

[Continued below]

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

App,

The "unfocused" argument is a common one, and it's just another label they like to put on women as a strike against us. They have to rationalize it somehow, because they refuse to admit they're being sexist.

I've heard the "intellectually weak" argument recently, too. I was floored because it was a friend of mine who is pretty damn sharp and fast on her feet. You'll never hear that criticism used on a guy. They'll just say he's lazy or unmotivated rather than accusing him of being stupid.

 
At 11:31 PM, Anonymous app said...

[Continuation of previous comment, delayed by `technical difficulties']

(3) Last semester I was one of the judges for a poster competition for grad students in my subject at the several uni's in the city. An amusing thing was that many of the male students used this opportunity to release their "inner girl" and had done some very flowery and "artistic" posters. When judging the posters there were 2 that stood out for me. One was by a guy, X. When discussing his research in the poster he was like "Anyone who can't appreciate how great this is must be a moron". But it was pretty good though. The other student, Y, had not gone all out on the flowery/artistic level, but her poster was still clear and well laid out. More significantly, the quality of the research presented was clearly very high, as indicated, e.g. by the mention that a paper based on it had already been published in a major journal. When talking to Y, she was not shy about telling me how good her work was, and about the attention it had already generated from others in her field. And she managed to do this without being obnoxious like X.
Later, at the judges meeting, we were supposed to award two (=1st) prizes. We all agreed that X should get one of them. But for the 2nd one there was no immediate consensus. Various posters were suggested. One judge suggested a particularly flowery poster by one of the male students. I objected, saying that the content of that poster was quite shallow (which it was), and said that if we wanted to recognise quality of research then we should give the prize to Y.
The funny thing was that as soon as I said this the 2 other judges immediately agreed, and with enthusiasm. The judge who had just previously recommended flower boy said: "Yes, now that I think of it, Y's poster was very good. Actually she is one the top students in my dept, so I'm not surprised she has a good poster." So Y got the prize by unanimous decision. But she had been completely overlooked until I mentioned her. How could this be, especially considering that one of the judges already knew Y was a top student in his dept.? (Yes, that was a rhetorical question.)

Re. (3): I'm sure that if things had been according to stereotype, with the female students doing flowery posters and the guys doing macho "hard science" ones, then none of the judges would have recommended a flowery poster for the prize. They would be saying "Oh, you know, this isn't an art competition, we must reward research quality above flowery artistry, etc.." So yeah, this is a pretty good illustration of the "Sliding Scale" discussed by MsPhD in a previous post.

By the way, I think this kind of stuff affects not only women but also sometimes (and to a lesser extent) guys as well when they are the "wrong type" in the eyes of the powers that be. Douglas Prasher appears to be one spectacular example.

 
At 11:42 PM, Anonymous app said...

Hi MsPhD, this isn't a comment for the post but just to let you know about a technical difficulty:

When i submitted my first comment yesterday i first got a message that it was too long. So i tried posting the first half on its own, but then got another error message "Google error - too large to process" or something like that. So i gave up and decided instead to send the comment to you at your email address yfsblog@gmail.com
Then today I see that the first half of the comment did get through... so now i have just posted the second half. I got the same error message as before, but hopefully the comment still got through. In any case it's available in your email account.
- Just for your info.

 
At 7:05 AM, Blogger m @ random musings said...

So I have a slightly skewed anecdote on the glass ceiling:

In many cultures (Asian, Indian) - women are encouraged to achieve academic success (PhD, MD, DDS) for the sole purpose of being able to attract a partner with similar credentials. The idea being that (a) any offspring will benefit from having a stay-at-home-parent that is so!well!educated! and that (b) when both partners have the same level of education their relationship will be somehow stronger.

One of my classmates from HS (indian) obtained her MD and is now working on a Masters in Public Health (a very common educational path in medicine) with the expectation that she will be a full-time stay-at-home parent once they are ready for kiddos. Kind of redefines the idea of "trophy wife" no?

Personally, I think that those who argue that gestating and breastfeeding somehow require a female to be the primary caretaker of wee ones neglect the simple fact is that our workplaces are not set up to accommodate the short-term disability needs of pregnancy and birthing. You figure that for at least the last trimester pregnancy means a weight increase of what, 30lbs? If a male gained 30lbs in less than 1 year, coupled with other physical changes, would they be labeled 'lazy' or 'not focused on their career'? No - that's discriminatory. Would they be expected to perform at 110% (e.g. stand for 10 hrs a day, work in environments with no accommodations)? No - that's also discriminatory. I believe that CA is one of the few states that acknowledges pregnancy as a temporary disability.

You are absolutely right to say that [gestation and] lactation are simply two aspects of parenthood which biology assigns the female. However, in a competitive work environment, these processes are linked to 'laziness' 'poor work ethic' and 'unfocused'.

 
At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for an interesting (if slightly depressing) post, which I came across via the blog of an academic in the department I work in. (Athene Donald)

Fundamentally I think the people who need to be convinced are not the people who would be aware of this book, let alone read it...

(S)

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

App - Google had labeled your continuation comment as spam. I just freed it from the spam trap. I don't check that email address very often because I rarely get any messages!

This is a disturbing story on a number of levels. Might write a separate post in response to how it fits with my experience.

Douglas Prasher is one of my heroes.

m@random musings,

Absolutely! Many cultures. Including the American culture. That's certainly still prevalent where I grew up.

I've seen women labeled unfocused even if they were young, single, and not pregnant. But it's interesting to think about whether it's related to that being projected onto all women regardless of whether or not they are in the process of gestating.

Anon, thanks for the alert! I didn't realize she had linked to my post!

 
At 9:55 PM, Anonymous (another) former academic said...

This has been a facinating, if depressing discussion.

I do want to clarify my earlier comment. I was not arguing that women (or girls) are incapable of focus or are generally unfocused.

But rather that having multiple potential careers in mind means that when they encounter an unwelcoming environment (in the presentation I heard, this was a environment unwelcoming to both men and women, but I assume it would also hold for overt, 'you don't belong here' sexist environments), they say 'gah! I don't want to be treated like shit, I'll do something else'.

From the privileged view of the old boys network such a strategy looks like 'failing' when in fact it is conscious decision not to play the game.

Net result: lots of girls interested in science, many women majoring in science, many women getting phDs, few women on the tenure track, many blue-ribbon commissions wondering 'why are there so few women in science?'

The examples provided by app highlight that in fact, sexism is alive and well in the sciences, and that the old boys clearly communicate to many talented women that they are not welcome.

As MsPhD pointed out in her original post, outreach programs in middle school are not a solution to this problem.

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous app said...

@ (another) former academic:

Nothing in what I've personally seen indicates that women are less prepared to put up with shit than men when pursuing an academic career. If anything it's the opposite.

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger janet said...

I liked your post tremendously. Im not usually into blogs. (My MS doesnt leave me much time for that) just happened to stumble upon yours. I hate it that i have to carefully and deliberately tone down my feminity in a thousand subtle ways in my lab if i want to be taken seriously. I wish i could know in which university u are based, but then i guess the nature of this blog would make that kind of info impossible :) In any case, gud luc..!

 
At 12:21 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

janet, welcome! glad you liked it. I don't read that many blogs these days, but I'm so glad they exist and I've enjoyed learning from the experience (sometimes it's warm and fuzzy, sometimes not so much). Suffice it to say I'm not sure different schools are all that different. I think it's just that most schools go to great lengths to hide their dirty laundry, and I seem to have been born with a talent for stepping in it.

The thing is, you can't hide your femininity. I've finally come to realize that nothing I do is going to make me any less threatening in that sense.

I'm not sure what we're supposed to do about it, though. Educate each other about the problems we face, I guess, is all we can do right now. Awareness is still really way too low, I think.

 
At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the website of a major European research institution (italicized within the advertisement, no less!)

"An important aspect of this scheme is to encourage women to enter research careers in XXXXXX and part of the funding of the programme is specifically earmarked for this purpose".

How many steps are we from the situation in which male scientists are asked to move to the proverbial "back of the bus"?

 
At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of gender expectations . . .

I'm a guy. I really like yoga. I get annoyed of people who think that I do yoga because I want to pick up chicks. Just because I am a single guy does not mean that I am constantly on the prowl. I don't want to date anyone. I recently got divorced, and I just got out of stupid rebound relationship a few months ago. I am not looking for dates! I don't go to yoga to leer at women. I just like yoga!

I also like to take bubble baths. I tell people this and they look at me like I am an alien. Having a penis does not make a bath unenjoyable. It feels great. It is relaxing.

 
At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. It got me thinking a lot.
I had a baby 10 months ago, and I hate to admit it but something fundamental changed in me as a result. Before the baby, my interest in science was already starting to wane, and my frustration with its career climate was increasing - but the baby kicked these issues into high gear. I often can't wait to get back home from work to teach the baby new things and see how she's doing. I guess because I already was unhappy with my career having something that makes me so happy in my life now, but something that I can't spend as much time on as I want to due to financial considerations has really brought that career unhappiness to the forefront. If I had the financial means I would quit my job ASAP to be a stay at home mother until my children reach 3-4 years old or so. I never in a million years thought I'd ever say this. I happily devoted all my time (9 am until about 1 am most nights) to research all through grad school, science truly was my passion back then but not any longer. Sometimes biology, or maybe more accurately - major life changes - change your perspective, focus, and drive in very unpredictable ways.

 

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