Wimminz in Academia, now with 100% Fewer Babies Q&A HUB

Aug 22 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Muffins & Minions, your favorite D-List Monktress is SUPER EXCITED to display the results of her newest She-Woman Baby-hating carnival extravaganza! Muahahahhahaha, Oh, don't be silly, it just my Q&A where I don't allow baby-oriented questions. Babies justify their existence just by providing such fat little nommy baby feet, but the monktress likes to pretend her heart is made out  of the $1.2 million dollar ring on Kim Kardashian's finger.

So you all went and outdid yourselves by asking so many excellent questions that I felt even more power-trippy than usual when I selected the questions to be answered by my PANELS OF AWESOMESAUCE. In fact, I got so many that I decided to split my ladyprof panel in two, Solomon-style, so that I could get more questions answered! Don't say your Monktress never loved you.

Your monktress commands you to go forth and shower love and gratitude upon my participants because they were all totally fantastic for engaging in my shenanigans. I will be updating my links throughout the day as answers come up, all posts will be tagged AcademicsansBabies, just as before, so you can find them later. Flying Spaghetti Monster knows that's the only reason you'll be coming back to this blog years from now.

Panel 1

(Geek Mommy Prof, Professor in Training, Dr. Sneetch Q 1,3,4, Q2, KJHaxton, Micro Dr. O, *special bonus appearance by* NicoleandMaggie):

1. Are there any suggestions about how to look professorial as a young (and young looking and smallish) TT faculty?

2. For those of us who like things like pink, skirts, baking, sewing, knitting, heels, makeup, and other things girlie, how important is it to not do / wear / talk about these things lest we be seen as fluffy girls who can't do Science?

3. What can we do when other women deny there are problems being a woman in science?

4. It seems to me that often women don't have as strong professional networks as men - the kind that gets built over shared interests (sports or drinking). People seem to gravitate towards others like them. What specific advice do you have for establishing and maintaining network with men as well as other women?

 

Panel 2

(Female Science Professor, Kate Clancy, Arlenna of Chemical BioLOLogy, Prodigal Academic, Pascale Lane Q4):

1. It seems to me that often women don't have as strong professional networks as men - the kind that gets built over shared interests (sports or drinking). People seem to gravitate towards others like them. What specific advice do you have for establishing and maintaining network with men as well as other women?

2. Early on, what was your "Oh @!#$%" moment and how did you recover?

3. How do you deal with female health issues (heavy periods and period pain that lasts for a week, heavy migraines that strike suddenly, etc.), when you are in a predominantly male environment?

4. How do you balance "assertiveness" and "bitchiness" - in the sense that it's harder as a female (than a male) to "get away with" being protective of your time, stating your opinion, and so forth?

 

Postdoc Panel

(Nina of Kiwihorizons, Dr. Zeek, Canadian GirlPostdoc, *special bonus appearance by* Pika of Academic International) :

1. When you were looking for your post-doctoral position, how (if you knew) did you know that your PI would treat you fairly?

2. It seems to me that often women don't have as strong professional networks as men - the kind that gets built over shared interests (sports or drinking). People seem to gravitate towards others like them. What specific advice do you have for establishing and maintaining network with men as well as other women?

3. Early on, what was your "Oh Fuck" moment, how did you recover?

4. For those of us who like things like pink, skirts, baking, sewing, knitting, heels, makeup, and other things girlie, how important is it to not do / wear / talk about these things lest we be seen as fluffy girls who can't do Science?

18 responses so far

  • Ours will be up on Tuesday, August 23rd. (Monday money this week is about planning when one body in your previously-solved 2 body problem is going to fail to get tenure.)

  • alethea says:

    I love these! I always find more awesome blogs that I didn't know about when you do this!

    • missmse says:

      I absolutely agree! This is a fantastic source of useful advice, and a great way to find new women-in-science blogs.

  • Crystal Voodoo says:

    I'm working my way through the list now and this has been incredibly informative. I want to put a thanks out to the contributors for all their insightful answers.

    As a side note I was intrigued by question 3 in panel 1. My experience with sexism in the workplace was actually from a female professor. I had given a journal club presentation and I had apparently frequently made a hand gesture where I put the back of my fingers together and pointed at my heart (a gesture commonly associated with conveying earnestness). Female professor made a point to email me the next day to inform me that she felt I had been pointing at my breasts (which were studiously covered by a shirt buttoned to my collar bone) and that it was potentially denigrating to a woman scientist and proceeded to CC my PI's wife so that she could help me with my "issue." I am a well-endowed woman and comments like that really affect me. I consulted with other women in the department who assured me that they had no idea what I was talking about but it took me years to be able to present with a laser pointer rather than a long stick to prevent the gesture. I had to give the oral portion of my qualifying exam with a five iron she spooked me so badly (though it did provide a handy cane to lean on during questioning). Eventually it became a game to figure out how many times she could dig up a sexual innuendo and point them out in the middle of my presentations.

    It saddens me to know that women in science can be as guilty of this as men of sexism, but I find it reassuring to see all of these posts from other women in science who can be both sensible and rational about the topic.

    • HFM says:

      I've also had run-ins with senior women. I do realize they came up in a different time, and they've internalized some of the hate they were given, and they're dealing with that by transferring the hate onto younger women who don't "pass" in quite the same way they do...but it's still obnoxious.

      Senior men might patronize you a little, but most of them will stop once they know you and realize you're on your game. (Though if I had a twenty for every "well you're different from other women" comment, I'd go buy my own lab.) Senior women, though...sometimes they decide you need to be put in your place, which is preferably a kitchen far far away. So when anyone tries to tell me that sexism is dead, I've got some great stories to tell in response, and most of them don't involve a man.

      It's a shame, but sometimes you just have to dodge the cray cray and keep going.

  • Zuska says:

    Gah...if I had a dollar for every time I've heard an "evil senior woman scientist" story I could probably fund an endowed chair or two and hire some senior women scientists. I'm sure I've heard more of these stories than there are actual senior women scientists in existence.

    I, too, was interested in Q3 and blogged about it in What Function Does Denial Serve? wherein I also have a few words to say about the evil senior woman scientist myth.

    • Anonymous says:

      The evil senior woman scientist is no myth, and plenty of young women bear the scars of having had to tangle with her. For you to suggest otherwise is extremely disrespectful.

      If dudely-doods should be able to listen to feminists criticize men and realize that it’s not about them if they themselves don’t engage in that behavior, then I expect no less of senior women feminists.

  • [...] finally can take some time, real time, to just sit down and think about writing this. Of course, this isn't until the day of the actual deadline and practically the 11th hour (almost [...]

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for doing this again, Hermitage – lots of interesting responses from folks.

    I’ve gotta say, though, that I just read FSP’s answers and the comments on her post (esp from Nicoleandmaggie), and I am appalled! Way to make whichever young woman submitted that question feel like a loser! And if you didn’t consider it a good question, why on earth would you have put it to the panel in the first place?

    I suggest you leave them out of it if you decide to do this again. That kind of nonsense is completely unnecessary.

  • Anon-- sorry you were appalled. HOWEVER. Extreme menstrual pain is NOT normal, and in my social science it is one of the excuses men use to explain the gender gap. It is taken seriously as an excuse despite the fact that the research in the area is crap and would never stand peer review were it about any other subject other than women. (And when women point that out they're written off as hysterical.)

    It is a product of the patriarchy to believe that you should remain in pain just because you are female. Somehow there's this idea that because you're female pain is normal. You should be in pain. You deserve pain. Pain is women's cross to bear.

    It isn't. If you are in extreme menstrual pain, you need to see a doctor. As we said, not all doctors will be able to figure out the problem. Pain is not normal. So don't give up. And reproductive endocrinologists are often better at assessing problems with the reproductive system than many gynecologist are, because to many GYN everything can be solved with the right birth control pill, completely ignoring underlying issues. (I should have added that a nutritionist may have been able to help too depending on what the underlying problem is.)

    I am appalled at the question and the culture that produced it. And I'm a bit saddened by your response. Do you believe that women should have to always bear pain? Why do you think that? Why is the suggestion to keep trying to fix the problem so appalling to you?

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you really this dense? How likely do you think it is that the individual who asked this question is going to listen to anything that you have to say, given the tenor of your overall comments (and those of FSP)?

      You’re not a doctor – stop making blanket statements about gynecologists. If you have a problem with research in your field, take it up with the social scientists that produced it. Stop pretending that all you want to do is help someone in pain – no one is buying it.

      • Hey, I'm not hiding behind "Anonymous." Or making personal attacks. It's easy to do that.

        And how do you know I don't study medical doctors or medicine? You don't. Gyn have their specializations, but there is a reason we have RE. A lot of people don't know about RE, and they don't just do fertility. I know many people who have gone to multiple gyn only to be helped by an RE who actually figures out what the underlying problem is and addresses the problem using something completely different than birth control pills. Yes, an anecdote, but there's so much secrecy and bad science in medicine that multiple anecdotes have value.

        I repeat, extreme pain is not normal. We should not be conditioned to think that it is normal just because we're women. That is a general problem thanks to the patriarchy. Medicine is good at and has often been focused on fixing men's problems as the norm. Crippling menstrual pain is NOT something a person should have to live with and is certainly not something that we should think of as mainstream or normal or something that needs to be endured and keeps us from working, especially in this day and age.

        And yes, Advil is a good thing. Sorry if you were offended by my saying that I agreed that ibuprofen is a good way to deal with cramps. If that wasn't the part of my comments you were so utterly appalled by, feel free to post that here for posterity.

  • Anonymous says:

    “And yes, Advil is a good thing. Sorry if you were offended by my saying that I agreed that ibuprofen is a good way to deal with cramps.”

    God, I guess you are that dense. Because nobody in their right mind would have read that question as asking for advice on what medicine to take to combat period pain. Stop projecting and making assumptions based on your pet peeves and respect that others might have different concerns from yours. A flippant response to this question was *not* appropriate.

    And by the way, Advil and ibuprofen are *not* good solutions for everyone, but if you actually knew anything about medicine, I wouldn’t have to tell you that.

    • I figured out who you are-- tiny penis man! (AKA "Quota Man") I remember you from earlier. 🙂

      And if I thought advil and ibuprofen were universal solutions, then why on earth would I be recommending seeing a reproductive endocrinologist? That would seem like a waste.

      I'll stop feeding the troll now. 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    Hermitage, anytime you want to weigh in on this feel free. As I said earlier, if you didn’t consider it a good question, why put it to the panel?

    Unless, of course, you are OK with panel members shitting all over someone’s question, and by extension, the person that submitted it. I mean really, would it have been so hard for FSP or others who felt that they had nothing useful to offer to simply decline to comment on the question? How they came to the conclusion that mocking it was a better alternative is beyond me.

    And Nicoleandmaggie, since you seem to have some trouble with reading comprehension, let me boil it down for you:

    The question did not deserve a flippant response.

    It was a shitty thing for FSP to do, and it was a shitty thing for you to pile on.

    All your rambling, attempts at justifications, and name-calling is not going to change that.

  • Hermitage says:

    My minions and muffins are allowed to brawl and disagree as much as they like, as long that don't start e-shanking each other. I've not seen anything so far requiring moderation, hence my silence.

    I certainly thought it was an interesting question, which is why I chose it. That is my opinion, and FSP's opinion is her own. Any panelist's disinterest in any question certainly shouldn't make the person who asked it feel one way or another. Moral of story: opinions are like assholes, etc etc.

  • hefesp says:

    What's wrong with FSP, I am not getting it. I too did not understand exactly what question 2 meant. Furthermore, it's clear she did not actually endorse ibuprofen (though I personally recommend naproxen (aleve) for menstrual cramps, talk to your Dr yadayada). But why get so intense about FSP?

    While I do think the questions could have been better phrased or edited for clarity, thank you for organizing these series. Every women in science thing I've been to was largely about balancing work and family (and that always meant babies) so I like the focus here.

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