« Do you have any real life engineering applications/examples? | Blog Main | Do you know that song "I've been everywhere?" »

Stereotyped Roles in the White House: Say It Isn't So Mr. President

I'm just back from the "CEOSE Mini-Symposium on Women of Color in STEM: Perspectives on Experiences, Research, Evaluation, and Policy in Higher Education and Careers". Sponsored by NSF, it was an amazing two days of data, stories and ideas for changing the world. I was the time keeper-- an interesting experience, but hey I was such a mean timekeeper that there was lots of discussion and everyone who wanted to speak got a chance to. The powerpoints will be up soon and when they are, I'll let you know.

So being gone for a couple of days meant that I'm just now reading the front page of the Sunday Times. Unfortunately the first story I read was titled "Man’s World at White House? No Harm, No Foul, Aides Say". The story included such tidbits as:

The president, after all, is an unabashed First Guy’s Guy. Since being elected, he has demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge of college hoops on ESPN, indulged a craving for weekend golf, expressed a preference for adopting a “big rambunctious dog” over a “girlie dog” and hoisted beer in a peacemaking effort.
Mr. Obama often points out that he is surrounded by strong females at home (where he is the only non-canine male).
In the same week as the [all male] basketball game, Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, hosted a group of women reporters for an off-the-record meeting with Ms. Jarrett over chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies..
Ms. Dunn [the White House communications director], said that she recently hosted a baby shower for an administration official and that no men from the office were invited. She is comfortable with that — just as she is fine with never playing basketball with the president. “That is just part of the culture here that I am excluded from,” she said. “And I don’t care.”

Oh for heaven's sake (see how hard I'm trying not to curse), the stereotypes are killing me-- Personally I bake darn good chocolate chip cookies, love NASCAR, hate basketball, like big dogs (and get really angry about people who think little dogs are girlie and presumably think big dogs are boyie) and while I love babies I will do pretty much anything to avoid a baby shower. So I guess I don't fit into either of the gendered cultures of the White House.

So congratulations Mrs Obama for being the cover girl on Glamour and giving dating advice and good for you Ms Dunn for not caring that you are excluded from the culture of the White House.

For me this wasn't what I signed up for when I supported you Mr. President. Please say it isn't so.


The "50-50 gender split" blither makes me hurl every time. Let's add up the salaries for the men and for the women, then split the total and dole out equally among everyone. Equality isn't a head count. And no, the male canine isn't a head. I knew exactly what we were signing up for electing yet another friggin male to the Frat House.


Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)