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August 28, 2012

What are you first?

Are you Black first or a woman first? Are you gay first or Hispanic first? Are you a woman first or a lesbian first?

You know I have never been asked if I’m white first or a woman first. Neither have I asked if I am heterosexual first. The assumption is I’m a woman first because that’s my “outsider” status.

If you have more than one outsider status, you get asked to chose a lot and then judged on your choice. Think about Sally Ride who even after she was dead for heavens sake, was criticized because she wasn’t a lesbian first. Think of all the Black feminists who are constantly asked if they are Black first or a woman first.

Now think about asking Mitt Romney or Harry Reid if they are men first or white first? Gee what do you think their answers might be?

So how come we are only asked to make choices about what part of us is “first” for those parts that aren’t considered the norm?

(These are the kinds of questions that have been coming up as Andrea and I talk about identity).

August 25, 2012

“50 Best Female Science Bloggers (2012 Update)”

It is lovely to be included in “50 Best Female Science Bloggers (2012 Update)” but it is even better to be there with such FairerScience friends as Zuska, Isis and Dr. Free-Ride.

August 24, 2012

Not funny Patricia NOT FUNNY

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has been accused of sexual harassment and discrimination against male employees.

In the complaint, Napolitano is accused of turning her female-run department into a "frat house" where male staffers were routinely humiliated, reports Forbes.

Along with the culture against men, Napolitano is also accused of providing unequal opportunities for men and women, promoting women to the highest positions while equally qualified men were bypassed.

It's not funny--- NOT FUNNY--but...

August 12, 2012


FairerScience friend Eric Jolly often speaks about the importance of telling truth to power. Yesterday, FairerScience friend Shirley McBay reminded me about the importance of telling truth about power.

I am most fortunately in my friends.

August 04, 2012


Since 1984, the number of computer science degrees awarded to women has steadily declined, and today only 13 percent of computer science graduates are female.


(no the link isn't to George Orwell, it's to the news story.

August 03, 2012

Women in Weight Lifting; Women in Science

I don't know if you have been following the brouhaha about women in weightlifting. If not you haven't missed much and you probably can figure out what's being said- yup- it's all about what women should do, be and look like- sound familiar? You may notice there are no links- no way I'm giving that stuff more notice.

What I would like to highlight is the response of these amazing young women- Zoe Smith the 18 year old English had this response. She has some great lines that you younger women in science may want to keep in mind if the need arises (hope it won't but...) like:

The obvious choice of slander when talking about female weightlifting is “how unfeminine, girls shouldn’t be strong or have muscles, this is wrong”...This may sound like a sweeping generalisation, but most of the people that do think like this seem to be chauvinistic, pigheaded blokes who feel emasculated by the fact that we, three small, fairly feminine girls, are stronger than them.

What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? ....

This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren’t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.

Salon's piece on this was nice. My take away line:

... if you look at a woman who’s one of the greatest athletes in her field in the entire world and not just have thought that she’s fat or she’s mannish or she’s ugly but have publicly expressed it, stop talking right now, you ridiculous, ridiculous little worm.

You know there are days that I think we women in STEM are way, way, way too polite,

August 02, 2012


So remember a couple of months ago when I reported about the Flame Challenge? Sure you do. It was when Alan Alda asked folks to answer the question, "What's a flame?", in a way that an 11 year old would understand and perhaps even enjoy with the entries judged by 11 year olds (Ah I loved that part!)

Well folks we have a winner! OMG it is fabulous. Not only do I better understand flame - I am forever changed in my presentation style. Spoiler alert- darn I wish I could sing.

I've only seen the winner's video. Over the weekend I'll check out the finalists and honorable mentions and let you know. .