After my last post, Magetoo asks why do I blog? Poor Alison does not understand why I blog at all, being as I am so very bitter and angry, which I suppose we can classify under #8 in my newly numbered list of reasons why I shouldn’t blog, with a dollop of #7 and #9.
Anyway, why not talk about why I do blog?
I will say first and foremost that I blame it all on my good friend Cindy, who nagged me incessantly until I finally agreed to begin blogging just about three years ago. (July 13 is the actual anniversary of the first “hello” post on the old site.) At the time, my friend had convinced me that I had something worth saying that others would want to hear, a unique perspective to offer on gender issues in science and engineering. Though possibly she was just tired of the rather longish emails I frequently sent her way, and just wanted to provide me with another outlet for my ranting. I knew so little about blogging and the blogosphere that I began blogging using a platform, Radio Userland, that apparently no one else in the entire world except Absinthe uses, and that’s probably my fault for introducing her to it.
To my surprise, and despite my extreme resistance to getting into the blogging game, I found that I really enjoyed blogging. I enjoyed the process of writing itself, and I enjoyed using the software. I started reading other blogs, naturally, and I enjoyed that too. Initially, blogging served two main purposes for me. It kept my brain from turning into melted fudge, and it kept me connected to the community and issues I care for so passionately. Oh, alright, three main purposes. It allowed me to say exactly what I was thinking on topics where I’d had to mince words and play nice for years on end. Hoo boy was that ever sweet! Downright luxurious. Just read my paraphrased synopsis of Lawrence Summers’s infamous remarks on women and science, or my take on a Chronicle article on Sherry Towers who was booted out of physics for her temerity in having a baby.
Or how about this quote from my post How Do You Describe This Blog?
Recently I was asked for a short description of this blog. I offer it here in case you are wanting to tell someone else about Thus Spake Zuska and are looking for just the right words to do so. Here are just the right words:
Zuska, Goddess of Science, Empress of Engineering, and Avenging Angel of Angry Women, will tell you what everyone else is thinking but is afraid to say…
…In 1903, Ethel Ricker became the first woman elected to Tau Beta Pi, engineering’s honor society. What did the national executive board see fit to do? Why, to overturn her election and amend the constitution to explicitly exclude women, so that similar mistakes couldn’t occur in the future. Now that’s some honor! It wasn’t till 1969 that the constitution was amended to re-allow women, 1973 that sexist language was removed from the constitution and by-laws. It makes me ANGRY that things like this happened and it makes me ANGRY that this part of history is covered up, hidden. As if the excruciatingly slow progress of women in engineering and science somehow just “happened”. There weren’t any stumbling blocks erected along the way by the men in charge, were there? Oh, no – they built some damn castles with moats and put out signs: “Women Not Wanted”.
So when organizations – be they departments, universities, companies, what have you – go around trumpeting proudly that they have just hired or installed their first woman whatever – department head, dean, vice-president, of engineering, physics, chemistry, you name it – my response is not “how great!” but “Jesu Christi, you are just getting around to it NOW?” You – meaning you folks in charge of whatever organizational structures are responsible for this – you ought to be ashamed that it has taken you this long to recognize the female talent right under your noses.
And so, yes – Avenging Angel of Angry Women. Because sisters, if you can’t let yourself say it out loud because of the spot you are in, if you are out of touch with it because you’ve been surpressing it so long in order to get along – well, just sit right down with Zuska for awhile and get in touch with your Inner Pissed Off Woman.
Because I, like my heroine Debra Rolison, feel that A Millenium of Affirmative Action for White Men is Sufficient.
Yeah. That, folks, is why I blog.