Thus Spake Zuska

Why I Do Blog

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.

Comments

  1. #1 Sanguinity
    June 23, 2008

    I am very glad you blog. Very, very glad.

    And as someone pointed out in the previous post, all those supposed reasons to not-blog make a nice map of the reasons I’m glad you DO blog.

    Thank you for not standing firm against all the crap and pushback. Thank you for blogging.

  2. #2 Alice
    June 23, 2008

    I’m glad you blog, too. Yours was one of the first ones I started to read. Huzzah, Zuska!

  3. #3 PhysioProf
    June 23, 2008

    The world is a better fucking place because you blog, Z!

  4. #4 mxracer652
    June 23, 2008

    A millennium? Really?

    Do you realize that the vast majority of Gen Y doesn’t have these fucked hang ups that the shit hole baby boom generation does?

    I do appreciate what you do here. Thanks.

  5. #5 Kea
    June 24, 2008

    Heh, thanks Zuska! That cheered me up.

  6. #6 MissPrism
    June 24, 2008

    Thank your friend Cindy from me! And the story about Ethel Ricker is a neat summary of the whole boys-club science crapfest. Keep telling’em.

  7. #7 Todd
    June 24, 2008

    “A Millenium of Affirmative Action for White Men is Sufficient. ”

    Mind if I steal this?

  8. #8 Ian
    June 24, 2008

    You go girl!

  9. #9 ScienceWoman
    June 24, 2008

    I’m very glad you blog. And that you blog the way you do. You say things with a voice and a perspective that those of us deeply embroiled in the game can’t say. Thank you.

  10. #10 Darwin's Minion
    June 24, 2008

    “A Millenium of Affirmative Action for White Men is Sufficient.”

    Heh. I like this. It’s basically what I throw in the faces of everybody who whines “affirmative action is so unfaiiiiiiir” in my presence. Though, looking back at history, it seems more like several millenia…

  11. #11 RichB
    June 24, 2008

    As a straight white male, may I say PLEASE do not stop what you are doing (not that my voice would or should matter anyway :-) ). Although I try to teach my two sons to recognize and avoid ANY discrimination or biases in their lives, I have made some really horrible mistakes in my life regarding discrimination. That I was younger and more foolish, or that my offenses were unintentional, does not lessen their impact or make it right. Thankfully, those who were on the receiving end did not fail to bring them to my attention. Some with humor, some with anger, but all justified in their responses. I have learned from my mistakes and become a better person (at least, I think so :-) ), and it has helped me to see a broader view of life and not be so confined to my little world. Sometimes, even now, because of who I am, I do not see some examples of bias or discrimination. However, that certainly does not mean that they do not exist, and we all need people like you to continue to point out injustices until there are finally, truly no more… Thanks for helping me, and I hope you can help many many more…

  12. #12 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    June 24, 2008

    Bravo. Well said!

  13. #13 Zuska
    June 24, 2008

    Aw, thanks to all of you! Your support gives me the energy and enthusiasm to keep going. RichB, we all, including and especially yours truly, fail to see bias in various places at various times…it’s how you respond when it gets pointed out to you that matters. I know how it makes one cringe inside to be called out, and working to get past that personal reaction is tough, but one of the best things we can do for our fellow human beings.

    Todd, you are welcome to use the phrase “A Millennium of Affirmative Action for White Men is Sufficient” but be sure to give credit to Debra Rolison who coined this fab phrase!

  14. #14 Luna_the_cat
    June 26, 2008

    Go you!

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