Thus Spake Zuska

Female Science Professor has posted a checklist – “Kind of like Sexism Bingo, but in list form.” – and asked for additions.

I was going to offer a few additions, but I thought “all that crap happened a thousand years ago, when I was an undergrad/grad student. I’ll just read this list of new stuff to see what teh wimminz are whining about these days.” Because things are getting better all the time.

Alyssa at 6/17/2010 10:03:00 AM said:

Someone asks why you bothered getting a PhD if you’re “just going to have children”

and DRo at 6/17/2010 10:36:00 AM said:

You are told that you won’t be interested in a TT position once you have children.

Time machine, take us to…..1984! Hello, classmate! Hello, undergrad thesis advisor!

Anonymous at 6/17/2010 12:16:00 PM said:

Someone tells you not to talk about women or minority in science issues because it makes people think you are not committed to science.

Time machine, take us to…1988! Hello, thesis committee member! (And major thanks to all of you for that 4.5 hour prelim, in complete violation of university policy, while I’m back here visiting!)

Anonymous at 6/17/2010 12:40:00 PM said:

** When you are in YOUR OWN office, visitors assume you are an administrative assistant **

and then, when you point out that you are not the admin, are told “Oh, you must be the student worker, then!”

Time machine, take us to…1999! Hello, various random d00dches!

Anonymous at 6/17/2010 03:12:00 PM said:

One of my personal favorites from my graduate school was a comment by a faculty member meant as a compliment, at a reception, “Surely, you’re not a physicist”. “Surely, I am” I said.

Time machine, take us to…the entire decade of the 1980′s! Hello, every pickup artist and sad sack conference fuckwit who thought “you’re too pretty to be an engineer!” was a great come-on line.

Rachael Shadoan at 6/18/2010 06:58:00 AM said:

I feel that the more we focus on this kind of thing, the more discouraging it is for young women trying to join the field.

and at 6/18/2010 10:02:00 AM

Instead of long lists of how we’re under-appreciated and gender-stereotyped and in general discriminated against, I would like to see lists of creative, professional, appropriate ways to handle some of these situations.

Then, it’s less depressing because it provides the tools to handle this sort of thing. Over time (presumably), if we all use the tools to address these issues, they will decrease in number and severity.

Time machine, take us to…1989! Hello, contentious discussion at AWIS meeting where I was invited to speak about gender and science!

On second thought, time machine, never mind.

Comments

  1. #1 Kim
    June 27, 2010

    About the last one: yeah, those lists are the problem. Certainly not experiencing the stuff on those lists.

  2. #2 ScientistMother
    June 27, 2010

    I hadn’t looked at the list since I left my comment….

    I have to say I am bit depressed about how much hasn’t changed. Not to say that improvements haven’t come along…but its still depressing to see how far we still have to go.

  3. #3 jc
    June 27, 2010

    there are no specific canned solutions because the problems are institutionalized. what may work at one school for one woman may not work for another woman. what may work for a woman at one school may not work at another school. each place has their own dynamics.

    i went down the list checkity check checking off my own experiences, and had i been in a position of power to counter the many shitty things said and done to me over the years, it would have reflected negatively on me, how dare i speak up! the things that happen to women one-at-a-time essentially happen in a vacuum. the events get swept up and disappear because it is one woman here, one woman there, another woman last year, another women 10 years ago. women are silenced not only because of repercussions to their careers from speaking up, but by being held to such a slim minority in their departments and societies where their voices don’t count. the shitty events are labeled as “personal” and “she’s the problem” which prevents larger scale changes for women.

    my solutions: avoid asshats. find women who are not d00d-apologists. share your experiences if you feel comfortable doing so. support women coming up the line.

  4. #4 skeptifem
    June 27, 2010

    I felt like doing something was out of the question for awhile (though my job isn’t much like the engineers and scientists here). I read a post on shapely prose titled “cha-cha-cha-chaka chubby” and I got my mind changed a bit. I don’t want to link because it makes comments get stuck in the filter sometimes, but if you search for the quoted text it will be the first thing in google. Here is a little bit of it:

    I don’t seek to win hearts and minds. That’s not my style and besides, they are way better folks for that job. I don’t care what people think as long as it doesn’t blow up my spot or the spots of others dealing with oppressions. What I care about is behavior. My activism seeks to make it unpleasant and EMBARRASSING and EXPENSIVE to engage in fuckery. My style of activism – whether it pertains to fat or other -isms – seeks to cause folks tremendous shame and discomfort so they STOP ENGAGING IN THE BEHAVIOR and pressure others to do the same. That’s why I’m nasty when I smack down acts of -ism fuckery. I’m not trying to get folks to “embrace a diverse range of voices” – I’m way too pragmatic for that – I’m just trying to get them to STOP WHATEVER FUCKERY THEY ARE DOING, hopefully embarrassing them and causing others to give it serious thought before engaging in similar behavior.

    I have adhered fully to this school of thought since reading snarky’s post. Pragmatism, folks. Make it hell to do this kind of crap to you, it inspires other people to not put up with it either, and after awhile every woman is the one you don’t want to belittle because it is a lot of trouble to do that. Make it hell to belittle other women in front of you, or for racist or classist comments to go by unchallenged. She has a bunch of stories in the post about doing this in her personal life. The more of the trouble makers that exist out in the world, the better. It won’t be possible to expect women to shut up about discrimination if there are enough loud ones out there to make it normal to be angry about unfair treatment.

    I know that this isn’t everyones style and I wouldn’t ever be harsh on anyone for not wanting to do this, but I just wanted to toss it out there for anyone who might get inspired like I did.

  5. #5 Janice in Toronto
    June 27, 2010

    Kick them in the n*ts.

    Hey, it’s a start anyway…

  6. #6 Kea
    June 27, 2010

    Hear, hear. A big factor in the long term lack of change is our past unwillingness to speak up. Twenty five years ago, I was a demure and charming young lady, who let everything slip by. Now I had real motivations for behaving that way … complaining would have totally ruined my life at the start, no questions. Now, however, the dynamics have changed.

    I have been reading about Humans Rights issues, and am slowly coming to the opinion that the discrimination laws (in many developed countries) apply to pretty much every woman in the physical sciences (where the percentages of women are still well under 10%). Class action, anyone?

  7. #7 Cara
    June 27, 2010

    I would like to see lists of creative, professional, appropriate ways to handle some of these situations.

    Then, it’s less depressing because it provides the tools to handle this sort of thing.

    Sweet pea.

    Saying this stuff out loud lets other women know they’re not the only ones dealing with this shit.

    Because you know what? There IS NO tool to “handle this sort of thing”.

    I know you want one. I know you want to believe that if you just do everything *right*, you’ll outwit the system. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But forewarned is forearmed. It’s also useful knowledge when the system is trying to pit us against each other because there can be only one.

    We play the game their way, we lose unless we’re the token, and even then we lose eventually and it doesn’t matter how *perfect* we are. We play the game our way, we lose, but we have our self-respect.

    We can do a little system outwitting, but overall we just don’t have that much control over the whole shiteree. All we can control is our own self-esteem, and knowing we’re not alone helps a lot. The lists of things to try are great, but they’re not enough on their own.

    There’s been slow progress, there will be more. But ignoring the bullshit doesn’t make it go away.

  8. #8 skeptifem
    June 28, 2010

    Amen, Cara.

  9. #9 Thegoodman
    June 28, 2010

    “Someone asks why you bothered getting a PhD if you’re “just going to have children”"

    I have said this but my line of thinking was “It seems strange that she would work so hard and accomplish so much just to give it up to be a stay-at-home mom?”.

    Nothing wrong with having children or being a stay at home mom, but neither requires thousands and thousands of dollars of education to do them. Clearly these women had a change of heart and chose to stay at home and everyone should be able to choose to do what they wish with their lives, but I still think it is a shame that they are not putting their education to use (this goes for anyone who isn’t using their education).

    I must be blindly hopeful for believing this, but I really am optimistic that my generation (high school class of 2001) will treat women far differently when we are in our 60′s/70′s/80′s than the current legion of white male 60/70/80 yr olds out there in the science world. This is especially true in the medical world where…
    “…women were 9% of total US medical school enrollment in 1969; this had increased to 20% in 1976…In 2007-2008, women accounted for 49% of medical school applicants and 48.3% of those accepted.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_medicine

  10. #10 jc
    June 28, 2010

    “Clearly these women had a change of heart”

    clearly, ROFLMAO.

  11. #11 NancyNew
    June 28, 2010

    Oh god. Reading this caused a flashback to 1976, the World Science Fiction convention in KC MO. “Are you going to college to get your MRS. degree?” the guy asked me.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

  12. #12 Sargassosea
    June 28, 2010

    Thegoodman, please.

    It would appear the you missed that whole bit (okay, actually an ENTIRE FOUR PART SERIES right here at TSZ) about “work-life balance for women in science* a few days back?

    I highly encourage you to read those posts and their comments too. You might just begin to understand why the silly ladiez might waste their expensive educations and spend their time doing something any stoopid poor woman could do. Silly ladiez.

  13. #13 tinfoil hattie
    June 28, 2010

    I still think it is a shame that they are not putting their education to use

    Yes, because any uneducated schlub can be a parent, for god’s sake! Don’t waste an education on raising the next generation of decent human beings!

  14. #14 Dick
    June 28, 2010

    Jesus. Thegoodman said he is HOPEFUL that in just 40 to 60 years, men will treat women differently. And I think it should be obvious he will be part of this fantastic social transformation. Things truly are, or will be shortly, getting better all the time. What else do you ladies want?

  15. #15 Silver Fox
    June 28, 2010

    …think it is a shame that they are not putting their education to use

    How the H do you know what exactly “they” are doing?!

  16. #16 Comrade Svilova
    June 28, 2010

    Yeah, I think TheGoodMan missed the point. The problem is the assumption that any woman pursuing an education is probably going to “waste” it in the end by “just” becoming a parent. So there’s two problems: one is assuming that all women will become mothers and that this compromises their ability to work (do all men become fathers? how does that affect their ability to work?); two, there’s the assumption that being a parent — ahem, a stay-at-home mom — is a job that requires little education, and that the money and time spent on a science education would therefore be a “waste.”

    Anecdata here, but my mother, Ph.D. in immunology, stayed at home and unschooled my brother and me, and her passion for inquiry, her intelligence, and the training she had in school and in the lab were incredible forces in our youth. She really enjoyed those days of exploration and investigation, and now she’s built a new career for herself in health care (albeit no longer in the lab) and is very happy.

    Another anecdote, from my art school background, is the professor who told me that he was concerned that if I took a few years off before grad school to fix up a house to sell and pursue a public access tv job that I would “stagnate.” Meanwhile, my male classmates had vague plans of living in Brooklyn and trying to “make it” in the film industry while working as Apple geniuses. I thought my plan showed more foresight and organization, but the problem was, it wasn’t focused entirely on my career. Women cannot have lives if they are going to succeed! They must devote themselves 120% to their careers or stagnate forever (see Janet Neapolitano and the comments made about her). Hence, women who are mothers will leave science.

    None of these assumptions hold true for men. And that is a huge part of the problem.

  17. #17 skeptifem
    June 28, 2010

    My mom’s brief stint in college made a world of difference in what I learned from her. It struck me last year when I saw a mom with her kids at the pharmacy- I thought “wow, moms are less likely to be educated and teach the most to the next generation. What a foolish thing for society to do to children.” All of us are connected and live in this world together- shitty parenting doesn’t happen in a vacuum. People who are made ignorant grow up and do things like vote in elections.

    I remember my mom talking to me about some of the other moms she knew-she was shocked at the way they just made up answers when their kids had questions about the world. It was so their kids would stop bothering em (“because I said so” kind of shit). My mom made a point of answering honestly and actually explaining the things she did understand. What she learned was passed on to me. It wasn’t wasted at all, it is just that value is currently measured in profit rather than actual benefit to anyone.

    The positive effect on society from educating women is well documented. Women who are educated are less likely to deal with poverty and are more likely to plan their families.

  18. #18 veganrampage
    June 28, 2010

    Pile of rocks + Shit for brains = Da Goodman

  19. #19 Comrade Svilova
    June 28, 2010

    Skeptifem: you mean women who get an education put off making babies like God wants them to? How do they manage it — through the Pill and abortion? We must keep women from getting educated.

    Sarcasm aside, isn’t that exactly what people thought, oh, back in 1850?

    I’m trying to recall where I read a study that showed that couples in which one or both of the partners had had a pregnancy terminated actually ended up with much more intact and functional families than families without access to abortion. Family planning actually leads to more of the stable, two-parent homes that conservative Christians love. As does education.

  20. #20 Thegoodman
    June 28, 2010

    “The problem is the assumption that any woman pursuing an education is probably going to “waste” it in the end by “just” becoming a parent.”

    I didn’t miss this point. The people who say that are morons. That isn’t what I said nor is it what I was talking about.

    Your reactions are odd and I am thoroughly confused. My post was a reaction to an educated woman electing to stop her career to raise children. I agree with Skeptifem that education is great for society and the more people that receive it, the better.

    Women (and all people) are capable of raising children as well as working. Wasn’t this a feminism staple during the earlier feminism movements?

    So you are saying that women should stay home to raise children? Why can’t they work AND raise children?

  21. #21 Thegoodman
    June 28, 2010

    @Silver Fox
    “How the H do you know what exactly “they” are doing?!”

    Stay-at-home parents are doing the exact same thing that working parents are doing, except they are not generating an income simultaneously. They spend a little more time with their children before they reach the age of 5, but other than that their role is that of any parent.

  22. #22 Zuska
    June 28, 2010

    Oh, goodd00d, now you’ve stepped in it for sure. Stay-at-home parents aren’t generating an income? You mean to say: they aren’t getting paid for their labor. And: their labor is making possible the labor of all those paid workers out in the wage economy.

  23. #23 Comrade Svilova
    June 28, 2010

    My post was a reaction to an educated woman electing to stop her career to raise children.

    But no one else was talking about that scenario. The topic was women who are not leaving their careers/education but are continuously presumed to be planning to do so.

    Even if we were talking about a woman who decided to raise her children instead of continuing on a career path, your response was lacking in several respects. You wrote:

    “Someone asks why you bothered getting a PhD if you’re “just going to have children”"

    I have said this but my line of thinking was “It seems strange that she would work so hard and accomplish so much just to give it up to be a stay-at-home mom?“.

    Nothing wrong with having children or being a stay at home mom, but neither requires thousands and thousands of dollars of education to do them. Clearly these women had a change of heart and chose to stay at home and everyone should be able to choose to do what they wish with their lives, but I still think it is a shame that they are not putting their education to use (this goes for anyone who isn’t using their education).

    We were not advocating that women should not work *and* raise children. We were responding to your statements that denied the value of education for women who are stay-at-home moms — saying that it is “a shame” if a woman decides to focus on raising children.

    You’re always so eager to judge the life-choices of others. It’s getting really, really tedious, combined with your inability to track the dialogue and unpack the logical analysis of the problems with your posts.

  24. #24 Comrade Svilova
    June 28, 2010

    Html fail, that whole quote with the bold bits is TheGoodD00d verbatim. Sorry about the confusion.

  25. #25 Dedj
    June 28, 2010

    “I didn’t miss this point. The people who say that are morons. That isn’t what I said nor is it what I was talking about.”

    But what you are talking about is very clearly painfully obviously not what everyone else is talking about, hence why people pointed it out to you. Presuming you merely made a mistake and overlooked the main point is being kind to you. The other option is that you’re behaving this way deliberately.

    You are certainly very painfully confused if you think this discussion is about anything other than the impact of institutional, structural and societal factors on the career and family dynamics of professional and academic women.

    So the question to you is: why the fuck should anyone else care what you have to say? If you can’t have the decency to join in the conversation that EVERYONE ELSE is having then please shut up and piss off.

  26. #26 skeptifem
    June 28, 2010

    Currently, people cannot realistically devote themselves equally to career and family. All the expectations of what makes someone serious about their career were formed when having a wife at home to do the domestic work was normal for working men. Dealing with taking care of children interferes with having a career. It isn’t because there is anything wrong with taking care of children, it is because of the way the economic system was engineered.

    And yes, I think that domestic work should provide a living wage for the people doing it, especially people raising kids.

  27. #27 Cara
    June 28, 2010

    Nothing wrong with having children or being a stay at home mom, but neither requires thousands and thousands of dollars of education to do them. Clearly these women had a change of heart and chose to stay at home and everyone should be able to choose to do what they wish with their lives, but I still think it is a shame that they are not putting their education to use (this goes for anyone who isn’t using their education).

    Will you PLEASE go fuck yourself, you little twerp?

    An education is never wasted. Your parents should have drummed that into your little pea brain.

  28. #28 Thegoodman
    June 28, 2010

    “But no one else was talking about that scenario”

    True, but the discussion was very similar to it. I actually thought that the idea of a working mother was in-line with feminism ideals and thought I might for once befriend a Zuskateer.

    I don’t think it is a shame if women don’t use their education. I think it is a shame if any person doesn’t use their education. If a person doesn’t want to use the education someone somewhere paid for, they should just not get the education. If they have a thirst for knowledge they don’t intend on using productively, they can get that knowledge via the thousands of resources available to them. Getting your Ph.D. shouldn’t be a hobby.

    Its possible that drowning in my own student loan debt has given me a very negative view on the price of an education.

  29. #29 Sara
    June 28, 2010

    “Getting your Ph.D. shouldn’t be a hobby. Its possible that drowning in my own student loan debt has given me a very negative view on the price of an education.”

    Clearly you know nothing about getting a Ph.D.

    Most of us are working a grueling schedule as a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, or BOTH in addition to our coursework. I will have absolutely no student loans from my Ph.D., but I will have spent 6+ years working 40-80 hrs. a week while putting up with more-than-tolerable amounts of b.s. on an almost daily basis. Hobby?? *snort* Please, I haven’t become that deluded…

    (So, after all that, when I do get my Ph.D., I’ll damn well do whatever I want to do afterwards. )

  30. #30 skeptifem
    June 29, 2010

    I am not working in some kind of grueling coursework, so I am not “most of us”, I guess. What happened to me was that I never imagined I could be a college graduate or learn the sciences/maths (mostly because of being a woman in this culture), and I ended up doing some college courses because it was financially possible for once. I learned how much bs you have to go through to get the lowest of college achievement: an associates degree. I was helped a lot by my chemistry and math courses (though I did self teach most of that shit). A good example of how intolerable everything became is my first english class. I had to learn about all the various forms of citation, and that bullshit took up the majority of the course work for the semester. This wasn’t about english or writing- it was instruction to show that you had been to college, period. It was even more snobbish in that learning the preferred citation method for your major was something that would be important from that point on. Footnoting accomplishes absolutely everything meant to be contained in the different (and completely ARBITRARY) citation styles. I can’t deal with it. I don’t know how much college I can realistically take as a result. Noam Chomsky wrote about how there were social programs available for new ivy league college professors that teach things like what wines to drink and how to taste em. The shit just builds up thicker from this point on, and I am not sure that it is really for me anymore. I am not going to quit learning- I learn about math and science in my free time, without the credit. The awarding of certificates for doing so is so much more about conformity than learning that I am unwilling to do much more of it. I am happy learning without a GPA or deadline for understanding the material.

    I am attempting to unionize my work place. I don’t know if moving up the latter is worth a damn. This is the kind of thing that matters to me now.

    I kinda wanted to vent because I am commenting and conversing with all these women with extraordinary training in their fields and I am pretty out of place when it comes down to it. That kind of work used to be my ambition but I don’t think it is realistic or worthwhile anymore. Convince me otherwise lady scientists/engineers/students, I am open to listening.

  31. #31 Cara
    June 29, 2010

    I think it is a shame if any person doesn’t use their education. If a person doesn’t want to use the education someone somewhere paid for, they should just not get the education.

    Why don’t you go troll somewhere else? What do you get out of showing up here and saying nothing but stupid shit? Are your little Cheeto-eating cohorts egging you on or something?

    Only a complete moron holds the view that an education is “wasted” or “unused” if you’re not slotted into a proper yuppified cubicle upon getting the piece of paper.

    It’s one thing to think that about one’s OWN life. It’s quite another to show up, again, spouting off about what some random strawwomen should do with their lives in order to be living as Prince Poopoo decrees.

    Jeeezus. You can’t STOP trying to tell women you don’t even know how to live, can you, you little dork. Go straighten out your inflatable “wife” and leave the grownups to talk.

  32. #32 Big Blue
    June 29, 2010

    Skeptifem, Comrade, Sara, Dedj and Cara: You win some kind of award for sheer patience and persistence in your attempt to educate the profoundly misguided. I’d bake you all cookies if I could.

    [anecdote] I had this ex-boyfriend who was real pretty. Really pretty, the kind your mother meets and says, “Oh dear, hang on to him, he’s a catch” while imagining adorable curly-haired blue-eyed moppets. The kind you can hardly take anywhere without women and gay men flirting with him all night, that lovely. And he was dumb as a brick. Yet he would talk, incessantly, whether you wanted him to or not, about the most inane shit ever been spouted in the history of the ‘verse: how they should have a penguin-based marketing campaign at McDonald’s, how there was a special way to fold socks just so, how omelets were meant to be folded in thirds, not halves gawddammit.

    One day, we were visiting one of my friends, a musician who happened to be going for her MA in film history and preservation. Friend and I were discussing Italian cinema, as I (and Pretty Dumb) had just watched several Fellini movies, and we were talking about the use of surrealism in lieu of scoring and effects to draw attention to plot points. Pretty Dumb looks up from his tuneless meanderings on friend’s guitar and contributes to the conversation, a propos of nothing, “I liked Ed Wood.” Friend and I waited for a minute to see if there’d be anything else, then she kindly said, “Oh…yes, some directors really liked to get everything the way they wanted in one take, and the results are fun to watch.” He corrected her with the utmost contempt: “Not the ACTUAL Ed Wood, my gawd, who would want to watch that–no, the Johnny Depp one! Tch!” [/anecdote]

    I hope Pretty Dumb has since found some lady who appreciates his, his…well, I hope he’s happy. But honestly, with people like that, is there any point to trying to argue? Why not just say “thank you for sharing your worthless, unfounded opinion”? Why say anything at all, really?

  33. #33 Comrade Svilova
    June 29, 2010

    Thanks for the amusing anecdote, Big Blue, and I’m glad that you’re no longer putting up with Pretty Dumb’s malapropisms.

    Skeptifem, I don’t have any advice, since I’m not in a STEM field, but I do have to agree that I was pretty frustrated when I found out that I’d spent 6 years in college learning MLA citation format (and tutoring it) and I’d never been taught how to do the kind of footnote that I’ll actually use professionally and in grad school. I actually loved MLA citations because the precision made me happy; but I don’t love any elaborate system that is actually worthless. Sigh.

    Best of luck to you in your endeavors, whatever direction they take you!

  34. #34 cubefarmed
    June 29, 2010

    One thing I wonder about those who talk about women wasting their education by staying home with the children, is whether they’ve thought about the monetary issues and other underlying sexist problems that still cause women to be the ones who primarily stay home with the kids.

    Women still, to my knowledge, make only approx. 3/4 of the money that men do, when working the same job. Daycare is also prohibitively expensive. A decent daycare center in my area is $250.00 per week, and a good private/home daycare is around $200.00 per week… *per child*. Now, unless you make enough money to spend $12,000 per year on daycare, one of you has to stay home during the day (maybe work nights or do night school?). And assuming you have jobs at a similar pay level, who is more likely to stay at home right now? The one making *less* money? I doubt it, unless there’s a pretty strong motivation to do otherwise. So it’s a bit of a self-perpetuating cycle here. Women make less money, with employers using the excuse that ‘women are going to have kids at some point and be gone at least 6 weeks and might stay home! So let’s pay them less!’ And so, it’s the women who stay home because they get paid less.

    I may be way off in my assessment there, and obviously not every heterosexual couple with kids have similar jobs or payscales in their jobs. I know there are obviously other exceptions as well, since I make more money then my husband because after he got laid off he had to work retail. And thus, after I had our daughter he stayed home with her for two years. But if there is anyone to blame for women “allowing” a degree to go wasted, it seems as though it’s the fault of employers and those who stay quiet about wage disparity issues (as a start). They perpetuate the cycle by making sexist assumptions.

  35. #35 DeviantOne
    June 29, 2010

    I was laughing so hard at those unpredictable wimmenz with Ph.D.s “electing” to stay home FOREVERS, wasting their expensive educations, throwing it away on a mere whim and fancy, that I almost forgot to post:

    Most women I know who have Ph.D.s who do stay home with their kids (and they don’t all do), do it for the wage-related and sexist-related reasons cubefarmed listed (or they simply don’t question the fact that they are the ones who *must* stay home and the babydaddy staying home with the baby is not even an option in their minds) and then, when said kids are grown up enough, they get BACK into the workforce and start using that ole education again.

    What a waste, eh?

    Skeptifem, I had to take an entire semester worth of learning to do references (Harvard-style for us here), although in my personal case it was very beneficial. Even though I KNEW it’d be beneficial to me (especially post-grad – the course I did was geared specifically towards the post-grad style requirements, implementing them undergrad as well), it was STILL torture, so I can’t imagine how mindnumbing that must have been.

  36. #36 Comrade Svilova
    June 29, 2010

    and then, when said kids are grown up enough, they get BACK into the workforce and start using that ole education again

    Yes indeed. The vast majority of stay-at-home-moms stay home for no more than 18 years, and many for even less (many return to the workforce after only 5 or 6 years, once their kids go to school).

    So the degrees are not going to waste, but from the point of view of employers, someone who has been out of the field for years is a liability (one reason my mom didn’t return to lab work). And that’s part of the problem.

  37. #37 Yvonne
    June 29, 2010

    re: dealing with citations

    I am a writer of sci-fi and fantasy who got my BA in Linguistics and then thought long and hard about going further. I love the sciences, took chem classes for fun, and generally think Kuhn is misused by people in the Humanities, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with STEM so far.

    But I totally get where you’re coming from with the copyediting bullshit (and citation notation is copyediting -it has NOTHING to do with how good your science chops are). Recognize that this is a silencing technique. All prescriptivism is a form of silencing.

    It was bad enough for me that I got a certificate in editing just so I could combat the voices of prescriptivists who fucked with my writing. That’s my strategy: beat ‘em at their own game, become the authority and then use that power for good.

    What I did about the citation thing was to create a script that puts citation information into different formats. They want APA? Cool. Click button. MLA? No problem. Click ‘nother button. CMS? Well at least they’ve got some fucking style. Click the big button with the gold stars ’cause CMS rulez. And if they want to tell me my ideas are shit because I didn’t put the period in the right place? Well, I wish there was a button I could click for that.

  38. #38 Cara
    June 29, 2010

    I hope Pretty Dumb has since found some lady who appreciates his, his…well, I hope he’s happy. But honestly, with people like that, is there any point to trying to argue? Why not just say “thank you for sharing your worthless, unfounded opinion”? Why say anything at all, really?

    Well, largely because stupid shit is said constantly, and if we allow stupid shit to stand (out of boredom or ‘politeness’ or a misguided sense that we’re shaming those who spout nonsense), then stupid shit is given equal weight in the conversation. And, as the poets say, fuck that.

  39. #39 skeptifem
    June 29, 2010

    Wow Yvonne, that is really cool. Making software to solve problems like that is neat!

    I think my instructor is in the same boat as me, my final essay was about how stupid and classist all this was and I got a good grade for it.

  40. #40 Endor
    July 1, 2010

    “Yeah, I think TheGoodMan missed the point.”

    That a bulldozer could knock me over. WTF is he still doing here? Still pretending to be a feminist?

    Cara totally called it, however. His worthless, critical-thinking-free posts need to be called out for the audience’s sake.