Thus Spake Zuska
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Thus Spake Zuska

Friday, July 28, 2006

Feedback From the IT Screen Goddess Gals

Sharon of the Screen Goddess IT Calendar has written to me to say

I'm glad to see all the research yo haev done - here's my 20 cents worth- Defying steroetypes in only part of the work. best wishes Sharon ( AKA Dr NO - It Goddess Calendar Grandmother)

Sharon, I must sorrowfully disagree; this is not 20 cents worth.  You have misspelled "you", "have", stereotype", and "is" in only two sentences.  Also, I believe "IT" is capitalized.  I might be willing to assign the value of one penny to your comment.

At My IT Goddess Rant, Sharon quotes Hedy Lamarr thus:  "Any woman can look glamorous - all she needs to do is stand still and look stupid."   I leave it to the reader to further evaluate Sharon's thoughtful participation in the Screen Goddess IT Calendar project and her insightful blog. 

I will only mention this about using Hedy Lamarr as your "inspiration" for participating in this sorry project.  Yes, Hedy Lamarr was a beauty of the silver screen who invented "frequency hopping", the idea underlying spread-spectrum communications technology.  And what did the nice lads at the National Inventors Council say when she wanted to keep working there, after she'd turned over her patent to the government?  No, Hedy, this is boys' work; you'll do much more good for the war effort if you flash your tits to sell war bonds.  It is true, she helped sell a great deal of war bonds by trading on her celebrity status, which was based in large part on her scandalous nude scenes in the film Ecstasy.  How many people do you suppose remember Hedy Lamarr today for her invention of frequency hopping?  How much good did she do to advance the cause of women in science?  Admittedly that wasn't her expressed goal - she just wanted to keep mucking around at the inventor's council because she liked doing that sort of stuff.  Which, her being a screen goddess, didn't make sense to anyone.     

In a separate comment, Sonja, she of the "American Beauty" pose, is distressed to find the fundamentals of science have not been followed in my post.  I am not conducting a science experiment here, I am writing a blog about engineering, science, and gender.  Nevertheless, that is no reason to do away with facts, logic, and reasoning, as Sonja points out.  So, here we go.

The comments here I am sad to say ARE misinformed.

Sonja has not identified which, if any, of my comments are misinformed.  I said calendars like these are not aimed at young girls, but rather at adolescent boys and pervy men who want to drool over the stereotypical objects of male fantasies.  I said that the folks who made the IT screen goddesses calendar think dressing up women like fancy whores will attract young girls to IT careers.  I said they thought that the inappropriate objects of male lust in the movies were good role models for young girls. 

Sonja says,

The facts are that to be a commercial success the calendar has to be visible, attractive, and popular - or it will raise neither awareness nor the money to invest in projects to encourage women into technology...Movies and media are constantly focussing [sic] on actresses and models who are attractive and scantily dressed, and magazines for teenage girls devote pages to makeup and attracting boys...[they] are seen as...people to admire...if that is what people want, [isn't] it better that the role models they see are limited to actresses and models...[rather than] a frumpy geek who can't get a boyfriend...We chose the screen goddesses theme...we believe...we ought to be admired hence the analagy [sic]...  

I don't see any obvious contradiction between what Sonja says and what I said.  The major difference is that Sonja thinks this is A-OK and I think it is a hideous mockery of women's aspirations and achievements.

Sonja thinks she is saying to the world, "Look, I'm smart AND sexy!"

I think she is saying to the world, "Look!  No matter how smart I ever am, you can count on me not to threaten the stereotypical understanding of the female role in society, which is to be constantly available sexually to any male who wants me, to be constantly concerned with my appearance and whether or not I am attractive to males, in the way that society defines as attractive, according to current standards of beauty on display by anorexic models and Hollywood actresses whose airbrushed images are plastered all over the media.  You may now jerk off while gazing at my hot body.  Feel free to disregard my intellectual accomplishments, except insofar as it makes you feel superior and powerful to imagine yourself sexually dominating someone like me and seeing me reduced to what I really am, a cunt, no matter what I say about my fancy IT career.  This should help you in treating other women the same way, no matter who they are or what they've accomplished as well. Proceeds from the cost of this calendar go to encouraging young girls to consider careers in IT.  Happy jerk-off!"

Why is Sonja so confused?  She thinks there are only two choices:  Nerdonna or Whore.  As I make completely clear in my essay " 'Suzy the Computer' vs. 'Dr. Sexy':  What's a Geek Girl to Do When She Wants to Get Laid?" forthcoming later this year in "She's Such a Geek!" (Seal Press), this is a completely false dichotomy.  If you want to get a good idea of what a Dr. Sexy calendar might look like, go look at Sexy Science Version 1.0.  There's no reason a calendar like that couldn't be published.  Also no reason that money to encourage young girls to go into IT couldn't be raised in some other way that does not trade on the flesh of women.

Or why not dress up like famous women scientists?  There are plenty of great portraits of nifty women scientists and engineers.  I know, I know - nobody wants to jerk off to women scientists.  And it's not as much of a turn-on for you, is it Sonja?  Because face it, you don't really find yourself, as an IT practitioner, to be very sexy, now do you?  Just Sonja the IT goddess - not sexy enough. If you want to pose like a Playboy pinup, fine, go ahead.  Just don't pretend you are doing it for a sanctified cause.  Because it makes me want to puke on your fancy whore shoes.          

4:35:40 PM    comment [] trackback []

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Geek Gorgeous vs. Sexy Science

Two blogs I recently discovered that I really like:. 

Joolya writes Naked Under My Lab Coat.  Thanks to Dr. Shellie for that link!  Here's a nifty post. 

Via Joolya I found Sexy Science Version 1.0, which brings you "the hottest science currently going on today and the hottest scientists behind that work".  This is a so much more sensible way to break down stereotypes about scientific and technological competence rendering one nerdy and ugly than the ill-begotten Geek Gorgeous calendar. 

The Geek Gorgeous calendar does not represent a positive development for women in technology.  Calendar photos show women provocatively dressed and posed, draped in technological objects.  The calendar's producer, a female software engineer, asks "What is so wrong about intelligent women showing the world that they can be just as sexy and comfortable with their bodies as the bimbos, but hold careers where they are valued for nothing more than their brain power?"  Zuska answers:

  • "Bimbos" are not the standard we should be trying to measure up to
  • Who, exactly, is the audience for this calendar?  Other tech women?  Young girls?  Or adolescent boys? 

Despite her insistence that the calendar does not objectify women, March's model is posed nearly identically to the cover girl on Playboy's "College Girls Spring 2003 edition".  The calendar's producer believes "Geek Gorgeous" shows women proud of who they are.  But presenting technically competent women as sexy bimbos in the manner of familiar male fantasies does not "take the power away from men to view women as one-dimensional sex objects".  It encourages everyone to view technologically competent women as just one more variation on the male sex object.

What's different about the Sexy Science site?  It does not strip the scientists from their context, strip their bodies of their normal everyday clothing, and sexualize the tools of their trade.  You won't find airbrushed boobs bound in ethernet cable here.  Also, you won't find the scientists referred to as "models".  You'll find chemists and engineers (actually pretty heavy on the organic chemists, so either there's a prejudice for chemistry there or all the really cute folks are in chemistry) and detailed descriptions of their work and then pretty normal-looking real-life photos of people, in their labs or at their desks or with their students.  At Sexy Science, the science is as sexy as the scientists.  Which is a whole lot sexier than College Girls Spring 2003 + some blah blah about IT that no one will read because the only people who will buy this calendar are adolescent boys and pervy guys who want to jerk off while looking at it.  

A similarly misbegotten calendar has been produced down under by another IT industry worker who also thinks that advertising IT women as fancy whores, I mean screen goddesses, is the way to recruit the nation's young girls into the IT workforce.  Yo, what is it with IT and the calendars?  Lots of controversy around this one, and an attempted denial of service attack on its website.  The Australian Computer Society had the good sense to withdraw its sponsorship from this calendar when it found out what the photos were going to be like.  Yes, "goddess" Sonia, I so think posing like the inappropriate object of Kevin Spacey's lust in "American Beauty" is a good way to encourage adolescent girls to consider careers in IT.  

Since there are so many more men than women in IT, why not make a Chippendales calendar of IT men?  Wouldn't that be a more sensible way to show adolescent girls that IT is a sexy, glamorous career option and that they ought to check it out?  They will be wanting to meet all those hunky guys in the IT workforce so they'll be clamoring to be let into the IT classrooms.  I just can't imagine giving a young girl a Playboy pinup calendar and having her say "yeah, I wanna go work with HER!"  Unless...could this be the stealth lesbian recruitment campaign?  

Does a Chippendales calendar for a 12-year-old girl seem somehow less wholesome than Geek Gorgeous or Screen Goddess IT?  Do you think the lesbian recruitment idea is ridiculous?  

If you find that ridiculous, may I just point out how frickin' poisonous this whole calendar business really is?  That, while we are trying desperately to break down gender stereotypes that keep girls out of the science, engineering, and IT workforce, producing a calendar that ENSHRINES stereotypes about female beauty standards and being the object of the male gaze is oh-so-counterproductive.  Duh.  Zuska recommends that if you find either of these calendars in anybody's office, you should puke on their shoes.                    

7:14:57 PM    comment [] trackback []

Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position - Workshop

Grad students, postdocs, this was in my email inbox.  Run, do not walk, to file your application!

Dear Female Graduate Students and Postdocs,

Will you be actively searching for a faculty position in the near future?  You may be interested in applying for this upcoming Rice ADVANCE workshop on "Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position", October 22-24 2006 - hosted by the School of Engineering and School of Natural Sciences at Rice.  We are expecting young women from institutions across the nation to apply.  Participants will be selected after applications are reviewed by the Rice ADVANCE Leadership Team and faculty in the Department you designate.  Travel costs will be paid for those selected to attend the workshop. 

More details and the online application can be accessed at this website.  The workshop flyer can be downloaded from the website homepage.  Please note that the application deadline is August 15, 2006.   

Rebecca Richards-Kortun, PhD, Workshop Co-Director

Professor and Chair of Bioengineering, Rice University 

2:22:15 PM    comment [] trackback []

Monday, July 24, 2006

At the Ministry of Science and Culture

Last night I had one of those dreams where everything seems familiar but strange, where time seems scrambled and you don't know if it's the past, present, or some dystopian future.  I was in my car, and Culture Club was on my car radio, with pretty Boy George singing "Karma Chameleon".  I'm a man who doesn't know how to sell a contradiction...But then it seemed like one of those weird rap remixes because I thought I could hear a man in the background saying over and over something like "Do it, do it, do it to Julia!  Do it to Julia!"  There was a newspaper on the passenger seat and the headline said something like "Party Denies Rat-Caging Allegations". 

Anyway, I'm in my car, driving...somewhere...the Ministry of Science and Culture?  I was on my way to a press conference, I'm sure of that.  Then, you know how it is in dreams, the scene changes, and there I am at the Ministry.  A Mr. Meyerburger steps to the podium and begins fielding questions.  This is what I heard.

Q.  Sixty prominent scientists issued a report saying there is a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific findings by high-ranking Party appointees, and that these actions have consequences for human health, public safety, and community well-being.  What is the Party doing to address this?  

A. This malreport is a partisan attack, the work of conspiracy theorists.  The Party has been proactive in challenging the work of scientists that appeared flawed to the Party.   

Q.  Why does the Party continue to deny the existence of global warming? 

A.  The Party does not question the existence of climate changeThe reality of climate change does not imply a unique Party responseRegulations and incentives have ungood implications.  The Party believes climate change is an issue that must be addressed by the world.* 

At this point in the dream I couldn't tell if I was really dreaming or if I was awake.  I tried to wake myself up from the dream but I couldn't.  It was just like this movie I recently watched, Waking Life.  Anyway, the questioning went on.

Q.  Is the FDA pressuring scientists to alter their work for nonscientific reasons and provide misleading information to the public?

A.  Information presented to the public by the FDA is FDA approved.  FDA wants all its scientists to present FDA approved information when speaking to the public.  The Union of Concerned Scientists is a known leftist organization.       

Q.  What are we to make of this web site on the failure to approve Plan B for over-the-counter use despite what the data showed, and what its own advisory committees recommended?

A.  The recommendations of FDA advisory committees are advisory in nature.*  FDA has put together a doubleplusgood website to answer all your questions about Plan B, currently classified as ungood by the FDA for over-the-counter use following sexcrime. 

Q.  Is there a larger pattern of the Party suppressing scientific information that clashes with political or religious views the Party favors?

A.  The Party believes that science is about the search for knowledge and we should teach the debate and we can never have enough information about the world around us and we must keep gathering data and asking questions, even about the very definition of science itself. 

Q.  But isn't it true that federally-funded pregnancy resource centers, often affiliated with antiabortion religious groups, are incorrectly telling women that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, infertility, and deep psychological trauma, meanwhile denying them vital health information

A.  This is a routine attack by shrill harpy leftist commie latte-sipping east-coast kneejerk baby-killing liberals that is nothing new.  The Party agrees with* pregnancy counselors who tell women abortion, which results from sexcrime, will increase their risk of breast cancer and infertility

Q.  Is the Party allowing religious belief rather than science to influence its decision whether to make a cervical cancer vaccine available to poor girls?

A.  You can't catch the virus, you have to go out and get it with sexcrime.  Poor girls can prevent it by having the best public health method, and that's not having sexcrimeMaking cancer vaccines readily available might actually encourage sexcrime.  Then they will want abortions, which will increase their risk of breast cancer and infertility.  Not that we mind if poor girls are infertile.  They breed like flies. 

Q.  The Party's recent appointee to the No Child Left Out of Math Classes Task Force has devoted her career to proving that men are innately better at math than women.  Doesn't this send exactly the wrong message for the Task Force?

A.  The Party believes no child should be left out of math classes.  The Party believes that male and female children should be given the kinds of math instruction that are appropriate to them, just as we do for white and nonwhite children, and rich and non-rich children. 

Q.  Doesn't all this signal not only the Party's general disdain for science, but hostility to women, their health issues, and career aspirations?

A.  The Party venerates Womanhood most highly.  The Party wishes to protect Woman by keeping Her safe from sexcrime, from the ugliness of a cruel and competitive business world, and from our vile enemies overseas.  Sacred Woman, at home, nurturing our young - it makes the Party want to weep with joy.  No further questions. 


Text in dark blue is directly quoted from news articles or documents on web sites that are linked to within the question or answer containing the text.  In some cases the link text itself is a direct quote from the linked source; these links are followed by an asterisk, "*".  Thanks, of course, to George Orwell's"1984" and to the Newspeak language he created.  A dictionary of Newspeak can be found here.   

5:31:33 PM    comment [] trackback []

How to Start a Racial Diary

Skookumchick over at Rants of a Feminist Engineer is keeping a racial diary as part of a project:

A friend of mine asked me to be on a panel she was organizing at an interesting sounding conference, to be held in September. She and a postdoc wrote an abstract which proposed that 4 people - including two white people, one of whom is me - would keep a "racial diary" for a month and then use it to talk about unearned privilege and prejudice, particularly all the little things that we White people tend to overlook.

What a nifty idea for a conference panel!  What a nifty idea in general.  If you are a white person who would like to start keeping your own racial diary as a means of becoming a more sensitive person and better colleague, but you aren't quite sure how to begin, you could start by reading Peggy McIntosh's classic White Privilege:  Unpacking the Invisible Backpack and then just writing down your thoughts and reactions to the article. 

In the article, McIntosh offers a list of unearned white privileges.  It's a pretty dandy list.  Here are just a few:

  1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. 
  2. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
  3. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  4. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
  5. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
  6. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.  
  7. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones. 

That last one is a real zinger, isn't it?  Think of the luxury of all that time and energy I don't have to spend worrying whether people are reacting to me in a certain way based upon my race.  Whiteness is like having an Airport EZ Pass for everything in life. 

2:59:15 PM    comment [] trackback []

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Women Should Boycott Fermilab

I am serious about this. 

First, there's the embarrassingly shoddy way they dealt with Sherry Towers, who discovered a goddam particle, for Christ's sake.  Then, there's their willingness to exploit the unpaid labor of female physicists with children and then plaster their pictures all over their propaganda rags as if they are the #1 happy workplace for women (see the Elizabeth Freeland story). 

But now, we have The Last Straw.  Katherine Weber v. Fermilab  Thanks to Absinthe for providing that link.

Katherine Weber was a mechanical engineer at Fermilab.  Katherine had jock straps and condoms placed in her mailbox.  Yes, dear readers, condoms and jock straps.  And when she complained about it, she was told that she should "be good", "ignore it", or "make a joke out of it".  And later she was demoted, and finally she was fired.  She says it was because she complained.  Naturally, her employer says it was not.  I would just like to go on record as saying that even if she loses her case - NO WOMAN SHOULD HAVE TO GO TO WORK AND FIND JOCKSTRAPS IN HER MAILBOX.  

I am so, so very tired of writing about things like condoms and jock straps and pornographic screen savers and research assistants who get raped for years on end.  (Must be how those folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center feel when they are stuffing envelopes - you know, same old frickin' neo-Nazi racist skinhead Klan-wannabes, same old tired Aryan nations rhetoric, only the venue changes.) This week it's jockstraps in the mailboxes; last week we were simulating ejaculation in the lunchroom; next week we'll just feel her up in the instrument room.  What's the matter, can't you take a joke? Don't be so serious!  We're just kidding around!  Uptight bitch. 

The things that happen to women in science and engineering are ugly things.  They are not pleasant to talk about.  But as Audre Lorde has told us, in The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action:

I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.

They'll tell you to make a joke out of it.  But you should go to the EEO officer anyway.

My silences have not protected me.  Your silence will not protect you...What are the words that you do not have?  What do you need to say?  What are the tyrannies that you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?...[O]f course I am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger...

We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired.  For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definitions, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.    

Women are choking to death in America's national laboratories and university research labs.  And as they drop to the floor, men around them pick up the research findings that fall from their listless hands and say, "Thank you!  This is just what I was looking for."  Then they step over the bodies and walk on.     

So, women:  Don't apply to Fermilab.  Don't accept job offers there.  Don't send your students there.  Don't actively recruit from there.  If you aren't a physicist but you live in the vicinity of Fermilab and want to do something, put a little sign in your car window that says "Women:  Boycott Fermilab".  Because we should not sell the fruits of our labor so cheaply to those so unworthy. 


9:27:47 PM    comment [] trackback []

Thursday, July 20, 2006

If a Sex Change is Too Bothersome For You...

The AWIS Washington Wire mentioned the Ben Barres brouhaha (I did not realize that he had made the pages of Nature!  You go, Ben!) and it got me to thinking.  It's just awesome how Barbara Barres became so much smarter and commanded so much respect simply by going through a radical sex-change operation and getting herself a penis.  Ben's a nice name, and s/he wouldn't even have had to get new monogrammed towels.  Why shouldn't ALL of us women avail ourselves of this simple route to the Nobel Prize? 

It's not like it's such a big deal.  Women are already used to doing all sorts of things to our bodies to deal with the expectations of men.  This would just be a little different.  A mastectomy instead of breast implants.  A hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy instead of birth control pills or giving birth (we already know it's not the kids so much as the ability to give birth that interferes with the career.  In a few years you'll probably be able to just clone yourself a baby in the lab over the weekend anyway).  Then it's on to the phalloplasty (which, if you think about it, is a fascinating subject, and a lifelong hobby for most men).

But suppose you already have a life partner, or children, or parents or friends who don't wish for you to become a man.  I know it sounds crazy, but maybe they think you are just fine, exactly as you are, and think the penis would be superfluous.  Maybe you even feel that way yourself, except for the whole getting of a job and being given respect thing.

I have a modest proposal to make.  But first, I must first give credit where credit is due.

I admit to being inspired by my dissertation committee.  I don't know which of them in particular pronounced this judgment upon me after my defense, for these words were related to me later by my thesis advisor when he described to me the discussion that had raged after I left the room:

"When she first started talking, we weren't too sure about her, but then she really demonstrated her ability to perform penetrating analysis."  

There you have it.  Judgment rendered by a group of penis-owners.  I, though lacking a penis, could nevertheless penetrate with the best of them.  

So instead of the usual post-defense gifts and festivities, newly-minted female PhDs should be awarded their very own personal codpiece, a la King Henry VIII.  Each shall wear her codpiece for the first time at commencement, marching in not to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance, but rather to Bo Diddley singing I'm a Man.  We shall wear our codpieces at every seminar, lecture, and faculty meeting, signifying to all present our ability to perform penetrating analysis.    

I think it helps if you can display a sense of irritation with your listeners, interrupt them before they finish asking their questions, and say things like, "that's covered in chapter two of my dissertation," in a tone of voice that conveys you think they are dumber than a bag of hammers.  Despair drove me over the edge into a peevish, scornful, seething anger at my dissertation defense, but apparently that's exactly what penetrating analysis is like.                 

1:25:08 PM    comment [] trackback []

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Shake Off The Dust Under Your Feet

And as a follow-up to my last post, take a gander at what Female Science Professor has to say:

At my university, there has never been a woman department chair in science, engineering, or math in the entire history of the university. A dean recently told me that it will probably be another decade or so before this even has a chance of happening. I have female colleagues with outstanding organizational and leadership skills, but when it comes right down to it, the men can't see having a woman for a boss. During a recent conversation about this topic, one (male) professor here told me that he thinks successful women science professors are 'scary'. My unspoken response was BOO! My actual response was to stare at him incredulously.

That's just one of the good parts.  I really wish she had actually said BOO!  That would have been so cool.  I urge all of you, if you find yourself in a similar situation, to say BOO!  Actually, that's probably not a good idea.  It would just confirm the fear in their tiny little brains. 

So, I urge any sympathetic male readers, if you find yourself in on a conversation where a man says this to a woman professor, you should respond by doing the following:  raise your hands in the air and wave/wiggle them while saying "You mean like this?" and make ghost noises, the way you did when you were a kid and wanted to scare your younger brother or sister.  Then laugh.  At the other man.  And say, "You have GOT to be kidding.  You are SCARED of successful women professors? Have you got ovary envy or something?  Hah hah hah hah"  Exit while continuing to laugh. (Only do this if you have tenure.)  (last sentence optional, only for advanced advocates who know their adversary well.) 

Now, I am not a fan of men policing each others' masculinity and trying to make each other feel like "pussies" if they aren't all "hard" and tough (must I even draw your attention to the multiple connotations of this language and how it explicitly devalues women?   so that when you are insulting your buddies, it's at the expense of your wife, mom, daughter, or girlfriend, dudes).  But since you are going to continue to do it anyway even though you SHOULD NOT, why not use it here in support of your female colleague.  Make fun of your colleague for being afraid of women professors.  What is he, a fucking wimp? 

I am encouraging you to be complicit in misogyny and homophobia in order to combat misogyny and homophobia.  But, if you are AWARE of the misogyny and homophobia involved, I think it is okay.  It's sort of like that martial art whose name I really cannot summon up (damn you, Topamax) where you turn your enemy's strength or attack back against him.  Or, like Wonder Woman with those nifty gold bracelets; you just hold up one arm and deflect that bullet and it ricochets around and goes right into the shooter's head.  

Now, back to that dean who confidingly told Female Science Professor that, sadly, even though here we are in 2006, it will be at least another decade before there is even "a chance" of there being a female department head in science, math or engineering at Resistant University.  Different tactics are called for here.

  1. Inform the dean that this is the most sorry-ass excuse for leadership you have ever seen in your life.  
  2. Or is this university really so crappy that no woman in her right mind will come here as department chair? 
  3. In either case, you are getting the hell out of Dodge.
  4. You open the door, and in strides Xena, Warrior Princess, ululating as she raises her sword.  She head-butts the dean, kicks him in the gut, then runs him through...

Wouldn't that be beautiful?  But this is the 21st century, not ancient Greece, even if the dean and the rest of his henchmen desperately clinging to the vestiges of patriarchal power afforded them via their status as Engineers In the Academy Who Defend the Standards are mentally living in some distant era.  So your best revenge is to live well, which I say means: 

Go not into the way of the misogynists, and into any city of the Resistants enter ye not.  But go rather to the Welcoming Universities and the High Salaried Industries.  And as ye go, preach, saying equitable treatment is at hand.  Provide maternity leave for the graduate students, recruit women who took a few years off to have children,  bestir the emeritus and senior professors to share their experience with junior faculty, fire the harassers; freely ye have received from NSF and NIH, freely give grant-writing tips to junior faculty...And whatsoever university or company offers you a job, enquire among your network who in it is worthy; make them your colleagues and mentors.  If the workplace is good, praise it; if it is good, may your peace be upon it along with tenure and promotion; but if it turns out to be a hellhole, do whatever it takes to keep/regain your peace and execute your exit strategy (always have an exit strategy).  And whosoever backstabs you and blocks your tenure, rejects your proposals or your papers, when you blow out of Dodge for greener pastures, shake off the dust under your feet.  Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that university when the Title IX bandwagon rolls into their hometown and cuts off their funding.  Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:  be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.      

7:50:30 PM    comment [] trackback []

Book Project Call For Interviewees: Women in STEMM

Many thanks to Science Woman for alerting me to this very interesting call for interviewees for a book project titled "Where the Girls Aren't", over at a blog called Green Gabbro.  Finding this new blog (new to me) is also cool!  I'm sure I've seen Yami's presence elsewhere on the web; why have I not been to her blog before?  Go forth and read, for she is good.  Here's about the book project:

[A] science and tech writer in my extended social network just landed a book deal on women’s experiences in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM). She’s looking to interview women and girls from all walks of sciencehood; if this sounds interesting to you, details are below the fold.

Two similar works are Talking About LeavingWhy Undergraduates Leave the Sciences by Elaine Seymour and Nancy Hewitt, and Leaving ScienceOccupational Exit From Scientific Careers by Anne Preston. 

Seymour and Hewitt's book may be more well known.  Elaine Seymour was a recipient of WEPAN's Betty Vetter Award for Research in 2000.  Talking About Leaving documented that the shameful attrition rates in engineering and the sciences were not the result of separating the wheat from the chaff.  The fleeing students were among the most highly qualified, and, I know this will come as a huge shock to you, but - well - just guess which groups had disproportionately high loss rates.  I'll give you a hint.  It wasn't the white males. 

Preston analyzed data from 1700 men and women who received degrees in the natural sciences or engineering between 1965 and 1990 and placed this data in context with federal funding and market force pressures on scientific career trajectories during this period, finding differences in male and female exit patterns for the 49% of those who left science. 

I'm much more familiar with Seymour and Hewitt's work.  However, from what I know of both, it sounds like the project that generated the call for interviewees above might dovetail nicely with both these books.  Seymour and Hewitt's book is rich in anecdotes, data analysis, research summary, and theory, but it focuses at the undergraduate level.  Preston's work looks at postgraduate workforce issues, and includes an analysis of how common factors have a differential impact on men and women's decisions to stay or leave.  It provides statistical analysis along with illustrative anecdotes.  However it doesn't necessarily look deeply at the experiences unique to postgraduate women in academia that affect the decision to stay or leave. Not the "will my proposal get funded?" or "should I take that industry job for double my current salary and half the hours I work now?" worries or dilemmas.  No, I mean, the stuff like

  • There are only two women in this WeAreTooRealMen Engineering department.  At the departmental retreat, the schedule shows at the end of the first day "Let's all gather at the hotel pool for an hour of swimming and relaxing!"  We don't want to seem uncollegial, but we don't want to appear in our swimsuits in front of 17 men we have to work with.  Will they talk about us if we don't go?  Will they talk about us if we do?  (A true story, some details slightly altered.)
  • I've just defended my PhD and I'm getting interviews but no offers.  I finally found out why.  I got an anonymous letter from someone after my last interview, just signed "A Friend", letting me know MY THESIS ADVISOR was writing to the places I'd interviewed and telling them I was no good. (This one had a reasonably happy ending.  She sued his ass.  He lost his job at Ivy Envy U.  She's a full professor at Prestige Public U.  Should you find yourself in a similar situation, you may want to consult with Absinthe.) 
  • I am the only woman of color in the entire college of engineering.  They want me to serve on everything that even sounds like it has the word diversity somewhere connected to it.  They want me to mentor every student of color.  They want to trot me out at every fundraising event to show how they are "working their diversity plan".  They say things like, "I hope you don't feel like you got your job just because of your race."  They say things to me like, "Well, I'm glad we were finally able to hire a woman of color."  Why can't they say things like "Well, I'm glad we were finally able to attract one of MIT's best electrical engineering PhD's to our university"? I just had my three-year review and they told me I'm not publishing enough and not bringing in enough research money. 
  • I'm a physicist working at a national lab.  Last year I discovered a new particle!  This year I'm going to give birth to a baby!  I'd like to take the maternity leave that the written policy says I'm entitled to.  I have a meeting with my supervisor in a few minutes.  I'm going to let him know.  I'm sure it will be fine because the baby won't be coming for six months yet and that gives us plenty of time to plan and schedule things.  It's not like I'm sick or anything; that, you can't plan for.  You know, like when men have heart attacks.
  • At hiring time I was told that publications and research were the most important things for tenure.  I have 12 papers in Science and NSF has opened their coffers and told me to take whatever I want.  Six engineering firms are fighting to license my incredible patented gadgets.  I just had my three-year review. My undergraduate students write remarks on their course evaluations about my clothing.  They say my breasts interfere with their learning.  My department chair said that teaching is one of the core missions of a land-grant university and I need to improve my course evals or start thinking about places where I might find a "better fit" for my priorities.  

Okay, I may have exaggerated just a tiny bit on that last one.  Everybody knows funding is tighter than a botoxed socialite

6:33:02 PM    comment [] trackback []

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ethics in Physics-Land

Lest you think Absinthe and I are shrill, hysterical harpies, may I direct you to this Physics Today article from 2004 titled "Ethics and the Welfare of the Physics Profession".  An APS task force undertook a survey on ethics.  Here's the good stuff:

  • The 1987 APS statement on integrity in physics reads, in part, "The physics community has traditionally enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for maintenance of high ethical standards and integrity in its scientific activities. Indeed, the American Physical Society is one of the few professional societies which has not felt the need for a formal code of ethics."  Hee!
  • The task force reported that "By far the highest response rate and the most extensive and heart-felt answers to the open-ended survey questions came from the junior members of APS-that is, physicists within the first three years after getting the PhD."  Nearly half of them responded, a lot of them within hours via the web. 
  • "In contrast to the high response rate among junior members, only a quarter of physics department chairs responded to the survey they were sent. "
  • "Particularly shocking to the task force was how often the words 'abuse' and 'exploitation' were used to describe the treatment of graduate students. A number of junior members suggested that ethics training should first be made mandatory for professors, so that they could 'learn how to treat their students and postdocs in a humane way.'  Several wrote of the 'powerlessness' of graduate students and postdocs, who depend on their supervisor for letters of recommendation and therefore cannot afford to blow the whistle on instances of mistreatment."

Dear readers, please note that the vast majority of physicists are white males.  Therefore we can assume that the vast majority of the junior members describing abuse and exploitation are white males.  And that's what it's like to be one of the privileged ones in physics.

Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, another article published in 2004 in the Chronicle of Higher Education asked the question "Is Graduate School a Cult?" (no subscription needed).  Author Thomas Benton was talking about the humanities, and was half tongue-in-cheek, half serious, but I think his remarks are chillingly relevant for women - hell, for any decent human - in science and engineering.  

For all its claims to the contrary, graduate education does not seem to enhance the mental freedom of many students, some of whom are psychologically damaged by the experience...[graduate school seems] to have a lot in common with mind-control cults. It's not difficult for a casual researcher to gain entry into the bizarre world of cults and anti-cult activists. A quick Internet search will inevitably lead one to...Freedom of Mind Center. [Steven Alan] Hassan was a member of the Unification Church...[he is] "America's leading expert on cults."  For anyone who has been in graduate school, numerous portions of Hassan's outline of the mind-control practices of cults will seem weirdly familiar...[and] mildly disturbing.  Hassan calls his outline the "BITE Model," which stands for behavior, information, thought, and emotional control. Let's review a few of the traits of each category and see if any of them sound familiar.

    • Behavior control: "major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals"; "need to ask permission for major decisions"; "need to report thoughts, feelings, and activities to superiors."

    • Information control: "access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged (keep members so busy they don't have time to think)" and "extensive use of cult-generated information (newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc.)."

    • Thought control: "need to internalize the group's doctrine as 'Truth' (black and white thinking; good vs. evi;; us vs. them, inside vs. outside)" and "no critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate."

    • Emotional control: "excessive use of guilt (identity guilt: not living up to your potential; social guilt; historical guilt)"; "phobia indoctrination (irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority; cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group; shunning of leave takers; never a legitimate reason to leave"; and "from the group's perspective, people who leave are 'weak,' 'undisciplined. ' "

Are you experiencing some shock of recognition? I was particularly startled when I learned that recent college graduates are one of the groups most frequently targeted by cult recruiters.

Women scientists, say goodbye to your identity guilt.  Visualize positive, fulfilling futures for yourselves, devoid of pinhead control freaks who desperately cling to power by sucking the life force of younger, more talented individuals.  Do not shun those who have left academia as if they are diseased and proximity might infect you with their plague.  Vacation on Planet Zorn as needed.  Slap on your anger tiara and read Natalie Angier's Woman:  An Intimate Geography.  Photocopy and blow up good parts and leave them lying around the physics lounge, just for grins.  Hey, if they're still putting up the girlie calendars in the labs and pornographic screen savers on their computers and riding lactating mothers out of national labs on a rail, then I think we can offer up some top-notch science-writing about the exquisitely designed clitoris and its 8,000 nerve endings, which need no man to make a woman happy. 

12:33:42 PM    comment [] trackback []

Zuska Recommends a Dose of Absinthe

Like the drink itself, Absinthe's blog is a strong distilled spirit, the effect of which is to heighten your sense of the truly screwed-up world that is U.S. academic and national lab physics.  Also like the spirit, Absinthe-the-blogger has been treated as if she were a source of insanity and banned - booted out of the world of physics.  And finally, like the spirit, you may find Absinthe's blog to be somewhat bitter.  Yet I think that is part of its virtue.  Absinthe has certainly discovered the planet Zorn, and is wearing her tiara there quite comfortably. 

If you are a woman scientist or engineer considering suing your present or former employer, then Absinthe's blog is most definitely for you!

I must modestly confess (ahem) that I seem to have inspired Absinthe to release her Inner Pissed-Off Woman and share her with the world.  I am so proud!

Yesterday I said a little thanks to Ben Barres for remembering the ladies.  To the sorry-ass portion of the science and engineering establishment:  If particular care and attention is not paid from now on to us Pissed-Off Women, we are determined, along with all our allies including people like Debra Rolison and Ron Wyden and Barbara Boxer, to foment a rebellion.  We will not offer ourselves up to any laboratories, university or national, in which we would have to call your sorry asses "boss".  We will not give you the fruits of our labor and let you call it "your" RO1 grant proposal, or "your" Science or Nature paper, or "your" newly discovered particle, or "your" computer program.  We will not work for free and let you pretend you are doing us a big giant favor out of the goodness of your heart because you feel so sorry for us because we are not good enough to get a real job.  (Hmm, I think I am going to have to work this up into a pledge for woman who decide to boycott toxic all we need, as Debra Rolison suggested at WEPAN 2006, is a guerilla website that lists and tracks the toxic labs.  I think I know someone who might be interested in doing that...) 

It's a crappy world for women in engineering, but geez, I'm starting to think those physicists are putting the engineers to shame.  I want to make sure you get the details of that Fermilab propaganda piece straight.  

Elizabeth Freeland earned a PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins, foolishly took five years off to have a family while unfortunately married to a physicist whose career blossomed while hers languished (he didn't take any time off to have a family; they didn't share child-rearing duties while both scaling back career aspirations; they didn't both work slavish hours while farming out their children).  Clearly he must be more serious about his career and/or a better physicist, no?  Anyway, poor benighted Elizabeth tried to ressurect her career.  The article says

A full-time job demanded research experience [uh, like she didn't already have any from those Johns Hopkins years? Zuska carpingly interjects.  Do newly minted PhDs arrive somehow differently qualified?], so after sending out numerous letters looking to help labs on "small projects," she came to Fermilab hoping to collaborate on summer research. Although Freeland said the lab's staff was encouraging, she needed a grant to support her research. And the grants required her to have a full-time affiliation with less than a five-year break after graduate school. [Zuska is sure these requirements are not meant to be discriminatory.  Sure.

She claims the lab's staff was "encouraging".  Say, can anybody there at Fermilab tell me how physicists define the word "encouraging"?  I'm thinking hindering, unfavorable, untimely, and negative might be part of their definition. 

So, to summarize: 

  • She wanted a job, but they said she needed a grant.
  • She needed data to get a grant.
  • She needed daycare to have time to get data.
  • She needed money to pay for daycare.

This system of equations cannot be solved - 4 equations, 5 variables.  Or wait, it can!  Freeland worked part-time as a physics teacher at the School of Art Institute of Chicago.  That allowed her to pay for daycare to have time to get the data to apply for a grant.  And she got one!

Now, here is the interesting part.

  • When Freeland was covering her expenses with Art Institute money, she was working for Fermilab "for free". 
  • Once she had a grant - she was working "for Fermilab". 

The grant source?  An American Association of University Women American Fellowship that "did not require full-time affiliation with an institution, and did not exclude those out of graduate school for longer than five years".

See, that fits MY definition of encouraging. However, it does NOT fit my definition of working "for Fermilab".  Because those pinheads were not actually paying her, were they?  No more than they were when she was working "for free". 

I think Fermilab owes the School of Art Institute of Chicago a big, fat thank you.  If she's working "for Fermilab" when the AAUW pays her, then I say she's working "for Fermilab" when the Art Institute pays her.  What's the difference, really?  Well, you and I and Fermilab know what the difference is, don't we.  Some penised pompous ass in a white coat says there's a difference and so there just is. 

"The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities - a natural defectiveness."  Good old Aristotle - he's just timeless, isn't he?  The female working for free is working for free by virtue of lack of a certain kind of money.  The male working right next to her, whether he's as smart or as good as her or not, is working for Fermilab by virtue of his GRANT.  Which, no doubt, is quite large.  

Now, go back and look at that Fermilab propaganda with all its happy happy pictures of mom with kids.   Fermilab just has no shame, do they?   Trotting out their exploited women to make it look like they are all supportive of women scientists; we're supposed to get the warm fuzzies from Freeland and her kids.  Makes. Me. Want. To. Puke. On. Fermilab's Shoes.   

9:52:16 AM    comment [] trackback []

MIT: Thanks for Nothing!

My horrible headcold won't let me sleep, so here I am.  One advantage to headcolds:  I don't seem to get migraines when I have them.  A tradeoff of head miseries.

A few new additions to Zuska's blogroll:

Absinthe and Dr. Shellie.  Of Absinthe, more in another post coming soon.  I had mentioned Dr. Shellie previously, and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to add her to the pantheon of goddesses.  Read this fabulous post about the woman who told MIT "no thanks, I'd rather not sign up for 5 years of soul-crushing ruthless career-ruining discriminatory sabotage in the guise of 'healthy' competition followed by denial of tenure that you call a job offer".  Well, maybe not in those exact words.   As an alumna of MIT, I must say, I am quite happy they are not getting the chance to suck the marrow out of this brilliant woman scientist and then spit out her bones. 

Alla Karpova, the fabulous woman scientist, is going to an HHMI research lab instead - Janelia Farm in Virginia.  Email your congratulations to  The Nobel Prize winner who stands accused of not wanting to mentor, interact, or collaborate with Karpova, and of saying the members of his research group would not work with her, is Susumu Tonegawa.  I am not suggesting that you look up his email address on the MIT website and send him an email, but if you did, you might say something like:

As a women scientist/supporter of women in science/parent of a girl who might someday go into science, I am very upset about the news article MIT Star Accused By 11 Colleagues.  I noticed on the NIH website that over the past 4 years, you have been the PI on 12 funded grants.  (For the time being, I'm willing to overlook the piddling sum I saw on NSF's site.)  As you know, the NIH is the "primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research".   That means taxpayer dollars pay for your research.  As a taxpayer, I am concerned as to whether or not federal funds are being used in an educational setting that discriminates against women - which, of course, is illegal (see Title IX). In 2001, RO1s were averaging about $300,000 to $330,000 per year, so that adds up to roughly $1 million, which I admit is petty cash in Scienceland.  (Though I'm sure you were an above-average RO1-er, no doubt.)  The real goodies are the center grants.  There are five 5P50 and four 2P50 specialized center core or project grants on your list for the past four years; some run for five or ten years.  Five years here, ten years there; pretty soon you are talking serious cash.  Centers for neuroscience research like your Picower Institute are limited to $1.5 million per year and I am sure someone of your stature was able to obtain the full amount.  So that's looking like $45 million from four of your grants.  And I think that's enough money for the public to start wanting some accountability.  Of course, this doesn't even take into account the individual project grants supporting various research projects in your center.  Here's something else I noticed in the guidelines for Silvio O. Conte Centers for Neuroscience Research:     

[Centers] should provide opportunities for young investigators who have the potential for independent research careers to become skilled in the experimental strategies, approaches, and techniques of modern neuroscience research.  In addition, there should be close coordination between the Center and relevant predoctoral and/or postdoctoral research training programs of the participating institutions.  Special attention should also be given to the recruitment and training of minority students.

As a taxpayer, I am paying you not only to do research, but to mentor and train young scientists.  Graduate students and postdoctoral students in other laboratories who could benefit from the resources and work in your center should and must have access to those resources.  To deny them access is to violate the terms of the federal funding you accepted.  To deny them because they are women or minorities is to violate Federal law.  I hope this is not the case in your center.  I am thinking of asking my senator to look into this. 

Sincerely yours,

A concerned U. S. taxpayer and/or a concerned scientist and/or a concerned parent 

Interestingly, a gentleman by the name of Dr. Mark Smeltzer offered NIAID an annotated version of one of his funded RO1 grants for use on their web sites as a learning/mentoring tool for young investigators.  That was sort of stupid of him to just give that information away to his competitors, but then, he hasn't won a Nobel Prize, has he?  Well, at least they were honest on the web site about how difficult it is to get this kind of help.  Clearly the senior scientists aren't providing it.    

2:39:25 AM    comment [] trackback []

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Simple Method for Women to Improve the Quality of Their Work

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer had a nifty little story about Ben Barres, who used to be Barbara Barres.  Ben/Barbara is a neurobiologist.  Here is my very favorite quote from the article:

After he undertook a sex change nine years ago at the age of 42, Barres recalled, another scientist who was unaware of it was heard to say, "Ben Barres gave a great seminar today, but then his work is much better than his sister's."

There's nothing in the world like objective peer review, I always say.  Nothing in the world. 

Apparently, Ben has not had nice things to say about Lawrence Summers, Steven Pinker, or Peter Lawrence, standard-bearers for the Penis-Is-Mightier-Than-the-Brain Club.  Has Ben Barres been accused of being a shrill, hysterical harpy as a result?  Well, try this exercise:  Google "Ben Barres hysterical".  Then Google "Nancy Hopkins hysterical".   

Larry refused to comment for the Inquirer. (Probably just as well, dude - you've gotten yourself into enough trouble with your mouth already.)  Curly and Moe, I mean, Steve and Pete whined that Ben had "misrepresented their views and unfairly tarred those who disagree with crude assertions of racism and sexism ".   Pete had this to say:

Lawrence said it was a "utopian" idea that "one fine day, there will be an equal number of men and women in all jobs, including those in scientific research."

Here's another utopian idea:  one fine day, I won't have to read this dreck anymore. 

Lawrence also tells us

females on average are innately designed to empathise, to communicate, and to care for others. Males tend to think narrowly and obsess, while females think broadly, taking into account balancing arguments.

Awwwww....that is so sweet.  We're all kind and nurturing, except for when we are enraged, castrating feminists, or shrill hysterical harpies.  Well, I guess that's what happens when you go against nature and try to become a scientist - you start secreting those lesbo harpy hormones.  Which interfere with your ability to do math anyway, even as they destroy your femininity.  Or something like that.    

Personally, I do not care for others who make these kinds of stupid assertions.  I would like to communicate to them that I do not feel much empathy for their desire to keep women down, and even if they don't recognize their all-encompassing, societally broad obsession with keeping women down, of which science's sorry-ass state of affairs is but one manifestation, I do. 

I encourage everyone to read Cynthia Burack's The Problem of the Passions  and Mary R. Jackman's The Velvet Glove.  Women are angry as much as they are nurturing.  I think we ought to be even angrier, more often.  Certainly stubborn sexism disguised as "I just want to help the ladies" ladled out by the likes of Peter Lawrence and his ilk ought to at least make you angry enough to feel like horking up your breakfast on his shoes next time you see him.

In an earlier post, I ended by encouraging my readers to imagine themselves as the princess of the planet Zorn (you'll just have to read it to learn why).  One of my commenters wrote to say that zorn means anger in German and therefore he/she would not want to be princess of Zorn.  I say:  even better.  Zorn is exactly the planet women scientists need to take up residence on and rule, dammit.

Empathy, communication, and caring are HUMAN traits available to all of us; most men choose or are trained not to practice them.  Labelling them innately female, labelling mathematical prowess innately male, devaluing one and over-valuing the other, is one of the crudest forms of sexism there is.  Well, aside from raping your research assistant.      

p.s.  Thank you, Ben, for remembering the ladies.       

11:02:02 PM    comment [] trackback []

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mourning Denice Denton

A friend recently wrote to me "Thanks for your blog that tells the world that being a woman in academia shouldn't have to hurt."

I am so very depressed about the death of Denice Denton, and I know that many other women around the country must be as well.  Denice was chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an accomplished electrical engineer.  She achieved so much in her brief 46 years that it staggers the mind. 

From the AWIS Washington Wire:

On June 24, 2006, the scientific community lost a valued leader. The community was saddened to learn of the apparent suicide of Denice D. Denton, chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz, a talented electrical engineer, and champion of educational diversity and equality.  Her death is deeply felt by her many friends and colleagues and AWIS would like to offer its condolences to her family and acknowledge her immense contributions to the lives and careers of so many women. 

AWIS President Donna Dean writes, “Words are inadequate to express the deep sense of loss for those of us who were privileged to be among Denice's colleagues and friends. She was never afraid to stand up for those underrepresented in science and engineering. Denice was always willing to carry the message wherever and whenever it needed to be heard and to encourage others when they needed a hearty ‘you can do it.' In honoring and remembering one so vibrant, so energetic, and so visionary, we can recommit ourselves to making it a world where the cost of commitment to a just cause is not so dear."

More information about Denton's life and career can be located here To see how other friends, colleagues, and leaders remember Denton and to offer your own tribute, visit here 

 The Chronicle of Higher Education's cover story this week is about Denice's death, and the intense criticism she was under during her time as chancellor at UC Santa Cruz.  Conservative assholes cruelly mocked her death:

On the blog Moonbattery, named after a slang term for liberals, a post titled "Death of a Moonbat" alleged that Ms. Denton "celebrated Gay Pride weekend by taking a leap" off the building. The Web site also said Ms. Denton used the "corrupt and opaque University of California system to finance the lifestyle of a degenerate czarina, courtesy of California students and taxpayers."

What can I say?  Conservative assholes are conservative assholes.  But this really takes the cake.  Making sport of a dead woman.  That's sooooo cooool.  I invite my readers to leave appropriate comments on Moonbattery's site.  Denice was openly lesbian in a profession where homophobic taunts are often used to intimidate young women in the classroom or workplace.  Of course, for that, she had to be punished - not just while living, but on after her death. 

Being a woman in academe, indeed, should not have to hurt.  The cost, for Denice and for ourselves, is still far too dear.        

4:53:36 PM    comment [] trackback []

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