Moms Love Their Poolies: Day T1–Women in Science

A Real Marine Boot Camp, But Not in the U.S., and Not Justin's Age or Salinity Type


 
Dear Justin,

Am guessing your first day was a lot of waiting around. When did you board the bus for San Diego? When did you arrive? What did they feed you? Is there too much food? Is it edible? What did you do during your hour of free time (and, was it really an hour, and was it really free)?

Anyhow, just letting you know I’m thinking of you and I love you.

Love,
Mom

P.S. Will be enclosing miscellany–whatever strikes my fancy, some of which might strike yours. This first one was because 1) I’ve heard that the military can be a trifle—how shall I put this—“unenlightened”—in its attitudes about women, and because, 2) You are interested in science.

This Am Science...See Flasks, Tubes? (Oh! And Glass Swizzle Stick! This Must Be Mixology!)


 
Excerpt of a New York Times article:
 
Dismissing ‘Sexist Opinions’ About Women’s Place in Science
By Cornelia Dean, Published: July 18, 2006

Perhaps it is inevitable that Ben A. Barres would have strong opinions on the debate over the place of women in science. Dr. Barres has a degree in biology from M.I.T., a medical degree from Dartmouth, and a doctorate in neurobiology from Harvard. He is a professor of neurobiology at Stanford. And until his surgery a decade ago, his name was Barbara, and he was a woman.

“I think because I am transgendered some people view anything I say with suspicion. I am very different from the average person. But I have experienced life both as a woman and as a man. I have some experience of how both sexes are treated.”
 
Q. What about the idea that male scientists are more competitive?

A. I think that’s just utter nonsense. Men just make this stuff up. But when women are made to feel less confident, they are less likely to enter the competition. I think a lot of this is just the way men and women are treated from the time they are very young.

An M.I.T. professor accused me of cheating on this test. I was the only one in the class who solved a particular problem, and he said my boyfriend must have solved it for me. One, I did not have a boyfriend. And two, I solved it myself, g*dd*mn it! If I had been a guy who had been the only one in the class to solve that problem, I am sure I would have been pointed out and given a pat on the back. I was not only not given positive feedback, I was given negative feedback. This is the kind of thing that undermines women’s self-confidence.

If Only This Thinking Were Limited to That M.I.T. Professor (Shown)


 
Q. You write that as a man, you can complete a sentence without being interrupted. Are you treated differently in other ways?

A. It’s when people don’t know that I was a woman that I can really see the difference. Even in just stupid things.

You go into a department store and people are more likely to wait on you.
 

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