Tue Feb 2 11:06:00 EST 1993

>What I noticed is that there was a pretty interesting thread on early
>influences tilting a person toward a science (...or perhaps just an
>adulthood intellect-based profession), when Erica (or was it Erika)
>expressed an parenthetic opinion that PC (politcal correctness) is 'crap' 
>(actually it's worse than that)....when there was an avalanche type counter-
>attack by the lesbian-feminist political correctness wing of wo(man)kind that
>buried the original thread about what piques a young person's mind to such 
>an extent that they become a unique-self-identity.  (Does PC fill that
>bill?...or was there a growing restlessness that a few of the posters were
>citing *males* as early influences...who knows?)

>The autobiographical diaries of survivors from the Cultural Revolution are
>in agreement on several points, especially the vicious cleverness of the
>female denouncers. 

What an extraordinary message.  I have been enjoying immensely the recent discussion 
on PC language, especially from linguists etc who can give very informed opinions on 
the effect of language on our perceptions and prejudices.  I am someone who often 
corrects others on this business of using "man" to mean humanity, he to mean he or 
she etc. Sometimes I succeed in making people more aware of what they're saying, 
sometimes it irritates them.  But it irritates me when I read books or articles which 
presume that one half of humanity is less important than the other half.  It has been 
noted that if you rewrite sentences such as "Early man was a hunter-gatherer" using 
"humans" and the plural instead of "man", you change the impact of the statement. It 
certainly sounds different.  And there is a lot of evidence that the way people speak 
and use language does reflect prejudices inherent in the way they think (Sorry, no 
refs now).  So even if people like Erica/ka, and Steve Modena, persist in thinking 
that non-sexist language is "crap". at least we've forced them to think about it. And 
I feel it is relevant to our positions as "women-in-bio" to discuss such issues.

I'm not sure whether to take Steve Modena's message seriously.  Surely there can't be 
any informed person left who still classes all feminists as lesbians, and any voluble 
women as lesbians and feminists?  The amount of discussion on this network I feel is 
a product of the number of issues we all have to deal with, and the strength of 
feeling about particular points.  It is enormously useful to be able to get so much 
feedback on various ideas, from men as well as women.  I can't believe that SM 
seriously beliieves that a move to a different topic implies that lesbian-feminists 
couldn't bear the thought of men having had positive influences on women. A move from 
one topic to the next is surely just a natural progression.  I was someone who wrote 
that my inspiration to be a scientist was my *male* director of studies.  If we'd all 
needed female role models and inspirations, we wouldn't be here now, since there 
aren't enough of them to go round.  I'm not going to comment on the addition of 
comments about the Chinese revolution, since I don't really know enough about it, but 
I feel Steve may have over-simplified the issue somewhat.

Just me sounding off again, a bit of light relief from my thesis.

Emily Lawson, Lawson at uk.ac.afrc.jii

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