Unwanted advances & diction

tobin at rascal.med.harvard.edu tobin at rascal.med.harvard.edu
Mon Jul 26 18:33:18 EST 1993

Here's my $0.04... $0.02 for each topic.
About unwanted advances from men who aren't so blunt that they try to drag
you off by your hair: it's been my experience that women must be firm in
telling men 'no', even if the advancee is very subtle. By being permissive
you can later be accused of leading someone on, a nasty twist that many
women have suffered. If someone is ogling, there is no need to make a scene,
but a nasty look that would kill most small mammals is a good turnoff. If
questioned about your expression say, "Well, I didn't like the way you
were looking at me either," or something like that. If they sit too close,
pointedly get up and move, and make sure it seems like an inconvenience. I
know it sounds manipulative, but so is infringing upon someone's personal
space, and you have the right to be left alone. If it doesn't stop after a
few hit-em-over-the-head hints, then you have to say something, because a
lot of men don't take anything other than a spoken 'no' for an answer...
and some don't even listen to that.

About qualifiers like "I think" or "IMO": I think ( :-)) that the use of
qualifiers does take the ping out of an argument... but I don't think it
it matters that much when you're talking about science. People don't seem
to care that much about semantics when you're discussing a project, and I
think it does pay to sound open minded. However, it has definitely been
my experience that verbally standing strong when it comes to lab politics
pays off. Somehow, "I really think I need to get that microcentrifuge to
do this project correctly, okay?" doesn't sound as convincing as, "I'm
going to need another centrifuge to finish this project." This seems even
more true of situations that don't involve any science at all... such as
personality conflicts, etc. It seems sad, but I guess my rule of thumb
has become - the more science oriented the discussion, the more relaxed I
can be about "I think" and "I guess"... in discussions where politics are
discussed, I need to be more vigilant. It's ironic that I spend a lot more
time thinking about what I'm going to say when it it _doesn't_ involve
something academic.

Deanna Tobin
TOBIN at rascal.med.harvard.edu

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