Lovers in science (was: Re: Mentors)

Pat White squirrel at cco.caltech.edu
Sat May 22 16:42:36 EST 1993


I found the post relating anecdotes about female sexism almost amusing.
After all, women *never* lie to men about sex, do they?  Certainly it
must have been flattering to the professor whose female graduate student
professed, publicly, how irresistable he is to a much younger woman.
I'd like to point out that if she had been seen flirting, willingly,
with him once or twice, he could easily have informed her privately that
unless she circulated such a rumor, he might have marital difficulties,
which might influence him adversely when judging her thesis.  The most
amusing part of the post was that the young gentleman who related the stories
took them at face value.

Sex and politics go hand in hand.  I know a number of women who have had
sexual relations with the men they work for, and universally, I think,
it has caused them no end of grief.  There's:

	The young and brilliant woman who invariably becomes sexually attracted,
	and involved with, her advisors, and upon breaking up, abandons that
	field of study;

	The woman who returned as a professor to the school where her ex-lover
	is tenured, and they *never* interact;

	The woman whose lover seduced so many young female scientists
	that she must act with inhuman tact when dealing with anyone outside
	a close circle of friends;

	Even the woman who was relatively well treated during and after
	her affair with her advisor still had her heart broken when he 
	wouldn't abandon his lab, wife and family and follow her to her
	new job.  (Really?  He wouldn't?  Shocking!)

Maybe I'm cynical.  But while I know that many scientists find a logical
mind, an independent spirit and innate curiousity extremely attractive,
working under them is one thing, and <ahem> working under them is another.
Many other women find my puritannical outlook disturbing, but I think that
having sex with one's advisor, or superior in any fashion, to be a
BAAAAAAD idea.

		Patricia White.



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