Women scientists in fiction

Bharathi Jagadeesh bjag at ln.nimh.nih.gov
Wed Jan 4 16:21:30 EST 1995



:   Karen Allendoerfer's comments (Jan 3) about Meg's mother in "A Wrinkle In
: Time" by Madeline L'Engle brought back great memories of reading the
: series.
:   
: < Mrs. Murry runs a biology lab off of her kitchen at home, and
: < thus manages to combine work and family life in an almost seamless fashion, 
: < complete with jokes from the kids about "well, mom, I hope you don't get
: < any nasty stuff from the lab in with the dinner," or some such. 


Wasn't there anyone (other than me) who was disturbed by this depiction?
Mrs. Murray was the ultimate Supermom. She had four kids, a nobel prize,
an active career, a social life (remember Louise, the pediatrician?), and
she could whip up great meals in her lab. Oh, and her husband had a
time consuming career, too.

She reminds me a little bit of that comerical, where a model sings
"I can bring home the bacon, whip it up in a pan, and never let
him forget that he's a man . . . because I'm a woman!"

I'm a firm believer that it is not possible to have it all without
making some sacrifices. (though not necessarily giving up anything,
just making some compromises).

Oh, Mrs. Murray was also beautiful, never missed a school play --
at least that I remember, didn't need child care (even when her husband
had been captured by the Evil Forces). And who ever heard of running
a biology lab in your house anyway -- what about animal care and use
committies, radiation safety, and biohazard and chemical waste
disposal?

The Murrays' view of science (and L'Engle's) was a little to sanitized and
simplified for me.

Bharathi Jagadeesh




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