men, women, the politics of baking

Susan Jane Hogarth sjhogart at
Thu Dec 19 15:12:52 EST 1996

> This week I baked a mess of homemade Christmas cookies for lab meeting
> instead of picking up bagels. Why?  Because I, too fell victim to the
> need to show what someone else mentioned-that "I'm a good scientist, but
> hey, I can cook too-see I'm still a feminine type at heart".

Interesting how much empathy this baking thing has stirred... In my lab,
I get a hard time for baking - I use baking as a procrastination
exercise, so I get jokes about missing the "evening shift" at the lab,
etc... *but* they still scarf up the cookies ;-)

> I've been called "lab mom" for my neatening
> habits-but I can't stand to have to clear common use areas before I can
> use them, yet the men in the lab can leave a used agarose gel sitting in
> a gel box growing mold for days.  It just doesn't occur to them that
> they are inconviencing others. Since i have the lowest tolerance of the
> pigsty look, I clean up. 

If you're a woman with a high tolerance for the "pigsty look" it's even
worse - people *expect* you to be neater ;-)

> And one more thing I resonate with-the idea of "wasting your potential".
> This line got me to college, got me to grad school, is sending me to
> post-docdom, and I finally have to stop and ask-what about me? (And I
> confess I'm guilty of using this line on my own sons to get them to
> apply to "good quality" colleges.) Is it so important to "live up to my
> potential" in science if I waste it in my personal life?  After all, I
> have potential in other areas as well.  Is science more important? (No-I
> don't have an answer for this one yet)

Boy, do I agree with you on *this* one! I _detest_ (*really* loathe) the
"wasting your potential" speech - I used to get it all the time. It's
*my* potential, not anyone else's; and *I'll* decide what to do with it!
(In my case my decision just happens to have been that science *is* most
important, at least so far :)
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