sports & baking & frustration!

ktlee+ at pitt.edu ktlee+ at pitt.edu
Fri Dec 20 15:54:05 EST 1996


aloisia schmid wrote:
> 
> In article <32BAC726.754A at pitt.edu>, ktlee+ at pitt.edu wrote:
> 
> > After reading lots of posts on this subject, I am struck by one thing:
> > the notion that to be feminine we must bake, nurture, clean the lab,
> > and be a doormat.  I realize that contemporary society seems to have
> > this image of a woman as always nurturing etc...Don't you know men who
> > like to bake, are great with kids and aren't backstabbers?  ......
> >
> > I don't think you have to choose between science and femininity, but
> > you might have to change your definition of feminine.
> >
> >
> > Karen
> >
> > Donning flame-retardent underware now! (not very feminine I
> > suspect.;-})
> 
> Dear Karen,
> 
>     I just wanted to respond to this on one little minor point.
> 
>     I don't want to leave you with the impression that i was saying that
> in order to be feminine you have to bake, nurture, clean the lab and be a
> doormat.  On the contrary.  What I am saying is that wanting to do those
> things if you prefer they be done---should not relegate you to the
> position of someone who is intellectually inferior.

I agree.  Your post did not imply the feminine vs. science idea.  The 
one I quoted did.  (I'm sorry, my program erases all messages already 
read, so I don't know the name of the woman who said she felt like she 
was choosing.  My apologies.)  My point is really only relevent to 
those people who feel socialized to do that because they are female, 
not because they are neat, as separate from gender.  (Does that make 
any sense?)

 >  I don't understand why it is rigid to be neat, but cool to be
> messy--almost like you're a renegade genius in being able to do good
> science in the midst of chaos.  I will also be the first to admit that the
> people who have done this---lab mommed me---aren't very nice people whose
> opinion I resepect, but it still makes me hesitant to do these things and
> makes me question myself.  (And it's not as though I need help in finding
> things to doubt myself over....)

I know what you mean about the doubts.  However, I have the opposite 
problem with cleanliness.  My office is a sty.  I keep saying I will 
clean it up, but other things keep getting in the way.  I like to do 
almost anything better than clean.  I have gotten the attitude from 
some people that the state of my office is rather unprofessional.  
Nobody has suggested my messiness is a sign of genious.  Maybe I 
should point that out!;-) 
> 
(SNIP)
> though is to have the world be convinced that WHATEVER women do, it's just
> another interesting facet of their personalities and does not indicate
> that they are therefore less suited to the hard stuff, the more serious
> aspects of life.  If they like to bake or clean, or whatever, judge them
> as scientists independent of those preferences.


You have made my point much more eloqently than I did. At some point 
women should be judged solely on what they do, not on whether what 
they do is feminine or whatever.  I did not feel that you, in 
particular, were talking about feeling unfeminine  but a few posts 
seemed to suggest that the fact they liked to bake and clean the lab 
had something to do with their gender and not personal preference.  
There is some validity to that argument as well, but I think perhaps 
we dwell too much on gender.  

I must admit, I write from some personal experience, since, as a child 
I was loud, boisterous and argumentative.  More than once I was told 
to "act more like a girl".  I suspect I am now somewhat over-sensitive 
to people defining femininity by actions that seem unimportant to me.

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify my position as well.  I think we 
actually agree...but I didn't explain myself as fluently as you did.

Karen



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