Purpose of group

Sarah L. Pallas spallas at bcm.tmc.edu
Thu Feb 15 15:23:36 EST 1996

In article <4fugqd$mb6 at cloner4.netcom.com> ED MCNALLY,
cruyff at ix.netcom.com writes:
>I am seeking information here, not looking to become engaged in a
>posting war.
>What is the purpose of this group?  I accessed it originally in the
>hopes of obtaining information for my female students regarding
>scholarships, career insights, etc.  Is it more of a sounding board for
>complaints?  If so, can someone please direct to a more appropriate
>place?  Any information which can be provided would be appreciated.
>Again, I apologize if this sounds critical, but I am looking for
>information, and the threads on work attire and such are not
>appropriate to my needs.  Please advise.
>                                    Ed McNally
>                                cruyff at ix.netcom.com

You sound as if you feel put upon.  The few posts you've made have
received some flames, and it's worth asking yourself why.  The purpose of
this group, as I understand it, is to promote the careers of women in
biology, and to provide informal mentoring and a sounding board for women
and men interested in women's issues.  It is supposed to be friendly and
non-threatening.  You have already contributed to a posting war from what
I have seen, so if you want to avoid that, just don't respond to
controversial statements about things like abortion.  You will not likely
impress the women on this group by suggesting (however unintentionally)
that we are not capable of making intelligient, well-thought-out
decisions about pregnancy.  As you have noticed, you also won't get much
sympathy when you complain about how tough it is for men in science.  I'm
referring to your complaint about reverse discrimination- when you
mentioned being told that one of your female collegues doesn't like men. 
I'm not saying that hating men is ok by any means, just that when most of
us have been dealing with outright hostility from male colleagues for
most of our careers, your one incident pales in comparison and sounds
quite insensitive/trivial/whiny.  You may not intend it at all, but your
posts so far have come off sounding patronizing.  For example "the
threads on work attire and such are not appropriate to my needs" implies
that they are therefore unimportant and should be eliminated from this
newsgroup.  Start from the assumption that our opinions and concerns are
just as valid as yours, and we are more likely to spend  time helping
you.  Most of us are very busy, as I'm sure you are too.

I'd suggest if there's something you want to know, simply ASK!  You say
that discussions of women's appropriate professional attire do not
interest you, but what about the female students you represent, have you
asked them if it would be interesting?  Why not ask each of your students
to give you a list of questions and then post them here.  Do not assume
that you know what they are interested in.  If something doesn't interest
you, skip it instead of complaining that we are somehow not meeting your

Sarah Pallas

More information about the Womenbio mailing list