Y not??

Linnea Ista lkista at UNM.EDU
Mon Feb 19 16:43:46 EST 1996

On 19 Feb 1996, ED MCNALLY wrote:

> >On Mon, 19 Feb 1996, Ms. S.J. Rickard wrote:
> >
> >> My reference to having a Y chromosome was supposed to be slighty 
> >> humourous, not a criticism, perhaps my British humour is a little
> too 
> >> dry, I shall endeavour to put smileys :) by my sarcastic comments in
> future!!
> >> As to male participation, I still feel that this group should
> revolve 
> >> around womans issues and that men do not necessarily have a place as
> >> active members.  I realise that they have a viewpoint and have
> things to 
> >> say, but I do worry that the purpose of the group will be lost. The
> whole 
> >> of science and the internet is predominantly male and this seems to
> be 
> >> the only place women scientists have a forum, without the pressure
> of 
> >> men. We can talk about what we want to talk about (be it high heels
> or 
> >> childcare facilities) and set the agenda ourselves. I don't want
> this to 
> >> be lost.
> >> I am not a seperatist or feel that men are the enemy, but I do 
> think 
> >> that sometimes it's nice to have discussions without men,
> particuarly 
> >> when we often discuss our treatment by patriarchial society. How
> free 
> >> would we feel if there were male participants?
> >> There are many places on the internet male scientists can access,
> why do 
> >> they need to actively participate in this newsgroup???? I can 
> >> understand men wanting to gather info for students etc or just to
> browse 
> >> and get a feel for how women feel about science etc, but isn't that 
> >> enough????
> >> This is just how I feel, am I alone?????
> >> Sarah
> >> p.s. it was nice to hear from all you non Americans!!!!! (there are
> 4 of 
> >> us now!!!!!!!!!)
>     This male did, and continues to, access this group to gather
> information for his FEMALE biology students (young women-in-bio) who do
> not have access to it and finds it patently offensive that someone who
> wishes that discrimination not occur is ready to cut him out of a free
> flow of information.  I will reiterate that you do not battle
> discrimination with further discrimination, and that while I may be
> here to gather insights, you MIGHT JUST gather some valuable insight
> from a male as well, if you can open your mind to the possibility. 

While I do not think that men should be excluded from the discussions in 
this newsgroup, I do think that Sarah has a point.  When you are part of 
the group underrepresented it is nice sometimes to have a "safe place" to 
go to discuss things without fear that one is going to be attacked by the 
very forces that keep one in the first place. In this case that force is 
the patriarchy.  This is not about being closed-minded, it is about being 

	The closest analogy I can make is to when I was an exchange 
student in Germany. Although I loved being there, enjoyed learning the 
language and the culture, it was tiring, especially at first. I was 
trying so hard my brain hurt!! When  those of us who went in the same 
group met together, we spoke English. This was not to exclude anyone nor 
out of disrespect, merely it was a rest.  
I guess what I am saying is that sometimes it is nice to talk to others in the
 same situation in an environment where one is not going to be attacked for
 being "uppity" and with other people who understand one's situation.  For
  those outside who truly want to understand what is going on in our brains
 in this group this is an excellent opportunity.  What those people must keep
 an open mind about themselves is that being in an underrespresented group also 
means one often times gets angry about stuff. For those who are in the 
class of the oppressors _even if they are not actively doing the 
oppressing_ it is important to recognize that this anger is necessarily 
part of the process of breaking free.  In a society in which men's views 
are almost always taken more seriously than those  of women, it is good 
to have a place where we can express ourselves freely.  I think this is 
what Sarah was getting at.  My apologies, Sarah, if I misinterpreted.

Ed does bring up a point that I have been wondering about for sometime. 
Is it fair to require that a group of people who have experienced daily 
repeated systematic discrimination themselves be completely and totally 
fair while attempting to reverse that discrimination?  Part of me says 
yes, of course, to do otherwise would be hypocritical.  Part of me also 
says that as long as the main discrimination is occuring a lot of 
complaints of "reverse discrimination" are really complaints of a loss of 
priveledge or isolated incidents of unfairness. A prime example of this for 
me is affirmative action in 
the U.S.  Many people are against these programs because they claim it 
discriminates against white males.  But with the "old-boy" system still 
going strong, most of us have had more to overcome to get to the point of 
competing with the people previously favored by the system.  If all other 
things are equal, why not give the job or promotion to the person who 
probably has had the harder time getting there.  Of course this overlooks 
the prblems overcome by individual men, but by and large, the scales are 
still very much tipped in  their favor.

 Sorry for rambling on!

What do the rest of you (guys, feel free to jump in on this too!)?

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