are you the secretary?

Wildlife Biometrics Computer 1 CORTEVIL at wildlife.dnr.state.mi.us
Mon Mar 4 12:50:36 EST 1996


Claire Cronmiller <crc2s at virginia.edu> wrote:
>The assumption, of course, was always that, particularly as a 
>science professor, I would have to be male.  On the phone, callers usually asked to 
>speak with <Mr.> Cronmiller. My response: "Speaking."  Result:  long silence 
>followed by stuttering.  So, one day a (male) student came by my lab (walking right 
>past my full name on the door) and was greeted by my undergraduate researcher 
>(Craig).  Craig had been enlightened by his association with my lab, I think, and 
>he thoroughly enjoyed taunting his less fortunate classmates.  I overheard the 
>following exchange from my microscope:
>   Student:  I need to get into Biology 201.  Is <Mr.> Cronmiller here?
>   Craig:  No, but <Mrs.> Cronmiller is.
>   Student:  Well, could she give her husband a message for me?

Let me first introduce myself:
Gina Karasek: I can be reached at ballardg at pilot.msu.edu
(I wanted to make that clear because my computer here at work is 
currently assigned with someone else's e-mail address and name..)

Anyway, as a female wildlife biologist I have also been in numerous 
situations where people make assumptions about who I am and what I do.
When I was working on my Master's research in Idaho, I drove an Idaho 
Dept. of Fish and Game vehicle (supplied by the Dept. for my field 
research). Many people in the very small town in which I was located knew 
who I was ("the sheep lady"- I did research on Rocky Mountain bighorn 
sheep for my Master's), but out-of-towners did not know me. I had a man 
in a pickup pull into my driveway and ask me if my husband was home...
"I am not married" was my reply.
He look confused and asked whose Fish and Game truck it was that was 
sitting in my driveway. (It amazed me that it never occurred to him that 
a female could drive one!!) He explained that he had harvested a black 
bear and wanted to "check it" (Conservation Officers record bear kills, 
skull measurements, etc. from hunters for info. on bear populations, 
harvest, etc.) and had hoped to find a C.O. when he had seen my truck.
He looked absolutely amazed when I explained to him that it was my truck!
Now, I look most definitely female, but I am certainly somewhat 
"tomboyish" looking, and still could barely convince this guy that I was 
legitimate! Back then I wore very short hair, no makeup, and never any 
feminine clothing unless absolutely necessary..
Now, I have very long hair, wear makeup, and more feminine clothes. My 
reasoning??
Back then, I felt I had to "look" the part in order to convince male 
colleagues that I was "one of the guys" (wildlife biology is a fairly 
"old-boy" network and she got the job because "she's a b*tch" or "she's a 
l*sbian" or "she got the job because of affirmative action" have been 
very common ideas in this field.) It has been a strange world for me...
I grew up very tomboyish and wanted guys to know that I was as tough as 
they, so I had to look like it. As I matured (career-wise) I made a 
decision that I wanted to prove that you can be feminine, and a nice 
person, and still be highly competent in the wildlife field. There is 
nothing I can do about being tomboyish- I have a deeper voice than 
average, and love doing what are typically considered to be "men's" 
activities (hunting, motorcycles, wildlife management, etc.); but I did 
change my appearance quite a bit. I am received by many men very 
differently just because of my LONG HAIR! Anyway, I feel I have been 
successful in my attempts to prove women can be competent:
I recently finished my PHD in wildlife biology (while 8 and a half months 
pregnant)! I now work fulltime with the Wildlife Division in my state, 
and MY HUSBAND takes primary care of our 3 month old baby...Now, before 
you cynics say he must be a wimpy guy, let me add:
My husband is a VERY masculine 6'4" man's man who hunts, etc. with me, 
and also works fulltime (but is able to care for our baby half time 
because his office is located at home) as an important timber industry 
leader in our state. He replies when people ask him if he babysits while 
I am working: "No, I am NOT babysitting- it's called PARENTING! The same 
as my wife does when she cares for the baby!"
I have been pleased with my (so-far) contacts here at my job: times are 
changing...most male biologists (even ones who have been around quite a 
while) have been welcoming and accepting of my position in wildlife.
I would love to see other people's stories, or comments...
I would also like to talk about PC (political correctness) for a 
second...
I call humans "mankind"; I call amount of work "manhours", I call a 
hunter "a sportsman"..."MAN" is a word which means humans and to me 
there is no reason to add "and/or women" to these words...It makes the 
distinction that much stronger that men and women are not the same when 
the whole purpose in the first place was to promote the idea that men and 
women are NOT different! 
I do not mind being called a "gal, lady, woman, female, girl, chick, 
etc." IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE CONTEXT IN WHICH IT IS SAID! If it is meant 
as demeaning then I am offended by the "tone" not the "word" itself...I 
think that our society is too touchy about simple semantics and the 
result is everyone gets so wrapped up in the words they use, that the 
true GOAL gets lost in the shuffle...I don't give a sh*t what you call 
me- I am more concerned about the overall goal: that both genders, all 
races, all ages, etc. being treated as human beings. I also understand 
that there are differences between men and women (I gave birth, my 
husband cannot), races (my skin is light-toned, other races are lighter, 
or darker..), ages (my mother has a greater risk of breast cancer than me 
by virtue of her age)...We are not all the same but with a tolerance and 
understanding of the differences SOMEDAY this world will be a friendlier 
place for all (?) 




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