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S L Forsburg forsburg at nospamsalk.edu
Mon Jun 16 09:43:25 EST 1997

aloisia t schmid wrote:
...stuff deleted....
> Still,  the behaviour on the part of the janitors is subtle enough so that
> it would be difficult to complain about it.  But the discomfort seems to
> be widespread--a number of women have complained about this. So I guess my
> question is "are there ways of dealing with this that are effective and
> that don't necessarily involve going to the authorities?"

Well, there's not much the PI can do in the case you describe,
because you are right, this IS subtle behavior with "nothing
you can put a finger on".  I would  suggest being courteous 
but distant with the men in question, and let it be known
informally that they give you the creeps.  It's not much,
but in the absence of any actual wrong doing (maybe they
are just weird), it's about all you can do. 

I know exactly what you mean, though;  I've had creepy encounters
in some of the other places I've worked.

>       So there was a new point that I wanted to raise as well.

>       So this second topic that I wanted to get feedback on, is when
> something like Anita Hill or Paula Jones or Kelly Flinn or Aberdeen or
> Tailhook or anything like that comes up in a conversation and the
> discussion seems to get cut off at the knees with the pronouncement that
> "I personally have never experienced anything untoward in any way.  I
> can't help but believe there is a personality type who invites these
> problems.  Certainly in science there is no sexism.  In academics, I can't
> think of a single man who treats women any differently from men.".....how
> do you respond?

I respond with sheer amazement and derisive laughter.  The capacity
for denial of some people....  Of course they've experienced
this behavior.  They just ascribe it to something other than
gender.  It takes a while (especially for the younger amongst
us, who often  believe that the war is already won) to realize
that the only explanation for a pattern of behavior is gender.
Took me a long time to realize it.  So, the woman who responds this
way is assuming that the only explanation for any slights or
difficulties is personality or her work wasn't up to it etc etc.
Maybe if she says it enough, it will be true?

Amanda Cross, the mystery writer, wrote a murder mystery about such
a woman.  It's called _Death in a tenured position_ and while 
somewhat dated, still is a wonderful biting look at academics.

DON'T REPLY to the email address in header.
It's an anti-spam.  Use the one below.
S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 
"These are my opinions.  I don't have  
time to speak for anyone else."

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