Re. agressiveness vs dependency

S L Forsburg forsburg at
Thu Nov 20 13:26:00 EST 1997

> aloisia schmid (a-schmi at

> And the reverse question---especially if you feel you have been
> treated
> unfairly as a woman in science, how can you be a fair and impartial
> mentor
> to male students, especially if you also have female students? I
> wonder
> if you don't subconsciously favor one over the other? I'd be
> interested
> to hear....

No, I don't subconsciously favor one or the other, and I think
I can be a fair and impartial mentor to all my students.  They
are each different people, regardless of gender, and I deal with
them as individuals with different needs.

But, I do think Alice's point about the men feeling uncomfortable
with women is valid--partly because our society has a knee-jerk
reaction about older men mentoring younger women, and the
hypersensitive fear of being misunderstood in a litigous age.  (And
there are some women, alas, who have taken advantage of that--very 
few, but they poison the well for everyone else, including those
with legitimate complaints).  I don't think
that the same fear enters into older women mentoring younger
men;  we all accept that as a desexualized relationship.  So
I really do think it is easier in that regard.

Also, men who have problems with women are unlikely to
choose to work for one.  

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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at
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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