Where we've been

aloisia schmid a-schmi at uiuc.edu
Tue Oct 21 01:16:17 EST 1997

In article <19971020172800.NAA24401 at ladder02.news.aol.com>, junekk at aol.com
(JuneKK) wrote:

> I, too, add my thanks to Mary Ann Sesma, Susan, and all others who have
>  commented on this thread.  
> I think it is important to consider that although there is no question that
>  gender bias still exists in science as well as in many other fields that
>  things ARE changing.  If nothing else, it certainly must be acknowledged that
>  generally speaking,  overt prejudice is not tolerated in today's culture and
>  can be considered, "politically incorrect".  Does it still happen- yes, of
>  course, but things are changing...

Actually, I thought that one of the things that Mary Ann Sesma made a
point of saying was that there are some women who refuse to acknowledge
that discrimination exists and prefer to believe that all is well.  While
i agree that things are changing, I am not sure that your sanguine
attitude is fully justified.

> I also have to say that I'm uncomfortable with terms like "old boy" systems
>  because I think it infers that all "old boys" are clicky and biased; clearly
>  not true...I feel that it also empowers those "old boys" who ARE biased by
>  giving them this title that makes it sound as though they are all
powerful and
>  ever-present.  This can make many aspiring women scientists feel very
>  by the present situation, and I don't think, it is necessarily accurate
>  (depends on the situation...)...

Well I have to disagree here.  First of all, I have never considered the
term "Old boys network" to be in  any way flattering to the men it
includes.  If anything, it sounds NOT omnipotent---it sounds rigid and
narrow-minded and fairly unenlightened--- in fact, it strikes me as making
the men in it sound kind of stupid.  It is certainly not flattering. 
While I concede that alot of men want to be IN that crowd (it makes life
alot easier, after all) I am not sure they would be proud to be identified
with it.  As far as intimidating women with it is concerned, I think it is
far more intimidating to women to have it not be discussed, to just have
it be there, looming as yet another thing they have no access to and will
probably never understand.  For me it is extremely empowering to have
these kinds of things discussed because it provides a framework for
understanding it all.

Lastly, I do not agree that the term "old boys" in any way implies that
ALL men over a certain age have the same attitudes towards women.  I don't
thik ANYONE would think that.  But the thing is, there ARE attitudes
towards women that are not fair and not intelligent and not enlightened
and those kinds of attitudes, as you yourself said, WERE more prevalent in
the not so distant past.  I guess the point being that I hope that the old
boys network will die out, but I think   its name is fairly apt, (at least
I HOPE so)---and its connotation isn't a flattering one.


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