Re. having it all: kids, the academy...

Karen Lona Allendoerfer ravena at alumni.princeton.edu
Sat Aug 29 12:02:06 EST 1998


Una Smith wrote:

>ravena at alumni.princeton.edu (Karen Lona Allendoerfer) writes:

>>My sense is that the "if you can't be supermom, you just shouldn't
>>bother" crowd is awfully loud and vocal, and their sniping takes a
>>lot of effort to ignore.

>I have never understood why so many people dish out such nastiness.
>Or why so many people on the receiving end put up with it.  It takes
>a lot of effort to listen to these nasty comments and then dismiss
>them.  It is a lot easier to ignore them in the first place.  To do
>so, though, it helps to be very sure of yourself, or very isolated.

Una, there is a lot of wisdom in what you say, especially the Susan Page
book . . . 
here's a partial answer to "why so many people on the receiving end put up
with it."  They "put up with" it because they are socially-oriented and
want human contact.  They are hoping that this contact will be the good,
nurturing kind, although it too often turns out to be the bad kind.  They
"put up with it," because the alternative, withdrawal, is equally, or even
more, unattractive.  

For me, this "ignoring them" is far from "easy," because I am not at all
sure of myself, and because I find that isolation has its own particular
pain and suffering associated with it which can be, over time, as
mind-numbing and depressing as overt nastiness.  

Besides, for some of these things that we're talking about--like organizing
an on-site day care center at a research institute--you are likely going to
need allies.  Isolation is a difficult position from which to get anything
done.

Karen





More information about the Womenbio mailing list