modesty or not?

S L Forsburg forsburg at
Fri Jan 2 15:24:45 EST 1998

Karen Allendoerfer (ravena at writes
> I (and maybe many women) have learned a distorted view of what it
> means
> to be "arrogant." And I think that a double standard for men and women
> contributes to it.

Yes, it's that double standard that gets annoying.  It's okay for
the men to say "I did it", but women are socialized to wait for
someone to notice.  My parents STILL tell me not to be boastful
when I say anything positive about myself.  It's a generational thing.

> My "problem" though (if it is a problem) is that I dislike
> boastful, self-aggrandizing people, male or female. 

Don't most of us dislike such individuals?  I sure do.
But, it should be possible to be matter-of-fact about one's
accomplishments without being an arrogant, boastful
or self-aggrandizing.
> > Maybe we all should sit
> >down at this time (year's end and all), and write a list of
> >major accomplishments: what we deserve credit for!
> I think this is a great idea, but unfortunately, I think that one
> has to be careful whom one shows such a list to.

I think just the act of creating the list should be of use to 
remind us, in this profession full of negative reinforcemnt, that
we are doing something positive. Even if we don't show it to anyone.

This sounds sensible, doesn't it?  But I confess I'm  not very good
at following my own advice!  It's very hard to overcome
years of training and socialization.  I'm resolved to Try To Do 
Better this year.

As an aside, I found an interesting link for the  <A 
HREF="">Women in Biology
 Internet Launch Page</A>.  (My apologies if that looks horrid on 
your newsreader; I want to see how HTML renders on the bionet web

The site I found  discusses the barriers to women in science, and puts 
down many of the difficulties to the socialization of people in the
profession--issues that this thread touches upon.  It was an 
interesting read and you can find it at

No, I don't spend ALL my time web-surfing.  ;-)

DON'T REPLY to the email address in header.
It's an anti-spam.  Use the one below.
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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