Socialization? (Was: on line papers....)

S L Forsburg nospamforsburg at
Wed Nov 11 10:02:19 EST 1998

Karen Lona Allendoerfer (ravena at
>  I've personally found that if I, as a woman, ever did or said
> anything that bore even the vaguest hint or whiff of careerism or
> self-promotion, I was called on it immediately and disapprovingly.

....(several examples follow)...

> I'm sure that the things that everyone says about women 
>  lacking confidence and all that are somewhat true, but I think there's
 > more to the story than
> that. There are higher social consequences for women who are
> self-promoting or aggressive. In my experience, there's always a man
> around ready to "help" you with advice about how not to be that way.

Oh golly, do I hear you on this one!  I remember as a child being told 
that any time I expressed pleasure at how I did in school, it was
boastful and I needed to be taken down a peg.  I still have a serious
inability to "blow my own horn" which is a real problem in this
profession where no one else will blow it.  I'm sure my experience is
similar to other women who find themselves conditioned to wait for other
people ot notice their accmplishments and unable to bring them up
themselves, or worse, find them selves being depracatory.  I also find
it difficult to recognize my own accomplishments at all in the absence
of any external recognition. With this sort of social baggage, there is
little wonder we women have had the confidence knocked out of us.

As for the "helpful" men, they are the same ones who find challenging
questions from a woman to be "bitchy" and also "help" us to stop asking
them.  Those few readers who have been on this list since the early 90s
may recall some male participants whose posts were focussed entirely on
helping us to be less "female" in how we do science.  

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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA

Women in Biology Internet Launch Page
"These are my opinions.  I don't have  
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