I asked myself what style we women could have adopted that would have been unmarked, like the men’s. The answer was none. There is no unmarked woman.
There is no woman’s hair style that can be called standard, that says nothing about her. The range of women’s hair styles is staggering, but a woman whose hair has no particular style is perceived as not caring about how she looks, which can disqualify her for many positions, and will subtly diminish her as a person in the eyes of some.
Women must choose between attractive shoes and comfortable shoes. When our group made an unexpected trek, the woman who wore flat, laced shoes arrived first. Last to arrive was the woman in spike heels, shoes in hand and a handful of men around her.
If a woman’s clothing is tight or revealing (in other words, sexy), it sends a message — an intended one of wanting to be attractive, but also a possibly unintended one of availability. If her clothes are not sexy, that too sends a message, lent meaning by the knowledge that they could have been. There are thousands of cosmetic products from which women can choose and myriad ways of applying them. Yet no makeup at all is anything but unmarked. Some men see it as a hostile refusal to please them.
Women can’t even fill out a form without telling stories about themselves. Most forms give four titles to choose from. “Mr.” carries no meaning other than that the respondent is male. But a woman who checks “Mrs.” or “Miss” communicates not only whether she has been married but also whether she has conservative tastes in forms of address — and probably other conservative values as well. Checking “Ms.” declines to let on about marriage (checking “Mr.” declines nothing since nothing was asked), but it also marks her as either liberated or rebellious, depending on the observer’s attitudes and assumptions.
I sometimes try to duck these variously marked choices by giving my title as “Dr.” — and in so doing risk marking myself as either uppity (hence sarcastic responses like “Excuse me!”) or an overachiever (hence reactions of congratulatory surprise like “Good for you!”).
All married women’s surnames are marked. If a woman takes her husband’s name, she announces to the world that she is married and has traditional values. To some it will indicate that she is less herself, more identified by her husband’s identity. If she does not take her husband’s name, this too is marked, seen as worthy of comment: she has done something; she has “kept her own name.” A man is never said to have “kept his own name” because it never occurs to anyone that he might have given it up. For him using his own name is unmarked.
A married woman who wants to have her cake and eat it too may use her surname plus his, with or without a hyphen. But this too announces her marital status and often results in a tongue-tying string. In a list (Harvey O’Donovan, Jonathan Feldman, Stephanie Woodbury McGillicutty), the woman’s multiple name stands out. It is marked.
Re: makeup. Reminds me of an event for women in business where the keynote speaker said that wearing no makeup makes a women appear less honest or truthful than wearing just a light touch of makeup or foundation or too much (i.e. cake makeup).
Since I have found no makeup that I’m not allergic to, nor do I have patience to learn how to put makeup on, I have learned over time to be brutally honest.
Even the food we chose to eat marks us in ways it does not for men. Men eat because they are hungry and eat whatever they like (want, take, have), women’s food choices are scrutinized, even by other women. Is she on a diet? Does she realize how many calories are in that? Or maybe she “deserves” that cheesecake flavoured yogurt.
Women’s choices are under a microscope, because we are the subject of the grand experiment called misogyny. Yay.
New rule: don’t use the Latin word “cum” in place of “with” in English unless it’s part of a set phrase, or you have a really good reason.
Yes I’m talking to you, Slate.
I have no interest in recruiting under-respresented minorities (women, black americans, native americans and latino americans) into the sciences. Every time i think about it I think of that MLK quote about integrating people into a burning house. The environment is toxic and I can’t, in good conscious, tell people to subject themselves to it because”science need people like them.” They should do it because they love it, because they’re one of the best, and because they wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. But unless they’re at a few specific places, they will be devalued and isolated and excluded. I’m not going to lie about that.
If they try it and they decide its too hard, its not worth it, they could do something easier for more money and respect, I’ll tell them to do that in a heart beat. Because all of that is true. It takes longer to be fully fledged scientist than it does to be doctor (5 yrs PhD on average, plus a 3-4 year post doc before anyone in industry or academia will consider hiring you, and the time lines on those are only getting longer). If they want to persevere I will respect that, but if they leave, I will respect that too, because they did what was best for them.
People are always talking about a “leaky pipeline” when it comes to under-represented minorities in science. That people start, but they don’t finish, or they finish, but don’t go to the next level, or they go to the next level but ultimately change careers. Thats the problem. Not that there aren’t enough people interested in those fields to begin with. But as long as we pretend that the problem is people not going into the field, we don’t have to examine problems within the field. The issue is “them” not “us”.
So when I say I’m interested in developing programs to increase diversity in science, I’m not talking about outreach. I’m talking about lifting up the people who are already here. I’m talking about giving them support, easing their burdens, and educating the people around them. That’s the work that needs to be done. Not telling highschoolers that science is great and setting a few hydrogen balloons on fire.
Fun fact about American health care: if I ever need an organ transplant, I’ll somehow have to hide my autism, depression, and anxiety from the doctors, or else I’ll be disqualified under ideas about quality of life. It’s really great to know how valued disabled and neurodivergent lives are.
So here’s a thing many people don’t know about me: I used to be a medical data analyst. (I still do it occasionally, but not as a full-time job.) It’s a pretty self-explanatory job: I took data - often in enormous datasets - and analyzed it to find patterns. (Obviously, we couldn’t associate these with individual patients; this was just after HIPAA had come into effect, and so this data was very heavily scrubbed to remove any identifiable information.)
One of the patterns I looked for was quality of life and quality of care for people with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). For our purposes, that meant major depression, bipolar disorder, general anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and “other SPMI” (I encourage you to not send me messages telling me how those categories are terrible, because a) it was ten years ago and b) I wasn’t in charge of the categories.) In particular, we looked at injury, illness, and death in people with SPMI, compared with the general population, while they were in the hospital and at certain intervals after they were released (30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 180 days, and 1 year).
People with severe and persistent illness were much more likely to become ill and/or die in the hospital or shortly after discharge than the “general population”. People with schizophrenia had nearly ten times the deaths while in the hospital, and twelve times the injuries and illnesses.
Just as telling were the notes associated with the patient records. There was a significant pattern in the terminology used. In patients in the “general population”, doctors tended to use the word “is”: for example, “patient is suffering from abdominal cramping”. In patients with SPMI, doctors tended to use the phrase “claims to be”: for example, “patient claims to be suffering from abdominal cramping”.
It was clear to us that medical professionals - in general, I know for a fact that there are doctors out there who don’t do this - were assuming that patients with severe and persistent mental illness were inventing some, if not all, of their symptoms - that the symptoms were not real, and therefore did not need to be treated.
And because of that, these patients were falling ill and dying at alarming rates.
This isn’t personal anecdotes. I spent more than a year analyzing this data - which came from actual hospitals in the United States - and finding these patterns. There’s a problem here.
(I would prefer not to give out the name I was using then in public here, but if you’re interested, message me privately and I’ll see if I can get you links to the articles.)
I* believe there is similar data on Developmental Disabilities. In policy discussions it is not uncommon to hear health issues, both mental and physical, attributed to the DD without investigating if it were accurate or not.
my english teacher used to collect street signs until her students began to steal them for her
like they stole a street sign
that said the street name
they also stole a stop sign in front of this loop in front of my school
and all 100 kids were like stealing signs
my english teacher was the head of a crime ring
I bet the principal didn’t want to believe it…
even though all the signs were there