Hobgoblins along the way: What to expect in the “hard” sciences

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Engineering and Feminism

The future for women in engineering!

Re-imagining Engineering

The following is my script for the brief opening comments I gave at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas event “Is it a feminist position to encourage women to work in male-dominated fields?” on Monday October 28th.

 

I did not become an engineer because I was a feminist. I became a feminist because I am an engineer.  I didn’t start out interested in, or even aware of, the whole “women in STEM” issue.  I found it when I got here.

 

I became an engineer because it was the natural choice for a kid who was interested in math and science, and it never occurred to me not to become an engineer just because I was female. In some ways I was extremely lucky—growing up with a father who worked in a technology company was a bonus, and he helped set me up with mentors from an early…

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Rethinking ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

Loved this post, so I wanted to re-blog.

Media Navigatrix

[Obvious spoilers if you have yet to see the movie. (I am basing none of these opinions based upon the book.)]

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I love this movie. I love the casting, the acting, the cinematography, the costumes, the music, the writing, etc… However, I watched it again last night and saw it in a new and troubling light. My boyfriend was in and out of watching it with me and made a few comments that I found surprising. Mostly because I was proud of him for saying them, but also surprised that I agreed with him because I had not thought of the messages in the movie quite that way before. Let me explain…

His comment: Andrea’s boyfriend completely overreacts, and her friends treat her like crap, yet she is the one who apologizes at the end.

Why I agree: I never got the sense that she changed as a person, which is…

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I have no problem with men’s rights activism

Lower case.

Feminism discusses and targets women’s issues.  Likewise, men have every right to advocate and support causes that concern them, as well.  It’s all about the civil rights.

While I appreciate pro-feminist men, I honestly don’t expect men to understand what are ‘feminist issues’ (for example, portrayal of women in the media, street harassment, etc.)  The culture that women live in has some elements that just do not overlap with the culture that men live in, so we can’t expect them to really understand all the issues.

Likewise, I am not perceptive of all the issues concerning men.

However, I doubt that advocating for men’s welfare is in the sincere interests of capital-case Men’s Rights Activists, who – from what I’ve seen – mainly complain about the fact that feminism has nothing to address men’s rights interests.

Um, because we deal with women’s rights issues?

However, good luck to the MRA’s who are truly dedicated to their cause, and not just writing hate comments on the Internet.

Women in STEM fields are not exceptions

I normally don’t like blog-ranting, but today I just had to.

Mind you, it’s all my fault.  I took the liberty of reading some anti-feminist blogs and read some comments that made my rage boil over.

Basically, the comments went something like this:

Men and women have different brains.  Men are better suited to science and technology, while women largely choose psychology, humanities, and “empathy” (apparently this is a subject.)  While there are “exceptions”, there is no need to encourage women in STEM fields and force them to do something they don’t want to do.

I’m not going to link to any of the original blogs because I don’t want shitty traffic coming here. But GHAAARRRRGHH!!!!!!!!!

Here’s the thing: these male chauvinists use pseudo-science to justify why women just ‘naturally’ choose the softer, lesser skilled subjects that will pay less while men choose more lucrative fields.  Also, they’re wrong.

Currently, there are more women than men with PhDs in the biological sciences.  Medical school enrollment is roughly 50/50 in gender distribution, and women are drastically catching up in other fields – notably chemistry, civil engineering, and environmental engineering (my field!)

Now that more women are entering higher education and/or professional fields, it makes sense that more and more women are also entering STEM fields.  Three of my friends have undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and are currently in medical school.  I am going for my doctorate in environmental engineering, one female friend in civil engineering, and one in electrical engineering.

Not to mention that there are plenty of men who also pursue liberal arts degrees, such as history, psychology, political science, and business.  It’s just a matter of choice.  Male chauvinists try to gender subjects based on how brains are “wired” (and I wonder how they know so well how brains work?) and conveniently assign women the lesser-skilled subjects.  In my opinion, there aren’t enough people in STEM, period.  A lot of people go for arts degrees because they are easier to get.

So in conclusion, I am a woman, who likes science, along with other women, who like science, who are not exceptions to their biological sex by liking science, and I’M DAMN PROUD.

Mentally Strong People: 13 Things they Don’t Do

Adonis Diaries

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Mentally strong people have healthy habits.

They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life.

Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Dont Do

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

3. They…

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Q&A with Jennifer Siebel Newsom: Director of Miss Representation

FEMPOWER Q&A's

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Melissa Seymour: Hi, Jennifer! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom: I’m the writer, director and producer of Miss Representation, a 2011 documentary that challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman or girl to feel powerful herself. In conjunction with the release of Miss Representation the film, I launched MissRepresentation.org, an organization being renamed this fall to The Representation Project. I continue to write, direct and produce documentaries while also running The Representation Project.

MS: What is the long-term goal for Miss Representation?

JSN: Our mission is to transform culture so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age or circumstance can fulfill his or her potential.

MS: Do you think it’s important for women to reach out to one another…

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