It gratifies me beyond belief after leaving behind the career I’d wanted since I was 4 (and been more than qualified for) some two decades ago because the atmosphere was simply so poisonous I couldn’t get anything done, to see that this is finally being talked about.
It depresses me more than I can say that, twenty years later, it still needs to be said.
I am sick of the locker room. I am sick of the “this is our space and you’ll play by our rules” attitude. I’m sick of pathetic excuses being made for people who have achieved middle age and hence can be damned well expected to know when they are being unpardonably OBNOXIOUS. A grown man who doesn’t realize that nonstop sexual conversation will make the young women around him cringe? GMAFB — he’s not a toddler. He damned well knows what he’s doing.
I am also sick of the unsubtle message that’s communicated to women that there can be only one “girl” in the room at a time, because it sets us against one another if we’re all competing only for one spot.
And I am sick and tired enough to SCREAM over the lip-service being done to attracting women to STEM careers that glosses over the fact that this horseshit is a HUGE part of why women don’t go into or aren’t retained in STEM careers.
I am SICK AND TIRED of the chipper, cute little commentary about “telling girls it’s cool to be in science!” and the stupid interviews with women at NASA that always make sure to ask them, “Did you *gasp!* like math?” with the implication shoveled at girls — who are all completely incompetent at math, right? — not to worry, girls! You can stink at math and still work at NASA! I’ve never once read an interview with Mohawk Guy or Adam Steltzner that asks them, “So here’s your chance to say that you suck at math so men who can’t add two and two can still feel heartened that there’s a place at NASA for them.”
I’m tired of having the “problem” of women in STEM being equated to a problem with WOMEN. They’re not confident enough! Their too scared at being thought uncool! They’re too stupid at math and think they can’t work there! They think it’s not girly pink-n-frilly enough!
Never once is the idea even floated that maybe, just maybe, they get treated like shit by the men there and often abandoned by the lone woman who’s afraid of losing her Queen Bee status as the only woman allowed in the room.
Not enough women in STEM? Gosh, what’s wrong with them?
Here’s a possibility: NOTHING. Maybe we can ask what’s wrong with STEM instead?
Sorry — that was quite a rant. But after twenty years, this is still raw and leaves me sputteringly angry. The older I get the angrier I get — age does not bring serenity when I see young girls and women still going through this fucking shit after I’ve started going grey. Call me bitter, I don’t fucking care anymore. I’ve spent the last two decades trying not to tell myself that Mother Nature made a mistake putting a brain like mine into the body of a creature destined to never be taken seriously, so if you call me bitter thinking it’s some conversational secret weapon that will make me collapse in a pile of little girly tears, you’re a fucking amateur.
Sorry for the profanity.
It was supposed to be better by now. Wasn’t it? I thought it was.