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Lovers in science (was: Re: Mentors)

forsburg at molbiol.ox.ac.uk forsburg at molbiol.ox.ac.uk
Sun May 23 04:34:33 EST 1993

In article <1tm6ocINNglo at gap.caltech.edu>, squirrel at cco.caltech.edu (Pat White) writes:
> Sex and politics go hand in hand.
> Many other women find my puritannical outlook disturbing, but I think that
> having sex with one's advisor, or superior in any fashion, to be a
> BAAAAAAD idea.
> 		Patricia White.

I agree, and the same goes for a relationship with one's , em, inferior.
Right now in the UK there is much discussion of relationships between
students and their lecturers, and is this a Bad Thing?   Based on
years of observation, I think that mixing the personal with the
professional, when there is a strong power disparity, and one
has control to some extent over the other, is to be avoided.  Even
in the rare, very rare cases where it works for the two involved, it
is destructive for those around them.  In the cases where mutual
attraction is overwhelming, steps should be taken to remove direct
professional interaction.  IMHO.

Is it perhaps indicative of a problem that a discussion of
mentors took us into a discussion of sex?  There's a bit of
wink-wink nudge-nudge, oh look, an older man/younger woman,
it can't be ENTIRELY professional, can it?   Sometimes it isnt,
but most of the time it is, and a suspicious and disparaging 
attitude is damaging to everyone.  it's the old men-and-women-
can't-be-just-friends story.  I thought we were growing out of that.

forsburg at molbiol.ox.ac.uk

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