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The "married in grad school w/ children" infamous thread

Janet Ott ottj at ELWHA.EVERGREEN.EDU
Mon Aug 29 12:11:25 EST 1994


To respond to the following:

> A few brave souls have now written in to request this thread, which has
> become unbelievably violent linguistically, be ended.  What will it take
> to end it?  I think this thread has shut down a hole slew of dialogue
> because people are just so frightened of seeing any womenbionet mail,
> and because their postings are likely to get so vehemently attacked.
> I do think the net is a good place to share warnings and vent, but there
> is a limit to how much you can humanly impose on your fellow net-ers.
> 
> Will all those out there who want to see some new dialogue please say
> so?  It only take a minute to put in a vote for this?
> 
> I am really sorry that some people have had absolutely horrendous
> experiences.  I try to acknowledge their pain as much as I can.  But I
> don't think this dialogue is at all productive at this point.
> 
> Thanks.
> 
> Alice Dreger
> Indiana U.
 
I would agree.  The ante has been upped and it seems as if the thread has 
gotten as violent in writing as the harrassment the writers are venting 
against.  I would love to continue a *conversation* about ways to deal 
with these issues on campus, if (and only if) we can not go ballistic and 
personal about them.  I am very interested in the issues of feminism and 
gender and how science gets done.  On my campus (a very alternative, very 
PC campus), men are more often shut down than condoned and condemned more 
quickly than supported.  So this is not our issue.  But we do find subtle 
sorts of harrassment and gender related behavior.  We team teach almost 
everything here (which has its good and bad points) and what I find 
interesting are how our students respond.  I find that when teaching 
advanced science (biology and chemistry) to pre-med students, they will 
argue with me about their evaluations (we have no grades, rather, long 
written evaluations of their work and exam results), but not my male 
colleague, whose eval looks very similar to mine, even worse.  As I am 
the biologist and he the chemist, we wonder whether it's a gender thing 
or a topic thing.  We've had conversations about it for the past three 
years.  Also, I find the young men often work out there power issues with 
me and not with my male colleagues.  It is no surprise to find that most 
of these folks have been raised by single mothers, or by parents where 
the father is rarely there.  I find this interesting and wonder if any of 
you out there finds something similar.  I know my roommate from graduate 
school got caught in one of these by dint of group dynamics, whereby one 
woman led a revolt in the last week of school, saying how unfair my 
rommate was to insist that they do the final project (which was the 
culmination of all the labs that they had done).  She asked them had they 
had the same revolt in Dr. So and so's class (who was male).  No they had 
not, they said, and she what was different.  They couldn't come up with 
anything, but she attributed it to the fact that she was female and he 
was male.  So I'm curious if you get any of this sort of thing and more 
importantly, how do you deal with it.  I am also interested in the 
broader question of how to talk to women students who think we don't need 
feminism anymore because there is no sexism, etc.  Right!  Fat chance.  
How do we talk to these young women without alienating them and yet 
giving them the history and the facts?
	Thanks for any input.  I hope I am not engendering more awful 
stuff, but rather turning the topic to a more productive (I'm trying to 
come up with a needlework term that indicates thread, without being a 
"thread" for somewhat obvious reasons, but can't think of any) line of 
discussion.

Jan Ott   Lab I The Evergreen State College  Olympia, Wa.  98505



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