Hey, it's good to see a little action in w.i.b. again.
Regarding "femininity" in science - I think Angie really hit home with the
part about self-confidence. Trusting my ability to do good scientific work
really has made a difference in the non-academic parts of my life. (Although,
sometimes it seems like there isn't any). I am more confident in fixing things
around the house, working on my car, etc. I always figure, 'well, hell, if I
can manipulate dna, I can certainly (fill in the blank)'. I find I run into
two types of stereotyping, sometimes even in my family - if I'm a scientist
then I certainly wouldn't understand anything as practical as mutual funds
and stocks. And since I'm just a girl, how can I understand what's going on
under the hood of my car?
I really see a difference in women who are just entering the graduate program
here. They are much more tentative than the male students. They also seem
(at least to me) less focused and sure of what they want to so. Or maybe they
are just less likely to talk about it. The women in the undergraduate lab I
taught last semester did also seem to be less confident in their abilities.
Although some of the best students were women. Maybe they were just more
likely to ask for help, and therefore do it right, than the guys.
I think being a scientist has made me lose a great deal of what society
calls femininity - I don't try to please everybody, I don't defer to the
men around me when I know better, and everyone knows my opinion.