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sports & baking & frustration!

Thu Dec 19 18:10:58 EST 1996

<without snipping from all the past messages>

I've been reading all the messages about baking & sports, and realized that
things that have happened to me are not singular events! Good discussion so

When I was a kid, my father made it a point to NEVER let allow me win when we
were playing games - from soccer to chess & back again. Whenever I won
something, I was always facing a bigger, older, tougher opponent. As I got
older, I played multiple sports - to include starting midfielder on the men's
varsity soccer team. For the first three years, I was the only female player in
the county playing varsity soccer (before women's soccer took hold). I learned
that there were no breaks because you had a ponytail. In fact, I was usually
more of a target for the opposition. After collisions w/ me, and finding out
that I wasn't going to back down from a rough game, they treated me like I
belonged there. My coach was just as hard on me as he was anyone else. My
teammates treated me as an equal on the field - although they did retaliate a
little more vigorously if someone decided to throw a swing at me. When it came
to the game, we were all just people on the same team - trying to accomplish the
same goal. And this was high school - when boys WILL be boys. 
Having had this experience, AND having experienced 'the old boys club' too, I've
come to realize that men CAN treat women as equals - but we have to do it by
their standards most of the time. This is disheartening, to say the least. 

When I was a research asst in college, I was also working in a bakery to make
ends meet. I was one of the people who would decorate birthday cakes -
airbrushing, etc. We were allowed to take home the day-old stuff, and I used to
bring it into the lab office or the department office. "It's just going to be
thrown out so I might as well bring it in," I would think. After the first 4
months of working there, four of the older male prof's would come to me upset if
I didn't bring them their bakery fix for the day. (This included my freshman
research advisor who told me "sweetheart, you shouldn't go into such a man's
career - you just don't seem capable enough." I ended up  switching ADVISORS &
sticking w/ biology - and am now getting ready for my PhD thesis proposal.)
Anyway, once I stopped bringing in the sweets, certain people stopped coming by
& more people asked how my research was going instead of what the flavor of the
day was! 

Sometimes it seems like you can't be both feminine & a good scientist. I feel
like I'm forced to choose between being a bitch or being a doormat. Lately, it
depends on what day it is & how my work is going! I'm not sure if the answer is
to play the non-feminine game that exist in so many places now, or to fight it
day in & day out. I guess I choose which face I want to show depending on the
situation & who is involved. I'm not saying it's the right thing - or it's the
way to make people wake up to the problem - but sometimes it's the easiest way
to do what I want to do (my science). 

On the other line about having to shout above the sports games & such -
I find that some men who are fanatics and really ridiculous about tv sports are
those who must live their sports fantasies vicariously through the
professionals. Others truly enjoy the games & unfortunately have no tolerance
for others who don't like sports. But putting up w/ the rudeness of blaring
games in the lab is ridiculous too. Buy them some headphones for christmas!!!

Sorry this is incredibly long - and if you made it this far, you are a stronger
woman than I!

Robyn Temple
SUNY HSC at Brooklyn

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