There are differences in importance within the scientific career arcs, for different work/life balance issues. And yes, the reason most presentations sponsored by your local post-doc association and/or academic society focus on child-bearing and child-rearing issues is because they are deemed most important.

So while you are feeling miffed at “yet another one focused on the family” try to keep your shit together.

Is it that you are genuinely unable to get the info you need from these or another source? Or is it that you are sitting there fuming about your *perception* that the world finds your issues unimportant or is “telling you” to reproduce? Because some of that is on you and you need to deal.

Can you really not generalize the points being made for your own situation? Elder care, spouse with disability, self with disability… sure, there are differences but there are also a lot of parallels. So take the baby-focused stuff and adjust it for your situation. Interpret!

Or is it that the world does not accept your issue of “balance” as being important?

“I can’t go to that meeting, I have my first Ironman that weekend!”

or perhaps,

“My pitbull needs walkies three times a day so I’ll be missing for two hours at lunchtime”

yeah, good luck with that.

UPDATE: posts from microdro and BabyAttachMode. The latter reminded me that I failed to link to this trigger for the day’s discussion. In it one Clara B. Jones (@cbjones1943) opines:

It is my personal opinion that the major disadvantage for females in
research science careers concerns how to arrange UNDIVIDED, UNINTERRUPTED,
FOCUSED TIME…sometimes, for protracted &/or unpredictable periods.
10. My own “solution” was to surrender custody of my children; however, I
am not recommending this choice to anyone else and know, from personal
experience, that this decision is one that most females are averse to
thinking about.

you know, in case you think *I* make outrageous statements or anything…..

Shocked, I am.

March 1, 2012

Perusing the ‘pedia on the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution I found what I was looking for. I.e. just which States were dragging their heels on giving the wimminfolk the right to vote (like real citizens and everything!)

I was shocked, I tell you, shocked.

ah, a tragic conundrum emerges from the thickets.

Carl Zimmer (yeah, science writer! blogger! our dude! woot.) has published a new profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson (popular science! woot! one of the bigger media presences on science right now, yay!!!).

Then @MiriamGoldste noticed that there was some objecting going on in commentary to her Gplus (which nobody sees cause nobody is on the geeeplus). And she asked,

Should respectable authors publish in Playboy?

My kneejerk response was “No.”. No, I do not think that respectable authors should participate in the continue oppression of women that is instantiated by the laddie-mag, porn-lite, “lifestyle magazine” or whatever you care to call Playboy. The magazine that, articles or not, sells based on youngish women appearing naked and air-brushed and photoshopped to a fair-thee-well.

In both the gplus discussion and in a Twittply to me, @miriamgoldste seems to be pursuing the thesis that Playboy itself is so irrelevant and dinky at this point, not to mention kinda tame, compared with internet pR0n and other sources, we should not be getting our knickers in a twist over this.

So I’m conflicted. I tend to agree that Playboy is tame stuff, the print magazine (even pR0n!) is dying a slow, inevitable death and as far as such venues go…it is semi respectable. However, given that it is the granddaddy of mainstream legitimized pornography, we also have to appreciate the role that this magazine has played in normalizing the pornification of culture. Also the resulting impact on women.

Which ain’t good.

Despite the way I sound, I’m not particularly prudish on this issue. One ideal of Playboy, that of releasing all of us from puritanical restrictions on our sexual beings, is not half bad. I’m down with that. Problem is, the impact seems not to have been as good as it could have been. We’re still fighting the whole woman-expresses-the-sexxah-and-was-asking-for-a-rapin’ thing. And the grown ass men who are fixated on a single age-range of extremely young women as their only appropriate sex target. Not to mention lots of women trying to fit themselves into the 1% plus cosmetic surgery body type/image with a lot of resulting disorders of affect, behavior and eventually metabolism and physiology.

Not being a social scientist, I’m uncertain as to the direction of causality…so I turn to you, Dear Reader. Is our revered scribe off science Carl Zimmer off the reservation on this one? Should he have thought twice?

Should we recognize that free lance writers have to take their pay where they can?

Should we be happy for the opportunity to present something, anything about science to the Playboy audience?

I admit I have a really, really, really hard time getting past someone who can say

I really enjoyed the HBO series, but I didn’t feel like waiting years to learn the rest of the plot. The same thing happened with Lord of the Rings – I saw the first movie, then quickly gobbled up the trilogy, the Hobbit, and even the Silmarillion.

The notion of someone who manages to miss an epic all-time great series like Lord of the Rings until the movies come out…and who didn’t start into the books of GRRRRRR Martin when first seeing the HBO trailers…. Well. I get a little faint I gotta say.

I’m a reader. I like films just fine and sometimes the adapted works can be quite good. But man. The notion that you’d have all your orientations all fucked up by directorial interpretation and Hollywoodification before you read the books makes me a little bit nauseated I gotta tell you.

Since we’re on the subject, please Dear Reader I implore you. Read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books before you see the Hollywood version that is coming out. And for that matter, view the Swedish movies first too. There is no possible way the latest, glitzy movie is not going to suck in comparison with the Swedish movies and, inevitably, the books.

anyhow, the real point is that Blag Hag asked her readers to throw out suggestions for fantasy/sci fi books that weren’t quite so dismally formulaic

when you have a series that’s basically medieval Europe placed on an imaginary map, I’m not sure what you expect. It’s inspired by history, where woman were treated that poorly. I find it refreshing that the plot doesn’t accept that (like in Lord of the Rings), but rather multiple woman try to overcome it.

But I see the point. How many more fantasy novels do we need that perfectly mirror medieval Europe, with women having the roles of wives and nothing more? If it’s fiction, why not make them equal? Or why not make them the ones in charge?

…and they responded. Maybe you’ll find a tip for something you will enjoy reading.

Child Protection

August 25, 2011

Civil society such as the one in the US, where I live, takes a custodial interest in children.

It is not unerring, but then what is? The goal, however, is to recognize that while parents are responsible for their own children, sometimes this goes wrong. Parents can be bad parents and therefore society has a mechanism for intervention on the side of the child’s welfare.

We also force parents to put their children in carseats which may* provide only marginally improved protection in rare case scenarios.

These, and many other societal steps assert that at some point the child has independent rights that must come into consideration. Alongside, or perhaps even before, those of the parent.

I am a fairly staunch supporter of abortion being the decision of the mother into a fairly late stage. And I am a big believer in the slippery slope argument that you can’t give the right wing wackaloons a micron on this issue. I do not by any means think this custodial obligation of a civil society starts at conception. Not by a long shot.

But FFS, the day of birth is one place I’m full willing to let the slippery slope in support of right wing wackaloonery start.

How about you?
*see those freakonomics guy’s claim.