Round 2: Childfree women’s posts answered

From The Hermitage.  And we’re special because we do Social Science.

1. Are there any suggestions about how to look professorial as a young (and young looking and smallish) TT faculty?

Here’s our post on dressing the academic.  Bottom line though:  the younger you look, the more professionally you need to dress.  Also, get an expensive haircut– ask the hairdresser specifically to make you look older.

2. For those of us who like things like pink, skirts, baking, sewing, knitting, heels, makeup, and other things girlie, how important is it to not do / wear / talk about these things lest we be seen as fluffy girls who can’t do Science?

A.  #1  Well, I’m not at a top 10 school, and I’m not into most of those “girlie” things so I can’t say.  I will say that many of my male colleagues are into food, so we talk about food, including baking, a lot.  Don’t bore your colleagues.  If they’re not into such things, don’t talk about them.  I don’t talk about my nerd hobbies to people who aren’t nerds.  I’m not hiding them, but nobody wants to be around that person.

#2  Hey, knitting is trendy these days!  All the hipsters are doing it.  Food is always good to talk about.  I think you can wear whatever you want, as long as it’s work-appropriate.  Heels aren’t practical for many parts of my job.  One of the reasons I don’t talk that much about my hobbies at work is because I like some separation between work and the rest of my life.  But like #1, I’m not hiding them and will talk about them if the conversation comes around to it.

3. What can we do when other women deny there are problems being a woman in science?

A.  #1  Well, I’m always into the facts.  There are good controlled studies (done by psychologists usually).  But many of my male colleagues will deny said facts because they have blinders on when it comes to issues of gender.  So if such women exist, I assume that they probably have blinders on too.  So … no idea.  Thank God my social science doesn’t seem to have any of these women I hear about in other professions.  Our Grand Old Dames are amazing in every aspect.  Possibly because their careers were spent studying gender.

#2  I do what I can to educate with data, like #1 said.  Then I just sigh and move on, blaming the patriarchy.  I wish I had the superpower to force insight into people’s brains, but I only have so much energy in the day.  I make a mental note to never work with that person in the future and try to let it go.

4. It seems to me that often women don’t have as strong professional networks as men – the kind that gets built over shared interests (sports or drinking). People seem to gravitate towards others like them. What specific advice do you have for establishing and maintaining network with men as well as other women?

A.  #1  My early networks were predominately female.  Only recently have I branched out to more male networks.  One thing that is important to do is to share your work with the people you cite.  In a male-dominated field, these folks will predominately be male (even if you work in gender studies!)

#2  Likewise, lots of my network is women — I was very fortunate to work in a lab of strong, supportive, and very intelligent female scientists in grad school, and they are still a large part of my network.  My adviser did an amazing job making sure her students got introduced to other successful female role models.  Only after I graduated and got a job did I work up the courage to contact big names in the field, a lot of whom are men.  I have been given some opportunities to network with leaders in the field and I’m trying not to mess it up.

Our panel-mates are: Geek Mommy Prof, Professor in Training, Dr. Sneetch, KJHaxton, Micro Dr. O

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8 Responses to “Round 2: Childfree women’s posts answered”

  1. Wimminz in Academia, now with 100% Fewer Babies Q&A HUB | The Hermitage Says:

    [...] (Geek Mommy Prof, Professor in Training, Dr. Sneetch Q 1,3,4, Q2, KJHaxton, Micro Dr. O, *special bonus appearance by* NicoleandMaggie): [...]

  2. First Gen American Says:

    My senior level network is women too. It just feels a little funny “networking” with married men. I don’t think the good ol boy thing is just about the patriarchy.

    I mean if you’re an executive and you’re away from home most of the time anyway, the last thing one of these guy’s spouses wants to hear from one of these guys is that you’re “networking” with up and coming females. In a lot of cases these spouses already feel like they are playing second fiddle to the guy’s career, so adding an intelligent female to the mix is just a recipe for a marital blowup. I get a sense that executive men keep a safe distance from professional women as much for the sake of their own marriages as anything else. They don’t feel comfortable around us and there’s more than one reason why.

    I personally love blazers. I always have. You add a suit coat to any outfit and you instantly look good. You can’t go wrong there.

    • Cloud Says:

      Well, in my field, if I didn’t network with men, I’d be pretty limited in my networking. I get what you’re saying, but I think we all have to try to move past that.

      I am completely with you on the blazers thing. A well-tailored suit coat is a thing of beauty. I always interview in a suit, even though that is not at all necessary in my field, because doing so ensures I’m not worrying about whether my tummy bulge is showing.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Ditto to Cloud. I haven’t thought of other men as sex objects since before I got married. Anyone who thinks of me, a happily married woman, as a sex object is sorely deluded. Especially old married men. Even if I weren’t married, I should be protected from them in a work environment, so we are allowed to be professional. Yuck. And yes, worry about married men’s wives being jealous is part of the patriarchy.

        There’s a reason we’ve got so much sex harassment training these days. It is a great thing that we are no longer living in a Mad Men world.

      • First Gen American Says:

        Maybe our definition of the old boy’s club is different. I network professionally, but it’s always in relation to a work assignment. Almost all the jobs I’ve gotten has been a result of a professional interaction I had with the hiring manager…ie, I did good work, then they thought of me. That’s what I’d call my professional network.

        As far as hanging with work people socially, we only do that with our peers but not with executives….although eventually some of those peers do end up in leadership positions eventually. I’m not saying that men see us as sex objects or vice versa, but there is a risk with regards to the perception issue if you’re suddenly very chummy with someone of the opposite sex that is you’re superior. I believe some people are scared of even the appearance of impropriety so they avoid the interaction altogether. Sometimes the only time you see that interaction is at organized events like designated networking events for minorities and women to interact with their superiors. It doesn’t help that people have actually had affairs with females subordinates in the past and that’s not easily forgotten. Even though one particularly elicit relationship happened over a decade ago, it still gets brought up at least once a year by someone. It’s too bad too because the woman was talented and now the only thing that most people remember about her is her affair with the VP.

  3. What Function Does Denial Serve? | Thus Spake Zuska Says:

    [...] NicoleandMaggie say blame the patriarchy! [...]

  4. Molly On Money Says:

    In my profession I’m one of the few (only) women. I stick out like a sore thumb. When I arrive on a construction site it’s assumed I know little about what I’m doing. This used to piss me off and I would overcompensate. Now I just let it be. The flip side of it is they are so surprised when they realize I know how to do my job. It’s very traditional and old school- there are days I wonder why I do it.

  5. Links on exclusion in the workplace? « cackleofradness Says:

    [...] The Zuska, Explaining away women geeks From Hermie’s wimminz in academia series: Female Science Professor Nicole and Maggie PiT [...]


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