How we visualize reviewers

Whenever I get a bad reviewer, I imagine him as either a obnoxious male graduate student or some idiot male professor who doesn’t know anything and doesn’t think he needs to find out because he hasn’t so far in his career.  And he’s rude because he’s got Dunning-Kruger syndrome and has been able to get away with it.

Good reviewers are always female in my head.  They give useful feedback and help to improve the paper.  They’re polite and professional.  (Because, of course, as a woman, you have to be or you get labeled emotional and unprofessional.  Men get excused, “that’s just the way [bigname] is.”)

Chances are the majority of the reviewers I get are one gender, but I want to not just say, “he” all the time when referring to one of the other, even in my brain.  And with “ze” it’s difficult to tell reviewer #1 apart from reviewer #3.  So rather than assigning random genders, I use this mnemonic.

Do you have mental images of the people who give you feedback?  What do they look like?

Let’s Get This Link-Love Started!

While #2′s away, #1 will play with categories…

Depressing and rage-inducing patriarchy news…

Affordable birth control is great, but SUCH a hassle to get.

“Vague rules that are applied in a haphazard fashion tend to increase community tension,” NO SHIT, Ferguson.

I’m shocked that it took so long for majority approval of interracial marriage.  Goddamn, racism.
This is the awfulest thing ever: that foster kid will never feel at home there, ever.  (FCUK THAT NEIGHBOR)

This is an important post.

Patriarchy, you are The Worst.

Also, I learned a new word today that I wish I didn’t have to know.

Not actually a post from The Onion!

 

Random links:

This has been all over the web: correlation is not causation.

#1 should apply for this job.

forgot to link love this last week: http://firstgenamerican.com/2014/09/15/babci-taking-the-walker-to-the-packie/

sad news: Zilpha Keatley Snyder died.  We love her books.

 

Awesome things!

this is the funniest thing ever: his name is Figaro Newton!!!

 

And something that is great:

I find the above video hilarious.

#1 lives in paradise and #2′s giving a fancy invited talk, but some weeks the world’s too much.  I have GOT to stop reading news stores!  Cheer us up in the comments, Grumpeteers!

Being a woman in a patriachy (many ways)

A lot of the women I admire are a certain way.  It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve ever seen Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton you get an idea about it.  There’s a certain sense (they have, almost always accurately) that they’re always right.  Non-apologetically.  There’s strong opinions and disappointment in people who don’t do their job.  And the disappointment is voiced in a specific way.  Again, it’s hard for me to explain.

I used to be more like that.  More confident.  More willing to take a stand.  More willing to believe in myself and my power.  Less willing to “put up with fools gladly”.  More willing to write off -ist naysayers as the tools or idiots they are.

I’ve drawn back.  Become socialized.  I’ve forced myself to do this, changed to become a “better person” and doing so I’ve lost some of my ability to win against odds.  Drive is still there, but not the will.  Not the ability to brush everything off and not get hurt.

And that’s hurt.

But it’s also who I am now.  Wishy-washy too much one way not enough another.

Maybe I’ve always been this sensitive.  Secretly worrying that I’m wrong, that I’m confidently making bad decisions.

And I know I seem confident and secure to a lot of women, and I am, or at least more so than average.  But that’s only because the patriarchy beats women down into under-confident second-guessers.  And I have a perfect family and a strong belief that my current level of sins and insecurities will not and cannot threaten them.

I can’t go back, and I’m not sure I would want to.  That’s not who I am anymore.  Once you see shades of grey, it’s hard to unsee them.  It’s maybe a little easier to be likable and soft, even if it means I’m less admired and have to put up with more excrement.  It’s hard to say.  Or maybe by fighting the patriarchy harder I’d be dealing with even more -ist poo.  But at least I’d be feeling virtuous about the fight.

It’s hard to say.

 

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(Print it out and color it in!)

Should you submit to the top journals?

Let’s assume you have a paper that you think is eventually going to land at a top field journal.  Should you aim higher (a general journal) first and then let it filter down the impact ladder, or should you just submit places you think it’s going to end up?  Should you start with a submission to a GLAM journal?

Viewpoints:

1.  No.  Only submit your best stuff that you think belongs there.  You only have a few shots at getting into a GLAM journal and you don’t want to use them up with crap.

2.  Yes.  Have you read the GLAM journals?  Yes, there’s super amazing wonderful stuff in there.  But there’s also a lot of crap that isn’t as good as your field journal stuff.  It’s a random numbers game with each of your papers having some underlying probability of acceptance.  If you never play, then you’re never going to win.

3.  Yes.  Submitting to top journals is a learning process.  You get feedback from the editor and/or reviewers on how to improve your paper so it will actually be able to land where it belongs.  This is especially important if you don’t have a lot of local people to give you feedback.

4.  No.  You may end up getting the same reviewer who already rejected you for a lower tier journal and they’ll be biased from having rejected you before.  Or they’ll just submit the same rejection as before even if you’ve changed the paper.  (On the other hand, if they do reread the paper, psychology suggests they’ll like it better the second time.)

5.  Yes.  The answer is always yes.

6.  No.  Why do you care?  You have tenure.  Just submit it the place where it’s going to get in right away and get it published so you can move on to the next thing.

7.  Yes.  You have tenure.  That means you can afford to follow long shots.

8.  No.  The patriarchy and the unfairness of it all means that your paper needs to be much better than the connected white guys’ papers are before it gets published in a glam journal.  Don’t waste your time.

9.  Yes.  If you never submit, you will never get published there.

10.  Yes.  If you submit good stuff, then the editor and referees may remember that you’re working on good stuff, even if it’s not of general interest and they will be more likely to remember to send opportunities your way and to cite your work in their own work.

Academic readers:  What do you do?  Do you submit one tier up from where you think you’ll place or do you start right at that tier?  What *should* you do?  Do you follow the same advice you give others?  Non-academic readers:  Should you generally aim high or go with the safer choice?

 

You'd BETTER be pleased to inform me

Our justice system is f*ed up for victims of sexual violence (triggers)

Just did another stint with jury duty.  Third time being called since September.  This time it was for ongoing sexual abuse of a child.

I didn’t get selected.  Because I said I was biased because forget getting to the indictment stage, just coming forward about sexual abuse is so rare that even getting to the kid actually telling someone means it’s pretty likely that it actually happened.  The defense stopped asking me questions at that point, just skipped over me.

I hate the jury selection procedures.  The prosecution and the defense throw out enough “hypotheticals” that by the end of it you know not only what the (alleged) crime is, but you know how the two sides are going to proceed.

In this case, the prosecution was going to allege that this dude repeatedly assaulted a young girl in his family, and that she didn’t come forward right away because she was scared to tell anyone.

The defense is going to paint said child as a malicious liar who is being manipulated by an older sibling into making a false accusation.

This is just so @#$@#ed up.  No wonder nobody ever comes forward when being abused.  No wonder nobody is willing to go through the trial.  No wonder false accusations are such a small statistically unlikely occurrence.

And of course the other prospective jurors just ate it up, especially the former teachers.  Kids lie all the time.  They’re malicious awful creatures.

Hell, the defense attorney wasn’t any better.  When asking us a hypothetical about the punishment, he made a comment about girls who were 13 going on 30, and if a 13 year old who looked like an adult was dating and having sex with a 17 year old for a six month period, then surely that would be not that big a deal (the defendant was obviously a middle-aged man).  WTF?  A 13 year old is still a child even if she has breasts.  Especially if she has breasts.   Seventeen year olds should be damn careful that they’re not having sex with middle-schoolers.  And if they are, that is in no way the 13 year old’s fault.

I don’t know what would be a better system.  I’d like to imagine that having these cases be decided judicially would be better for the victims, but judges are probably no better than normal people for being influenced by the patriarchy.  Just look at the supreme court.

Even the super-confident super-awesome are not immune to culture

Occasionally I have to take a break from mommy-blogs.

Why?  Because they make me anxious.

I know, you’re thinking, how could *I* be anxious about parenting?  I’m the laziest (non-negligent) parent on the planet and my kids are disgustingly perfect (though of course you note that I would never use the adverb, “disgustingly,” I would say they’re “awesomely” perfect or something [actually I would say "amazingly," but I grant you our frequent use of "awesome"]).  Both of these are true.

But mommy-blog anxiety gets even to me.  Culture is *that* strong.  There’s only so many blogs on having to lose the baby-weight, worrying about what/how much baby is eating or how much screen time toddler is getting or worrying about whether something is too early or too late or too long or whateverthe[expletive deleted] before even I start questioning if these are things I should be worrying about and are my kids really as wonderful as they seem [spoiler alert:  they are!] and if so, what’s wrong with them [rational answer: nothing!].

Now, I’m not talking about blogs where the kids or parents have actual real problems+.  [Also, I'm not singling out any one blog right now.  This unnecessary anxiety seems to be a contagion that is going through a huge number of mommy blogs right now.]  I’m talking about blogs where the kids are seemingly perfect, and the mom is seemingly perfect, but instead of acknowledging that fact, it’s anxiety this and worry that.  If their seeming perfection is wrong, then maybe I’m wrong about mine.

Of course, I’m not.  Even when the skinny girl complains about how fat she is, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with my normal weight.  But (just like in college with the weight thing) I can only stand so many repeated hits before it starts to get to me.  The patriarchy is expert at using the virtual paper cut as a primary weapon.  It perfected the ton-of-feathers attack.  Any one blog or post or NYTimes article can be brushed off, or given a supportive comment in response.  At some point part of me wants to say, “CALM the [expletive] down!  You’re working for the patriarchy!”  But that’s not supportive so I try not to, especially since it’s not any one post’s fault or even any one blogger’s fault– it’s the culmination of many posts and blogs with the same message to be more anxious.  I get grumpy because the patriarchy does that to me.

And you may be thinking, “You’re grumpy because deep down you know things aren’t really that perfect.”  But that’s not true.  Deep down I know they really are, because I have huge trust in my family.  I have trust that even if there’s bumps and growing pains, that they’ll figure things out for themselves even if I’m not doing whatever is “optimal” for them.  I trust that there is no “optimal,” that there’s just “different” and “sub-optimal” is another word for “learning experience” (or, as my mom would say, “character building”).  I trust that my husband and I love our kids and will always be there for them and that they know that.  I don’t have to trust me to know deep down that my kids are doing great, I have to trust them and my husband and that we’ll tackle the challenges as they come.

And I’m sure there will be challenges and we’ll work through them.  But if there aren’t any right now, I don’t need to @#$#@ing create any.

I could do one of three things.  1.  I could comment super-supportive calming words on these blogs in an attempt to spread confidence (though of course this sometimes backfires because tone is difficult in writing among other reasons), 2.  I could do lots of introspection and re-affirm my core confidence and awesomeness, or 3.  I could avoid the anxiety paper-cuts by not going to those blogs.  Guess which option is the least work and most conducive to getting two more papers and a grant proposal out before summer ends?++

So… currently taking a break from mommy blogs, at least until swim-suit season is over.

+And we are *certainly* not talking about things like post-partum depression.

++Also note that we are not blaming people for working through their anxieties via the media of blogging.  It’s the patriarchy that is the ultimate root cause of that kind of unnecessary anxiety.  But that doesn’t mean we have to read about it if it has negative effects on our own well-being.

RBOC

  • Dear sports writers saying that Don Sterling’s big mistake (compared to other less well-publicized racists, I guess) was that he can’t “control his women”?  You know how black people aren’t property?  Turns out women aren’t either.
  • Actually, we’re sickened by all of the sexism and misogyny in the discussion of the Don Sterling thing.  All the gawd-awful comments about his wife and the woman on the tape.  Yet another way that the patriarchy is preventing anything actually being done about wide-spread racism, while bolstering its entrenched sexism.  Thanks patriarchy!
  • I looked up Don Sterling and misogyny because *surely* we weren’t the only folks to notice the misogyny in the commentary.  Well, turns out even the original story is full of sexism and misogyny too (note:  we hadn’t listened to the tapes, just the reporting about them), but nobody is paying attention to that, because wimmin, who cares, they really are property.  Here’s some [possible triggers] commentary.  Which is not to downplay the racism AT ALL.  But neither racism NOR sexism (nor their intersection!) should be tolerated.
  • I got a haircut.  The first after um, 14 months.  It’s a bob, because everybody else is getting bobs.  It took a week for anybody to say anything about it at work.  And another half week for anybody else to say anything.  Talking to my two RAs about it after the second person noticed (one of my RAs was the first person to notice), I said, “Either it doesn’t look any different from before and nobody has noticed, or it looks terrible and people are just being polite by not saying anything.”  One RA (the one who noticed) said, “People probably just aren’t noticing because they’re busy and the school year’s over.”  The other RA said, “Who knows?  It will always be a mystery.”  I told the first one, “Good answer” and the second, “Bad answer.”
  • In case you were wondering what this economist thinks about the Ta-Nesi Coates article in the Atlantic.  It’s excellent.  It actually gave me a lot of flashbacks to when I took Race in the Economy as an undergrad– Reparations were in the news back then too, and again, used as a starting point for discussions about what is actually feasible (IIRC, reparations were not feasible just from a logistical standpoint) and how and why we need to still do things to level the playing field.  My prof had been a beneficiary of affirmative action hirself and a big takeaway from that class was also that housing segregation has terrible consequences on many levels.  We read a lot of William Darity Jr. (Sandy to his friends) in that class, and Coates has as well.  Since then I’ve read a lot more and taken more classes and taught a lot more about disparities and discrimination.  An important and complicated subject and yes, we need another War on Poverty.  Inequality is getting worse, not better, in this country.  And we’ve had periods of time in which it was getting better.  It’s not impossible to make things better, even if we might never get to perfect, there’s a heck of a lot more we could be doing, and a lot we could stop doing, to bring back the American Dream for everyone.
  • My mom sometimes depresses me by talking about the state of the world.  It’s in pretty terrible shape, but she has hope that it’ll get so bad that it’ll turn around.  She lived through the 60s, after all.  I fear it’s already gotten so bad but we haven’t turned around.  We haven’t rebelled against our 1% overlords.  We’ve had chances and they didn’t work out.  And I wonder how the world would have been different in 2014 if Al Gore had been president.  Would 2014 be more like what my naive self thought it would be, moving forward instead of backward?  Or would it just have been 4 years delaying some inevitability.  (But maybe it would have been Jeb instead of W… who knows?)
  • [update]  The news depresses me.  And never ever read the comments section.  Especially when the article is about women.
  • I want to show you a video that DH and DC1 made, but WordPress says I would have to pay to do it (and I’m too lazy to remember my login to photobucket).  So no break-dancing Lego squirrel for you.
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