Do you feel any pressure to be a “super mom”?

whatever that is

I don’t.  The only time I even come across this concept is when I accidentally click on the NYTimes or spend too much time on blogrolls full of professional mommy-bloggers making their money pretending to be SAHM.  (Oops, hear that sound?  that’s the sound of us losing readership because we’re terrible horrible people who could never make it on BlogHer. Whoops!)

From what I can tell it has something to do with being Martha Stewart + Sheryl Sandberg put together.  Not 100% sure there.  And not having an equal partner in parenting and taking care of the homestead, despite living with an adult husband.  Having a sparkly clean house definitely fits in there as a measure as your worth as a person.  Thank goodness nobody I know IRL ever talks about that kind of thing.  We would have to get a house-cleaner or something.

Maybe this is why people get weird about how much responsibility we’ve piled on our elementary schooler.  Maybe I’m supposed to be taking care of all that stuff under the super-mom rubric.  Meh.

This is kind of like that post where we asked if baking was a *thing* in reality or just on the internet.

I was flipping through mommy blogs recently and felt like I’d seen every single topic before and had already posted a reaction post, like 2-4 years ago.  Some of my reaction posts though aren’t very polite to post on people’s sites who are clearly hurting because the patriarchy is making them believe stupid things.  Still, I kind of wish I could.  WTF is up with people’s entire feelings of value and worth being wrapped up in whether or not their house is clean?  Oh wait, we already asked that two years ago.  Oh and Choice feminism, we’ve addressed you (we’re pro-, but not for the standard, why can’t we all get along reasons).  Women feeling like they have to say they’re not perfect, check.  Why we can thank our mothers for not feeling guilty for working…  And what is UP with all that guilt in parenting nonsense in the first place?  If you believe the internet, all women hate each other, are neurotic about the state of their houses, and are wracked with extreme guilt about their parenting choices (or are super defensive about not being parents).  That just doesn’t mesh with our reality AT ALL.  The internet is a super weird place.

Am I just oblivious and is this super-mom pressure really a thing?  Or is it yet another way the patriarchy introduces anxieties to women in order to make money off them?

Should you battle feelings of inferiority by putting other people down?: A deliberately controversial post

Here’s our premise:

We don’t think people should feel inferior to other people.

Using feelings of inferiority to attack other people is not cool (even if they never know they’re being attacked).

There’s no point in negatively comparing yourself to other people because (with only a few arguable exceptions) someone will always be better on any dimension or set of dimensions.  Instead, focus on what you like, who you want to be, and how you can get there from here.

On personal finance sites, people will often say things like, “The Joneses may have that amazing house, but they probably have lots of credit card debt.  They probably have no retirement savings.”

But you know, some of the Joneses value housing or cars or what have you and although they are on track savings-wise, they’ve chosen to spend their money on the things you can see rather than other things you can’t.

And what’s really mind-breaking is that some of the Joneses got lucky and have high incomes.  Some of them made good choices when they were younger and are reaping the rewards of that now.  Some of them just have more money than you do.

And that’s ok.  (At some level we might want to argue about higher marginal tax rates and less corporate welfare, but for your average Neighborly Jones that’s probably not a first order concern.)

Yes, it might make you feel better to tell yourself that they have debt and you don’t.  Or they are stealing from their wealthy parents.  You can look down on them and lose all neighborly feeling.  And forget about learning anything from them.

And what happens if you find out that’s not true?  That they really are on track financially.  Do you go back to feeling inadequate and inferior?

The same kind of thing happens on mommy blogs.  The value-set is different than on pf blogs, of course.  Instead of houses and cars and retirement accounts, things like craftiness and cleanliness and “doing it all” (whatever that means) are the comparison sets.  But they say the same thing, well, this person with this pinterest page seems perfect, but there’s some area of her life that’s imperfect that she’s not showing me because she has to keep up her perfect persona.  (And the blogger saying this always posts the obligatory, “see my house gets messy so I’m not perfect” pic.  No offense to any blogger who has done this, but your house isn’t really messy.  Really messy is what you get when you don’t actually care if the house is clean.  And you shouldn’t have to pretend it is messy in order for people to like you.  You really shouldn’t.)

[Ah, you say, telling yourself that someone else has unadvertised weaknesses doesn’t hurt anyone… she’ll never know.  But the thing is, everyone else reading your comment gets the message that it’s not ok to succeed in all areas.  That we have to find and advertise weakness even where none exists in order to make people feel better.  It’s a way that patriarchy keeps strong women from achieving.  We’re always damned.]

We’ve posted on this topic before.   And I noted that I have work-friends who I admire who do everything I care about better than I do.  They’re amazing.  I could lie to myself and say their relationships aren’t as good or their kids aren’t as cute, but their relationships are good and their kids are cute (I do prefer mine of course, but that’s because I’m me and they’re my kids).  Heck, at least one of them is a great cook to boot.  For all I know they’re good at crafts too (who knows?  Not something we discuss at conferences.).  But I don’t have to lie to myself that they have hidden weaknesses.  Their amazingness about things I care about doesn’t diminish mine.  It just gives me something to shoot for (and means I have good taste in friends, and must not be completely obnoxious if they’re willing to hang out with me).

Finding our worth through comparisons of other people is never a winning proposition.  We are all amazing and growing in ways that are unaffected by other people’s accomplishments.  We all have our own preference sets that define what we care about.  We all have our own constraints that we’re working against.  We’re all different people with different starting points, different advantages, different preferences.  That’s a good thing!  There’s always going to be someone better at what we do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy and proud of what we’ve accomplished or enjoy what we like.  Focusing on our internal locus of control is a much better way to lose those feelings of inferiority than trying to tell negative lies to ourselves about external things we can’t control.

The patriarchy wants us to feel inferior. We don’t have to listen to it. The first step is knowing that it’s ok not to. We don’t have to be worse than other people in whatever way just so they’ll like us.

Or maybe we do have to pretend to be worse than some people in order for them to like us… but maybe those people aren’t worth being liked by. Because who needs friends who want to tear us down instead of build us up?

So no, we don’t think that people should use feeling inferior as a reason to claim other people have weaknesses. That’s really only a band-aid solution to feeling self-confident anyway. It’s much better to stop doing the comparison to begin with, because there’s always going to be someone “better” at whatever it is you’re comparing yourself on.

Ok, Grumplings!  Do your worst (or best… whichever!). 

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.

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