Patriarchy fatigue

I just can’t even.

With patriarchy.



#1 wrote the above BEFORE this latest Henry Gee thing.  But I think after the latest Nature editor letter thing.  We were gonna run it next week, but decided to move it up because…

Turns out the patriarchy doesn’t like being ignored.  Whodathunkit?

We cannot imagine an editor at the top social science journals of our fields going on a twitter account rampage. But then, what do you expect from an evolutionary biologist?  It’s not like they do real science.  It’s sad how evolution is so cool and yet the people who study it are TEH WORST.  [UPDATE:  Our readers inform us that we are getting Evolutionary Biology mixed up with Evolutionary Social Science and that Evolutionary Biology is totally legit.  We apologize.  Henry Gee is a poor representative of your discipline.]  I think it’s because it’s so hard to do actual science in that field, so all they can do is compare penis length at each other (and feel better about themselves because the average is low).  But it might just be like theoretical physics and it’s hysteresis– it’s always been that way and nobody wants to hang out with them because the rewards are so small for the amount of harassment one has to put up with.  [Update:  It appears that Henry Gee doesn’t actually do any science, real or pseudo.  The irony.  Truly inconsequential!  Except that he has this power over publication at Nature that he should not have.  Maybe the blackmail theory has something to it.]

It’s almost comical how he’s threatening dissenting (female and minority) tweeters now.  He’s got some sort of “list” that he’s put them on.  He’s strongly hinting it’s a blacklist because he’s got the PWR.  [#1:  I wanna be on THE LIST.  I HOPE YOU KNOW THAT THIS WILL GO DOWN ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD.]

He shouldn’t have that power.  But he does.  He still does.  Two years after Womanspace.

I sure hope this time Nature takes the complaints seriously and fires him.  Because if they don’t, then two years from now [or sooner!] he’s going to do something even worse and crazier. Because we keep teaching him that he can.

I’d say it’s like he’s daring Nature to fire him, but I don’t think he even thinks that’s a remote possibility.  Initially I’d thought maybe he’s got blackmail dirt on someone, but no, I really think that Nature is just THAT clueless.  [#1:  evidence from the past seems to show…]

Anyway, as much as we’d like to ignore the patriarchy this semester while we’re teaching it, it seems like that’s not gonna be an option.  Sorry, #1.


Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “Patriarchy fatigue”

  1. Revanche Says:

    I’ve been following all of that on Twitter and it’s beyond exhausting that this is Still Happening and Nature isn’t likely to do anything about it.

  2. Zenmoo Says:

    Oh yeah well, Don’t get so distressed, did I happen to mention I’m impressed?

    Not with the patriarchy though. Not at all.

  3. myscientificlife Says:

    Please tell me I’m supposed to read the evolutionary biology/biologist part with sarcasm…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Are you an evolutionary biologist? Are we wrong that it’s a sausage-fest where they one-up each other with each one coming up with more sexist theories with no basis for proof? “X happens, therefore women should stay in the home.” That’s mainly what we on the outside hear about evolutionary biology. That’s how it shows up in the media.

      • Leah Says:

        I went to grad school for ecology & evolutionary biology, and I never saw any weirdness there. My friends who are evo biologists are pretty cool and do good work, actually. Granted, I was in the ecology side, so I can’t speak to the field as a whole. But I can speak to those who were at the University of Michigan while I was there.

        Actually, one of my friends just published a neat article about the distribution of a particular genus (or maybe class) of ocean species and tracing the evolution. There’s a lot of intriguing things that can be done with DNA work today.

        Anyway, that’s my only slightly defensive two cents for my evo friends today ;-) There are asses in every field. Too bad this ass has to yield so much power.

      • BLG Says:

        I think that’s more an evolutionary psychology thing. Most evolutionary biologists don’t even work on humans – the cultural aspect messes things up too much. And we can do science (i.e., make predictions/hypotheses and test them). Of course, the majority of what is actually reported on has to do with humans – it’s all sexy for the media to scoop up.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I dunno, we see things that are “moths do X, therefore women should stay at home.” (Ignoring that ants do Y, of course.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Maybe we’re getting it mixed up with evolutionary psychology.

      • BLG Says:

        But on the overall post, yes, I can’t even with the patriarchy either. And it’s embarrassing to me that Henry Gee was trained in evolutionary biology. As Leah said, there are asses in every field. *sigh*

      • Leah Says:

        You are mixing up with evo psych. That is a much more fuzzy, not full-on science field. If it deals with humans and how we should be behaving today, that’s evo psych. True evo bio is well-grounded in the scientific method and takes a lot of work. You can use archaeology, DNA studies, biogeography, morphology, etc to study development and change over time.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Huh, interesting. Our apologies and we will update when leechblock turns off.

        Henry Gee is not being a good representative for his discipline!

      • Debbie M Says:

        My experience is that eco/evobiologists are awesome (I was a typist for zoologists) and that evosociologists are yucko (I was a soc major and warned away from the guy who taught that, plus all the articles I read in that field were sickening). So my guess is that it’s the evolutionary social sciences that are creepy (surely there are some exceptions of course), not evolutionary biology.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        That is quite possible!

  4. becca Says:

    All good biologists are evolutionary biologists. To assume because some of the media magnet kind are evil the approach is bunk is like lumping economists all in the same boat with the modelers who sold subprime mortgages and derivatives on a vast scale for their own profit, damn the consequences.

    Also, Gee is a not very consequential biologist, which is relevant to the irony of his dismissal of Dr. I, but not (in my mind, at least) a real issue about qualifications for editors. Since I secretly want to be a professional journal editor, I can’t reasonably say every journal must be edited by busy practicing scientists in the field. The whole “professional journal editors are teH sux0r” argument has been made elsewhere anyway. Suffice it to say that there are too many biology PhDs and the (female, mother, respectably published) editor of Science I met at a career day had some reasonable points about how the job should work, and *in general* denigrating the job will injure the likes of her more than the likes of Gee. That said, it would certainly appear that there needs to be a professionalization of the job and a code of conduct governing the ethics, because Gees behavior is a real case of SHIT That Ain’t Right.
    I think the recent ESPN story brings the point home- outting people is wrong, and the consequences for screwing up can be huge. This is something all major organizations and institutions will have to address, and the more there is a culture of respect for privacy, the better off we will be.

  5. Cloud Says:

    Heh. I ranted on this last night, too, although only tangentially touching on the latest Nature crap and also the Grantland outrage. I’m tired of this nonsense.

    The other part of the Gee/Dr. Isis story that is sickening me is how some people are OK with Gee’s behavior because they don’t like Dr. Isis. That makes me angry. Heck, I called out sexism against Sarah Palin when I saw it back during the presidential race. Wrong is wrong, even when the person on the receiving end is someone you don’t like. If people can’t see that just on the strength of ethics, they should think about the chilling effect that the bad behavior has on other people in the same group as the person being picked on. Gah. I will stop now before I write another complete rant.

    I think the field that annoys you is evo psych- or at least it is the one that annoys me. Evolutionary biologists seem much less prone to saying utter nonsense, and their field is quite amenable to experimental methods.

    • darchole Says:

      And some people who don’t like someone can still recognize a problem when they see it:

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        That’s a good one

      • Cloud Says:

        Yes, I’ve seen that one. I have zero interaction with Dr. Isis and no opinion of her one way or the other. All of the discussion about her and others in the online science community right now are sort of making me glad that for the most part the “big” academic science bloggers have no interest in industry scientists like me. (Which is fine- we have different interests and areas of focus in our blogs.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yeah. This really isn’t about Isis at all, but about the abuse of power and a clearly sexist editor who should have lost his position years ago. And the fact that people in science still don’t see the sexism or think that it is ok. And they wonder why there aren’t more women in science.

        Also, if not henry gee, which editor is responsible for that letter to the editor and what is his punishment?

  6. Moom Says:

    Editors of Nature/Science are similar to the people who work at NIH/NSF. They use outside reviewers and then make decisions but they aren’t active researchers any more themselves.

    On evolutionary biology, check out the work of Joan (formerly Jonathan) Roughgarden.

  7. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Five bucks says @RipplesofDoot is a Henry Gee sock puppet. Anybody willing to bet against me?

  8. oil_garlic Says:

    I’m not even in academia and I’m sick of the patriarchy.

  9. Justine Says:

    Just wanted to respond to your comment on my blog about blogging anonymously as a female, and this seemed like the right place to do it. Though I’m not a scientist and I don’t read _Nature_, it doesn’t surprise me that the Dr. Isis incident is a “red herring” for a problem that is much larger and more nefarious, which goes far beyond _Nature_, and is related to what power men still have over women (real, as I’ve experienced it, not imagined). And I’ve seen reprisals for women speaking out. But I also feel like women who speak out anonymously are too easily dismissed. How do we overcome this hurdle without putting ourselves at risk?

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