“While I strongly support any and all efforts to get women to speak with confidence about what they do and who they are, assimilation won’t get us to be where we should be. Far too many academic women tried this, a practice that I always thought of as out-manning the men. It was a survival mechanism for them but dear god it’s terrifying. We don’t want that in other industries too. What we want is diversity.”—apophenia: whose voice do you hear? gender issues and success
Online registration systems that earnestly remind me to store my passwords “in a safe place” probably put no thought to what I imagine they think is a safe place. They don’t mean a safe deposit box, yet that is what routinely comes to mind after their dusty legalese. I believe they expect me to save my passwords—written in flowing 19th Century calligraphic script—on custom monogrammed notecards neatly filed in a velvet-lined box. Of course I’ve put on my fox-fur stole and sober daytime diamond brooch, taken a hired car down to my bank where I made small talk about the society pages with the dapper, influential bank owner.
As the banker offers me a white-gloved security guard escort down to the deposit boxes where I’ll draw the specific card, I’ll be ready to properly complete my online business.
…All the while hoping that my session doesn’t expire before I get back across town.
“…every team is expected to be an island. It’s ok to paddle your canoe over 20 times a day to grab a coconut, but don’t try to bring someone back to your village to help build a hut.”—The metaphor currently amusing the hell out my department at work.
The lovely Tiff* does a better job summarizing the interplay of gender, risk-aversion and attitude than how Shirkey and others stumbled through.
What I’d like to see this debate grow to include is a discussion of gender attitudes when a woman oversteps the unspoken balance and travels into ‘bitch’ territory. Attitudes there are even more paleolithic.
In our last episode of Radiolab, Animal Minds, we asked whether it was possible for one animal to know what is going on in another animal’s mind. For us, it was a really about whether we, as humans, can really share a meaningful moment with an animal. In this podcast, we take that question a step further. Can an animal know what’s in our heads so well that they can manipulate and deceive us? To answer that question, reporter Ben Calhoun took us back to the 1960s to tell the story of a showdown between zookeeper Jerry Stones and a wily orangutan named Fu Manchu. Then, to help us get a grip on the science behind animals and deception, Ben talks to primatologist and orangutan expert Rob Shumaker of the Great Ape Trust.
A friend of mine is an architect for a firm specializing in exhibits and enclosures for zoos and such. About 5 years ago this friend told me this *exact story* from the point of view of the zoo and enclosure designers, which they learned when the zoo sought to verify the enclosure specifications were up to snuff. Same zoo, same story, same awesome outcome.
It remains my favorite party anecdote, now even more so.
(I hopped around my room adding details out loud as the show played, smiling like an idiot and trying to impress my sleeping dog.)
“May I ask an artless question? Why, exactly, is it important that women become more involved in technology?”—Comment responding to A Word About Women in Technology on Smarterware. This is the kind of willful, self-reinforcing ignorance that makes the field so repellant to women. To hell with worrying about the skills or numbers, let’s identify the culture as the biggest detraction.
I’d never argue that we should forcefully reject anyone who manifests confidence, skills in self-promotion or who is cocky enough to sell themselves. But what I want to strongly resist is the idea that it is these attributes that we should be promoting - either in women or in men.
It should be unacceptable for us to say that lying about one’s abilities is something that everyone has to do to get ahead. It should be unacceptable for us to say that arrogance and aggression are to be aspired to.