Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 3.26

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. Oh, gee. Bug_girl ruined the Amityville Horror. Such a loss…NOT. Give her a medal. I’m sur e the legions of the credible will totally ignore her, though.

    @Steve: Since no one apparently captured or killed the spider, how could they know for sure it wasn’t radioactive? ;-)

  2. I totally believe the spider thing. When I was little my parents went white water rafting and Mom banged up her arm. When she went to have it looked at they found out she was pregnant.

    The next day the headlines all read “Woman Impregnated by Rapids.”

  3. @Eliza: Is the Department of the Interior still making child support payments?

    @QuestionAuthority: Well, no one reported a green glow or an eerie “woowoo” sound coming from it, so I’m guessing not radioactive.

  4. While I can surely understand the issues being discussed in the singled out post, I wonder if this means it’s now no longer allowed to give women compliments about their physical appearance when they also happen to be renowned scientists or some such?

    You compliment her on her brain, she feels ugly, you compliment her on her looks, she thinks you’re a mysoginist pig.

    No honey, that dress doesn’t make you look fat …

  5. @museThis: I’ve always been under the impression that brown recluses are so dangerous because their venom eats flesh. I’ve heard stories of their bites tunnelling through flesh. Necrosis? I have no information to back that up, and I’m not going to look it up because spiders scare the HLS out of me.

  6. @exarch: A comment made on Phil’s blog pointed out, try reversing the comments on appearance. What if it was women making the comment?

    “Having not read any of their material, I am supremely unqualified to comment on any of their writings.
    But as a living breathing female of the species, I look forward to any article with Chris’s picture attached.”

    It’s creepy.

    @infinitemonkey: Brown recluse bites are pretty serious. A friend of mine got bitten in the ass by one (and it was confirmed as a brown recluse) and had to have a big chunk cut out around the bite to prevent the spread of necrosis. She looked like death warmed over for a few weeks following that.

  7. @Musethis and InfiniteMonkey:
    The venom of the brown recluse appears to preferentially kill nerve tissue as it goes along, creating an anesthetic-like numbness as it forms a crater in the muscle tissue. It’s rather sickening to see, as I’ve had some experience with it.

  8. I use to work, and work out, with one of those guys that won the genetic lottery.

    A kick ass programmer that ended up with movie star looks and 18″ pipes (his arms just grew and grew, I hate him :)

    He had a wife and she was nice and pretty and didn’t ever talk about her folks much.

    As I got to know them, they confided that he had, more or less, helped to convince her to leave a cult very similar to this “quiver full” thingy.

    Once out, they eventually started dating and, you’ve guessed the rest.

    She told me once, that not one of her family showed up to the wedding. Their two children had never had any contact with her parents.

    Even with a good life in the outside world, happy marriage and a new family, (and god forbid you know, a part time job or a night school class, when she wanted one) you could tell the disconnect with her own family still bothered her.

    It was a learning point for me. Even if the transition from cult to “the outside” is fairly smooth, even if you don’t mind giving up everything you’ve ever known, you still have to lose your family not only for you but any future family you have as well.

    Up until then, I’d always thought that not seeing the grand kids would eventually bring these guys around. You know, soften them up just a little.

    Apparently, not.

    rod

  9. Uh, no.
    Disclaimer: bug_girl and I have disagreed on this, but the symptoms matched the published descriptions and photos in both cases. (Graphic description below) For those really interested, send me an e-mail address and I’ll send you photos.

    Back in MO, one of my Shelties suddenly displayed a lump on his back shortly after I had brought in some firewood during the winter. He apparently felt nothing. I called my vet and she told me to immediately bring him in. Once there, both vets worn to work aspirating the lump they found in the center of a “target-shaped “rash and got a fair amount of digested-looking blood and liquified tissue from it. His gums also showed the characteristic splotching of internal hemmoraging.

    Apparently, we had lucked out, because he only had a small scar about a half-inch wide, shaped like Mickey Mouse. (I was not contacted by Michael Eisner’s legal team, thankfully.) Diagnosis: I had brought in a brown recluse spider by accident with the firewood. The dog had been sleeping on his back next to the firewood pile before we noted the injury. (Shelties love to sleep on their backs. Looks uncomfortable to me, buy hey, I’m not a dog!)

    Years later after we moved to WV, the same dog suddenly developed a golf ball-sized, serum and blood weeping hole in the muscle on his upper back. He apparently felt nothing again. After the vet shaved the area, we again found the same symptoms, further along. He had a “target” shaped-rash in the area and in the middle, a large hole through the skin and down into the muscle. The hole eventually stopped at about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch deep.

    Diagnosis: Same as above, except we believe we had accidentally brought some very-unwanted arachnid company on our journey.

    In both cases, it took the wounds a couple of months to fully heal. If it wasn’t the brown recluse spider, I don’t want to ever meet whatever it was that did this.

  10. Around here there are these large “wolf” spiders that run around carrying their young on their backs. Word is that if you are bitten you may develop lycanthropy unless you have a vaccine. I would get one but the chance of autism is too great.

  11. @exarch: There is a time and a place, and really, it’s not that hard to know the difference. If you already have a friendship with the person, then it’s probably fine as plenty of friends joke around in the workplace together, but otherwise it is highly inappropriate to walk to up to a woman in the workplace to tell her how hot you think she is, especially while also implying that her looks are far more important than her achievements.

  12. @exarch: “You compliment her on her brain, she feels ugly, ” And no, complimenting someone’s achievements doesn’t automatically mean she feels ugly. Women (well, most) don’t base themselves solely on their looks. If I walked up to you and said, “That was a great paper you wrote! Congradulations!” or some such, would you suddenly think you are ugly because I also didn’t throw in, “Oh, and you have a fine asssss!”? No?

  13. @museThis: I’ll make sure to do that, though he gets lots of hugs and scratches, believe me! He and his three packmates of the Sheltie ‘Barks Brothers’ are all a little spoiled…
    They deserve it, since all but Bailey are rescues.

    Gee, if I got bitten by a Daddy Longlegs, I could be a basketball player…?

  14. @Amanda:
    A comment made on Phil’s blog pointed out, try reversing the comments on appearance. What if it was women making the comment?

    Having been an awkward, geeky/nerdy, unattractive guy during most of my adolescence, I think that kind of attention would be novel enough to actually boost my self esteem rather than break it down.

    The whole thing just feels like “woe is me … pity me because I”m beautiful” to me.

    Still, I can understand women who might have had to endure that kind of attention for most of their lives being tired of it. It’s essentially the same thing that has spawned all these women only gyms.

    But being in a typically awkward, geeky/nerdy field like hard sciences, most of the people you’re dealing with are completely unaware or even incapable of imagining what being very attractive would be like. So don’t suddenly be surprised when people act the way you deep down knew they would …

    Also, I want to see more skepchick posts with Sam’s picture attached. In a totally heterosexual way …

  15. @marilove:
    Well, it was mostly just hyperbole. I do realise when it’s inappropriate to comment on someone’s looks, or solely on their looks. Although I’m pretty sure I also err on the side of caution a tad too often as far as the compliments go.

    On the other hand, I think it’s kind of sad how quickly one poster’s more or less off the cuff remark of “hey, she’s rather attractive” so quickly devolved into “hubba, hubba *drool*“. As I said before, I can understand her complaint. But at the same time, I also think this “handicap” probably made her the scientist she is today, because she had to work harder to prove herself.

    Like a boy named Sue …

  16. @exarch:
    Having been an awkward, geeky/nerdy, unattractive guy

    Uh, you don’t have to be beautiful to get that kind of attention. When you’re one of the few women around in a man-dominated field, you get it a lot. I’m cute enough but certainly not gorgeous, and I get it enough (on the bus, whatever), because certain men think it is appropriate to hit on women whenever they please. Plenty of women who aren’t “attractive” get unwanted attention from men, too.

    One morning — it was still dark out and no one was around — I was wearing jeans and a hoodie and you couldn’t even *see* me, yet some man decided it would be proper to roll up beside me and say, “Hey, fine sweetie! Wanna ride? It’s too cold out here for you to be walkin’!” This was a REGULAR thing. I could be wearing sweats and my hair could be greasy, and I could have the zit the size of a mountain on my nose, and still, while taking public transportation, I’d get gross remarks from guys who think they have a right to hit on women whenever they please.

    “On the other hand, I think it’s kind of sad how quickly one poster’s more or less off the cuff remark of “hey, she’s rather attractive””

    It’s NOT APPRPRIATE in the work place or in a professional setting.

    “But at the same time, I also think this “handicap” probably made her the scientist she is today, because she had to work harder to prove herself.:”

    I don’t get this handicap you are speaking of. Her only “handicap” is being a woman (attractive or not) in a field run mainly by men.

  17. @marilove:

    So when IS the “appropriate” time to hit on someone? Not that I disagree with you about the whole at work thing, but even if work is off limits, when is a good time? Apparently not at the bus stop or on public transportation. Certainly not at a bar, women just go there to have a good time, right? They don’t go to be ogled by men.

    So the guy asked Sheril to fool around, so what? She said no, he buggered off. Had the roles been reversed and she been the one making a sexual advance, the guy could also turn her down. He didn’t ask her at work, he propositioned her on his and her own free time.

    I don’t see women as objects, but I do embrace sexuality. We are sexual beings and if someone doesn’t appreciate advances they generally have the ability to say as much. So what if some people were commenting on her looks in regards to her picture? It’s teh intertoobz. If people don’t want to see comments like that then moderate.

  18. @OneHandClapping: Not while they are working and in a professional environment? And CERTAINLY not by saying, “LOL, I have no idea about your achievements, but you sure are HOOOOOT!”

    You can talk and even be casually flirty (even at work, at appropriate times) if you are interested in someone without crossing a line. You don’t have to ask a woman to be your mistress. How disrespectful can you get?

    “So the guy asked Sheril to fool around, so what? She said no, he buggered off. ”

    And the guy is a sexit asshole and was way out of line.

    “So what if some people were commenting on her looks in regards to her picture? It’s teh intertoobz. ”

    It’s also sexist and unacceptable behavior.

    Why is it so difficult to expect men to be respectful and not sexist? And why are women always told, “Oh, honey! It’s not a big deal! That’s just how men are!’ when they complain about it?

  19. @OneHandClapping: And I’ve been hit on plenty before respectfully. Context does matter. And no, if I’m listening to my mp3 player and reading a book, it is NOT appropriate to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey, baby, you sure are fine!” It’s rude. Just because I’m in a public space does not mean you have a right to invade my space.

    If we make eye contact, and I smile at you, by all means say hi, tell me your name. If I’m interested, I’ll continue the conversation. If I’m not, I’ll say thank you and go back to my book or something, but don’t you try to continue to chat me up when I’ve made it damn clear I’m not interested.

  20. @OneHandClapping: ““So what if some people were commenting on her looks in regards to her picture? It’s teh intertoobz. ””

    And it bothers me, but doesn’t really surprise me, that you don’t see this as a problem. It’s not just the intertoobz. Science is still very much a mans club, and women have a hard time finding their place. By shrugging off sexism in the scientific community — “What’s the big deal?!” — you’re basically saying the rampet sexism is not a big deal. And that’s wrong.

  21. How is this sexism? Please explain it to me, since they weren’t saying “Your research is meaningless because you are purty!”

    It isn’t as if she was presenting ideas on her theories for a scientific study on something and the response was “You’re gorgeous!” And if you can’t EVER say that a woman is attractive, well I don’t see how that will work.

    You haven’t made an argument.

    I have no statistics on science as a man’s club, but I would be very interested to see. I work in science and there are roughly the same amount of women here as men. (anecdotal, I know, but it’s more than you have offered)

  22. @marilove:

    HOW IS IT SEXIST?!?! There is nothing sexist about asking her that! He wasn’t discriminating against her in any way, he wasn’t devaluing her in any way, he wasn’t stereotyping her in any way, he was expressing interest in a tactless fashion.

    That isn’t sexist, it’s crass and uncouth, but not sexist.

  23. @marilove:

    Yes, and by taking the comment out of context it helps you. So, on a website OTHER than hers a commenter said that he wasn’t familiar with her work, but that she was attractive. How is that belittling her exactly?

    I am really not trying to be an ass, I enjoy your point of view on all of this and hope that it might enlighten me.

  24. @OneHandClapping: DID YOU EVEN READ THE ARTICLE?

    2008: Now a science writer, I’ve just returned from a conference, ecstatic to have met one of my–and everyone else’s–science heroes. He somehow tracks down my number and calls the following week. How would I feel about being “his next mistress?” I remind him I have a popular science blog and warn never to call back.

    HOW IS THAT NOT SEXIST?

  25. @marilove:

    I actually read the article before it was posted here in Skepchick. I check The Intersection daily.

    I still fail to see how it is sexist. He called her AFTER the official meeting. As I said, it was in very poor taste, but how is it sexist? Does it demean her in some way? If so, please explain, and don’t get all pissed about it, I really AM trying to understand where you are coming from.

  26. @OneHandClapping: “http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/fashion/15WORK.html?_r=3&oref=slogin&oref=slogin”

    From one quick google.

    It always seems to be men who always say, “OH LOL! No big deal! No big deal at all, why are you women getting your panties in such a bunch?!”

    Sigh.

  27. @marilove:

    Ok, but you still haven’t explained to me how that was sexist. People commented, not on her site but another, about her looks. The guy that called her called her AFTER hours, and she never said that he made any remark about her as a scientist, or didn’t take her serious because she was a woman, nothing of the sort.

    Again: He wasn’t discriminating against her in any way, he wasn’t devaluing her in any way, he wasn’t stereotyping her in any way, he was expressing interest in a tactless fashion.

  28. @marilove: “You can talk and even be casually flirty (even at work, at appropriate times) if you are interested in someone without crossing a line.”

    I say the same thing on phils blog and get all kinds of shit for it… Damn it.

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