One of these days, I will have to have a talk with a colleague, who has an administrative role in a physical science field. His heart is in the right place and he is one of the men who really support women and their advancement in the physical sciences, as evidenced by him propelling his female colleagues and students. However, I think he might have inadvertently gotten lost in the thick forest of benevolent sexism.
There are several things that are sexist about this attitude. First,
it assumes that, deep down, all women want to be nurses, and that one
has to appeal to a smart woman’s inner nurse in order to bring her —
nay, trick her! — into the physical sciences. It also assumes that while
men are naturally geeks, women could not possibly be real geeks or like
the physical sciences for the same reasons as men, or for any reasons
unrelated to their inner nurse.
I don’t know what one has to do to get this through people’s
skulls: There are women geeks. Honestly, they exist. *raises hand to be
counted* There are women who like and are very good at math, physics,
chemistry, computer science; who play video games; who like science
fiction and fantasy.
Women geeks and men geeks do not necessarily look and act as the
stereotypes. One can be into math, physics, chemistry, or computers, and
at the same time also look perfectly presentable and be perfectly
socially adjusted. One can be into math, physics, chemistry, or
computers, and also have long hair, boobs, and/or lipstick.
Read the full blog post here.