Are you there, Oprah...It's Me, Margaret
Warning: Random content resulting from severe lack of sleep and feelings of worthlessness.
Has Oprah ever done a show on women scientists? She talks a lot about equality and leadership and encouraging women to ignore whatever glass ceiling is lingering over them, but has she ever focused on the issues facing women who made it really far while at the same time stood still the whole time? She spent a lot of time promoting that quack, Phil, who deserves less air time than Tyra Banks in my opinion. At least Tyra only offers fake empathy and doesn't try to pretend she is anyone other than who she is, unlike that poser, Phil. She has also spent a lot of time convincing us that all we need is independence from abusive men, a makeover, and a car to be happy. As much as people believe that Oprah cares about real issues (as opposed to profiting from them), I often wonder if she really cares about the deep issues.
Anyway, I've decided that because I am too old and not sexy enough to be America's Top Model or American Idol, I need to find a different dream. I guess I'll lower the bar for myself and choose successful scientist. Oprah needs to do a show on this as I can't possibly figure these things out on my own.
Topics Oprah needs to cover:
--Why do you feel alienated from other people, even successful people, who are not in science?
--Why are you so angry with people on TV (movie stars, reality stars, and general folk)?
--Why do you avoid telling people that you are getting your PhD and that you are a scientist?
--Why don't you correct people when they assume that you are a psychologist instead of a molecular neuroscientist? Note--I'm in NO way saying that it's more hard core to be a molecular person; in fact, the opposite can absolutely be the case. I have just found that people are more comfortable with believing that I'm a psychologist--probably because it has traditionally been a woman dominated field for several decades now.
--Why do you apologize after correcting people or debating with them over their misinterpretation of a medical or scientific fact.
--Why do you demean your own intelligence in front of people after winning games? Why do you purposely lose games sometimes?
--Why do you lie about your scores to people, subtracting off points or honors?
--Why do you feel like you have to be extra prepared when collaborating or debating with men in your field, even if you have more knowledge on the topic of discussion?
--Why do you email people when you first interact with them as opposed to talking with them directly or on the phone?
--Why do you feel that there are not more tenure-track women in science?
--Why do you think the leaky pipeline exists?
--How do you explain the data showing differences in the evaluations of productivity of men versus women?
--Why do you avoid women mentors?
That's just a start. I know that some of these things are specific to my own issues, but after an interesting talk with another woman in the lab, someone who is so different from me but, at the same time, so similar, I think these questions could apply to a lot of intelligent women. By the way, just to eliminate any confusion--I still want the makeover and the car. Also, don't get me wrong, I occasionally find myself enjoying Oprah--she serves a purpose and I respect that.
Interesting side note: Spell check substitutes macabre for makeover. Hee...hee...