Saturday, December 5, 2009

Presumed feminism

So, I've had a few things happen in my life where I am talking about something, and someone assumes that I am being like, all offended in a feminist way, when in fact I was not thinking along those lines whatsoever.

It's very annoying because sometimes, I am so surprised that it is only minutes later that I even realize what they must have thought I was saying, and I can't even go back to fix it, and now they assume I am a raging overly-sensitive feminist.

Example 1:

There was a methodology and toolset proposed and pushed by a member of the faculty at my university. It's good in its place, but as technology has changed, it is no longer enough. I was at a conference, and this methodology came up, and when a question session came up, there was a queue at the microphone. A prominent professor at another university said, "REAL men use methodology Foo when they are doing Bar." Meanwhile, the professor at my university was standing RIGHT behind him, waiting to defend his honor because his methodology is simpler and does not do Foo. It was somewhat deliciously dramatic, but the moderator of the session stopped all questions after this.

I was back at school, relaying this story to a fellow student. I said, "and THEN, Prof. Awesome said, 'REAL men use Foo when doing Bar!' It was insane!" And then fellow student said, "Well, I'm sure he MEANT real scientists, he didn't really mean MEN." I was thinking to myself, what in the hell is he talking about?

After the conversation was over, I realized he thought I was offended at the term "real men" because it excluded women. Which was so entirely ridiculous that I missed it at the time. What the hell? It's so annoying. And now this guy walks around thinking that he can't use the turn of phrase, "REAL men do X" when I'm around because then I will try to kick his ass. Which is totally not true.

Example 2:

This occurred more recently. There is a policy in my office about making coffee, which I think is very common. If you take the last bit, you make a new pot. Very simple. Very reasonable.

I had been lucky enough to avoid having to do this for several weeks after I had started work. Then, I had the fortune of getting hit with making a new pot two days in a row. The first time, I was thinking, well, it's about time I guess. And the next day, I was like, "hahaha, how funny that it worked this way. well, shucks."

Then a coworker comes in and is like, "oh you're making coffee?" and I said, "yup, i've been lucky enough to get it two days in a row!"

And he says, "well, it's just random you know..." and something about it seemed really defensive. I know he said something else, but I don't remember what, but I do remember it was somewhat defensive. I was confused, but I don't know this guy very well. Later, I realized (though I don't remember exactly why, this was a few months ago) that he had thought I was annoyed at being foisted coffee duty because I'm a woman.

And again, I"m like what the hell? Any human would be like, "ack, two days in a row!" Not that I won't make coffee, but it's not like people are happy when they have to do it. Am I annoyed because I'm a woman? Of course not. Do I feel like there is some conspiracy to get me to make the coffee? No, because I'm a friggin reasonable person and I realize that this is just the way the cookie crumbles in this system. I was just griping good-naturedly about my luck, and he assumes I'm ready to freakin sue the company.

So again, since the leap of logic on the part of the dude was so ridiculous, I did not understand what he meant at the time, and then when I realized he thought I was getting my feminist panties in a twist it was too late to be like, dude, that's not it.

Does this happen to you guys? I feel like it happens to me more than I would like and it really bugs me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanking your committee etiquette

So, it's been a whirlwind since I've defended, and I realize now that the dust has settled that I ought to thank my committee more than by sending effusive thank you emails and giving effusively grateful thank yous post-defense.

What ought I do? I have bought some thank you cards (nice one, not ones in a pack), and especially nice ones for my chairs. I also purchased bound copies of my thesis for the chairs, though not the rest of the committee. I have received mixed signals about this. Some said I definitely should get some for all, others said that tradition is being phased out. In a survey of my recently graduated peers it was nearly 50/50 in my department.

Either way, I can't decide if very nice thank you cards are enough, or not? Note that I hardly know several of my committee members, and they are spread out over the country so things like restaurant gift certificates are not really feasible.

What did you do for your committee?