Title Racist misogyny in STEM

From Latina Lab Tech

I used to work in a small laboratory for a small engineering firm. My coworkers, who are all male, are an absolute hell to work with.

Most of them seem perfectly willing to spread racist stereotypes about Hispanic people and then backtrack when I call them on it. One of them actually had the gall to come into the lab with a “Make America Great Again” hat knowing it would piss me off. They also spread the whole “all women in STEM are diversity hires” bullshit over and over. Itmade this workplace extremely hostile for me and forced me to leave.

What made me leave this job however was one time when I overheard my male coworkers discussing their dating preferences. They then started talking about how awesome Latinas are and started spouting misogynistic racism about how Latinas are superior because they’re more submissive. What really got to me is how, at the end, one of them said “Latina ass is worth more than Latina crazy”.

This is an extremely common racist stereotype of not only Latinas but Latinx people in general. The idea that were somehow more aggressive is one of the many reasons Latinos are discriminated against by police. Moreover, labeling aggressive female behavior “crazy” is, as you can guess, sexism.

In my experience, most STEM men deny sexism/racism in their fields not because of “unconscious bias” but because they’re more than willing to engage in it themselves. This notion that white men are somehow unaware of their bigotry seems to me as being profoundly exonerating of some truly nasty attitudes that need challenging.

I’ve never ever met a man in my field that wasn’t at least a little bit sexist. While some actively try to check their privilege, most seem perfectly willing to engage in sexist bigotry even if called out on it.

From Erin

Title It can happen anywhere

I was a 2nd year student, majoring in physics and electronics, on a scholarship. The scholarship required that I work 20 hours a week in the relevant fields, so I was working for a small optics company, doing QA. The company had ~30 employees, and mostly the environment was rather amiable. Then one day, I sat for lunch with the Head of Production, and a couple of guys from his department. What followed was a 15 min conversation about how women never do anything productive, and only waste the money men make.
I was on a first name basis and had decent conversations with all three, and worked constantly with the HoP (and he seemed satisfied with my knowledge and work ethic). You’d think that having an actual, working woman at the table would deter them. It didn’t. Neither did the fact that in this particular company, both the CTO and the Head of R&D were women with Phd’s, and that the all of QA and half of Special Orders were WOMEN.
When I tried to confront them, they claimed to be joking, and then continued on as if I’m not there. I finished eating as fast as I could, and spent the next 10 min crying in my office from the humiliation.

From Female Facebook User

Title Unconscious bias uncovered through Facebook posts

I’ve noticed a peculiar trend among the Facebook shares of my openly conservative Facebook “friends”. It seems that, since women have been earning more doctorates than men, this apparently means men are discriminated against on a societal level.

Yet I then see them post articles about how STEM disparities are natural and how the gender pay gap is a myth.

It’s almost as if when equality becomes the norm (or at least more of the norm), the oppressed feel victimized.

I say this because all of said “friends” are male.

It’s almost as if unconscious sexism is proven by this. Statistics show women often times earn higher grades than their male counterparts in STEM fields, how diversity, particular gender diversity, improves performance and many other such things. Even though this is the case, women are still biased against.

These men believing men are somehow biased against means they severely discount women’s abilities.

From Tabitha

My male science lecturer at a very prestigious university told me I would get better grades if I “didn’t wear a bra”. The next day I came in without a bra and he removed me from the class because I dressed “provocatively”. As a disabled person of colour, I find this disgusting as this is still happening in 2017.

From Andie

Title Examples of unconscious sexism

– Believing that, if women earn more doctoral degrees, men are discriminated against, but if women go less into STEM fields, it must be because of biological differences.

– Believing that all women’s successes are due to affirmative action, but that affirmative action discriminates against men.

– Dismissing any evidence of women being as less as being pseudoscience but immediately accepting any study proving women being biologically less inclined towards certain fields without criticism.

From Beth

Title My “cute” results

I submitted a manuscript to a prominent peer-reviewed journal. This was not my first first-author publication, but it was my first as corresponding author. I was excited and nervous when our reviews came back. One of the comments hit me straight in the stomach, and I’ll probably never forget it.

“This is a cute result.”

Now, please understand that myself, my colleagues, and the editor all felt like the result in this manuscript were of significant scientific interest. Further, no clipart was used in making the figures.

When forming a rebuttal to our reviewer comments, I wanted to address this microagression head-on. This language has no place in a professional peer-review report. It is meant to demean and belittle. And I would argue that had the first author been a man, this term would not be used. I was, and still am, disgusted.

I was further shocked at my male coauthors’ response.

“This is probably a positive comment in the reviewer’s first language.”
“You don’t want to embarrass the reviewer by addressing this.”
“You’re misinterpreting their comment!”

The journal in question has several articles about sexism in STEM, and if they’re sincere about fighting the bias agaisnt women in science then their editors need to be on the frontline. This kind of language is non-constructive and unprofessional, and editors should do more to call it out. I don’t care if a reviewer’s feelings are hurt, because their feelings do not get to supersede my own.

From Anonymous

At the upcoming Turbomachinery and Pump Symposia in Houston, TX run by Texas A&M University’s Turbo Lab, there is a special program for spouses of attendees: Cake Decorating and Jewelry Making.

http://tps.tamu.edu/spouse-program/

From Sarah

Two male graduate students in an academic genetics lab, speaking to various female undergraduates:

“See the number on the scale? Subtract 10 and that’s what you should be aiming for.”

Same male graduate students responding to my (female postdoc in the same lab) protests about their comments:

“It’s just a joke.”

Principal Investigator of the lab:

Silence.

10 years later, this memory still makes me sick to my stomach.

From R L

Title Pseudo-intellectual misogyny

I would like to preface this story by saying that I am a non-white cisgendered man that often engages in political debate with some rather reactionary characters. This story should illuminate that for all reading.

I once met a stereotypical brogrammer who claimed to be an anarcho-capitalist. For those who don’t know, they’re essentially laissez-faire capitalists that want the state gone completely. So basically, any anti-discrimination protections created for women amd minorities, any equal pay initiative, every affirmative action initiative and every workers rights protections are gone. They believe that ”the market will sort it out naturally” even though it’s very clear to anyone with any knowledge of the history of capitalism that this will not happen. But when teey get called on it, they blame some non-existent bogeyman called corporatism, without any awareness of what that word actually means.

These sorts of people have an unbelievably hard time accepting the fact that institutional oppression is a thing, largely because it takes a special kind of special to casually ignore the entire history of the last 200 years and say ”We need to let corporations go free and discriminate at will”. This means any criticism of societal structures that oppress certain groups needs to go out the door, as that would torpedo their central argument that markets are perfectly efficient and are perfectly equitable.

He was your stereotypical libertarian. ”Show me a law where women and minorities are biased against”, ”women’s choices cause the gender pay gap”, ”racism does not exist anymore”. Given the fact this man was not oppressed in any meaningful way, it would be extremely likely he would come to this conclusion.

I bombarded him with examples of women and minorities being seen as less competent by interviewers. He then called those studies ”tripe” because ”they don’t take into account all the variables involved”. He never explained why this is the case, he never gave a cogent argument what those variables might be and he never gave a wayit could be improved, but it’s probably because he and his little political cult believes any sort of statistical social science is worthless.

… unless it agrees with their preconceived points of view.

He would never, ever hesitate to pull out studies proving that women are either inferior of less disposed at things like STEM or military work. He would show how ”women give up easier at physical tasks” without criticizing why they did so and if social pressures might contribute to that. He would bring up the pseudo-academic concept of the Norwegian Gender Paradox, which states that, as a country becomes more prosperous, women, who now ”have the freedom to choose”, will choose the occupations they’re naturally suited for. In other words, women aren’t suited to be engineers, without the overt bigotry usually involved with this kind of argument.

This is where I got absolutely enraged. His studies very clearly relied on the same statistical correlation he decried in mine His studies on women in the military excluded social factors that may have caused those results. When I claimed his ”paradox” is irrelevant (given the fact, in many of the so-called ”sexist” countries he named, engineering is not considered a man’s job and that the proportion of STEM women has increased over the last few decades. He claimed this was ”proof that I was wrong about discrimination in STEM” (despite the fact feminism has gained a lot of traction over the past few decades). When I pointed out how much of a hypocrite he was for not applying his bullshit standard of evidence to his own argumentation, he blocked me, not before saying that ”biological differences between men and women are readily apparent”.

It was a rather tedious exchange with an extremely arrogant mediocre white man (this was a 30-something who, despite having graduated a decade prior, was still in an entry-level engineering job; the fact he isn’t oppressed in any way shape or form means this isn’t due to institutionalized bigotry and should be proof of how much of an idiot he is).

However what got to me the most was the sheer level of confirmation bias he was experiencing. He never ever bothered to apply his bullshit standard of evidence to his own studies, touting them as absolute fact. That reeks of the unconscious sexism that led to James Damore publishing his nonsense literature review in August.

I’ve spoken to actual scholars who research attrition and unconscious bias. They very clearly laid waste to his arguments.

The whole ‘give me the confidence of a mediocre white man” adage feminists chant permeated the entire exchange. How a lower-end BEng graduate with no experience whatsoever in social science lecturing me as to how much of an idiot I was made me feel the crunch of oppression. I’m an ethnic minority, and the patronizing tone of voice he used never escaped me.

It was after this incident that I realized feminism was indeed correct and why men like this are the reason there are so few women in programm9ing.