Title Hostility in High School 

From Anonymous  

NOTE: I’m sure there’s some politically incorrect stuff in here, but I don’t have the time or energy to go back through and analyze everything for proper definitions and such…. Just keep in mind this is coming from a sleep-deprived high school freshman with an inordinate amount of math homework that has not been done.

I’ve just been majorly pissed off, and i guess this is a good place as any to vent…
Reading through these stories, I’ve realized that even though the climate of women in the workforce is changing (the #METOO campaign for example), it feels like it isn’t changing fast enough to meet that golden 2020 deadline where all our problems will be fixed, yada yada yada.
Growing up, that really is the deadline for pretty much everything for me. I’m a 14 year-old girl, graduate in 2021, and I’ve sort of had the illusion of my own awareness of how bad things are in my career path of choice ripped away. Of course, I’ve seen the effects of the lack of girls in STEM around my school (Girls who code club starting, women coming in to talk in the library, the ratio of around 6 girls to 50 boys in robotics club, etc.), but I haven’t really experienced it on the level that most of these stories are at.
Because in school, you have to play it safe, especially if you’re aiming for college. So people opt for the passive-aggressive option where you aren’t technically saying anything bad about anyone in particular, but it feels like it’s aimed at someone.
I was asked a while ago by my friend in Science Olympiad why i was doing robotics club with a bunch of mysoginistic men. Jokingly, I replied that they weren’t the ones who bossed me around, because I was the one giving orders to them. And in a way, that was and still is kind of true; in less than a year, as an 8th grader (on the high school team…I technically wasn’t supposed be on it haha), I managed to get myself into influential positions on the electronics and programming teams.
And after a sort of unspoken competition/arms race over the summer, mostly with two sophomores, I was announced as the programming team lead about a week ago.
And that brings me to today’s occurrence. I’m not entirely sure of this guy’s intentions, or any context or background, but here’s how I experienced it.
I was working with a programming mentor, one of my friends who graduated as a senior last year and came back to work with the team, when we overhear a conversation between a dude I’ll call Cactus and this other guy (I’ve known him since like 4th grade, he’s cool… I think was dragged into the conversation by Cactus).
Cactus is one of those guys who is only in the club to put on his college apps… He’s technically a programmer, but showed up like…. maybe once per week to work on programming.

Maybe I’m reading too far into this, maybe not. But he was essentially complaining about how feminists were taking up all the spots in STEM and how feminists suck so much, etc. After about a minute of him talking unnecessarily loudly about 5 feet behind me, the mentor turned around and demanded that they stop the conversation b/c it wasn’t an appropriate topic to talk about.
“Are you a feminist?” he asked me, disregarding the mentor.
Caught off-guard by the whole situation, not really expecting such an occurrence to happen, I replied with a simple “uuuuhhhh”
“Not that it’s bad or anything” says the guy who just complained about how annoying feminists are.
“I mean… I believe in equal opportunity for men and women” was my reply. I didn’t necessarily want to state a yes or no because I tend to go about life with half-understandings of words, and have accidentally offended a few people b/c I didn’t realize the full meaning of the word. But after looking it up, yes, a thousand times yes, i am a feminist.
He then went off on a mini-rant on how “yeah, I really hate those 3rd wave feminazis…. I mean, the first and second waves were fine, i guess, but those third wave feminizes… I really don’t like them”

I looked it up.

women’s suffragists are “fine, i guess”?
reproductive rights are “fine, i guess”???
but the movement that redefined the way feminism is seen to include women of all ethnicities and backgrounds is called ‘feminazi’?
what about the fourth wave, do you think that calling men out on sexual abuse is feminazi(ist?), CACTUS? Hmmmm???

Had I known the information I just looked up in a quick google search, I could’ve refuted his evidence-less argument like nobody’s business.

I never felt the need to look this information before, but it seems that Cactus is like me… He does not always understand the full definitions of the words he says. However his message was still there, even with the broad terms that most of society operates under. from my understanding of it, he is a man whose financial security was nearly assured at birth by his gender, social status, and race. He is threatened by the rising competition in the workforce and chooses to lash out at it blindly.

Growing up in this society… where, as cards against humanity puts it, “this month’s mass-shooting” is given nothing more than a glance by the vast majority of the population; where wars are raging far away from home; where the truth is constantly being put into question… It’s tiring to wake up each day, sit through an education system initially designed to make factory-workers, and come home.
Then to go to shop, what I have considered my ‘safe place’, where I can be myself, where I can learn more about how to prepare myself for my dreams. But also where it is considered a triumph when more than seven women are in the same room at the same time, where I constantly look around and realize I am alone in a room of the opposite sex, where unspeakably sexist, racist names were submitted anonymously for naming a f*****g robot, where my friend had to be written up and reported by her own mother because she kicked a person who declared that “women are just slaves to men” (literally… I don’t know who it is, but I have my suspicions… Also, they got written up to so that’s good.).
I look around and I realize that this should not be normal.
This should not be the status quo, where half of the human race is fighting desperately to be heard.
I don’t know if the world will ever be satisfied with its condition, but I certainly don’t like being questioned by people because of my sex, especially by an under-qualified majority of sheep trained to believe they’re better than other people b/c of what’s in their pants.
Because it’s not my fault if I’m “hysterical”, it’s just hard-wired into my brain. (pls don’t think that’s my opinion, I have literally the opposite view, use context clues)
I can’t really think of a good way to end this… my angry adrenaline and self-righteous fury has sort of worn off, so I’ll just leave with a little saying my mom always says:
“The best way to get back at someone is to succeed past their expectations”

You go girls (and guys)! Surpass the wildest expectations of all those toxic people in your lives!

Title Companies who don’t do what they say on their D&I tin

From Demoralized Engineering Manager

I am an engineering manager who moved jobs last year, leaving behind a pay gap that had been thoroughly demoralizing. The new job pays ok, but I am now looking to leave this one due to sexism and and exclusion issues. Both companies claim their D&I credentials are good, but all around me I see men progressing up through the ranks who don’t deserve to be where they are. I have seen two other senior level women drop out of engineering over the last year, and I may go the same way, even after a substantial career in the sector. Are there any decent companies left?

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.