Saturday, November 5, 2011

Major Overhaul

When I started writing this blog in 2008, I was a young woman trying desperately to grapple onto a sense of her place in society. I was fresh out of high-school - a very enclosed and sheltered world where the staff members were predominantly female and most of those who accomplished academic success were females. I lived in a world where women ruled and women were on top and that was a comfort to my identity as a woman. In my own family, women were strong opinionated, working for their own and making it on their own without any need for a man. This inspired me to dream of an independent life and thing first about my career aspirations above my romantic pursuits, which I did until the world held me by the chin and slapped me in the face with some news.

The world does not take kindly to the idea of female strength nor does it take kindly to the notion of an independent woman trying to make it on her own. This woman is not liked, may be perceived as an ice-cold, heartless and conniving b**** and is criticized for her character and sometimes her looks. Women, in the real world are objects upon which the male gaze is projected, they are made to be looked at and worse yet f***ed only. They are not meant to have thoughts of their own, aspirations, dreams and goals. They are viewed as strange or crazy when they pursue artistic, intellectual, political goals because a go-getting woman is violating the fundamental premise of the feminine by not being a passive, weak and fragile thing that seeks the protection and validation of a man.

I was taught these concepts by males who are essentially insecure about their own manhood and seek to conceal these flaws by suppressing and oppressing women into neat, predictable little corners where they can be monitored so as not to let them get out of hand you know, by having too much influence and power.

The limiting roles, the chauvinistic gender binary caused me to become a radical feminist at 19 and much of my blog at the time was filled with rants about the experiences and encounters with sexist-minded females and males and how I always knew that if I were a male, none of this grief would be handed to me.

So, as an undergraduate astrophysics student caught in the middle of a male-dominated career field, I have much experience in the league of dealing with chauvinists and therefore plenty of wisdom to hand down to young women who, like most of us, have normalized these inhibiting ideas and absorbed them to the point of dumbing themselves down for the sake of being socially acceptable. Truly gifted young women are wasting their minds on frivolous and trivial garbage all because they are afraid to cross the line on what society makes clear is the right way to be a woman. It's a tremendous waste and I am on a mission to do my bit in reducing this phenomenon in my direct vicinity.

The lack of female scientific pursuit is more a case of discouragement than it is a factor of men being more gifted at these fields. We are told and therefore we believe. If there were more female scientists in the world or had many of the great scientific breakthroughs been made by women, the converse would be true. So, we can easily conclude that this is more of a psychological issue than it is a result of genetic predisposition.

Or perhaps, for those chauvinists that believe women have no place in science, it could very easily be more a matter of genetics than just the odd Napoleon Complex which bears no physical justification. Know what I mean... ;)

No comments: