What Caught My Eye - Week 10

Diversity, Culture, Feminism

  • "When a pipeline leaks, we don't blame the water" is a key theme of this piece by Frances Hocutt, describing how she left her love, chemsistry. This piece, and the next are from a fantastic looking magazine, Model View Culture, which looks to be filled with interesting writing.

    So, someone you know is considering leaving a STEM field and you wish she wouldn't, or you vaguely wish she felt more supported in her current position. You have opinions about the proverbial leaky pipeline. You're sad or angry that you'll be the only woman in the lab once your coworker leaves. You're frustrated that your brilliant, driven mentee quit her job and left the field. You want to get more women in STEM, so you focus your efforts on trying to recruit new women and girls. You're recognized for your outreach efforts -- and your colleague's going-away lunch takes you by surprise.

    So. What can you do?

    You can recognize that our choices to leave are rational decisions that demonstrate self-knowledge and self-respect. We have weighed whether we love the work more than we hate the context we do it in. You can accept our analysis and respect our agency, and not try to convince us that you know better or that we should have worked (even) harder. If you’re part of a majority and we are not, you can acknowledge that we've probably already worked harder than you have to get to the same place.

  • Quantify Everything: A Dream of a Feminist Data Future talks about a historical view of data, and how the definition is changing.

    “Data” has historically been a neglected byproduct of action and interaction, and looking after it has been less a priority than an accident. That data has taken on masculine and technologically essential attributes in recent years is a testament to how quickly and pervasively market semantics can work. For centuries, collecting, caretaking, curating and analyzing data has been the domain of women’s work—look at the histories of librarianship, nursing and programming.

  • TRIGGER WARNING: This is an article about the insidious spread of trigger warnings

    Trigger warnings are presented as a gesture of empathy, but the irony is they lead only to more solipsism, an over-preoccupation with one’s own feelings—much to the detriment of society as a whole. Structuring public life around the most fragile personal sensitivities will only restrict all of our horizons. Engaging with ideas involves risk, and slapping warnings on them only undermines the principle of intellectual exploration. We cannot anticipate every potential trigger—the world, like the Internet, is too large and unwieldy. But even if we could, why would we want to? Bending the world to accommodate our personal frailties does not help us overcome them.

Art and News