Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Mid Week At Work. How often are the perceptions we seek to correct misperceptions?

The title of this entry is accurate, but likely misleading.  It doesn't quite mean what it might suggest.

University of Wyoming/Casper College Geomorphology Class, 1983.

My University of Wyoming geology newsletter came yesterday by email (the only way it comes).  In it was an article on Lexi Jamieson Marsh's participation in The Bearded Lady Project.  For whatever reason the flyer really featured this late, as this premiered this past Spring.  Anyhow, Ms. Marsh's featuring in the film was based on the filmographer's concept that:""The Bearded Lady Project" is a documentary film and photographic project celebrating the work of female paleontologists and highlighting the challenges and obstacles they face.

Basically it combats the idea that people have in their minds that all paleontologist are men.

But do people have that in their minds?

I very much doubt it.

At least I doubt that people in the field do.   When I was a geology student in the early 1980s there were certainly a fair number, if definitely a minority, of my fellow students who were women.  Men did grossly outnumber women, to be sure, and may still today for a variety of reasons, but there were certainly a female representation both amongst the students and the geology professors.

I've lost track, somewhat, of working geologist, sadly, since my career didn't pan out.  But at least when I graduated a few of the female students, mostly grad students, went on to find work, so they were working in the field. At least one of the two whom I knew well still is, the other having determined on a career in the law instead.  Like most of us of men, those who graduated only with BS degrees at that time tended not to find work and had to move on to grad school or other careers, but that was equally true of the men.  Indeed, interestingly enough, one of the few students I knew who had a BS degree only and found a job was a woman.

So my point is, the concept that we're busting stereotypes through something like this may actually be, well, stereotypical.

If they really wanted to bust a stereotype worth busting, somebody should take on the absurd idea that scientist are nerds or single mindedly focused on science.  Not true at all, in spite of what The Big Bang theory would tell us.

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