In which I am called on the carpet

An interesting discussion about the balance of home / work effort on the part of men and women in science blew up recently. Our good blog friend Dr. Isis responded to observations from Jim Austen Austin at ScienceCareers who wrote on Women, Men, Housework, and Science. A vibrant conversation emerged (mostly at Dr. Isis' blog) and there were followup entries from Janet Stemwedel and Jim Austen.
In the course of the discussion ScientistMother wondered:

Do we ever get a post from DrugMonkey about how he does it? He has kids and a wife (who I think is a scientist) but he rarely talks about balance issues. I'm sure its been an issue. Until the MEN start talking about its not going to change.

to which I responded:

wait..why am *I* getting dragged into this discussion exactly?


ScientistMother has put up an answer in Step up to the plate DrugMonkey

You have stated on your blog that you believe that gender equality in science is a good thing. Yet you rarely talk about some of the balancing issues or the parental issues. I have the link up that shows you think its important. Yet outside of that post originally done 2 years ago, you don't talk about fatherhood or balancing fatherhood and partnerhood with science.

Go Read.

23 responses so far

  • So, whuddayagonnadoaboutit?

  • hnr says:

    Well, we're waiting (tap, tap, tap)...

  • Kate says:

    I understand your discomfort with calling yourself a feminist, but I think you can pretty safely call yourself an ally. I too tend to be wary of the menz who call themselves feminists but are really mansplainers. But I think you know you're not one of them. So let's hear it! Of what you feel comfortable sharing as pseudonymous you, what is it like being a scientist and a father?

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Kate, calling one's self an ally runs into some of the same problems that calling one's self a feminist does. Namely, I've seen it spark far too many "Oh, no you're not, because you don't..." discussions in the place of people just moving on and working together. I don't know that this is why DM doesn't use it, but I understand a general wariness.

  • Dr Becca says:

    No one should ever have to declare themselves anything. Like DM said in the comments, he does what he does, and anyone is free to interpret his actions to mean that he's an "ally" or not. This can apply to pretty much any label you choose--as a totally off-topic example, I hate when people call themselves "foodies." Why can't you just eat fancy or exotic food, without feeling compelled to give yourself a name for it?

  • Anonymous says:

    ScientistMother demonstrates a fair bit of entitlement herself: she knows best what people should write about, calls them out when they don't, she knows exactly what people should think and how they are supposed to express their opinion in an approved fashion. And she is of course one of the blogosphere supreme judges of whether an opinion is allowed at all or not.
    Not that DM needs defending, but what the hell? Leave the guy alone, and all male bloggers for that matter. No wonder no one wants to write about these things, since a whole pack of ScientistMother-like know-it-alls will jump for the kill for the slightest deviation from the approved standpoint. Who needs that kind of crap?
    And yes I am Anon because I don't need that kind of crap either.

  • Kermit says:

    Well... I think many things are Good Things. But who has time or interest in addressing all of them with significant energy? I have run into many crusaders that I otherwise agree with who think I am remiss for not being at the forefront of their particular cause. "You *say that you approve of [feminism | environment activism | stopping human trafficking | encouraging vigorous exercise | stopping the war | adult literacy | alternate energy sources | helping dysfunctional families to heal | getting pets spayed]... but you never do anything about it!"
    One from column A and one from column B; that's it. One only has one life. DrugMonkey does good work. Call him out if he does or says anything that's out of line, but demanding (even by implication) that he should be focused on one's own interest is out of line.

  • anon says:

    I'm only surprised they hadn't turned on you earlier. CPP will be next.

  • Alex says:

    So, yeah, I guess I've been too harsh on you in the past when I've questioned why you don't blog about the racial aspects of drug policy. Now I see you having other people coming at you saying "Blog about my topic if you are really a decent person!" and, yeah, you can't blog about everything no matter how decent you are.
    Also, I think you are wise not to adopt a label. I have a blog under a different name, and I applied a political label to myself, and now I get it from all sides: Some people are upset that I'm not a sufficiently strict adherent to my political affiliation, others are upset because they blame me for everything ever done by anybody expressing even a fond view of my political label, etc. Just not worth it.
    Just try to do good as best as you see it, and be open to the possibility that you might need to try seeing it differently. There's nothing more you can do.

  • kevin. says:

    That's some good equivocating, Drugmonkey. I guess we're not getting an invited post on all things "WorkLife."

  • Tsu Dho Nimh says:

    Why should you have to explain yourself: What works for you could not possibly be PC enough to keep the Sci-mommies happy.
    So stay out of that particular mud fight.

  • Isis the Scientist says:

    Keep writing about what you'd like, Brother Drug. No individual is responsible for solving the disparities of the world.

  • Kate says:

    Oooh, we're Sci-mommies now. What a nicely belittling name!
    Of course no individual is responsible for solving the disparities of the world, or even a handful of them. I think what SM was expressing was frustration. People from disempowered groups do this all the time. Sometimes we are productive about it, sometimes we are not. At least for me, when I do it it is because of days, weeks, years of anger building up into one moment where I try to articulate why I'm pissed off. And sometimes it makes sense to others, and sometimes it doesn't.
    DM, the post that SM linked to at her blog was one that made me cry when I first read it. I had to go shut my office door so others wouldn't see. That is how powerful an effect it can be to make visible the work and support of men to women. I know it's not your job. I know it's your blog and you can write whatever you want. But on my darker days when I am wiping my kid's butt and checking the clock and wondering where my husband is because it's 6:45 and he said he'd be home by 6, or I am sitting in my second year review meeting and wondering if I'm going to get nailed for not having enough publications because of the time I spend with my daughter... yeah, I feel like I could use a contradiction, a little inspiration, from my bloggy colleagues. Forgive me for looking in a place where I had found it before and hoping to see some more.

  • LadyDay says:

    I am in complete agreement that bloggers have every right to write or not to write about whatever they choose.

  • gnuma says:

    I'm curious about the male condition in general and appreciate getting perspective from dudes about various aspects of their lives, whether this means life/work 'balance' (I hate that term, there is no balance, there is only do), random male-specific medical stuff that I never would have thought about otherwise, and well, anything else really -- in addition to the mostly feminist-leaning blogs that I read. I am happy to read whatever or most that you post, however, and think you needn't be a 'token' work/life balance blogger if you prefer not to. That said, if you were to post on such a topic, I'd read it with interest rather then skim it.

  • LadyDay says:

    BTW, LOVE the carpet reference, but many beavers prefer wood. Not that I'm mixing metaphors here or anything.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    LadyDay, I have no idea what you are talking about. This is a pretty common term for being called to account for oneself. Etymology suggests the idea that it comes from a time in which a superior in the workplace had a carpet in his office and all others had bare floors.

  • LadyDay says:

    Just teasing you. : )

  • JohnV says:

    If its any consolation LadyDay, you made me chuckle.

  • LadyDay says:

    Thanks, JohnV. Clearly, DrugMonkey was implying that certain women are superior to him... or that he has wood floors in his office.

  • Jim Austin says:

    DM,
    Could you spell my name right please?
    Thank you very much.
    Best Regards,
    Jim Austin, Editor
    Science Careers

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Sure Jym, happy to oblige.

  • "Spell my name right"!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Jeezus fuck, holmes, get a fucking grip on yourself.

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