Monday, March 30, 2009

You say you want a revolution...

...well, you know, we all wanna change the world

Act I
A group of young(ish) female colleagues gathers in a pub on a Friday evening for a refreshing beverage or two. Grad students, postdocs, technicians, junior faculty, and grant writers are represented. Cue much character development and witty dialogue over the first drink.

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You say you got a real solution...

well, you know, we'd all love to see the plan


Act II
The conversation turns to the leaky pipeline and the lack of women at the highest levels of academic science. General outrage is expressed; even those members of the group who have never knowingly suffered from gender-based discrimination in the workplace acknowledge that society in general, and therefore science as a subset of society, is inherently biased against women.

The tension ramps up as voices are raised and one lone, clear voice breaks through the babble to declare that we must act at the grass roots level, at the earliest stages of the pipeline; we must organise, we must fight the system, we must...

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You tell me it's the institution...

...well, you know, you better free your mind instead


Act III
Another woman - a stranger to everyone in the first group - arrives at the next table, pushing a stroller containing a smiling, pudgy baby girl of unusual cuteness. The ranting revolutionaries dissolve into a chorus of "awwwwwwww!"s, and coo, smile and wave at the baby, before looking at each other and bursting into laughter.

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So much for the revolution...

Please, don't anyone say "You tell me that it's evolution...". I think it was actually the beer. And anyway, I'd much rather hear "Don't you know it's gonna be, all right, all right, all right".

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I wish that this little footnote was not necessary, but this is the internet, so here goes. I think (hope) that regular readers will recognise this post for what it is, which is to say, an amusing anecdote. I have no wish to enter into a flame war about how women should not be telling such stories because they are detrimental to the feminist cause. If your revolution precludes irony and self-deprecating humour, don't you know that you can count me out (in).

21 comments:

  1. LOL Nothing like a baby to make women turn to goo :)

    Oh, and I just noticed I'm one of the comments of the week!! Yay!

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  2. I must be the only woman who doesn't get all gooey at the sight of a baby. For me, that happens with dogs. Any kind of dog, really, except the small, overexcited yappy ones.

    If there were such a process as "reverse imprinting," I'd say I must've somehow imprinted on the wrong species....

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  3. Mad Hatter - that makes at least two of us.
    I recently had a strange conversation with two female friends who were outraged that I don't love the SMELL of babies... Who loves the smell of poop, vomit, and warm milk?!
    And yes, I easily get puppy envy too :)

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  4. haha, that is one funny post! :)

    The baby usually gets to me too... mind you, mostly if they are cute and/or quiet and not too much in your face and yelling....then again, if they are too well adjusted I get a bit scared - Omen anyone?

    I am a bad person ;)

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  5. Mrs CH, yup, and I don't even want children!

    EGF, XX and Dr A - thanks! I think I'll put an imaginary soundtrack in all my posts from now on.

    MH, did I mention unusual cuteness? There were dimples! DIMPLES! And fat little fists, and a hat!

    But, yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I smile at every dog I see on my commute, and I often stop to pet random cats.

    Lisbeth, babies do smell good, for short periods of time, until the inevitable happens, at which time I hand them back to their parents. Two of my best friends in Vancouver are going to give birth within a couple of weeks of each other this summer, and I've promised to help them both lots and lots (I love being an auntie), so I guess I will have to change my first diaper at some point...

    Chall, so you like a medium amount of noise and screaming?!

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  6. This is why women make terrible Marxists. All the ruling class would have to do is shove a baby under their nose, and they'd get all distracted.

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  7. Now that you're also making that 'babies smell good claim', Cath, I guess I have to go smell a baby or two to find out what all the fuss is about :)

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  8. Cath> well yeah... :) A very tidy and quite child scares me since they most likely will plot something very b ad inside their little head. And too much screaming is just bad. Just a bit of enthusiasm and openness will make me happy. (and some kind of sleep in on the weekend mornings maybe - so demanding this chall person, really... ;) )

    A baby however, can be as quiet as s/he wants... as long as snoring is involved since I get scared of the baby dying otherwise.

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  9. I think this is just another example of the ability to multi-tasking. Have an intense and politically charged conversation while simultaneously enjoying the cuteness of a nearby baby? Easy!

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  10. Um, bad grammar there. Apparently multi-tasking before coffee #2 is not possible. Oops.

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  11. Ruchi, we will put MadHatter in charge of the revolution, and hope that the ruling classes don't bring any dogs.

    Lisbeth, it's all about the powder and freshly laundered cotton.

    Chall, I agree that a silent child is unnatural. And I too like to hear evidence that a young child in my care is still breathing!

    Mermaid, it wasn't quite simultaneous, the intense conversation came to a grinding halt! But we did resume briefly before the evil patriarchy / male colleagues arrived to quash the revolution / watch the hockey.

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  12. Oh mad hatter and lisbeth, you have not met my monkey. He can makes most cold hearts melt. I have to say the smell of freshly bathed babies is absolutely wonderful...its baby powder and innocence.

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  13. Cath and ScientistMother, are you saying that I don't need to find an actual baby but can just go and smell the baby powder in the supermarket? ;-)

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  14. Sure, why not? You should probably buy some and take it home though, rather than sniffing it in the actual shop.

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  15. so I guess I will have to change my first diaper at some point...
    This should be easy if you've changed nappies in the past.

    My post-doc came into work today for a quick visit, after having become a dad a week ago. He's in no state to start a revolution either.

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  16. Nope, no nappy experience either.

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  17. ehh, I'm a bit late to the party, and no, I don't care about [other peoples'] babies. But I kind of want another one myself. Genes in action I guess.

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  18. I know lots of parents who say the same thing ;)

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