Sheril Kirshenbaum, Anne Jefferson, Joanne Manaster, Maryn McKenna and Kathryn Clancy
This Sunday, 11:30am-12:30pm, Room B
Panel description: Being a woman scienceblogger has its own set of challenges, writing under your real name a few more. Readers may want you to be beautiful, to be their mommy, to be accessible to them in a way they don’t expect of other bloggers. They also may hold your decisions and lifestyle to a different standard. "There just aren't any good women science bloggers out there." "She was picked just because she was a woman." "I would cure cancer just to capture your heart." "You are a terrible mother if your baby is in daycare and you are in the lab." These statements exemplify the sorts of unwelcome comments that women science bloggers can face, and reflect broader issues of cultural and institutional sexism. How do we navigate those issues, and ensure our own safety, while covering the science that we love? How do we get our writing noticed when people claim we don’t exist? Panel members and attendees will tackle these issues and others as a way to move towards a solution in the issue of gender representation in science blogging.Sounds awesome, if I say so myself. I have some additional thoughts I'd like to share for our audience members, so you can think of your own contributions to the panel (and I plan on expanding on these, at least a little, in the panel itself).
- I blogged and participated in the academic blogosphere for many, many years pseudonymously before deciding to start writing under my real name. I think spending time as a pseudonymous member was really beneficial for me (and very different, and sometimes I really miss it). I learned the lingo and culture, I got to share my thinking honestly with fewer professional repercussions, and I got to make mistakes (lots of them). I think anyone who wants to write with their real name, should first write (or at least comment) pseudonymously, particularly if you're a population susceptible to attacks (i.e., from an underrepresented group in science, person who studies something politically charged, etc).
- I've noticed disparities not only in who is selected to write at high-profile networks, but what kind of work gets covered by mainstream scienceblogs. For instance, even though I think the physiology of women's reproduction is incredibly important for everyone to understand, given how politically charged issues are around reproductive choice, it doesn't get covered that often (there are of course notable exceptions). The few times I see women discussed, it's almost always a behavioral study.