We talk a lot about female representation in media and politics, but here’s an excellent video about gender disparity in STEM YouTube content. It also touches on the smart-sexy balance and delves into the ever nasty YouTube comments universe. Good stuff.



So I haven’t posted anything in about a month. :/ This next month promises to be just as crazy, but I’m really going to make an effort to post more regularly.

We talked about memes yesterday, and I’d like to share a meme that goes around my Facebook a lot. I was baptized as an Orthodox Christian when I was five and I grew up in the faith, although now that I’m in college I no longer practice (but that’s another very long story). Many of my Facebook friends are from my church and they regularly share different iterations of the Eastern Orthodox Ryan Gosling (EORG) meme. I’m sure everyone’s familiar with the Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” meme. This is the same thing, except all of the ‘seductive’ posts relate to Orthodoxy in some way. Some of them are hilariously relevant, and it’s cool to see how a very popular meme has been appropriated to fit a more niche audience.






On the whole, I think this meme is pretty harmless and funny. However, every time I see an EORG, I feel a little bit… weird. The merger of Orthodoxy and Internet memes brings together two very disparate elements; it’s jarring to see centuries of unchanging and profound religious doctrine connected to lightning-fast, usual trivial snippets of Internet culture. This element of surprise makes EORG very effective. American Orthodox Christians are acutely aware of the old-vs-new clash because they must navigate their modern lives around a very traditional religion, and this theme comes up a lot in sermons and general church discussion. In the end, I sometimes feel like EORG trivializes elements of Orthodox worship or spirituality. I know this might be reading into it too much, but I think this is why I feel uncomfortable: EORG recognizes a woman’s relationship with God and uses it for his own romantic benefit. (And this is where we could recognize some interesting gender dynamics.) Bringing romance into the process of worship seems very selfish and worldly, which is exactly what religion seeks to avoid.


I think this one is a pretty good example. Lifting up your arms during the Anaphora is just a gesture of worship/reverence during a certain prayer. To do this or not is a very personal choice, and it does not determine how serious you are about worship. In the end, it’s just a movement, and if it helps with prayer that’s great, but it doesn’t really matter. To turn a religious experience into a foray into romance (however discreet or implied) cheapens the prayer. If EORG is more concerned about the placement of his arms than the content of his prayer, he’s doing something wrong. However, this distraction is framed as romantic/cute.

I don’t know. I think I’m being too serious. It’s just an issue that’s always bugged me, and our meme discussion made it relevant.



(all images from eoryangosling.tumblr.com)


As I write this, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is on MIT’s campus giving a talk about her book Lean In, which advocates for women in corporate positions of power and general feminist ideas. I knew about this talk and my UROP supervisor even sent out the info to all of the women in my lab asking if anyone wanted to go with her.

I found this article by bell hooks (through Tumblr, as always) at around 3pm today, and I’m really glad I did because it solidified my decision not to go to the talk. I’ve known about “Lean In” and Sandberg herself for a while now, but something about her perspective always seemed a little bit lacking and wrong, although I couldn’t clearly articulate what bothered me. bell hooks, as usual, knocks it out of the park. The article is a bit long but well worth the read, especially because this white “faux feminism” is a lot more widespread than Lean In.


Also, another interesting article recommendation: this gem from Cosmo. (I use gem very loosely) We’ve talked a fair amount about Cosmo and attaining liberation through the oppressive standards already in place, but this is a great 2013 example of the continuing focus on finding a man, even (and especially) for educated working women. I found this one through Facebook because MIT is listed as the top school to find your dream mate. Anyone who actually goes here will definitely call BS, but it  highlights what Cosmo still considers “good man qualities”: education and money.

Yet another article about the ugly side of gender, race, and science.

I’ve always known that STEM is a male-dominated field, but I thought that it wasn’t as bad in biology (my field). Yes, there are more women in bio than, say, physics, but it’s still not that great. Biology suffers from the horrible trend of women dropping out because the career path isn’t compatible with children. There are more men than women in positions of power, and female lab techs definitely outnumber the male ones. Whenever I’d sit in on lab meeting this summer, I’d notice that the men in my lab were much more vocal than the women. They’d sit around the table and discuss results, argue, and question the speaker, while the women were much more likely to occasionally chime in. This happened regardless of seniority. I didn’t attend enough meetings to get a sense of how everyone responded to a male speaker vs. a female one, but I probably already know (even if it was a subtle difference).

I’ve been reading a lot about science and gender and race in the past couple of days and it’s extraordinarily frustrating to realize that white patriarchal values have hindered (and continue to stunt) a lot of scientific progress. I grew up with the idea that science was logical and elevated and unbiased, but I can’t entertain that fantasy anymore. 

*post ends on sad note sorry this isn’t really a happy topic*


Also, this is not directly related to science, but here’s a post about religion and racism that blew my mind today. If you’re on Tumblr, I highly recommend following medievalpoc.

WHERE’S THE MEDIA GIANTS ARTICLE I CAN’T FIND IT IN MY TEXTBOOK OR ONLINE :((((( You all are posting some great responses, too!

Anyway, here’ a great (if a bit outdated) NYTimes article I found on Tumblr the other day about Afghan women using poetry as resistance. It’s a great example of non-Western feminism and grassroots activism, which is something about which I’m constantly trying to educate myself. Link here.




Miss Representation talked about the phenomenon of female politicians (or any woman in power, really) being discredited and disrespected by references to their physical appearance and personality. While men are asked about politics and business, questions towards women revolve around beauty, motherhood, and interpersonal drama. This detracts from the woman’s professional talents and interests, and is a subtle but very widespread form of sexism. This happens to the most respected and powerful women in this country, so it says a lot about how ‘ordinary’ women are treated on a day-to-day basis. Here’s a recent example of the GOP being the worst yet again:



Hillary Clinton has been dealing with this crap for YEARS; even as Secretary of State, her hair, fashion, and age were under constant scrutiny. She has been an accomplished lawyer, a First Lady, a Senator, a Secretary of State, and now two-time presidential candidate, but apparently the most interesting thing about her is her boobs. Which of course have everything to do with her competency as a politician.

Full story behind the buttons: these were seen and tweeted by journalist Carla Marinucci, who found them outside VIP reception at a California GOP convention. In follow-up tweets, she clarified that the buttons had been removed less than an hour after she tweeted, and many convention attendees were also “concerned” and “appalled.” So the GOP is not ALWAYS completely terrible to women, just most of the time when it comes to their actual policies. Good to know.