Dear Feminist Scientists (and science-y feminists): What do you say to science colleagues who say there is no culture in science?

Gap Junction Science received this question for our feminist science community: What do you say to science colleagues who say there is no culture in science, and that science is value-neutral? They say that science is done the same place any place and is value-neutral, which is why feminist considerations have no place in science. Oy, right? But at least there is the potential for dialogue. What are our suggestions?

CHARMing in Physics Today: Why are his eyes trying to bore into our SOULS?

Every month or so, I end up perusing Physics Today (I’m not a physicist but I am around their magazines pretty often). I’ve been really impressed by their apparent commitment to diversity along racial/ethnic, gender, and sexuality lines. Which is why I was so surprised to see this advertisement, just yesterday, in the print edition. At first, I was just like: who is this guy looking so strikingly and calculatedly intriguing? Then I was like, what IS this? I’m going to be honest. I was able to figure out that this was an advertisement, but I have no real idea what it’s for, because I have no experimental physics training. It seems to be something about avoiding mode-hops. They sound pretty bad. I get why anyone would want to avoid them (sort of) (not really) (okay, not at all). Apparently, the product is a unique “CoHerence-Advanced Regulation Method”. If you’re wondering why that H in CoHerence is capitalized, that’s because they are so witty and tricky! The acronym, which they helpfully spell out for those of us not acronymically-oriented, is CHARM.

So, the man was meant to be intriguing. CHARMing even. Har har!

Wow, I thought. Kind of weird, but whatever. Then, I looked closer at the image because I was a bit surprised to see that this CHARMing man had such a professional french tips manicure (those who know me will be impressed that I know what this manicure is called). For a split-second, I started thinking: Rock on CHARM! Way to challenge the gender status quo! But even I, with all my feminist optimism, couldn’t sustain that one for long. The CHARMer is holding a woman’s fingers, about to kiss her hand, like the gallant CHARMing guy he is. He’s looking at us with a slight smile, to let us in on his not-so-secret CHARM.

Of course, because I don’t really know what the CHARM machine does (other than kiss lady hands, woo woo!), I can’t be sure that the image is just using antiquated gendered imagery with women as passive objects. I mean, it’s totally likely that this image has nothing to do with pairing semi-outdated notions of gendered courtship with male-dominated physics to sell completely unrelated physics equipment, as if physics equipment was – say – beer, or steroes, or cars, or food, or clothes, or – well – most anything. Right?

This has nothing to do with gender.

Submit a photo!

Do you have a photo for Gap Junction Science to use? We’re looking to populate the site with great visuals from our community. The photo/image should be visually interesting, and somehow evocative of what Gap Junction Science is all about. Even just cool science pics are welcome (let’s be honest – cool science pics are awesome). Of course, this needs to be your own – don’t send us something you don’t have copyright for! To submit your image, click on the test tubes on the homepage!

Gap Junction Science is now in beta testing!

We are incredibly excited to announce that the Gap Junction Science community is now in beta testing!  This is an online destination for scholars, scientists, and others to explore and discuss interactions between feminism and science.  Please pardon our dust as we work out the kinks on this new site.  Exciting new content will be added in the weeks to come, so check back often.

If you have not already done so, register for our community!  Registration will allow you access to our discussion forums, the ability to create a professional profile page, and to interact with fellow feminist science scholars.  Even more features will be added soon!