I was saddened by the Neanderthal comments about Sheril’s appearance on what was meant to be a post welcoming her and Chris to Discover blogs, but I guess I was not surprised. Why should the blogosphere be different than any other part of life in this respect? Lots and Lots of posts on many excellent blogs have been written about this ‘incident’ in the last few days, and I’m not going to belabor it. I admire Sheril’s courage at putting her picture out there for everyone to see, this works for her, and have been thinking about my own choice in this respect.
I write quite a bit about myself and my own experiences as a ‘woman in science’, navigating academia, wife, mother-of-two, progressive person, lover of music, traveler, writer of grants/papers, and mentor to a new generation, on this blog. Some of these bits are my triumphs, some are my dismal failures, some- are just lists of my thoughts at any given moment. You may not realize how much of myself I reveal to you this way, but trust me on this one, I let you see quite a bit. These are the really important parts of who I am as a person, and the important components of my life.
Yet, I’ve deliberately shown you nothing more than the back of my head. Why?
You all know that I’m a woman, because I told you this already. So I don’t obscure my appearance out of fear that you won’t read or consider my ideas BECAUSE of my gender. I guess I wanted you to learn by listening, because I have things to say from time to time, and knowing what I look like isn’t really important for that. As for being a role model- I’ll be the first to say that women who want to be academic scientists could use a few great role models and a demo that those role models are multi-faceted individuals- but I don’t think you have to see my face to know that I’m on your side, or to learn from my advice and my failures, or to know that I have this wonderful complex life with many interests and loves.
I don’t keep images of my face off this blog out of fear, and I’m not trying to make a point about my appearance one way or another- I just want to have a productive conversation about the things that I (and maybe you all) find interesting and important.