Sunday, October 28, 2012

Academic mansplaining

A friend shared this with me, and I'm sharing it with you all.

Academic Men Explain Things to Me:

I'm lucky to have only a few stories to share, yet. But, here is a recent example:

While talking with the male driver and male passenger in the Super Shuttle on the way to the airport last weekend, I was explaining my research on sex chromosome evolution. I had just started describing the phenomenon of male mutation bias,  where, because most mutations are due to errors during replication, we expect more point mutations to accumulate in the male germline (because sperm continue to replicate throughout a male's lifetime) than in the female germline (because eggs are all formed by a female's birth. The male passenger piped up, "Well, it's a good thing you're a female studying this. I don't think a male could get away with it."


I debated pointing out that the first person to introduce this hypothesis was Prof. Takashi Miyata, a male, but decided to let it slide. We all choose our battles, and this one wasn't worth my time. I was more excited to actually share some cutting edge science with these guys, who were asking lots of questions, than get hung up on some perception about who can study what in Science.

I wish I had more opportunities to just shoot the breeze about the cool stuff I'm studying. As a result of bringing up what I do, I learned that the other passenger is the lead administrator for the local children's hospital transportation unit (moving sick kids to the best hospital for their care), and the driver's daughter went to grad school for forensic science. Rock on!

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