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(Yahoo)   NY Times admits that, in retrospect, it might have been a wee bit sexist for them to lead off the obituary of a brilliant rocket scientists and National Technology Medal winner with a description of what a great cook and homemaker she was   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 34
    More: Obvious, prompt corner, National Medal of Technology, obituary, descriptions, NYT  
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5807 clicks; posted to Main » on 01 Apr 2013 at 11:32 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-01 10:58:58 AM  
6 votes:
It's an obituary, not a biography.
The offensive part is "The article went on to suggest that it took two men to create an adhesive stationery but only one woman to figure out how to keep satellites in place."
Can we praise a women without taking petty jabs at men?  Screw you Post-It Note guys, a woman did rocket science.  Classy.
2013-04-01 11:52:51 AM  
5 votes:
I've heard that Einstein enjoyed it more when people complimented his violin playing than when they gushed about how smart he was. Maybe she was the same way.
upload.wikimedia.org
2013-04-01 01:54:05 PM  
3 votes:

ProfessorOhki: Skirl Hutsenreiter: I don't think we're acting like it's an affront to feminism to be good at those things. But it is strange to emphasize them, considering obituaries for male scientists don't usually include anything about how great they were are keeping the lawn mown, or repairing the family car, or any other traditional male household roles.

It's not really strange. It's emphasized here, because for her era, she was a pioneer. The very reason that other stuff is included is to highlight that her innovations came from a then-unexpected place.

Besides, it's not unreasonable to put a humanistic angle into an bio-piece that would otherwise be completely technical. They mention that Goddard was often sick as a child, they mention Einstein's lack of care for his appearance, they mention Tesla's oddities, and I bet, when Hawking goes, they'll mention that he was in a wheelchair. This was an article about the person, not just her work.

Feynman's NYT obit (though not leading with it)...
Above all, in and out of science, Dr. Feynman was a curious character -his phrase, and the double meaning was intentional. He was never content with what he knew or what other people knew. He taught himself how to fix radios, pick locks, draw nudes, speak Portuguese, play the bongos and decipher Mayan hieroglyphics. He pursued knowledge without prejudice, studying the tracking ability of ants in his bathtub and learning enough biology to study the mutation of bacteriophages.

/If you're remembered ONLY for your work
//You must not be very an interesting person


It's called "burying the lede",  a no-no in journalism.  You start off with why the person is famous/affected our lives  enough to rate a big obit in the NY Times, then, having caught your reader's attention proceed to humanize them and tell lesser known things about them.  Leading with the Stroganoff usggests there is no more there there.
2013-04-01 01:08:54 PM  
3 votes:

ImpatientlyUnsympathetic: Skirl Hutsenreiter: ImpatientlyUnsympathetic: I'm not a scientist, nor am I a mother [yet] but I sure hope that I get as much respect for my cooking and homemaking as I get from my work in sales. I take my laundry, cooking, dog-care, cleaning, baking and general domestication very seriously. Yeah... I seriously doubt my sales work (not Mary Kay or Scentsy) will be noteworthy... I'll be glad to recognized as a good wife, homemaker at the same time as being a working woman.

One may hope to be remembered by those close to you however you like, but nobody gets an obituary in the NYT for being a wonderful parent, much less keeping house well.  She got an obituary for her work as a scientist.

If I had an NYT Obit, I would actually like if it said my food was as good as my work. I think it would be nice if we could stop acting like its an affront to feminism to be good at traditional homemaker skills at the same time as we compete with men.


Amateur violinist, husband, and father of two Albert Eistein has passed away, he was also considered by some to be an accomplished physcist,

Father of two and star of his familiy's annual Thanksgiving Day touch football game, John F. Kennedy passed away in Dallas after a very short illness, he was also briefly President of the United States from 1960-1963

Local Businessman and former University of Cleveland Engineering Professor Neil Armstrong has passed away, he is survived by a wife and son, who will miss his gardening and landscaping skills.  He was also  a commissioned officer in the Navy, and a Korean war vet, who also is credited with doing some pioneering aerospace work while employed by NASA in the late 1960's
2013-04-01 12:39:28 PM  
3 votes:

ImpatientlyUnsympathetic: I'm not a scientist, nor am I a mother [yet] but I sure hope that I get as much respect for my cooking and homemaking as I get from my work in sales. I take my laundry, cooking, dog-care, cleaning, baking and general domestication very seriously. Yeah... I seriously doubt my sales work (not Mary Kay or Scentsy) will be noteworthy... I'll be glad to recognized as a good wife, homemaker at the same time as being a working woman.


One may hope to be remembered by those close to you however you like, but nobody gets an obituary in the NYT for being a wonderful parent, much less keeping house well.  She got an obituary for her work as a scientist.
2013-04-01 11:43:30 AM  
3 votes:

Lumpmoose: But it shows the NYT is tone deaf to decades of women fighting to get more representation in STEM fields.

 
Although they do include these bits:
It was a distinction she earned in the face of obstacles, beginning when the University of Manitoba in Canada refused to let her major in engineering because there were no accommodations for women at an outdoor engineering camp, which students were required to attend.
 
"You just have to be cheerful about it and not get upset when you get insulted," she once said.
 
... Part of Mrs. Brill's rationale for going into rocket engineering was that virtually no other women were doing so. "I reckoned they would not invent rules to discriminate against one person," she said in a 1990 interview.
2013-04-01 11:40:00 AM  
3 votes:
Besides the saccharine folksiness, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with starting the article like that.  But it shows the NYT is tone deaf to decades of women fighting to get more representation in STEM fields.
2013-04-01 09:46:20 PM  
2 votes:
I didn't know Adria Richards was a farker
2013-04-01 01:15:39 PM  
2 votes:

IrishFarmer: A slight pet peeve of mine:  The NYT article was (probably) not sexism.  I didn't read the original form, but if we're going to use words like sexism and racism this way, then they just lose all meaning.  Sexism is hatred or mistrust of a person based on whether they're male or female.  That definition does not include, "failure to write an article in line with an ideological script."

Cheapening the word just makes actually sexism all the harder to spot.


I think you've confused the word "sexism" with the word "malicious". The point is that sexism can be so ingrained that, without any malice, "hatred", or "mistrust", you still nonetheless have gender-based prejudices and engage in discrimination.
2013-04-01 01:05:58 PM  
2 votes:

ImpatientlyUnsympathetic: Skirl Hutsenreiter: ImpatientlyUnsympathetic: I'm not a scientist, nor am I a mother [yet] but I sure hope that I get as much respect for my cooking and homemaking as I get from my work in sales. I take my laundry, cooking, dog-care, cleaning, baking and general domestication very seriously. Yeah... I seriously doubt my sales work (not Mary Kay or Scentsy) will be noteworthy... I'll be glad to recognized as a good wife, homemaker at the same time as being a working woman.

One may hope to be remembered by those close to you however you like, but nobody gets an obituary in the NYT for being a wonderful parent, much less keeping house well.  She got an obituary for her work as a scientist.

If I had an NYT Obit, I would actually like if it said my food was as good as my work. I think it would be nice if we could stop acting like its an affront to feminism to be good at traditional homemaker skills at the same time as we compete with men.


I don't think we're acting like it's an affront to feminism to be good at those things.  But it is strange to emphasize them, considering obituaries for male scientists don't usually include anything about how great they were are keeping the lawn mown, or repairing the family car, or any other traditional male household roles.
2013-04-01 11:49:42 AM  
2 votes:
Well, to be fair her beef stroganoff recipie involved pre-browning the meat by subjecting it to a three second thruster burn of an LOX booster
2013-04-01 11:44:25 AM  
2 votes:
Way to demean all people that decide to keep a home and take care of their families.
 
Last time I checked, the Post It Note folks were not in charge of any satellites.
Apples =/= Oranges
Keepin' it Classy, That's the Clean Way To Live!TM
2013-04-01 11:09:30 AM  
2 votes:

staplermofo: Can we praise a women without taking petty jabs at men?


I think the proper response to this is "lol fragile male ego!"
2013-04-01 05:45:27 PM  
1 votes:

ciberido: Egoy3k: Skirl Hutsenreiter: ImpatientlyUnsympathetic: Maybe because they weren't any good at being husbands or fathers at the same time as they were good scientists or whatever their noteworthy career accomplishments were. This woman could do it - be a good mom and a good scientist. Why can't we talk about it? Why can't we say she still had a good career while having children? Its not an unremarkable thing to say, "she was a great mom, too."

But it's not "she was a good mom, too."  It's "She was a good mom. Also, she had a remarkable career."

Only in a warped mind would being a good parent to the people that you are responsible for bringing into the world and raising as good people count as a minor footnote.


On some level, I agree with you.

But on another level, when I read a biography of Julius Ceaser, I don't expect the first chapter to be about his accomplishments in the kitchen.


As has been pointed out this was an Obit not a bio. Maybe, just maybe, being a good homemaker and cook for her family were more important to her than the rocket science and what she wanted to be remember for most.
2013-04-01 04:58:24 PM  
1 votes:

Lumpmoose: Besides the saccharine folksiness, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with starting the article like that.  But it shows the NYT is tone deaf to decades of women fighting to get more representation in STEM fields.


Nonsense the shrieking harpies just like to undervalue the skills of homemaking and cooking; both of which are in short supply.
2013-04-01 03:57:51 PM  
1 votes:
I'm not exactly the PC police myself.... but after reading how they phrased it originally I can understand people being irritated at it. I mean, It's not exactly like the NYT just opened a new concentration camp or something, but it was pretty thoughtless. They should have originally written it like what they changed it to.

Women fought long and hard (no pun intended) for the rights to work in whatever field they liked, just like men. She was a freakin' rocket scientist too... Don't bury that lead, it's impressive.
2013-04-01 03:45:09 PM  
1 votes:

ImpatientlyUnsympathetic: This text is now purple: Magorn: Amateur violinist, husband, and father of two Albert Eistein has passed away, he was also considered by some to be an accomplished physcist,

The difference is, Einstein was a terrible father and husband.

I think that is what he meant by amateur violinist, husband and father of two. He was amateur at all of those things...


Being a professional father is illegal.
2013-04-01 02:11:34 PM  
1 votes:

Christian Bale: The people who criticized it really don't see that? They really think the writer wanted to highlight her home and family achievements and diminish the others?


I think we're falling down some sort of crazy reactionary rabbit hole here.  The last few stories about purported "sexism" have left me scratching my head. There was nothing in the world wrong with the obit as originally written.
2013-04-01 02:05:34 PM  
1 votes:

itsdan: staplermofo: Can we praise a women without taking petty jabs at men?

I think the proper response to this is "lol fragile male ego!"


No the canned response is "double standard."
2013-04-01 01:27:43 PM  
1 votes:
Look, if I had invented some super duper satellite space thingy then I would want to be remembered for that and not for my goddamned beef stroganoff.  One of those things is a little more l33t than the other.
2013-04-01 01:08:17 PM  
1 votes:
SAMMICHES!
2013-04-01 01:06:23 PM  
1 votes:

Graffito: You're a straight, white, cis-gendered, heteronormative male who never experiences microaggressions, aren't you?


And you're a 20-something, middle class white female, aren't you?  Look, if stereotyping people is a bad thing, then it's always a bad thing.  Don't just pick and choose.

Also, you missed a few labels to apply to the other poster, but fortunately I was able to add them back into your quotes.

A slight pet peeve of mine:  The NYT article was (probably) not sexism.  I didn't read the original form, but if we're going to use words like sexism and racism this way, then they just lose all meaning.  Sexism is hatred or mistrust of a person based on whether they're male or female.  That definition does not include, "failure to write an article in line with an ideological script."

Cheapening the word just makes actually sexism all the harder to spot.
2013-04-01 12:40:53 PM  
1 votes:

ImpatientlyUnsympathetic: I'm not a scientist, nor am I a mother [yet] but I sure hope that I get as much respect for my cooking and homemaking as I get from my work in sales.


I would not be surprised if you get exactly as much respect for your cooking and homemaking as you do for your work in sales.
2013-04-01 12:23:27 PM  
1 votes:
I'm not a scientist, nor am I a mother [yet] but I sure hope that I get as much respect for my cooking and homemaking as I get from my work in sales. I take my laundry, cooking, dog-care, cleaning, baking and general domestication very seriously. Yeah... I seriously doubt my sales work (not Mary Kay or Scentsy) will be noteworthy... I'll be glad to recognized as a good wife, homemaker at the same time as being a working woman.
2013-04-01 12:01:35 PM  
1 votes:

Theaetetus: Lumpmoose: But it shows the NYT is tone deaf to decades of women fighting to get more representation in STEM fields.
 
Although they do include these bits:
It was a distinction she earned in the face of obstacles, beginning when the University of Manitoba in Canada refused to let her major in engineering because there were no accommodations for women at an outdoor engineering camp, which students were required to attend.
 
"You just have to be cheerful about it and not get upset when you get insulted," she once said.
 
... Part of Mrs. Brill's rationale for going into rocket engineering was that virtually no other women were doing so. "I reckoned they would not invent rules to discriminate against one person," she said in a 1990 interview.


Yes, but I heard she went to a conference once and someone made a joke about Two stage rockets and she didn't broadcast this sexist image to the BBS boards or anything. Obviously a terrible woman who let men walk all over her. How dare she.
2013-04-01 11:59:07 AM  
1 votes:
I don't remember much complaining when they led off with John Wayne Gacy's ability to make balloon animals.
2013-04-01 11:51:02 AM  
1 votes:

JackieRabbit: The whole thing is beyond silly. Time to grow up, whiney America!

 
You're a straight white male, aren't you?
2013-04-01 11:47:29 AM  
1 votes:
She was a rocket surgeon and her lasagna was the bomb. I'm failing to see the problem.
2013-04-01 11:44:41 AM  
1 votes:
That's nothing. The original version began: "She could suck the chrome off a bumper...."
2013-04-01 11:43:02 AM  
1 votes:

itsdan: staplermofo: Can we praise a women without taking petty jabs at men?

 
I think the proper response to this is "lol fragile male ego!"
 
You big meanie! I have feelings, too!
 
Two, I mean. I have two feelings.
2013-04-01 11:42:22 AM  
1 votes:
The whole thing is beyond silly. Time to grow up, whiney America!
2013-04-01 11:41:02 AM  
1 votes:
The person who wrote the obit is no brain surgeon.
2013-04-01 11:39:10 AM  
1 votes:
It seems the obituary is about her transformation from dutiful wife, mother and cook to brilliant scientist. I liked it. Also would like to try that beef stroganoff.
2013-04-01 11:35:19 AM  
1 votes:
If they truly want to make amends, they should post her beef stroganoff recipe...
 
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