Saturday, October 01, 2005

I Digress on "Babes" and the Validation of Female Experts in any Profession

I was listening to NPR's Science Friday yesterday and heard Ira Flatow (the host) make a very interesting comment to the guest author, Lisa Randall, PhD, a physics professor at Harvard. Ira said something like "The picture on your book is very flattering. You can really use this to your advantage." (I'd have to listen to the broadcast again for the exact quote--so please, don't quote me.) She was, needless to say, a bit perplexed by his comment and I think, made uncomfortable.

Why is it that men have to comment about a woman's looks, especially when they are attractive, as something she can utilize to validate or promote herself in the marketplace or within a profession?

Am I wrong in saying that no man EVER faces such a predicament--either positive or negative? Men are accepted for what they have done, not how they look.

Come on! The woman is a Harvard faculty member! This is science, not fashion! It does not matter what she looks like and for someone to suggest that her looks are an asset is a real disappointment to me, as a woman working in a predominantly male field. Why can't we be valued for what's inside the intellect without any discussion of physical appearance? Is it really necessary?

What a shame to hear this on NPR and Science Friday.