Monday, January 21, 2008

SA Smith

A few months ago, The Scientist asked several prominent science bloggers who their favorites were, and I was incredibly flattered to find out PZ had me on his list (incredibly flattered, especially considering who else was on The Scientists list and PZs blog-roll).

That list stirred up a bit of controversy because no women science bloggers were asked, and few women science bloggers were listed. I have to admit, while I too was a little annoyed at this, I also thought it was kinda funny that some people who were protesting this point didnt know I was a female ;)

For people who dont read my blog or are new to my blog, ERV=SA Smith.

Steven Alexander Smith?

Stephanie Alexis Smith?

Stephanie Alexander Smith?

Because of my... *ahem* 'aggressiveness'... and my atheism, I get pegged as a dude online sometimes, so Im used to it, but I never thought about how my initials and writing style would be taken in my publication and grant submissions.

Some people have told me that women do not produce scientific results that are of the same high quality as those produced by men (nor do they write life science blogs as well as men, apparently) and that male reviewers can readily recognize when a woman is the lead (or sole) author of an article because "women do science differently from men."
If this article is representative of the scientific community, Im going to stick to 'SA Smith'. 'Behavioral Ecology' switched to a double-blind review process, and female publications popped up from being under-represented to right where they should be. I dunno, I like being a chick that can kick viro-ass, and there are a lot of women at the top of the field of virology, like our visitor last week. Why cant I be S. Abigail Smith? Eh but even someone as 'big' in retrovirology as Dr. Dudley brought up biases against women in science in one of our conversations.

I guess Ill stay in cognito with SA Smith, then present at a conference so everyone can whisper to one another "OMG SA SMITH IS A CHICK! SHE WRITES SCIENCE LIKE A DOOD!" hehehehehehe!


physicalist said...

I assumed you were male when I first heard of you b/c I know an "Erv" and an "Irv" and they're both guys. Short for Erving, I suppose. Didn't know it was E.R.V. until I saw your site.

Gary said...

Ahem... The T-Shirt sort of gave it away...:)

And I say it shouldn't matter, and you can quote me on that.

ERV said...

Guys can have boobs!


minusRusty said...




KiwiInOz said...

No, I'm with Gary. They were definitely not moobs (man boobs for the uninitiated).

KiwiInOz said...

Love your science posts, by the way.

Ian said...

No way a woman could write like that! would explain a lot of things...I was really confused when I met her... :)

But seriously - the pic that was up here when I started reading this blog was pretty obviously female, so I never gave it a second thought. And, come to think of it, the only people who write with that kind of wit and fearlessness are women.

Corey Smith said...


If only more of us doods could write like this chick

Fred Ross said...

When you refer to yourself as "Abby" my mind immediately assumes female. You might enjoy Rota's comments on this issue. Just search for the word 'women' in the page. This guy was undisputedly one of the world's great mathematicians.

Barklikeadog said...

It was painfully hard not to notice that your a girl. BTW I resent the man boob comment. It was really embarassing when my babies tried to suck.. LOL
But seriously, I hope my girls will do as well, but they have a lot to overcome here in the bible belt. I do what I can. I hope you stick around. I need a good role model to give them.

daedalus2u said...

From your writing style I assumed you were a woman before I checked the "about" (which I usually do when I think the author is female). But blogs are a much more personal and intimate form of communication than are scientific papers.

I would have to read something you wrote as "scientificky" to judge if you write science like a "DOOD" (as if that might be a good thing?).

My first thoughts when seeing you were named "Smith" and were or were about to become a "Dr.", was the evil Dr. Smith from "lost in space". That was a popular tv show when I was growing up (I know it dates me). He was mostly portrayed as sort of a buffoon, but on the first episode he murdered the guard, something I could never forget.

I very rarely notice or even think about the gender of the authors of scientific papers I am reading. It is hard for me to remember and connect specific authors with specific papers unless I have them in front of me, and then only because I have specifically searched for other work by the same author.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

It was really embarassing when my babies tried to suck.

It was emphasized to me the other day that parenthood would be quite different, as a national newspaper started to discuss men pacifying babies with their breasts. 'You know it must happen when the pacifier is too dirty or missing and the tiredness sets in. But no one will 'fess up.'

[To continue with the observation that it isn't known how long it will take before a male starts lactating in response. Apparently both sexes have the hormonal pathways for it. More research to do.]

Guess it doesn't matter if we are men or women, we may all one day be treated as a set of boobs.

thalarctos said...

Apparently both sexes have the hormonal pathways for it.

When I started grad school, our cohort wanted to have regular meetings--support group, bitch and moan, party, all those goals and more.

One of the guys in our cohort couldn't make it because of his caretaking of their newborn infant--had to be close to home at certain times for feedings or somesuch, I forget exactly what.

Anyway, I proposed that with all the MDs in our program, arranging prolactin injections for him so he could bring the baby to our meetings and nurse him there ought to be a cinch. All I got back for this perfect solution to a logistics problem was a lot of blah-blah about ethics boards and whatever.

Zach Kessin said...

If we can nominate science blogs by women (or at least podcasts I have two)
1) Astronomy Cast, DR Pamala Gay and Frasier Cain (Ok half by a woman).
2) Astronomy A-Go-Go by Alice Few, a really good monthly tour of the sky. More of a back yard astronomy focus but still quite worth it.

Pineyman said...

I thought SA stood for Supremely Attractive...but then I AM a DOM (Dirty Old Man).

Oops...gotta wife wants to know what I'm doing....