Tag Archives: women

a little empty space

This is written for the Tuesday dVerse prompt “women are people: invoking Amrita Pritam“. Thanks for a great prompt Punam, and especially for introducing me to Amrita Pritam’s work. 

I chose as my jumping off point her line from empty space:Look further on ahead, there between truth and falsehood, a little empty space.” 

What if I wrapped up my truth
in academic verbosity,
called it auto-ethnography,
and submitted it for your review?
Would it still get a rejection
on the grounds of misperceptions?
What if I edited it carefully,
removed the tell-tale markers
like all those excess hedges
and threw in more self-mentions?
Would it still require your corrections?

I never knew there was a line,
between your truth and mine,
until you showed it to me.
But I still don’t see why one side has to be
true and the other false.
Can’t we just blur out the line,
and allow a space between to meet
where no one has to be at fault?

 

I’ve had rants before about being a woman in physics/engineering, and how patronising colleagues can be – how they are (at best) oblivious to, or (worse) blatantly denying of the lived experiences of those who are not (middle-aged+ white) males.  So I won’t start another one of those.
But here is an interesting bit of research from one of my PhD students: there are quantifiable differences in the way (senior) men and women write in science, despite the
very strong genre conventions.  For example, women use more hedges (an explicitly taught genre norm) and more engagement markers, men use more boosters and self-mentions (despite these being officially frowned on in science). The differences are largest in physics… surprise, surprise.   

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in the company of women

We slip from the buildings in ones and twos,
heels clicking across the carpark,
or stepping more quietly in flats.
Slipping away – not quite clandestinely,
but nonetheless with a sense of escape. Continue reading

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less than half the story

I’ve been thinking about seeds a lot as I keep planting peas that get eaten by mice, and I’ve written a few poems about them. But pruning one into 44 words for Monday’s dVerse quadrille prompt “planting seeds” didn’t work for me. So I tried to think of what a seed is – enough genetic information for an organism (diploid), the machinery of a cell to start it all going (mitochondria, etc)… Did you know that mitochondrial DNA comes purely down the female line? Yours is the same as your mother’s, your grandmother’s, your great-grandmother’s, stretching back along a line of a hundred thousand women…

 

What arrogance,
what masculine conceit,
calling your semen ‘seed’!
Spill it on the ground,
wait for an army of sons to rise,
from those sad wrigglers –
haploid,
halfwit,
not even half the story.
Wait forever –
it’s not seed you sprayed,
just pollen.

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