I posted this in 2007, and I think given the current environment, it’s apropos.
For about 2 years now, since discovering a link to my blog on Belledame’s blog, been following feminism in all it’s creeds, shapes and sizes. I am, after all, female, therefore that which affects females affects me, even if I’m decidedly peripheral. So, I read stuff, and think about it, and frequently I am in awe of the power of the minds out there. These people see so much deeper into things than I do. I’m just happy knowing I can go to the bank or the store, driving my own car and not having to cover up with a tarp. In my very small world, I just don’t see the level of persecution many of these women talk about. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, only that I’m not living it (to my knowledge).
That doesn’t mean I’m not interested in what’s best for women, because I am. While I recognize the strength of these women’s voices, and the power of their message, for me it’s kind of like listening to a rock star. Interesting, but no real impact on my life.
There are women, however, who have had a huge impact on my life, who’s voices I listen to very carefully, who don’t even know I exist, much like the feminist voices I spoke of above.
My field of interest is science. I love it, how stuff works, why a short peptide chain can bring down a virus, how endorphins work and why norepinephrine can so screw with something as nebulous as mood. That’s the kind of thing that gets my mental juices flowing.
Because of this, since I was a teen I have collected women thinkers, scientists, women who’s thoughts and ideas affect the world in a concrete way. I need concrete. Philosophy is great, but it confuses me and I leave it to the people who can understand it without getting a headache. Give me the scientists, a traditionally male domain, who’s concepts affect aspects of life ranging from the cheese powder in Mac and Cheeze to the latest HIV/AIDS therapy.
Sometimes, after reading what so many women *think*, and how venomous women can be towards each other when their thoughts don’t match, I have to back off and go do something concrete. It makes me wonder if the scientific realm gets as hateful. Probably. I hope not, but humans get nasty, regardless of gender, when they feel threatened.
Don’t get me wrong, many, if not most, of these feminists *do* do. They counsel, they shelve stuff at food banks, they work (I almost said *man*) the phones at the domestic violence shelter. I admire that deeply. I think it takes fierce courage and commitment and I am grateful that they are there on the front lines of feminism. It’s just not me. I don’t get it, and for me to go to a DV shelter and pretend to understand what the women and children are going through would be hypocrisy. Please don’t tell me I should try doing it. I know myself well enough to know it would be an exercise in frustration for everyone involved.
I do understand mood disorders, and how too little of this and too much of that in my brain can cause changes in perception that manifest as inappropriate emotion. We are, after all, physical creatures, and everything we do, how we perceive and respond, is based in our brains and the delicate chemical balance therein. *That* I understand.
So, My feminism, the Rootie Way, looks for women who’s research and understanding is found in the laboratory. My heros are women who’s research have impacted humankind on a physical level, who have improved our understanding of the mind on a physical/chemical level. These are the things I can understand much more than the ideas of empowerment or choice.
I’m not knocking empowerment and choice. Those are good things who’s benefits I enjoy on a daily basis. I’m just saying, I’ll leave those concepts to the people who don’t get a headache thinking about them, and go back to my peptides and endorphins.
The first 3 women on the list below are my real and genuine heros. They’ve all overcome adversity to become international experts in their fields of expertise. I want to be like them when I grow up.
As a neurotransmitter in the catecholamine family, norepinephrine mediates chemical communications in the autonomic nervous system’s sympathetic network. Norepinephrine is released at the synapses (in a manner similar to other neurotransmitters), transmitting neural signals from a nerve to other cells in the body.
(Image from the FSU National High Magnetics Field Laboratory)