The black female engineers at Slack took the spotlight this week, accepting the award for Fastest Rising Startup Award. Then one of them, Erica Baker, called via Twitter for white men to give up space to minorities: “I don’t *need* another board seat, let me help them find a woman of color to take it.”
Scientists were in the spotlight this week for successfully landing the Philae probe on a comet, but one of them wore a shirt covered with naked women to celebrate. And we wonder why there aren’t more female scientists?
Survive, reproduce. Survive, reproduce. For 3.5 billion years.
I love science. I love how Neil deGrasse Tyson from Cosmos has become a superstar, and how he has lead people to gasp at galaxies. I like astrophysics okay, but mostly because it serves to put my true love—biology—into that bigger context.
Yesterday, I hung out with 100 people who work in schools, health care, and social services on projects that support pregnant and parenting teenagers. We’ve been getting together with folks in this field because domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are all too common experiences for teens who are pregnant or have recently had a baby. We were all there to learn about the impact of trauma on the brain (more science) and what we can do to promote healing and resilience.
I eavesdropped on the conversations around me and heard people discussing the teens and babies they help, and the circumstances of their own pregnancies and the pregnancies of people they know. It made me wonder: How it is that we have birth control but still don’t use it all that intentionally? Regardless of our big brains, many of us are relying on the same biological laws that dictate the offspring of the mosquito, otter, and orca.
Sexual reproduction evolved 1.2 billion years ago. Contraceptive technologies were invented in the 20th century. Let’s be generous, round up, and say we have been able to have sex without reproducing for 100 years. Put in this perspective, I’m surprised that I’m surprised. I mean, we haven’t really been at this deciding to have babies for very long, so how could we expect to have a smoothly running social machine around it?
Ageism is also still a thing. What other than ageism—and let’s be honest, fear—has us withholding information about reproduction and all forms of birth control from teens? Some teens struggle (mostly alone) with their deeply held desires to have a child. While other teens, once pregnant, reject adults shaming them—and rightly so. Teens in general are suffering as a result of our not trusting them with information about sexuality and reproduction. Ageism and fear are both terrible excuses for our behavior.
Is there any way to speed up our social evolution so that we can all have control over our decisions? Or are we destined to remain . . . wild?
The Army just released new regulations that specify “unauthorized hairstyles.” Thousands have signed a White House petition challenging the racially biased restrictions. “While the Army certainly isn’t the first to impose these kinds of prohibitions, it may be the most egregious example, considering that the 26,000 black women affected by AR 670-1 are willing to die for their country.”