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  1. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 10:34
    pretty dumb title, huh? why would a rocket scientist be remembered for that you may ask? oh, did i not mention she was a woman?

    http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/gender-questions-arise-in-obituary-of-rocket-scientist-and-her-beef-stroganoff/

    "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children.[...] But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist"

    "was also"
  2. Standard membervivify
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    03 Feb '16 12:162 edits
    If an obituary for a man started out by saying he could bench 250 pounds, was a great athlete and also a brilliant scientist, no one would have a problem.

    If the obituary was exactly the same save for being about a man, it would be considered sweet.

    However, historical context with women is something to always keep in the back one's mind when writing for the public, as with any oppressed or minority group.

    I don't think the writer meant any harm. It's normal to humanize people in an obituary with an introduction that makes them relatable.
  3. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 12:34
    Originally posted by vivify
    If an obituary for a man started out by saying he could bench 250 pounds, was a great athlete and also a brilliant scientist, no one would have a problem.

    If the obituary was exactly the same save for being about a man, it would be considered sweet.

    However, historical context with women is something to always keep in the back one's mind when writi ...[text shortened]... It's normal to humanize people in an obituary with an introduction that makes them relatable.
    "It's normal to humanize people in an obituary with an introduction that makes them relatable"

    first of all, this individual was a rocket scientist. a brilliant one at that. why is she supposed to be relatable? she was exceptional. she wasn't like other people.

    secondly, the writer himself agrees that the main reason he wrote about her was her accomplishments in the scientific community. yet he starts with "accomplishments" that were considered for many years as all women are supposed to do and by identified by. cook and have kids. starting off with her cooking is demeaning.

    how would these obituaries sound:
    http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/male-scientists-biographies-written-if-they-were-women

    i have one more: tell me how messed up would it be if someone introduced a black scientist as "he enjoys picking cotton in his spare time and oh he is a scientist".


    "If an obituary for a man started out by saying he could bench 250 pounds, was a great athlete and also a brilliant scientist, no one would have a problem. "
    it would still be stupid but not demeaning. benching 125 kilos is a male fantasy. having women in the kitchen is also a male (a crappy one) fantasy.
  4. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 13:30
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    pretty dumb title, huh? why would a rocket scientist be remembered for that you may ask? oh, did i not mention she was a woman?

    http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/gender-questions-arise-in-obituary-of-rocket-scientist-and-her-beef-stroganoff/

    "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off ...[text shortened]... died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist"

    "was also"
    The writer may not value rocket science as much as culinary skills. If you place a higher value on rocket science than the writer does, then how can the writer appease you without offending others? People do remember a person for cooking skills. I doubt that even close family members knew exactly what she worked on from day to day.
  5. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 14:00
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    The writer may not value rocket science as much as culinary skills. If you place a higher value on rocket science than the writer does, then how can the writer appease you without offending others? People do remember a person for cooking skills. I doubt that even close family members knew exactly what she worked on from day to day.
    the obituary was not written for family members. it wasn't written for friends.

    it was written for everyone. for humanity as a whole who lost an exceptional person who contributed something exceptional to the progress of humankind.

    that exceptional something wasn't her beef stroganoff.
  6. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 14:13
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    the obituary was not written for family members. it wasn't written for friends.

    it was written for everyone. for humanity as a whole who lost an exceptional person who contributed something exceptional to the progress of humankind.

    that exceptional something wasn't her beef stroganoff.
    So you say.
  7. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 14:53
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    the obituary was not written for family members. it wasn't written for friends.

    it was written for everyone. for humanity as a whole who lost an exceptional person who contributed something exceptional to the progress of humankind.

    that exceptional something wasn't her beef stroganoff.
    Do you know how she would have felt about that obituary? Wouldn't it put you in your seat to find that she wrote or approved it?
  8. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 15:01
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    pretty dumb title, huh? why would a rocket scientist be remembered for that you may ask? oh, did i not mention she was a woman?

    http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/gender-questions-arise-in-obituary-of-rocket-scientist-and-her-beef-stroganoff/

    "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off ...[text shortened]... died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist"

    "was also"
    it is important to know who wrote the obituary. Often it is a family member who may remember her more as a caring person and great cook than a rocket scientist. If you asked me personally to talk about a mother, her Ivy league degree is not the first thing that would come to mind.
  9. Standard membersh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
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    03 Feb '16 15:063 edits
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    pretty dumb title, huh? why would a rocket scientist be remembered for that you may ask? oh, did i not mention she was a woman?

    http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/gender-questions-arise-in-obituary-of-rocket-scientist-and-her-beef-stroganoff/

    "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off ...[text shortened]... died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist"

    "was also"
    Ms. Sullivan's exposing the mammoth chip on her shoulder is the most amusing thing about that article..

    The obituary's first paragraph was obviously a cutesy lead-in mean to praise the deceased by showing that, in addition to her brilliant work, she was able to raise her family as well. It's a wonderful tribute to her and to take offense at that is just plain daft.

    You see this sort of thing in obituaries all the time. Great athletes might be remembered for visiting sick children in the hospital or great politicians for working with their constituents on minor issues.

    After the cutesy lead-in, 100% of the rest of the obit concerns her work.

    The serially offended crowd is amusing, though, I'll give you that.
  10. Germany
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    03 Feb '16 15:38
    Originally posted by vivify
    If an obituary for a man started out by saying he could bench 250 pounds, was a great athlete and also a brilliant scientist, no one would have a problem.

    If the obituary was exactly the same save for being about a man, it would be considered sweet.

    However, historical context with women is something to always keep in the back one's mind when writi ...[text shortened]... It's normal to humanize people in an obituary with an introduction that makes them relatable.
    Suppose an obituary for Einstein started by saying he was an avid violin player (which he was). Wouldn't you find it a little odd?
  11. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 15:55
    Originally posted by JS357
    Do you know how she would have felt about that obituary? Wouldn't it put you in your seat to find that she wrote or approved it?
    i don't know how she would have felt to the mention her life's work, her contribution to humankind as a side note to her cooking skills.

    perhaps she would have felt like every other male scientist who was described as a "father of X children and accomplished car mechanic/stamp collector/pastor/etc who was also a scientist".


    the fact remains, this woman's obituary was written in this fashion. can you name a male scientist who received the same treatment?
  12. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 16:02
    Originally posted by quackquack
    it is important to know who wrote the obituary. Often it is a family member who may remember her more as a caring person and great cook than a rocket scientist. If you asked me personally to talk about a mother, her Ivy league degree is not the first thing that would come to mind.
    random journalist who wanted to praise a scientist but felt the need to start with her cooking skills. random journalist who accepted that he wouldn't have written about her if she was an ordinary woman.
  13. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 16:02
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    i don't know how she would have felt to the mention her life's work, her contribution to humankind as a side note to her cooking skills.

    perhaps she would have felt like every other male scientist who was described as a "father of X children and accomplished car mechanic/stamp collector/pastor/etc who was also a scientist".


    the fact remains, this ...[text shortened]... uary was written in this fashion. can you name a male scientist who received the same treatment?
    Are you an expert on obituaries of scientists? Without the fact of who wrote the obituary? Whether they interviewed the scientists? How she wanted to me remembered and millions of other facts which you don't know but you merely assume it is premature to say this is sexist.
  14. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 16:05
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    random journalist who wanted to praise a scientist but felt the need to start with her cooking skills. random journalist who accepted that he wouldn't have written about her if she was an ordinary woman.
    You know it's a random journalist or you presume it's a random journalist? You know that the women did not say this how she wanted to be remembered for her cooking or you assume that no scientist would want to be remember as cook?
  15. Joined
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    03 Feb '16 16:07
    Originally posted by sh76
    Ms. Sullivan's exposing the mammoth chip on her shoulder is the most amusing thing about that article..

    The obituary's first paragraph was obviously a cutesy lead-in mean to praise the deceased by showing that, in addition to her brilliant work, she was able to raise her family as well. It's a wonderful tribute to her and to take offense at that is just plai ...[text shortened]... e obit concerns her work.

    The serially offended crowd is amusing, though, I'll give you that.
    "The obituary's first paragraph was obviously a cutesy lead-in mean to praise the deceased by showing that, in addition to her brilliant work, she was able to raise her family as well. It's a wonderful tribute to her and to take offense at that is just plain daft."

    wonderful. this must then be a common writing practice that i am sure you can find in many obituaries written about men.


    "Great athletes might be remembered for visiting sick children in the hospital "
    except visiting sick children is not a stereotype about limiting women to a role seen as traditional.
    writing about that great athlete most likely wouldn't be phrased as "he was a great visitor of sick children who managed to be a great athlete besides that"


    "After the cutesy lead-in, 100% of the rest of the obit concerns her work."
    so what was the point of that lead in then? what purpose did it serve other than to remind people she was a woman, a mother and a cook?
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