As I have done once in the past, I rummaged through the FSP archives to see how often I discuss particular general topics. The last time I did this, more than a year ago, I determined that about 20% of my posts could be classified as focused on the F (female) aspect of being an FSP and the rest were either SP (on being a Science Professor), P (on being any kind of professor), or Other (cats, the rest of life etc.). In my previous classification, I used 3 categories, combining the Science Professor and general academic-themed posts.
I was curious: Am I consistent over time, erratic, increasingly dominated by a particular topic?
So I looked through the 2009 archives, and I decided that the categories I used last time were still good ones to use. Assigning posts to categories is in some cases obvious; in others, not so obvious. For example, my very first post of 2009 related to an incident in which a strange man repeatedly hurled himself at the back door of my house late at night when my daughter and I were alone in the house. The police came and took him away before he could get in. I used this post to ask how we, as parents, can teach our daughters to be safe but not terrified as they go through life. Is that a "feminist" topic or a life/misc topic? Well, of course it is both. When you are a woman writing about your life, it is difficult (and pointless) to separate the two.
Another example of what I consider an ambiguous post (in terms of topic classification): a discussion last February of the so-called "two body problem" as applied to grad students. I don't see that as a feminist issue, but I am sure that some readers would disagree.
And what about this one: feminist post or not? And discussion of things like family leave policies for graduate students and postdocs? Whether someone has a "Baby Gap" in publication owing to having a child? Whether it's OK to bring your kids to work with you?
In the end, it didn't really matter. The ambiguous ones, by my count, were only ~2% of the total so I decided to classify them all as "feminist".
Here are the data:
Total % posts in 2009: 245
(average of ~ 20/month)
% on general academic issues (research, teaching, service): 76%
% about issues related to being an FSP + other "female' themed posts: 19%
% about non-academic life things: 5%
That's about the same as last time. The most shocking result, for me, was the distressing dearth of cat photos in 2009.
9 months ago