Saturday, March 18, 2017


A friend pointed out that I give an impression that the people I work with are not only consistently liberal, but have an extremist streak.  He knows from experience that this is not so.  He is right, and I should correct that impression. I will include an anecdote, to keep it memorable.

Social workers are largely liberal, and a few are pretty extremist, but there are two interesting points.  Some have a pretty strong sense that "your decisions have contributed to this, and I don't feel obligated to rescue you from everything."  A significant minority also came into the field from religious, helping-mankind, or personal addiction 12-Step perspectives and have something of an accountability streak.

This is not so for psychologists and OT/RT sorts.  They are almost thoroughly liberal.  Psych nurses are mixed, and I don't have a neat categorisation of how that is.  Married/unmarried/divorced, young/middle/old - I don't see patterns. Mental health lawyers are very liberal, hospital administrators are as well (except for the accounting and budget guys.  No surprise there.)

Psychiatrists are quite interesting.  Most are pretty liberal, especially politically - but that accountability question comes up a lot and they back off from the extremes.  In my experience, the female psychiatrists are more conservative than the male. The anecdote: a female psychiatrist with a young daughter was talking about some Disney Princess experience they had been sharing recently. Because my granddaughters are deeply involved in several, I was chiming in a bit talking about art, myth, values communicated.  I see good and bad in the princesses.  Another woman present expressed the reflexive disdain that educated feminist women are supposed to have for princesses - and threw in Barbie as well.  The psychiatrist smiled slightly, not commenting.  After the other left she sighed, then twinkled.  "I loved Barbie and dress up my whole childhood.  I decided after I got my master's in organic chemistry and got accepted to med school that I didn't have to answer to Women's Studies majors anymore."


jaed said...

A perhaps unexpected response:
It kind of distresses me that she ever felt she had to.

(Seriously, women's studies majors as arbiters of... anything? People you have to satisfy unless you're accomplished enough to ignore them? People you look up to, or defer to as authorities? Women's studies? Srsly?)

(This is not intended in any way to attack your colleague—either of your colleagues, really. It just strikes me as a big social change and not a good one. [Women's studies???])

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think she was using it as a generic for a certain type of thinking. Though maybe not. She may have had some specific people in mind.

Grim said...

Some of them can be very demanding of submission. Others, not so much. But the especially successful ones are often so.

RichardJohnson said...

The psychiatrist smiled slightly, not commenting. After the other left she sighed, then twinkled. "I loved Barbie and dress up my whole childhood. I decided after I got my master's in organic chemistry and got accepted to med school that I didn't have to answer to Women's Studies majors anymore."

That is a quote for the ages. My take is that she was talking about a generic Women's Studies major.

My sister the engineer was never a big women's libber, perhaps because she was good looking enough that she never had any doubt that men were attracted to her.
Or perhaps she saw that engineering classes were just as hard for men as for women.

Sam L. said...

I got the impression that your coworkers were generally liberal, but you put up with them.

jaed said...

Apropos of Absolutely Nothing, look what I came across in the archives from ten years ago:

Americans, especially conservatives, indulge in these fantasies of frankness that are not ever going to happen. “You know what we should tell those nutcases? We should tell them that they have one week to start…” Sure, I agree. I would love to give that approach a try for a year. Put up or shut up. Fish or cut bait. Yo, Egypt! These are your two choices! Even if we went back to the old way after, it would be an unspoken threat. The Roman Empire would have a dictator for a year in time of war. Having one year of Donald Trump as president might be just what the doctor ordered.

From 2006.

Sam L. said...

AVI, you were PRESCIENT! Dang, you're good.

Texan99 said...

It would be a shame to free oneself of the need to satisfy men's demands about what should interest us as women, only to accept the duty to satisfy women's demands on the same subject. Surely we enjoy what we enjoy? I'm reminded of Screwtape's story about the man saved from social ambition by a strong taste for tripe and onions.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ jaed - That is the Frank J approach from IMAO: Nuke the Moon. Nuke one of our own national parks. Show the world that we are just crazy enough to do anything. "Touch not the cat bot wi' a glove" and all that.

Sam L. I love that word. I love just having it roll off my lips.

Sam L. said...

You're welcome. I am honored to have done so.