Women in Geology

Not a lot of people know this about me – but I graduated with a degree in geology. I never persued a career in geology though, for a number of different reasons but the major one was outrage.
It was annoying enough to have the guys in my class always refer to me as “the girl” and to have my slight size constantly pointed out but there were other things that really got under my skin – especially during field work.
Everytime we were in the field and I had to take a piss – it was really uncomfortable for me. I was the only woman, so finding places to take a leak, was actually quite difficult. And I just didn’t know any of the guys in my classes enough to know how creepy they were, LOL.
One time, we stopped somewhere and I had to piss really bad and my professor was like – “guys piss here and lady pisses here.” and he pointed to this spot where everyone woulda been able to see me (basically right next to where they were all standing). I was like, ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? it’s not like I can just whip out a lil flap of skin from my zipper and turn my back to everyone, I gotta drop trough (it’s like, do I want them to get a front or a back view?)… I ended running up a hill in the middle of the woods, for quite some distance (1/4 mile) because there wasn’t much tree cover in this area. I found a nice little tree that had fallen that I could put my ass over and piss. It was heavenly to piss when I finally was able to find places to do it. Because a lot of times, I felt like I had to hold it (sometimes for hours and being a small person, it can be pretty painful sometimes). Actually – I’m surprised I didn’t end up with bladder infections during that kind of field work. There wasn’t even ONE other woman on these field trips to be my cover, you know?
The worst situation was when we were on some Islands on Lake Champlain, basically just looking at these rock outcrops with fossils of gastropods on them. I had a feeling I had just got my period, but was sort of unable to check at that moment.
I went up to my professor – and was just like, LOOK, I REALLY NEED A BATHROOM. Hint Hint (I approached him when we weren’t doing anymore field work). But he either didn’t get it, or was just being an asshole (I think it was the latter though), so then I painted it clear, “I think I just got my period.” (which felt really humiliating to do btw). It was right before finals week and the stress of it all made me get my period an entire week early (which almost NEVER happens to me, mine is like clockwork 95% of the time).
He’s like – there are some trees over there and pointed to the area where I heard four wheelers driving all over the place. I’m just like – are you serious? He’s just like “Not my problem.” What made it worse is that our class was just scattered everywhere. People were hanging out all over the place in that area. It wasn’t like the class was all standing together in a group and I could sneak off and no one would notice or happen upon me accidently. It was a situation where there were like groups of pines with three or four trees. And with those teenage boys riding around on their four wheelers made me really uncomfortable.
It really REALLY sucked to not have anything with me. I was unprepared because I got it early and just didn’t think I had to worry about it. I ended up rolling up a wad of toilet paper but the thing is – we were walking around so much, not once, but twice – the fucking paper fell down my pantleg. And on the way home from Lake Champlain (which was a 2.5 hour drive) he still refused to stop at a toilet for me. We had time to stop at a few different outcrops (and a store without a toilet) on the way home on the side of the highway, but I felt like he avoided stopping at a rest area etc on purpose. By the time we got back, I was so pissed, I almost HOPED there was a big blood stain on the seat of the van they rented (they lucked out though).
And people wonder why there aren’t more women in science… Could it be this clear and blatent disrespect? It’s like he was hell bent against accomodating women in field work. And he was pretty clear that things were going to be done, the way they were in real life, if you are working in the field. But the situation was different because if I was doing some surveying in the woods – with like one other guy, it woulda been a bit different. Nope, this was a group of like 12 guys and one woman. He didn’t even try to understand how uncomfortable it was for me.
I was so incredibly pissed off and felt so dejected after this period instance – that I didn’t even go to my graduation. Even though I was the first female to graduate with a geology degree in over ten years – I didn’t go to my graduation. I’ve never even gone back to see my professors. I handed in my finals and that was the last time I saw the assholes.
Which is pretty sad and sometimes, I feel really horrible about it. Like I sold out – like I let the men win. I let them beat me out of being interested in the field.
It isn’t that women are incapable – it’s just that most men in “male” fields of study are incapable of having any sort of empathy. And it’s not like I didn’t learn my lesson. I woulda – from that moment on – made sure that I ALWAYS brought something with me, just in case – even if I just got done with my period. And I think what made me so fucking angry about it – I never asked for a bathroom before that. In the THREE years that I was going and doing field work with these professors and all these males, I never complained about pissing in the woods. I never ONCE complained… But the ONE time, the ONE time I really NEEDED a bathroom and a tampon or pad or something, he just didn’t give a fuck.
It will come back to them though – they are getting old, and one of these days, they’ll be doing some field work and they’ll forget their depends, and they’ll have to deal with the uncomfortable feeling of their die-a-rear dripping down their pant-legs.

4 Responses to “Women in Geology”

  1. nuclearnight Says:

    you should have asked him to give you his sock to wad up in your panties since he couldn’t be bothered to make a pit stop.

    I think the best thing to do in times like that is expose the sexism in the most humiliating way possible.

    Oh yeah dude, chicks bleed and sometimes its UNPREDICTABLE and sometimes our mouths are too!

    • truthvscompliance Says:

      haha, awesome. I shoulda, and woulda – except I just wasn’t as into the feminist politics then. Doesn’t help that I’m super shy. But yeah, it woulda been better if I made a lot of noise about it. When we got back to the school though – I went to the one woman who was teaching geology 101 and told her about it, she was PISSED, and so I think she had a talk with them. LOL – which is probably why they never made any attempts to help me find a job (that or them already being sexist).

  2. feministatsea Says:

    There are these foldable things that one can use to piss without having to drop your pants. I have never used them and I can’t for the life of me remember what they are called, but I’ve heard great things about them.

    Is it no possible to get back into the field or have you completely lost interest?

    Glad to see that one of their co-workers was so pissed. That asshole freaking deserves it.

    I had something similarly happening to me after a class camping trip from college. I had somehow gotten my bladder infected and needed to go to the bathroom a lot. We were on our way back with the car and they were smirking after they drove passed bathroom after bathroom. That’s the last freaking time I will have anything to do with them.

    I am still in college though and I am going to work in this industry (maritime industry) and when I make it to captain I will be instituting some policies of my own to deal with bullshit like this.

  3. FAB Libber Says:

    What a horrible story. But typical of the treatment that male dominated professions do to women. It’s under the guise of “sexism = no special treatment”, but that is the twisted perversion of fighting against the special treatment that males get – they hijacked it other words.

    I was the only female in my university class (there were two others in the year below me), so I know what it is like. Fortunately the field trips did not pose problems like this one.

    Try googling “female urination device (FUD)” to get the products, some are reusable too. And in finding that, I also found: The Mooncup http://www.stressnomore.co.uk/pd/Mooncup_80044.html
    I am not sure how long you can leave it in there, but probably works longer than tampons or pads.

    Now I am not sure if they exist, but they probably do (from camping stores), but there must be a very lightweight frame & covering that can be erected for privacy purposes. The technology for the pop-up mini tents lends itself to this purpose. If it doesn’t exist, let me know, I’ll design one.

    Please get back into your chosen field, don’t let these bastards scare you off, that is exactly what they are trying to do. In fact, there is probably an additional creepy layer of pee-pervs going on. Certainly they got off on the humiliation aspect. I really want to kick them in the nuts on your behalf.

    Congratulations on staying the course (till graduation). It shows a strength and perseverance that is an admirable trait, against all that hostility (and yes, there are always various layers of hostility in these male dominated areas). So well done, I am proud of you.

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