My Name is Reagan

My name is not Reagan.

My Worst Moment When a long-time colleague didn’t believe that another colleague of ours acted inappropriately until the other woman with me that night spoke up and said, “We weren’t safe. I’m thankful I wasn’t there alone”. It certainly isn’t the most upsetting incident I’ve experienced, but it made me realize how many men I’ve told about things I’ve experienced and how my experiences have been minimized as me “overreacting”.

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Reagan’s experiences with harassment and misconduct have left her feeling like she has lost her humanity and faith in men’s motives. Reagan declined to provide a photo. Stock art by @punttim

I’ve Given Up On: Having any control over what is said to me or about me. As long as no one touches me without my consent, it’s been a successful day in science.

I’m Afraid: That in constantly trying to figure out if the men I interact with intend for these interactions to be professional or more personal in nature, I’ve somehow lost my humanity in how I interact with people.

Screen Shot 2018-06-24 at 11.36.00 PMThis Has Cost Me: What I’ve lost is my innocence, in that I used to believe that people were interested in me because my science is good – but I’m now aware that it’s “come for the looks, stay because I’m the ‘real deal’”. I’m tired of some of my strongest advocates telling me I’m sought after for tenure-track jobs because I’m a “qualified woman, and places are always looking for those”. And don’t get me started on the time I’ve spent deciding what to wear at meetings or trying to stop scratching my head while I’m thinking, which I’ve been told is flirtatious and gives the wrong impression. All of that time could have been put to much better use actually doing science.

Something You Should Know About Me: I’m pretty good at standing up for myself, but I’m still not brave enough to tell the habitual offenders in my life how they affect me, instead of pretending that I don’t care.

Is There a Bright Side? I now know that I’m a lot braver than I thought I was, and a lot tougher. Having to constantly prove I belong has made it easier to advocate for myself in other ways, including asking for more salary.

My Fight Song 

Secret Weapon: A really supportive science village.