If you have Twitter, you'll have spotted the latest firestorm over some questionable career advice. A post-doc's advisor can't keep his eyes from her boobs. She should put up and shut up, apparently. Cue rage.
Science, the journal that hosted the agony aunt column, has whisked it down from the internet and popped up a statement condemning such behaviour. I would rather have the original response back. When we condemn behaviour that is inappropriate and troubling in this manner, it is hidden away. We prefer that you never experience this, so when you do we won't give you practical support and guidance to deal with it. It's a different kind of putting up and shutting up, from an even weaker position- one of denial.
Anyway, this ugly little incident got me thinking about mentors. I have been very lucky to have several good ones. My intended PhD supervisor, who head hunted me into specialising in things Etruscan and fostered my frustration with the discipline. My actual PhD supervisor, who taught me how to think, how to write, how to turn failure to success, how to live beyond academe yet enjoy what it offers. My advisor, his practicality and fine tuned bullshit sensors keeping the project together. Field school director, supporting decisions on, or rather in, the ground, backed up by a senior staff who care for each other and good archaeology, not politics and positions. Colleague and project leader, vivacious, courageous, engendering respect wherever she goes. Internal and external examiners, tough but fair, demanding the best. My boss, the best man manager around.
And not one of them looked at my tits. I am one lucky pup. Thank you all.
That brings me to my advice for the Bothered who wrote to Science. You probably have a larger support network than you think. Use it, and get recording the inappropriate behaviour. Find a mentor who will support you in taking action once you've compiled the evidence. Then move against the ogler, not alone but as a team. And know that the online scientific community is totally with you.
***it's 4:45am and I have baby sick in my hair, so apologies if this makes no sense***