“Did male scientists slut-shame a small tropical reptile?” asks the Mercury News, heading an interview with UC Berkeley behavioral ecologist Ambika Kamath '11 about her use of "feminist science" in her biology research.
“The behavioral ecologist studies Anolis sagrei, the brown anole, a small lizard native to the Caribbean and introduced in Florida. For years, it was widely believed that this reptile was territorial, and that females would mate only with the male whose area they occupied. When women scientists first found evidence that might not be the case, their conclusions were dismissed, their findings deemed exceptions, and their papers rejected,” the paper reports.
They wrote, “Kamath, through observation, DNA analysis, mathematical modeling and ‘feminist science,’ determined that the lady lizards were actually, so to speak, pretty hot to trot, despite male researchers’ inability to recognize — or even look for — behavior she says conflicted with closely held male beliefs about female sexual behavior. Those biases, which go back to Charles Darwin and beyond, continue to influence how science is done, and the conclusions that are reached, she says.”
“There are people that say … we would have figured this out without making a fuss,” Kamath told the Mercury News. “People really object to the fuss. People also think that it’s incredibly disrespectful to the work of previous scientists to question it in this fashion. Once I was giving a seminar and someone said, ‘You’re supposed to stand on the shoulders of giants, you can’t kick them in the ankles.’ Very graciously, another senior academic said, ‘Well, what if those giants are standing in three feet of mud?’”