On Motherhood, Identity, And Feminism

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | May 21, 2009 9:02 am
content_mother.jpg

Regular readers know how I feel about the benefits and costs of new media.  As a middle of the road user, I stay connected by way of a limited Facebook profile, but refuse to foray into the twitterverse for previously stated reasons.  And while I like the opportunity to create a virtual bookmark in time, there’s a dark side to so much accessibility: It provides ever more means to pass unfair judgment on others.

A friend recently pointed me to this particularly ridiculous article criticizing moms who post profile photos of their children*.  The author Katie Roiphe goes so far as to suggest feminist Betty Friedan would ‘turn in her grave‘ at such behavior:

The mystery here is that the woman with the baby on her Facebook page has surely read The Feminine Mystique in college, and The Second Sex, and The Beauty Myth. She is no stranger to the smart talk of whatever wave of feminism we are on, and yet this style of effacement, this voluntary loss of self, comes naturally to her. Here is my pretty family, she seems to be saying, I don’t matter anymore.

Huh?  At just a few days shy of 29, I’m at an age where, yes, many close friends do indeed post family photos.  But I suspect none would report ‘losing‘ themselves in parenthood, but rather gaining a new role that enhances their identities.  They are a colorful mix of womenand men–who also inhabit the real world as artists, scientists, writers, musicians, teachers, and more.  Posted photos don’t imply some need to ‘hide‘ behind youngsters, but rather serve as a means to share their changing lives with people they care about dispersed around the globe.

Furthermore, I also have friends posting photos of pets, superheroes, even legos on their pages. I can’t help but wonder how Roiphe would diagnose them. And if anyone’s seriously wondering whether parents can celebrate their offspring while maintaining independent sense of self-worth, I direct you to ScienceWoman, DrugMonkey, Isis, and Abel.

It seems to me that despite the author’s diatribe, parents with digital cameras are not the problem.  Instead I’m most alarmed by her blind ridicule of others–a behavior more often associated with high school cliques than a constructive dialog.  So I remind Roiphe that there’s no cookie cutter model of what it means to be a feminist–or anything for that matter.  However, unwarranted criticism will serve to alienate many, while doing little to foster social progress.

* Child safety on the internet is a very real issue related to photos, but not the topic of this post.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture
MORE ABOUT: attitudes, judgement, women

Comments (41)

  1. Good post. For anyone seriously wondering whether parents can celebrate their offspring while maintaining independent sense of self-worth I would also recommand PalMD especially his posts on fatherhood.

  2. PalMD is terrific. There are so many wonderful examples and I just highlighted a few.

  3. Erasmussimo

    No man (nor woman) is an island. A person who does not celebrate their relationships with others is a cold and lifeless being. Bah on them!

  4. This comes up sometimes in discussions of whether academics should have their office festooned with evidence of parent-hood, have kid pics at the end of their powerpoint presentations and/or allow that slide-show screen saver of the kid photo archive to run at study section.

    I tend to argue that fathers should go ahead and do so because it helps to normalize the practice. Thereby letting everyone, including mothers who are judged more harshly, choose whether or not to display pictures of their children.

    The counter, which is a serious issue, is whether this constitutes more privilege waving on the part of men because they get the credit for being a nice family d00d (see? He *isn’t* just an unreconstructed jerk! He found someone to marry him. and he has *kids*!!!) without anyone seriously thinking they might be, you know, an actual parent that compromises the career for parenting duties.

  5. Callinectes

    Why do most things always seem to have to be portrayed in terms of losing and winning only? Perhaps I did ‘lose’ a version of me when I had kids, but I also gained one. “I don’t matter anymore” couldn’t be further from the truth, if anything I matter more now than ever before. Roiphe needs to get over herself – what a dumbass article. She’s placing way too much emphasis on Facebook profiles as a proxy for the real person. To seriously contemplate the “what if” of putting our kids’ pictures on our own passports/driver’s licenses is just inane and obtuse to the highest power.

  6. Callinectes

    DrugMonkey you raise an interesting point. I think the legacy of discrimination does create a mountain (i.e., the ‘privilege waving’) out of a mole hill in this case of office decor. Not that there is anything trivial, of course, about gender bias and discrimination. You may have a point about the men getting credit, but I wonder how often the audience gives credit to women for being a nice family doodette.

    For my part, I don’t judge others based on their screen savers, how many personal photos are/are not in their offices, etc. (unless it clearly shows bad judgment – drunk college pix come to mind). Personally, I think there’s something to be said for keeping the lines between the personal and professional very distinct and for that reason I always disable the kid photo screen saver/wallpaper when giving presentations. But that’s just me.

    I think Erasmussimo summed it up well! At the end of the day, we all go home to some one or something(s).

  7. There is, in some contexts, a very practical (though not very deep) loss of identity that comes with parenthood — namely, becoming “[Child's name]‘s Mom” to one’s child’s friends (and often, to their parents, and to the teachers at the after school program who don’t have the emergency form with your actual legal name right in front of them).

    However, for those social interactions, that’s what’s relevant. I’m *not* at the center of them: I the person who arranges transportation and schedules play dates. My kid’s 8-year-old peers have no interest at all in my academic qualifications or in the fact that my surname is different than my kid’s.

    My identity *is* of interest in my own professional and personal interactions, and while parenting may have made my calendar somewhat busier, it hasn’t diluted my independence of mind or sense of self-worth. Indeed, that parenthood is part of my identity, even when it’s not in the foreground, has doubtless been a real benefit to the students and administrators that I deal with, because it has seriously increased my patience.

  8. Here’s my question – why is the label “parent” so antithetical to so many adults? Once you have kids, Parent becomes part of the tapestry of who you are, regardless of gender. yes, each of us who chooses to bring children into the world has to make adjustments; yes, each of us with kids is so much more then JUST A PARENT. But why is that part, that one facet of who we have grown to be, so threatening? Why is it so hard in this day and age to accept?

  9. I have put photos of my kids, husband, and pet cat on FaceBook and on my blog. FB photos to share with all of the folks from high school that I haven’t seen in 20 years or more, and on the blog as I have written about each of these topics (my cat has chronic kidney disease and I’m a nephrologist, so there is a logical link in there).
    I keep Linked In and “professional” sites professional- no kids, no pets- but FB is my personal site, and that includes my family!
    Yes, I am proud of my pretty successful family, but that doesn’t mean I no longer matter.

  10. Good grief, what a ridiculous load of crap. I post pictures of my kids on facebook, because I want to show them off to the people I’ve reconnected with there. And I really enjoy those folks doing the same, because for the most part they’re people I spent many years in the same classrooms with and haven’t seen in nearly fifteen years in most cases. It’s a lot of fun to see the families.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with having lost myself, rather it’s just another aspect of myself. Even when I’m referred to as “eldest’s papa,” it’s not a loss of identity, it’s recognition of another mantle I wear. I’m no less DuWayne, because I’m also eldest and youngest’s papa. Rather there is more of DuWayne than there was before I became papa as well.

    Makes me want to write another papa post, it’s been too long since the last one…

  11. URGH, I hate shit like this. Its part of what makes being a mom and a graduate soon hard. If I put up pictures of my kid, I’m not taken seriously ( I have been told that it is super inappropriate to have my kid as the wallpaper to my computer), but if I don’t I’m not “good mom”.
    I agree with DM that if more dads started to do it, it would become more normal…yes they will get the added privilage of being the cool dude, but as more and more dads embrace equality in parenting it will become the norm..which is what we want.

  12. I have been told that it is super inappropriate to have my kid as the wallpaper to my computer

    Nonsense. If you’d like to post the kids on your laptop, go for it. Don’t let outside pressure dictate a personal decision. There is no one way to be a ‘woman-in-science‘, or an ‘anyone-in-science‘ for that matter. A walk around most departments should convincingly illustrate that the sciences are made up of an enormous spectrum of characters and personalities.

    Most of all, remember: Never hide part of your identity to fit someone else’s arbitrary ideal. Change expectations and break the mold when appropriate. Establishing new norms is the only way we’ll make progress.

  13. That’s wild. When I began reading your post, and got to the point where she was criticizing posting photos of kids, I was sympathetic to that criticism–for the safety reasons (which aren’t the topic of this post). Then I got to the notion that it means loss of self, which is ludicrous. I don’t post photos of my kids for safety reasons. I do have a photo of my kids and h as wallpaper on my computer. It makes me smile when my computer goes on. It reminds me that life isn’t about status, prizes, the number of books I’ve written or the reviews they’ve had. That reminder is very important because everything in our society tells me the opposite and values me, a conscious living being, weighs me, counts me in proportion to those things. On the other hand my h and kids love me and value me for my existence, my beingness. How un-lost that is! How found!

  14. Brendan White

    I agree with this post quite a bit.

  15. D. C. Sessions

    Boggle. I mean, WTPP?

    I’m trying to come up with a Universe where this makes any sense at all and failing. In the context of “privileges” here are the four possible combinations:

    1) Nobody admits to having a family. Pretend that they don’t exist, having one of those “life” things is just unprofessional.
    2) Women can have family pictures, refrigerator art, etc. but men can’t.
    3) Men can have family pictures, refrigerator art, etc. but women can’t.
    4) We’re all human and might as well celebrate the fact.

    #1 might be a sort of ideal corporate slave, and I don’t doubt that there are workplaces that try to push the notion. Anyone working in one, please contact me and I’ll see if I can help find you someplace that’s left the 19th century.

    #2 is rumored to have happened at one time and may have been part of the confusion, as in: “Men don’t admit to having lives, men are privileged, therefore not having a life is part of the price of privilege, therefore women must give up their lives.” I don’t know of any men who would stay at a place like that. This includes my late father, who’s been in his grave for a quarter-century and may have just started revving up again.

    #3 looks like what the commenter wants: a brand-new privilege for men only. Zuska definitely has a point on the uses of shoes.

    #4 sure sounds like the only world anyone I know would want to work in. Considering the number of baby pictures around here, the amount of parental tip-swapping that happens over cube walls, the way my management works schedules around higher priorities, etc. that’s not a unique perspective.

    So, yeah — when one of my cow-orkers comes back from maternity leave and we have a meeting to schedule the next quarter or two, we keep our priorities straight: baby pictures first, then we can talk business. After which, a few more baby pictures. And I must say my colleagues have the cutest dang kids!

  16. I like #4, and Sheril, thanks for posting this. Well said, and this is one of those blog posts one can point back to from now on whenever the argument comes up.

    My facebook photo currently is my daughter sitting in the lap of one of my best friends learning to drive a Land Rover at age 4 while I look on. I might have been doing that wrong. My wife’s facebook photo is a family photo, and clearly represents the worst kind of abuse: http://tinyurl.com/r3ogc6

  17. Part of this was something I discussed with my daughter when she was the age of her friends calling me ‘her father’. I was (and am) happy to be her father, and to be known as such. It wasn’t the only thing I was, or am. But, as Philip H noted in #6, it was part of the tapestry.

    On the photo side … well, I’ve never had a photo up on facebook, and probably never will. Certainly not of me. Maybe of some interesting sight if I bother. (Like, say, if the black and yellow Argiope spiderlings hatch ok.) So photos of my kids wouldn’t be up there either, even though they all voted in the last election. (Now if they choose to put them up on their own pages, that’s fine.)

  18. becca

    I think Dr. Free-Ride has a good point. I remember some of my childhood friends referring to my parents as “Mr. Becky/Mrs. Becky” (thus neatly avoiding the awkwardness of referring to your friend’s parents by the too-intimate first name, as well as the too-formal last name). I’m pretty sure my Dad would have rather been called by his first name. He never really objected to “Mr. Becky” but I think I understand his slight hesitancy/discomfort much better now than I did at the time.

    Obviously having children needn’t involve loosing one’s identity, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen either. Although I think it’s ludicrous to assume so much based on a FB profile pic, I do think there is some loss of self on becoming a parent. Maybe I’m just having a difficult pregnancy, but I wonder how someone can have their body taken over like this and *not* feel out of sorts/ “not themselves” once in a while. Isn’t it one of those trite truisms that it changes you? Why *shouldn’t* that include one’s locus of identity? And some mothers probably will process that in ways that involving less alignment with the feminists cited (although I also suspect some will probably align *more* with those feminists as they become mothers).
    I don’t anticipate *truly* “loosing” myself- my personality is remarkably consistent over time. But there is a “reinventing” going on here too, I think. It’s a bit like adolescence on warp speed.

    (P.S. Lilian- I really like your comment; I think that’s a wonderful way of looking at it).

  19. anon

    I work in the science dept of a university where #1 is definitely the order of the day. Not as regards my boss, but rather my colleagues, almost all of whom are male. To say, “I’m off early to go to my kids music” would be seen as . .. well, I just wouldn’t say it.

  20. D. C. Sessions

    Maybe I’m just having a difficult pregnancy, but I wonder how someone can have their body taken over like this and *not* feel out of sorts/ “not themselves” once in a while. Isn’t it one of those trite truisms that it changes you? Why *shouldn’t* that include one’s locus of identity?

    Guys can hide from it; women have the reality of impending parenthood rather forcefully imposed. Getting old enough that you can’t kid yourself that you’re 18 any more does something remotely similar, but obviously much more gradually.

    As for change of identity — I rather hope so. If you think of “who I am” as including all of my possible futures, every choice we make, every day we’re alive, replaces a host of possibilities with histories. There are precious few forks in the road comparable to parenthood — done right, it commits a huge slice of your life.

    A rather large reason why it has to be optional.

    And some mothers probably will process that in ways that involving less alignment with the feminists cited (although I also suspect some will probably align *more* with those feminists as they become mothers).

    I would expect so — a lot of the really thorny issues of gender and society center on motherhood.

    Best wishes, Becca — it’s an amazing ride.

  21. mk

    Is Danimal a dude? Did he break the “rule” of being the first to post? Will there be repercussions?

  22. On the other hand, I may well have lost my identity into my cats.

    And, if not, I’m trying to figure out how to.

  23. Adam

    I myself am not even a “feminist” in the classical sense of the term, yet I find your response to this picture particularly intriguing. I think no less of someone who posts a picture of them self than someone who posts a picture of their family. If you love your family, even if you’re a feminist who is purportedly supposed to oppose common familial structures (coming from my private university feminism professors), I would think that spending a loving day with your family would be worth sharing, even if the wife and husband share equal parts of the enjoyment with the child…. It seems sad to me that loving families are no longer “politically correct”….whatever the structure may be.

  24. I might be sorely mistaken, but I believe the “profile picture” to be the picture that is displayed next to your name all across Facebook pages (in lists of friends, in wall messages, in comments, in groups memberships, in events RSVPs, when you update your status…) and at the top of your profile page. You can do whatever you want with it, but a “profile picture” is meant to be an avatar, that is to say, a representation of yourself in the “virtual world”.

    From what I understand, Katie Roiphe is criticizing women who use a picture of their child as their “ID picture”, not women who post and share pictures of their family. (I will not debate whether she is right or not in doing so, I just wanted to clarify this point.)

  25. Ben

    No surprise, any proper critic and scholar of feminism will tell you it’s relation to Marxist theory where equality is synonymous with the communist ideal of classlessness. All true feminists holds socialist ideals. Family, more particularly, gender roles within the family are strictly forbidden and all differences between the genders and suitability for a division of labor is denied. It is said that there is no reason for two different sexes to exist and that we are not meant to be complimentary but equals. Unfortunately this type of feminism thrives in American culture and thus Title XI forced gender parity laws, affirmative action for women, women only loans and services etc. Anything to get women to ditch the family and reach equal productive capacity with men.

  26. Ben

    “No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.” -Simone de Beauvoir

    “Overthrowing capitalism is too small for us. We must overthrow the whole F*#@+*g patriarchy!” -Gloria Steinem( Detroit Free Press, April 15, 1974)

    ———–
    “Nowadays the working woman hastens out of the house early in the morning when the factory whistle blows. When evening comes and the whistle sounds again, she hurries home to scramble through the most pressing of her domestic tasks. Then it’s off to work again the next morning, and she is tired from lack of sleep. For the married working woman, life is as hard as the workhouse. It is not surprising therefore that family ties should loosen and the family begin to fall apart. The circumstances that held the family together no longer exist. The family is ceasing to be necessary either to its members or to the nation as a whole. The old family structure is now merely a hindrance.” “Communism liberates women from her domestic slavery and makes her life richer and happier.” -Alexandra Kollontai -Komunistka, No. 2, 1920, and in English in The Worker, 1920

    “The state is responsible for the upbringing of children” “The woman who takes up the struggle for the liberation of the working class must learn to understand that there is no more room for the old proprietary attitude which says: “These are my children, I owe them all my maternal solicitude and affection; those are your children, they are no concern of mine and I don’t care if they go hungry and cold – I have no time for other children.” The worker-mother must learn not to differentiate between yours and mine; she must remember that there are only our children, the children of Russia’s communist workers.” -Alexandra Kollontai -Komunistka, No. 2, 1920, and in English in The Worker, 1920

  27. Katie Roiphe doesn’t even believe a fucking word she writes, and is purely in it for the sensationalism. She looks around for “feminist” concepts, and then asserts the opposite to generate “controversy”. She became well known when she was in college for being “controversial”. She’s full of shit.

  28. >This comes up sometimes in discussions of whether academics should have their office festooned with evidence of parent-hood, have kid pics at the end of their powerpoint presentations and/or allow that slide-show screen saver of the kid photo archive to run at study section.

    People in every other profession- from the president to the guy behind the counter at the gas station- has pictures of their kids at their workplace. What lousy argument to academics use to suggest that this is not appropriate for them?

  29. ben’s second post of quotes speaks clearer than his first post of irony. Care for progeny creates a kind of kitch, a necessary blindness, that can be irritating for the objective analyst. The objective analyst is perhaps a rare being, unlikely to replicate. The subjective parent places images of her progeny about her workstation, casually glances at reports of thousands of stranger’s children’s deaths. How could she do otherwise? communal children play in alleys, learning indifference and tolerance. Succesfull infants drive past those gutters with their solicitous drivers.

  30. Catharine Zivkovic

    Lucky are you who have to ponder the appropriateness of having images of your children on your desktop at work. Most women do not have ‘careers’ but work due to economic necessity — without a desk, much less a desktop. The majority of working women continue to shoulder the burden of all domestic responsibilities in addition to earning a wage. Not much time left over for self-reflection, developing one’s talents or pursuing a life’s work.

  31. Catharine raises an interesting point about parenthood, economics, and time. However, it’s important to note that work without a desk and laptop can be equally–if not more–important, though I do understand it often requires sacrifice.

    That said, since I know what Catharine does, I’m appreciative and indebted to wonderful individuals like her.

  32. Part of comment #24 struck a chord with me, from a purely intellectual standpoint

    . You can do whatever you want with it, but a “profile picture” is meant to be an avatar, that is to say, a representation of yourself in the “virtual world”.

    For someone as literal as myself, it does make me wonder what the intent of putting a picture of something other than a representation of your self on there is. Fortunately, I am aware of my literalness and try not to make generalizations based on my faulty interpretation of one piece of data. A little thought quickly reveals that a person’s children are a representation of at least one part of their life and then it makes perfect logical sense to present it as an avatar.
    Me? My profile picture is of an iguana. Feel free to draw whatever conclusions you like ;-)

  33. Blogger

    “The majority of working women continue to shoulder the burden of all domestic responsibilities in addition to earning a wage. Not much time left over for self-reflection, developing one’s talents or pursuing a life’s work.”

    Why isn’t overseeing the development of said child into a successful contributing member of society an acceptable “life’s work” and the very pinnacle of the development of “one’s talents”?

    You have to make sacrifices and you have to make choices. Trying to have it all almost never works out. That goes for both genders. Regardless of his means of gaining a paycheck, raising a child successfully should become the fathers main career as well.

  34. I think it’s kinda creepy when people set their profile picture to images of their kid. For the record, I also thought it was icky when folks used “couple pictures” as their profile pic (especially when their significant other was more prominent in the pic). In both cases, people seem to have missed the point of FACEbook. How are friends supposed to find you if you put up a pic of your kid? Do you not see the symbolism of making your profile picture the image of another person?

    I guess we’ve all had those conversations with uber-parents that go something like:
    “How are you doing?”
    “Timmy just started teething!!!”
    “Great, but what about you?”
    “Janie is doing great with potty training!!!”
    “Have you forgotten how to use personal pronouns?”
    “Hannah just started learning about nouns and verbs is school!!!”

    I just have to hold out hope that new parents eventually grow out of it and rediscover their individualism. Setting your profile pic to kid pics is probably just the latest form of showing off baby pictures even though no one seemed to have asked about them.

  35. D. C. Sessions

    Why isn’t overseeing the development of said child into a successful contributing member of society an acceptable “life’s work” and the very pinnacle of the development of “one’s talents”?

    Sort of depends on whether it’s freely chosen or not, no?

    Now, consider how many ways for the “freely” to be leached away.

  36. I’ve always assumed that parents post pictures of their kids of facebook because they are proud of their kids and also proud of what they have accomplished as parents. Almost as a way of saying “here’s what I’ve been doing with the last year of my life, isn’t she beautiful?”

    What I hate the most about the article is what you get at at the end of your post- this notion of arbitrarily judging other people without even knowing them. This is a horrendous practice that most of us play into in many facets of our lives, not just when discussing feminism or parenting. You don’t know me, you don’t know anything about who I am or what I’ve gone through to get where I am, so don’t judge me based on some smallish detail of my life.

    As an aside, we must be just about the same age. I turn 29 in ~10 days.

  37. I have a friend who had one of his new Transformers as his profile picture for a short while. This is the same fellow who has had things like his paintings as the default photograph. These things are no less David than an actual picture of David. I know exactly whose photo that is before I see the name.

    I suspect photos of your child suffice in much the same fashion. I have another friend who only recently became a mother; while her profile photo is of her, I’ve looked at enough pictures of the wee babe that I automatically associate the two: “Wow, there’s Christine’s daughter!”

    This is to say: both of these photographs of something not the person make me think of the person. It’s not a loss of identity in either person’s case.

    If you are honestly the exact same person as a parent that you were before you became a parent, then that’s a problem. Your life must change, your focus must shift at least somewhat, because you now have another person wholly dependent upon you. Loss of self can happen, but it’s certainly not the norm, and a changing profile picture is in no way indicative of this. My default pic on Facebook is of me alone; on MySpace it is of me and all three kids. More of my “friends” on MySpace know me as a parent, so it makes sense to emphasize that part of myself there. I do think there is something to be said for tailoring your presentation of yourself to the situation you’re in. I don’t mind being “B—’s mom” at her school, but when I’m at school, I’m just Sabra. And quite honestly, while I’d love to see your pix of your kids and chat about them before or after class, I don’t want to see pictures of them during your presentation unless they’re somehow a part of said presentation.

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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.

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