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Wow, talk about not having a commitment to your principles. Call it Stroganoff-Gate.

First the New York Times published this obituary on Saturday of pioneering rocket scientist Yvonne Brill, who died at the age of 88.

(below the fold);

After a Twitter outrage campaign decrying the ackowledgment that Brill was a good mother, the original opening paragraph of her obituary was revised to remove the reference.

It quotes Brill's son's eulogy, saying "she made a mean Beef Stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise her three kids". After Stroganoff-gate exploded on Twitter, the New York Times buckled and took out the reference and put rocket scientist first:

It's behavior like this that gives the New York Times a bad name in conservative circles.
The New York Times was today pressured into changing the tone and content of an obituary, by a relatively small blip of Twitter outrage. There was no factual inaccuracy in the original piece, no libel, not even an offensive opinion. People on Twitter were just mad that the writer didn’t present a successful women’s achievement in the precise order the crowd felt was most respectful.
As Paul Carr writes, yes it was a big deal in the 1970's for a woman to have been able to 'have it all'.
Today we might take that option for granted. We might even resent Brill slightly for playing into the woman-in-the-home stereotype at all (and there’s definitely a sniff of that resentment amongst some of those who wish Brill’s status as a mother had gone entirely unmentioned). But for a female scientist who came to prominence in the early 70s, her dual role is absolutely relevant, and worthy of celebration as a counter to the notion that feminism requires the rejection of all traditionally female roles like giving birth and making a mean beef stroganoff.
In this day and age when Facebook's COO is still compelled to write a book on the subject (and taking heat for it) this was no small feat and yes, deserves placement in front. Not the least because it was her son saying those words. Brill was pioneering in more ways than one.

Originally posted to Barefoothoofcare on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Sex, Body, and Gender.

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