The Nature of Being

rethinking the facts of life



The Heart of Jane

Although my last blog post was a little bit of a tangent on the subject of Jane Goodall, I still believe it shows just the impact she still has on young girls and on the field of science today. Not only has this woman positively impacted the field of science, but she also speaks about how females need to become more involved in STEM. STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. All of those subjects that get a weird look if you tell people that’s what you’re studying (trust me, I study math, I know hands-down just that certain ‘look’). But why? Why do these esteemed and completely necessary fields of study create people to make a face as if they just smelled a baby’s diaper? In an interview, Jane Goodall addresses some of these issues.

To open, Jane says that this field had the “perception of it being a rather cold sort of discipline to go into, without heart. And I feel that women — really, we need to be involved with not just with our brain, but with our hearts as well.” These studies, to me, are full of heart. Would I choose to study math if I didn’t love it? I would be insane to just voluntarily study math. I think, for me, heart is where it all comes from. I think the same was true for 26 year old Jane when she decided to go deep into the forests of Tanzania.

She was criticized for almost everything. She was criticized for giving the chimpanzees names instead of just numbering them. She was criticized for claiming that these chimps could have (and did have) personalities. She was always, for some reason, having to justify the way she did things. How she did her work with a little extra ‘heart’. (Because apparently doing what you love with passion should be seen as a bad thing, right?)


(photo credit)

Later on in the interview, Jane is asked if she thinks females alone possess that little bit of heart that is needed to further STEM  areas. I assumed she would answer yes, but to my surprise she said “I think they do. But fortunately, a lot of men feel this way, too.” I can only commend and applaud Jane for the way she answered this question. She acknowledges that we all possess this little bit of ‘heart’ needed in STEM. She knows that we all have this ability, whether it is always used or not.

To make sort of a conclusion on my posts regarding Jane Goodall (only 4 posts total, sorry! I could write for days about this incredible woman), I would like to say what an inspiration she is in all walks of life. She is an inspiration for young girls wanting to get into the field of science, she inspires those who want to work with the animal kingdom, she inspires feminists that want to classify her as a ‘badass’, and she inspires the world daily to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. It all started with her crazy dream to want to explore the forests of Gombe and see what exactly chimpanzees were all about. Her perseverance and dedication is more than admirable and turning 82 this year, she shows us that every day is an opportunity to change the world, no matter what.




Jane Goo[doll]

Wendy Tsao has created a company around deconstructing Bratz dolls and recreating them to be more natural looking. After years of doing this, she decided to take Bratz dolls and recreate them to be famous women figures. Although she only recreated 4 famous women, she made a business out of doing this. Here are some of her earlier works, found of her website:

Tsao takes old Bratz dolls, strips them of their clothes and (in my opinion, gaudy) makeup, and creates a new doll with sensible clothing and makeup. After doing regular dolls for a while, Tsao decided it was time for a change. She then created 5 dolls that were all well-known female figures.

The female figures she chose were Malala Yousafzi, J.K. Rowling, Waris Dirie, and Roberta Bonbar. The other woman she chose to makeover was Jane Goodall.

Sold on Tsao’s ebay account for $170.02 on October 31, 2015, this makeover of a Bratz doll is a clear sign of the impact that Jane had on our world today. So what, some lady made a doll for Jane?


Out of all the scientists, actresses, movie stars, models, and famous female figures that could have been chosen, Tsao chose Jane. Jane was chosen among an astronaut, the writer of one of the most famous book series, an activist for woman’s rights, and a speaker for the Female Genital Mutilation. This shows just how much an impact Jane has had on the female world of science.

These dolls strip down the regular, over-the-top, original Bratz dolls that poorly represent what young girls or boys should be playing with. Out of curiosity, I wondered what “Bratz dolls feminism” would pull up on Google. The first article, to no surprise, was all about Wendy Tsao’s dolls. This then linked to another article, written by The Huffington Post. THP comments on this series of dolls called “The Mighty Dolls” and how these dolls have taken mothers by surprise.

Tsao hasn’t been the only one to create this ‘make-under’ doll. A class of second grade students was interviewed in this video and they were given a more realistic doll, with proportionate limbs, less make-up, normal feet (the foot of the Barbie has no defined toes as well as the appearance of wearing ‘invisible’ high heel shoes), and a wider build. Boys and girls alike, they preferred this doll over the traditional Barbie doll. They compared this traditional doll to their sister, themselves, or aunts they believed this doll looked like. They thought it was more realistic for her to be ‘wider’ and for her feet to not have ‘invisible high heels’. They were asked to give her a profession and the answers included ‘teacher, swimmer, a computer job, a pilot’ while when they were asked about the traditional Barbie, the answers included ‘model, make-up artist, surfer, fashion star, and it looked she she wouldn’t do any job’. Not only is Barbie affecting the perception of women on the outside, it is affecting the perception of intelligence. These second grades had very clear distinctions when it came down to which job both dolls would most likely be doing.

Jane Goodall, without knowing it, is positively impacting not only the animal world and the environment, but she is also positively impacting the minds of young children. A simple doll made of Jane is showing the sort of new thinking that should be present in the minds of elementary school children. Hopefully, in a future world we dream of, our dolls can look more like a human (on the right) instead of some alien figure with pounds of makeup plastered on their face (on the left).


 (photo credit)

Wendy Tsao’s website:

articles referenced:


Jane ‘The Feminist’ Goodall

*warning*: this post uses the word ‘badass’ (more than) a few times to describe the true personality of Jane Goodall. This word was not chosen by me, but by the author of an article I am reflecting on.

At the end of my last post, I hinted that if Jane would have been a young scientist in today’s world, she would have been seen as a feminist. After some research, I came across the perfect article that describes just what I was talking about.


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This article, written by Bee Gray, was posted on under the ‘Feminism’ tab. It is titled “Ten Times Jane Goodall Was A Total Badass” and proceeds to explain ten things about Dr. Goodall that qualify her to be as defined. Although this is far from an academic article or an article that would be found on a site such as National Geographic, it is the perfect example of how Dr. Goodall is viewed in the minds of young people today.

The first time has a picture of Jane as a young girl with the caption “Hi, it’s me, Jane Goodall. As a child, and in my rare moments of leisure, I take extensive notes, draw sketches in my journal, and love reading about zoology and ethology. What are dolls?” According to the Gray, breaking the stereotype for a little girl classifies Jane as a ‘badass’ very early on. I find it comical for this to be the first reason, seeing as all it has to do with is the fact that she likes to do something other than play with dolls. Would that mean a little boy that doesn’t like to play with trucks or dinosaurs and play with dolls instead would also be classified as a ‘badass’?

The second and third times comment on the fact that Jane took the initiative and asked an anthropologist to go on an ‘anthropological dig’ and then he asked her how she felt about doing a long-term study of chimpanzees in the wild. She apparently wasn’t qualified to do such a thing, but her assertiveness qualifies her as a ‘badass’ and feminist.

The fourth time is probably the one that truly does make Jane Goodall the woman she is. It says that she spent 55 years in Tanzania studying chimpanzees. Regardless of the fact that she is a woman, she dedicated 55 years of her life to these animals and if you ask me, this article should be  “The One Time Jane Goodall Was A Total Badass” and should include this point and this point only.

The fifth, sixth, and seven times all deal with Jane’s work outside of the chimpanzee world. Not only did she work on awareness of the primate world, she also worked to help those in poverty in the areas she researched.

The eighth time was when Jane wrote a book and “climber a mountain alone” after the passing of her husband and the ninth time is when Jane was named a UN Messenger of Peace.

The tenth time Jane Goodall was a badass was when she said “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.” Jane is an activist for the less fortunate, for those without a voice, and for those who don’t know how to use the voice they have been given.


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Although these ten ‘times’ seem trivial, they have truth behind them. I find it comical to make a post on a feminism website and to classify different actions of Jane Goodall as being ‘badass’, but the internet never ceases to amaze me in this way. Despite a few of these reason being comical, an article such as this one shows just what an impact Jane had and still has on our scientific world. She is gentle yet strong, humble yet accomplished, and a woman yet a scientist and researcher. She is all of these things and more. She was never one to make grand speeches about how women should be more recognized or how woman should pursue careers in science. She didn’t dedicate her career to pushing for women or for joining the feminist movement. She simply was herself. She set goals, achieved her dreams, and changed the world of science forever. She is a female, a doctor in her field, and according to Gray, a ‘badass’.



Jane Goodall: The ‘Girl’ Scientist

As most people notice, typing in certain keywords into Google can spark unusual results, depending on what you start with. Out of curiosity, I started with “Jane Goodall” to see what would follow this search. The first suggestions included “facts, biography, quotes, movie, quotes, institute” and so on. To no surprise, other suggestions also came up, such as death (Jane Goodall is still alive and will turn 82 this year), Canada (she was born in the UK), costume ideas, middle name, merchandise, and other interesting topics. Unfortunately, the words feminist or female scientist weren’t in the top searches.


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Jane Goodall, born on April 3rd, 1934 in London, England, is most noted for her work with chimpanzees in Tanzania (1). Her mission in life is to understand, educate others on, and protect the animal world, mostly concerning that of the chimpanzees. This raises a question, however. Was Jane successful because of the hard word she contributed to the animal world? Or was she successful because she was a female working in a male-dominated scientific field?

Jane explored the forests of Tanzania at the age of 26. This was an insanely huge leap of faith on her part, seeing as she was a female scientist embarking on such a journey in 1960. She was young, a woman, had little experience, and was going into the wild to document chimpanzees. All of the odds were against her. “But ‘Jane’ is even more determined. Goodall is called by the familiar first name constantly, marking her status as girl, even while she is engaged on a quest that will change the definition of man.” (2, pg. 180). This quote, taken from Haraway herself, struck me because it shows just how Dr. Goodall was perceived. All she was was a girl embarking on this journey to change man. It makes it sound like she was biting off more than she could chew because all she was was a girl. She wasn’t a scientist, a college graduate, a researcher, an explorer; simply a girl. Since when is being a girl such a bad thing anyways?

After her first film, “Goodall returns to National Geographic’s Gombe with a husband and a Ph.D. The double change in status to married women and a credentialed scientist was first announced in the National Geographic magazine, in ‘New Discoveries among Africa’s Chimpanzees.'” (2, pg. 183). I find it interesting, but at the same time frustrating, that her status as a woman had to be noted in National Geographic. I also noted that this quote used her last name instead of her first name, Jane. Did marrying and receiving her Ph.D change the fact that she was a ‘girl’? She got married, so what? People get married all the time. They were now called the “husband and wife team” (2, pg.183). It is frustrating that a woman, one as esteemed and successful as Jane Goodall, can’t be seen as successful on her own. Instead of being seen as an individual anymore, she was grouped with her husband as part of a team. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a beautiful thing and it should be celebrated, but Jane was plenty successful on her own; she was successful without being seen as half of a team.

In my opinion, Dr. Goodall was doubted at first. From the eyes of the public, she was a naive ‘girl’ going into the wild and getting herself into a journey that was destined to fail. On the contrary, however, Jane, this outstanding ‘girl’ proved to be one of the most influential scientists and researchers the world has ever seen. If Jane would’ve done the same exact work in today’s world, she would have been noted as a feminist, as a woman standing up for women in the field of science, and she would have been applauded for her efforts. I think that no matter what time period a woman contributes to the world of science, she should be recognized accordingly. Her work is no less worthy because she is a woman. Her work should always viewed at the same level that a male’s would be. Since when did being a woman being a hindrance to your intelligence or worth?



(2): Haraway, Donna J. Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science. New York: Routledge, 1989.


Who am I?

My name is Monique Shifflet and I am 21 years old. I was born and raise in Southern California in the US. I am studying for a year in Germany and normally I study math, but a sociology class never hurt, right?

Upon signing up for this course, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get myself into. It was hard for me to get into some of the readings, but I was particularly interested in a certain one. I took an Anthropology class while I was studying in California and had learned about Jane Goodall. When she appeared in our readings, I was overjoyed to read about her again. I find her perseverance fascinating and admirable. She started from the bottom as a woman scientist and worked to the point where her name is known worldwide. Therefore, my favorite quote from Donna Haraway’s Primate Visions is:

But “Jane” is even more determined. Goodall is called by the familiar first name constantly, marking her status as girl, even while she is engaged on a quest that will change the definition of man.

To me, this quote says a great deal about Goodall, Haraway as a writer, and science in general. I will be basing my next 4 blog posts off of this quote and off of Goodall herself. I will be researching and writing about how women, especially Goodall, have truly impacted the fields of anthropology, sociology, and science as a whole. Women should be recognized for their achievements, even if it is on a blog post written by an exchange student.

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