Mark Hartley, Editor
Yep, we`ve got ourselves another white woman on the cover. Let`s see who else was involved in this issue. As we look at the writers, we can see that Judy Martin is a Caucasian female, as are Mary Martha Stevens, Dianne Glasscoe, Joen Haring, Trisha O`Hehir, and Cindy Biron. Janet Rogers is a female, but I`m not sure about her ethnic background since I`ve never met her. Besides, she collaborated on her article with a male, Dan Jefferies. Louis Malcmacher and Chris Miller are both male.
Although she doesn`t have an article in this issue, Cathy Alty is, without question, the most prolific feature writer to be published in RDH. Joanne Sheehan and Cathy Seckman have also written several articles for the magazine in the past year or so. Yes, all three authors would be more of them white women.
And, of course, there`s me. I am involved with every issue of RDH. But debate continues to rage about what exactly I am. According to some claims, I may not even be human, descending from rottweilers or poodles, depending on whether you think I`m mean or merely wimpy.
Why am I spelling out the ethnic and gender content of this issue? Well, I just got another letter from a male hygienist. Every once in a while, a male hygienist will write to say that RDH sure seems to be dominated by women and their viewpoints. They usually go on to suggest that maybe there`s something I could do about that. Since I lack the capabilities to surgically alter one`s gender, or even transform a woman`s psyche, I`m not sure what I can do. Anyway, this letter from a male hygienist was unique in that, besides identifying his maleness, he cites the important statistic that he is a father of three.
I need to set the record straight. If you are a male hygienist, you do not need to father children in order to become involved with RDH. Childless males can do everything life requires except nudge the wife awake and say, "The kid`s crying again. Why don`t you get up and do something about it?"
Unfortunately, the other members of the "Rainbow Coalition" are too silent, as far as RDH is concerned. While I may be a little derisive toward male hygienists who stay uninvolved with RDH except to complain about the women who write for it, I regret that the magazine doesn`t display more ethnic and gender diversity.
And I believe that most of the "white women" who work as dental hygienists feel the same way. Although Caucasian male dentists certainly don`t talk about old stereotypes publicly, you can`t help but wonder sometimes if any of the old beliefs linger. I am referring, of course, to the notion that Caucasian females used to become hygienists as a short-term solution to keep busy and earn a little shopping-spree cash while waiting for hubby to appear on the horizon. Even today, I wonder if dentists realize that dental hygiene is a long-term commitment for most hygienists, not a temporary way station in life. Well, the more dynamic the ethnic and gender background of the profession is, the more likely these stereotypes will experience a fast and necessary death.
It would be easy for me to examine the demographic makeup of organized hygiene. At the local, state, and national dental hygiene meetings, most of the people (with few exceptions) who share the latest developments in dental science, who work late into the night to decorate an exhibit hall, or who update colleagues on how they stared down hostile lobbyists and politicians over legislation are Caucasian females. These committed professionals are not exclusively white and female, but I think we readily recognize they do dominate the scene. We note with pride their accomplishments on behalf of the profession.
RDH, though, is an independent magazine, unaffiliated with any dental association. We`re not looking for input from male and non-Caucasian hygienists in the same way that organized hygiene is. I encourage men and women of all backgrounds to write for the magazine. Since I`ve been known to peck around a keyboard a time or two myself, I know that is easier said than done. Writing is hard work. But if you`ve got an idea, I wish you`d let me in on it rather than assume that RDH only lets white women write for it. Because that would be an incorrect assumption on your part.
Editor Mark Hartley can be contacted at [email protected]