When I was in graduate school in the early 90′s, I went to check my mail in the department common space and pulled out a plastic erection someone had put in my mailbox. I was so stunned that I just stood there staring at it, refusing to believe what it so obviously was. (I took it home and showed it to my roommate, hoping he’d tell that wasn’t what it was. But there was really no denying it.) I kept that thing for ten years, as a reminder that I wasn’t crazy and that it had really happened.
So…who had done it? Who *would* do such a thing? I still don’t know. I do know that the anonymity of the act was a pretty effective method for getting me to minimize interaction with any of the men in my program.
So, something to think about next time you’re thinking about whom to invite for a talk or a conference and you ask yourself who you know who would be “fun” to have around: There may be a reason why some of the women philosophers you’ve interacted with just never seem to be as “fun” as the men.