On not speaking up

Posted: November 19, 2010 by Jender in Uncategorized

(I’m male) During my period in grad school (late 2000s), my philosophy department had an environment where it was common to fraternise by meeting at a local pub after a department seminar or during any evening where many would drink themselves silly. Being a teetotal and not partaking of alcohol for cultural reasons was looked down upon. It was a very laddish pursuit and conversations could vary from the latest journal articles to celebrity (or philosopher) gossip.

Most of the time (except for the emphasis on alcohol) it was in good spirits to socialise with the staff and keep on first name terms but there were times which were uncomfortable. One time a (male) philosopher proposed to go to a local strip club after the pub, I walked away from this situation immediately feeling uncomfortable, but I heard from another postgraduate (who was female) the night after that a small group of them went and had a big laugh about it afterwards. There were often suggestions made by this aforementioned male philosopher about going to a prostitute after a night out but I think this was just a jocular suggestion and did not really happen. To mention it alone was damaging.

I never brought up this issue with the female postgraduates who knew about this, but they seemed to be permissive of such behaviour, seeing the males as ‘silly little perverts’ and keeping their distance, or perhaps they were more focused on furthering their academic reputation in a job market which is unstable. After reading this blog, I feel that I should have made a pronounced stand against this kind of overt talk and by not taking a stand against I condoned their behaviour. I also realise that those such as postgrads or postdocs (irrespective of gender) are in a vulnerable position to report such things as have tenure in mind before they would want to rock the boat. I hope that the offending philosopher is reading this.

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