When people don’t speak up…

Posted: October 5, 2010 by Jender in failure to challenge sexism, trivialising women

As a newly hired tenure-track faculty member (only the second female in a large department), a senior faculty member called me into his office to tell me he had strenuously opposed hiring me and would continue to oppose me in my bid for tenure and promotion years later (which he did, unsuccessfully). At department meetings, he would hurl endless insults, e.g.: “Female philosopher is an oxymoron.” (ha-ha) “Students could learn more about philosophy by waiting on table than taking a class from her.” “Feminist ‘philosophy’ is nothing but a political agenda; it’s certainly not philosophy.” What bothered me most was not his Neanderthal behavior, but the silence of the other faculty members. They never called him on his public insults, but would just sit there, year after year, as if this were acceptable behavior.

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