*That’s* what you think of?

Posted: October 15, 2010 by Jender in Bad news, Good news, objectifying women, trivialising women

I had brought together a very interdisciplinary group, combining neuroscientists and philosophers in a way less common, perhaps, in 1996. Several years later, our wonderfully supportive female dean was replaced by a male dean. I went to talk to him about developing the program. He said, inter alia, “When I think of you, I think first of your charm, and then your jewelry, and so far there’s not much else.”

As you might guess, it was downhill after that. Eventually he was fired, but he did a lot of damage to me and others. In particular, he worked to convince my chair – and through him other members of the department – that I was tricky and deceitful, “with not much else”. One consequence was that I could not get anything in the college approved. I was stopped, and the damage lasted well after his departure.

A succession of chancellors and provosts took steps to protect me; I could not be more grateful to them. The members of my group – scientists, psychologists, and so on – were amazingly supportive. I was very fortunate.

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