But the women never say anything interesting

Posted: October 29, 2010 by Jender in insults

I moved out of one field of philosophy in grad school due to an overwhelming accumulation of small incidents, none of which alone would have been enough to deter me from pursuing a field I otherwise enjoyed, but the overall effect of which was to take enough of the enjoyment out of it that it was no longer worthwhile. When I tried to describe to fellow grad students why I felt ostracized or ignored because of my gender, they would ask for examples. I would provide examples, and they would proceed through each example to ‘demonstrate’ why I had actually misinterpreted or overreacted to what was actually going on.

The final straw came in a graduate seminar, when, during the course of discussion, I made what seemed to be a germane and illuminating point. No one responded to it, so I thought perhaps it was not as illuminating as I had thought. About five minutes later, still discussing the same issue, a male grad student made the same point, literally almost word for word what I had said. The professor and other grad students responded very positively, and thought it was a very illuminating point. They congratulated him on his insight into the matter. This happened multiple times during that seminar, and made me realize that regardless of how good I was at the field, it didn’t matter, as I was not going to be listened to.

The grad student who reiterated my comment almost word for word seemed to realize that he was repeating my point, and looked rather uncomfortable with the resulting attention. He did not, however, say anything like “As X already mentioned…”

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