This happened recently at a major philosophy conference. I (a female grad student) was standing in a long line and struck up a conversation with two philosophy grad students, both male. The three of us didn’t know each other prior to this meeting. We exchanged info about our departmental homes, our dissertation topics and the such. We then proceeded to discuss some philosophical issues, issues I’m well familiar with since it is my AOS. As soon as “ideas” came on the scene, those nice, smiling guys decided that I should be bluntly ignored. For all I know, I might have turned literally invisible. Some ten minutes later, deep in conversation with each other, those two simply turned their backs to me. I figured out their “game” early on during our ideas conversation and decided to turn up the volume of my questions. Funny thing is, they took up all of my questions and went on to discuss them, but without acknowledging my presence whatsoever.
A small incident, one might say, and even comical in a Jane Austen sort of way, but it left me with a really bad aftertaste. The thing is, I’m no stranger to this type of incident. I’m always able to laugh it off and ridicule those morons, but inevitably the little voice inside my head plants doubts about my philosophical abilities. “Are my contributions substantive enough?” or “I should be having more fun talking philosophy, is this field right for me after all?”