Do they not realize that women can be philosophers?

Posted: December 9, 2010 by Jender in You can't be a professor/lecturer

This occurred at a philosophy conference a few years ago. I was traveling with my spouse who waited off to the side while I checked in. In front of me were four men who were also checking in to their rooms. Three of them seemed to know each other and maybe were traveling together. As the three men finished checking in and turned to leave the fourth man who was not part of their group introduced himself as a philosopher and they happily began chatting with him.

That the fourth man was part of the conference was actually obvious; the conference was being held in a university building which had a “hotel” inside it; I doubt anyone was who was not associated with the conference was staying there. The group of philosophers chatted with the fourth man a bit. When it was his turn to check in, the three others seemed to notice me in line behind him. I smiled and was about to confirm that I was a philosopher too. However, I found that their glances in my direction seemed either uninterested or puzzled. I continued smiling and they simply turned away and continued their conversation with the fourth man as he checked in and when he was done they walked off together. I shrugged it off and figured that maybe I was not dressed like a philosopher or maybe I had waited too long to say hello. After I checked in, though, I walked back over to my spouse who had watched the whole thing and immediately commented, “Those men just looked right
through you. Do they not realize that women can be philosophers?”

On a brighter note, I saw the fourth man—who had never been able to make contact with me earlier since I was directly behind him in line—in the lobby later that night. He immediately introduced himself, saying, “I assume you are a philosopher too.”

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