On being ignored

Posted: December 12, 2010 by Jender in ignoring women

I’m in a fairly-high ranking university in Canada.

I’m in my second-last year of an undergraduate philosophy degree right now, and one of the few (3? of 15 students) women in a 400/500 mixed-level class this fall. One of the most vocal students in the class was a male graduate student – rarely would anyone except the prof engage with him in his questions or make replies/challenges during discussions. Two times I myself did. On the first occasion, he seemed to barely listen, and later mentioned ‘someone over there’ while gesturing to my side of the classroom (I was the only other one who spoke during that day, and I don’t deserve a ‘she’ or god forbid, a ‘you’?). The second time was much worse – I tried to give him some input on how Grice would interpret something, and he flat-out ignored me, acting as if what I had said was something peripheral and irrelevant to the conversation. Just shut me down.

A couple of other times, when some male undergrad and grads engaged with this student, there was a lot of mutual respect tossed around.

I can’t help but thinking that this was not just a result of his being a grad student and my being an undergraduate student, but the fact that I am also a woman and was being assertive.

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