Breasts and logic class

Posted: May 15, 2011 by Jender in objectifying women

When I was a female philosophy undergraduate at a very well respected American university, I had an elderly male logic professor who would look down my shirts. I don’t have big boobs nor did I wear extremely low-cut tops, but this professor would glance down when he spoke to me, even when he was in the middle of lecture! I have never had this happen to me before. I considered dropping out of the class but I was the only girl in a very small class and I didn’t want this to be the reason. Somewhere in my mind, I didn’t want him to win. Instead I wore high collared shirts whenever I had his class. I hesitated to go to his office hours when I needed help. This experience put a very bad taste in my mouth for a very long time.

Before taking a class with this professor, I had wonderful experiences at my philosophy department, which employed a number of female faculty. My other philosophy professors have always been very professional and supportive; they’ve continuously encouraged me to go to graduate school for philosophy. Today, I’m at a highly ranked PhD program but sometimes I wonder if I could have been a stronger logician if I didn’t spend part of the semester worrying about what to wear to class.

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