And I thought he saw me as a peer

Posted: April 21, 2012 by Jender in failure to take women seriously

I (a female) recently gave a talk at a prestigious department. A professor on the faculty there, who works in my area, disputed an aspect of my argument, which led to an exchange after the talk. We made an appointment to meet in his office the next morning, for what I thought was going to be further discussion of the issue. In my view his work on this is somewhat undeveloped. I would have thought my work shed some light on the situation.

When I got to his office he handed me a paper he had xeroxed, from the mid-1960s, by someone neither of us had heard of, found on the internet. He then proceeded to lecture to me as if I was a first year graduate student, where my argument went wrong, in gentle but extremely condescending tones. The discussion revealed he was unfamiliar with important parts of the literature. It also revealed that he in no way saw me as a peer.

Total misunderstanding! I thought he was going to pick my brain for the sake of sharpening his own insights.

The incident brought about a slight depression.

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