“I was envious of women in other humanities departments”

Posted: July 30, 2012 by Jender in focus on appearance, trivialising women

One of the things I regret about my time in graduate school is that I let the attitudes of (some of) the men affect how I dressed.  I stopped wearing anything to campus other than jeans and a plain top after receiving various unsolicited, rather insulting comments in my early years.  For instance, during my first year I wore a striped shirt and a much older grad student told me I looked like I belonged in an Old Navy commercial.  (No offense to Old Navy, but it was clearly an insult.)  Another time I wore a dangly necklace and another fellow grad student (but virtual stranger) passed me in the hallway and exclaimed “What is THAT?!”  This might sound like a trivial issue, but it really took the wind out of my sails.  I was so envious of the women in other humanities departments who walked around on campus with their groups of friends, all wearing their skirts, bright colors, and interesting jewelry.  It makes me sad to realize now how vulnerable and isolated I must have felt, especially since I was a confident person before graduate school.  I wish I’d just forbidden the culture in academic philosophy from touching that dimension of my life, right from the start.

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