Posted: March 20, 2013 by Jender in trivialising women

I’m the author of this entry. While I can report that my life as a professional philosopher so far has been mostly positive, the fact that I am young female faculty (the two other female faculty members are more senior than I) often means that I am treated with much less respect than my colleagues.

I am teaching my first graduate seminar this semester, and I have a great group of grad students–both male and female–who participate actively in it. We read one of my papers on a new approach to solving a key problem in my area of specialization. One (male) student had an objection to my account, but it seemed that his worry was orthogonal to my main project.

When I explained how my account could sidestep his objection, he countered with what he thought was an illustration of his point… using an example involving my mother. He actually started his objection with “Does your mommy…”, before getting to his irrelevant point! There is not a single other faculty member to whom I could imagine he would possibly have taken this tone.

Because at this stage I had done so much mental eye-rolling and it was clear to the other students in the class that his objection was not on point, it was easy to move on without having to dwell on the issue. But the fact that it is almost a week after the incident, and I am writing about it here (and have considered writing about it for that long) suggests that maybe this is something I should have called out in class.

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