Undermining

Posted: February 9, 2014 by Jender in focus on appearance

In my medium-sized department, sometimes the majority of the faculty and a bunch of graduate students get together in a seminar setting to discuss one of the faculty-member’s research. At a recent meeting of this sort, a tenured woman in the department who considers herself a feminist made a point of comparing two other women faculty: she pointed out differences in their bodies, the way they walked, and the kinds of boots they wore. The comparison was basically a non sequitur, and she noticeably didn’t discuss the bodies or fashion choices of the men in the room. One of the women being compared is not yet tenured. This struck me as a not-too-subtle way of undermining her status in the department.

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