“One of the good guys”

Posted: December 19, 2018 by jennysaul in failure to perceive problem, failure to take women seriously, ignoring women, not believing women

Seeing the recent post about “Problems with Confucianism” reminded me of various levels of hypocrisy that I see male colleagues get away with, including a male colleague who claims to be a feminist.

Soon after meeting him, I disagreed with said male colleague on a matter within my AOS and he told me that I just think that because of my educational background.

He said something horrible to a student, and in his defense, to me, of this issue, he mentioned an incident in which he told a woman reading another work he disliked that she was “going through a phase.” He seemed surprised that she had been offended by this patronizing comment.

Same colleague has had several complaints from women in his courses, who do not feel respected, to the point that they seek help from other professors, or drop his class, or try to switch into another section, even well past mid-term or in situations when it could hurt their grade. I am leaving out several incidents that are hard to explain while keeping it anonymous, but I fear he is both classist and an in-denial misogynist.

He goes as far as to make claims about what should be taught in my AOS, which he has no experience in. My chair, who is otherwise great, seems to agree with his claims. What do I know, I am just a woman (a woman with a PhD in that AOS, who apparently knows less about what is important and relevant than a man who works in a completely unrelated area).

Okay, sexism is not new.

But here’s the rub: he discusses inclusivity frequently both publicly and in the department, and takes it upon himself to make others feel that they are not doing enough.

It makes me so angry that, frequently enough, women, people of color and others from underrepresented backgrounds are just expected to promote diversity and inclusion, without praise. But a man is praised for his awesome behaviour when he even claims to be for X, Y, or Z. Words seem to speak louder than actions and it makes me ill.

He is actively making me feel unwelcome, and undervalued, and yet he is viewed as a “good person.”

I am untenured and have no voice. He might just get his way and push me out, perhaps he can get another white male “feminist” from a privileged background to enter the department in my stead and further his “cause.”

I lose sleep over his behaviour and what it does for women at my university, what it says about philosophy, about my department. He gets kudos. I feel defeated.

I feel stuck and saddened, and yes, grateful to have a position at all, and an ability to try to counteract the damage that he inflicts. Nonetheless, the hypocrisy has wounded me deeply. My sense of powerlessness, while familiar, is even harder to express since he is viewed as “one of the good guys.”

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