While doing my MA, I humorously told a fellow (male) graduate student that he could stop mansplaining to me. He proceeded to mansplaining what mansplaining was. He was wrong.
-Being the only woman in a class of 15 men
-Having to pull aside a colleague to tell him I am in class to learn and not to be sexually harassed
-Being pursued rather aggressively by a professor only to be silenced on behalf of your academic career
-Having a classmate to ask me just how gay I am on a scale of 1 to 7 after denying him an unsolicited sexual advance
From a tenured woman philosopher:
Just met with a male MA student I’m advising so we could discuss his courses. After we’d been over what he planned to do he said, “OK. I want there to be something in this for you, too. So I’ve been reading your work on your website and I thought we could talk about where you want to go with it.” He was completely serious.
It’s hardly the first time something like this has happened, but… SIGH.
I was in a meeting today where we were discussing how we can get more people involved in the postgrad community and make it more inclusive. In general, people were positive about the initiative. However, at one point the discussion turned to teaching undergrads (the other 3 in the meeting had all been teaching assistants but I have not). One of them joked about how he had a reputation for making several students in his classes cry. It is a shame that whilst many people have been taking seriously the efforts of the department to become more inclusive, jokes like these can really undermine this effort.
I am a ‘senior woman’ in metaphysics, I enjoy giving talks, and I am glad you are looking for a female speaker. However your well-meant invitation is unenticing when it dwells on the de facto agenda-setting work of my male contemporaries, expecting me to prepare a talk on that basis. (Three times this summer.) Tip: invite speakers to discuss the topic at hand, don’t frame it via that guy who recently published those articles.
(Yes, there’s a place for author-meets-critics, for festschrifts, and for invited comments, but those are not the events I’m talking about. And yes, I really think you mean well.)
I’m at the International Association for Women in Philosophy conference in Melbourne, and while chatting with a younger colleague during the coffee break I had the opportunity to tell her “It can be done. I have a permanent position in my field in a city and university I love with great colleagues, a happy marriage, and a child. It can be done.”
I’ve been reading this blog for years always with a sense of disbelief. The blog is not expressive of what it’s been like for THIS woman in philosophy, and I find it really depressing to read nothing but horror stories, as if that’s all there is to the experience of being a woman in philosophy. I think people would benefit from seeing positive examples, too.