Monday, October 8, 2012

Not Reporting

I think I should explain that this institution has a constant stream of low-level offensive statements and actions towards women, and that is why I was quick to be offended by this fellow's comments. That was, by far, the most benign I've gotten, and I'm sure he wasn't trying to put me in my place. But after hearing low-level offensive crap all the time, it is easy to get offended at the small things. 

Just last week, I had a senior white male tell me, "Your body has recovered nicely from the pregnancy." As it is written in this post, it could sound like a complement, but if I could convey the tone and the facial expression that went along with it, you'd be sickened.

I told my department head about this incident and the one from the last post. I requested that these people's teaching evaluations be looked at carefully for any student comments on bias. And that was it - no written reports filed.

4 comments:

Diane said...

Yuk. I'm sorry you're in such a stew of negativity and sexism. It's hard to stay positive in all that. That constant, pervasive, low-level disrespect can wear you down. And that comment about your post-pregnancy figure is WAAAAAY out of line. I'd have been tempted to respond with something cutting and clever, but I can never think of something while I'm trying to figure out if someone really just said something stupid.

Christy said...

Hi - I'm a female assistant professor at big U. In defense of the guy's comment, I too cannot hear female voices, especially those that are high-pitched. I lost a bit of hearing in an ear as a child and have an especially difficult time if there is a lot of ambient noise. It's called a cookie-bite pattern and is not uncommon.

In the end, sexism is difficult to describe to outsiders given the subtlety by which it is often exhibited. I personally try to give folks the benefit of the doubt the first time it happens. It also stinks to be in the position as a junior faculty member, as like it or not, these are the folks who are reviewing internal tenure decisions and are likely friends with those on study section, journal editors etc. Good luck!

Christy said...

Hi - I'm a female assistant professor at big U. In defense of the guy's comment, I too cannot hear female voices, especially those that are high-pitched. I lost a bit of hearing in an ear as a child and have an especially difficult time if there is a lot of ambient noise. It's called a cookie-bite pattern and is not uncommon.

In the end, sexism is difficult to describe to outsiders given the subtlety by which it is often exhibited. I personally try to give folks the benefit of the doubt the first time it happens. It also stinks to be in the position as a junior faculty member, as like it or not, these are the folks who are reviewing internal tenure decisions and are likely friends with those on study section, journal editors etc. Good luck!

academiccautionarytale said...

Agree with Diane, it is very hard to stay positive in such negativity and sexism.

I think you made a good choice re: student evals is the best you can really do in your situation.