Sunday, August 13, 2017

Being Marked and Sexism at School and Work


What it is like to be marked as a woman in a field dominated by men?

Let me tell you about my own experience with gender. In high school I was raped twice by men who wouldn't take no as an answer. There was no language for date rape. One just learned the hard way to stay away from certain men.

I excelled in science as a high school student and at college but no one ever suggested science as a major, which was fine with me because I didn’t like science labs and I really enjoyed the kind of research and writing found in the social sciences. To be honest, no one ever talked about college to me, neither teachers nor parents. I ended up in college because my friends followed that path.

I loved college but sexism was rampant. My first year in college some fraternity "bros" drugged a young female student, gang raped her and left her in their fraternity house dumpster. Her mother wrote a letter to the school newspaper about her traumatization. Most students thought she must have deserved what she got.

My master’s thesis advisor developed a strong crush on me and behaved very unprofessionally, although he never pressured me sexually.

In my PhD program too many male faculty members routinely had sex with their graduate student advisees. Nothing was ever done to curb their behavior or to protect discarded female students.

My dissertation advisor, a newly minted PhD, sexually propositioned me. When I said no, he moved on to his next graduate student, beginning a serial pattern of sleeping with graduate students that caused other male faculty to refer to his students in derogatory, demeaning language as “mumbetts.” I will never forget or forgive those male faculty who sought to destroy our intellectual reputations before we had even begun our career.

I was also harassed by a male faculty member who was sleeping with an undergraduate student because I objected to him routinely entering and using my office for his personal purposes. He tried to have me thrown out of the PhD program but thankfully was confronted by the united force of two female faculty members (themselves true survivors). One of those female faculty members who came to my aid said that when she had arrived at that university, one of the male-dominated faculty refused to allow one of their pregnant colleagues to attend meetings once her pregnant condition had become visible.

After completing my PhD, I was disgusted by the treatment of women at national and international conferences. Too many senior male faculty treated young female faculty as either fresh meat or disregarded them entirely as unfit for intellectual consideration. I still remember a “mature” faculty member of three times my age inappropriately putting his hand on my waist and grabbing me in front of my husband!

I stopped going to conferences in my field but differential treatment by sex never went away. I saw how women were treated at my home institution by a dean who referred to another female faculty member as uptight and as needing to be “laid.” He was also one of those who slept with a student. I watched strong women who went into leadership be sexually harassed or politically marginalized.

I saw that my male colleagues were invited to play golf and poker with leadership at the university and I was not, nor were any other women I knew. I saw salary differentials in how male and female faculty were payed despite equal accomplishments.

I received differential treatment from students who regarded my male colleague, who graduated from the same PhD program I did, referred to as “brilliant” because of his command of philosophical terms, while students felt that my elevated vocabulary was designed to make them feel inferior.

I had male students attempt to physically intimidate me with their larger bodies and disruptive classroom presence. I was told by the university that unless a student threatened me with violence or caused disruption to the entire class there was nothing I could do to prevent disruptive physical intimidation.

At one point does a large football player with ADHD who wants to take over the classroom from a small but resistant female faculty member become intimidation?

Don’t tell me that women are treated the same as men. I’ve been demeaned, treated like a mindless sex object and been disregarded all because I’m a woman.

I don’t believe the google guy should have been fired for his commentary about gender and the workplace but I do believe that he is absolutely wrong.

Women’s primary battle for equality in the workplace is illustrated in my narration.

2 comments:

  1. Well, it is evident that our idea of intelligence is pretty retarded. All the men you mention would have felt very insulted if they had been told they were not very smart--and they weren't. What does this tell us about the intellect? We have gotten rid of the term gentleman which was supposed to indicate men who were moral and courteous, so no point saying that these men were not gentlemen. Can you imagine Gary Cooper or Jimmy Stewart being cast in one of those roles. Of course not. As a civilization, a culture, you will not find in the older literature men being complimented for raping women. Bad things happen in Faulkner novels but the "heroes" have a code of behavior that forbids mistreatment of women. I can not imagine a Tolstoy novel or story where the mistreatment of women is lauded. So perhaps we could say these men were simply uncultured?
    But all this brings up another problem which is that among women there are bad women. And some of these women became mothers and raised at least some of these disgusting men.

    As regards Charlottesville it is time for RICCO. Who is funding Antifa and BLM? No doubt the extreme right is getting some funding as well. This is reminiscent of union strikes and the scabs and goons brought in to break the strikes. This is drama orchestrated by the Imperial Class. Interesting how MacAuliffe shows up and immediately takes sides despite the fact that Antifa and BLM arrived with pepper spray, etc. The police were told to stand down by the mayor (like in Berkeley). . . CNN is ready with the propaganda.

    Sorry you were put through such an ordeal. It makes academia sound as bad as I have heard it to be. Drawn knives.

    And finally James Field. This 20 year old was too young and immature to even know what he was doing. He left his cat with his mother and went off to commit murder? Seems unlikely. Was he put up to it by someone who slithered off into the crowd and vanished? Some writer with a touch of Dostoevsky might want to investigate this and find out the truth which we will otherwise never hear or read. In my opinion the governor of Virginia is the chief bad guy, followed by the mayor and the police chief. It was easily in their power to prevent the harm; but they had political goals.

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  2. It seems as if men don't respect women anymore.

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