Comments on: Please explain this to me. No, really. History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 By: Pursel Wed, 04 Apr 2012 21:05:50 +0000 sell your used car fast , junk , wrecked, excellent, any conditon at , at your price

By: Historiann Sat, 19 Apr 2008 16:59:16 +0000 Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Liz–your experience is what I have feared! And, you’re right to point out that this isn’t a men-versus-women thing, it’s all of us, male and female alike, who tend to denigrate women’s achievements and authority.

By: Liz Sat, 19 Apr 2008 14:43:49 +0000 When I was in my late 20′s, I looked much younger. I used to think that was why people talked down to me. I kept wondering how old and educated do I have to be before people take me seriously? As I got into my 30′s I noticed that men with the same level of education or less education were taken more seriously than I in my 30′s. Then one day I realized that as long as I have a vagina, there are some men (and women) who will always presume the one with the penis to know more than I do.

By: David Fri, 18 Apr 2008 14:58:58 +0000 Just to be clear–again–the original post asked for personal experiences. I shared mine and left it at that. You came back and suggested that what I was describing may simply be a function of intellectual inferiority. I returned by saying that such a phenomenon would work both ways–that there may be times where women perceive “sexism” when they are simply being outclassed.

Nowhere in these exchanges did I imply that sexism does not exist, that it isn’t a real problem, or that the example you cited above was not a function of sexism.

My point is that the power relations in academia are complex. Besides gender, there are racial components, plus the hierarchical components (masters student to doctoral student to adjunct to tenure track to tenured faculty and on and on.)

As for my own experience, last year I presented a paper at a conference that went over well with the audience, except for one young woman who was a recent Ph.D. who, in the most condescending manner you can imagine, tried to tell me that my interpretation of a particular author’s argument was wrong. I defended myself and only later would she admit that, in fact, she had never read the book she was accusing me of misinterpreting. I’ve had similar experiences to this one over the years.

My initial post in this thread was not intended to state that I somehow have had a rough go of it or anything like that. I was simply tossing in my own perspective based on my own experience. That’s it.

By: David Fri, 18 Apr 2008 14:43:58 +0000 It’s not, and I never said it was.

By: Professor Zero Fri, 18 Apr 2008 02:42:16 +0000 David – how is it now – this kind of experience:

“…the experience of being condescended to by a man who patronizingly referred her to a book that she herself wrote”

is the experience of being outclassed by a man???

By: Historiann Fri, 18 Apr 2008 01:45:05 +0000 Wow, Ann–that’s incredible! That’s like the scene in Annie Hall where some jackass in line for a movie is bloviating about Marshall McLuhan, and then McLuhan steps out of the movie line and says, “You know nothing of my work. How you ever came to teach a class in anything is beyond me!” Unfortunately, for most of us, it remains only a fantasy!

And good for Big Prof. for shutting down the Ass Prof.

By: Ann Bartow Fri, 18 Apr 2008 01:22:50 +0000 I have so many stories, my own and those I have collected. Here is one of mine: I was at a conference, a big one with lots of important profs in my discipline in attendance. I was chatting with two male law profs, one kind of a big deal, let’s call him Prof. Big. who is also a great person on every level, the other an ambitious juniorish fellow, lets call him Ass. Prof. :>) So here’s the transcript:

Me: I think (blah blah blah).
Ass. Prof.: No, you are wrong! (So on and so forth, with wild gesticulating, and no small amount of derision, intended to impress Big Prof. with his arrogant brilliance, and brilliant arrogance.)
Me: I don’t think so. (Reasonably calm earnest and detailed explanation of why I think I am correct, drawn from an article I had recently published on the subject.)
Ass. Prof.: Harumph, no way, no one has even suggested that in the literature!
Big Prof.: Actually, Ann suggested that in her recent article pretty persuasively, which is why I have already cited to her work several times.

Did I then pray to Dog that Big Prof would be one of my tenure reviewers? Yes indeed I did.

By: David Fri, 18 Apr 2008 00:54:23 +0000 Yeah, I guess my perception is based on my own experience. My department has worked pretty hard to bring more female faculty into the fold in recent years, and in general I find it better to work with younger professors than older ones, because they tend to be more in tune with the best of the recent scholarship and latest trends in the field.

Also, in general I’ve found that, for whatever reason, the best work in my field (African history) has been done more by women than men. I have no idea why that is.

By: ortho Fri, 18 Apr 2008 00:50:22 +0000 Hi Historiann! This is a great post! Thanks for pointing me toward Solnit’s article. I think her article contains the seeds of an awesome book.

I often notice that some men try to explain away sexism to the many women who experience it on a daily basis. I also notice that many white men and women try to explain away racism to people of color who experience it on a daily basis. The people who benefit from sexism and racism are often anxiously explain away the advantages they arrogantly claim not to enjoy.