Comments on: Smart Woman, Foolish Interview: Associate Prof. Alice at Blunderland U. History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Fri, 26 Sep 2014 10:02:18 +0000 hourly 1 By: Comrade PhysioProf Sat, 15 Aug 2009 17:12:29 +0000 Sorry I’m late to the party. In my experience, the main reason this kind of thing happens is that there are factions within a department, who have different goals for a search. One faction may have enough power to get someone invited to interview, but they do not have enough power to actually give them a fighting chance to be hired. And the other faction(s), of course, do everything they can to make the unfavored candidate feel as miserable as possible and come across as poorly as possible, to ensure that there is no chance of the person being hired.

By: Why not start at the top? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Fri, 14 Aug 2009 12:54:31 +0000 [...] them!  What an unusual strategy for women job candidates–regular readers will recall Associate Professor Alice’s Adventures at Blunderland U. on a misbegotten interview.  Because these are women who have successful careers at their former [...]

By: Professor Zero Wed, 15 Apr 2009 08:45:56 +0000 Contract medievalist — my experience exactly — ALL of it.

By: Contract Medievalist Wed, 01 Apr 2009 04:04:00 +0000 Most assuredly I do! And as we all know it doesn’t stop with the interview. Nor is it limited to academe, though it is perhaps very noticeable there both because of the attention paid to “fit” (which is important) and the (usually unvoiced) quixotic idea that because we articulate these concerns in our work and in the classroom that somehow these will translate to real life …

Sigh. At least where I am now the men don’t congregate in the halls, coyly make “innocent” comments, and then ask, in the most exaggerated fashion possible, if they can say that any longer.

Sometimes I want to beat my head against the wall, except that it’s an appalling waste of a head and not a good use of the wall. In tonight’s class one woman told me seriously that she wasn’t equal to her husband or to any man; her pastor told her so … and two other women NODDED. Please. Do not get me started! (Thankfully the other women in the class jumped in, and we actually wound up with a fairly fruitful discussion.)

By: Historiann Tue, 31 Mar 2009 15:29:38 +0000 Contract Medievalist–yes, anything at all can be held against women job candidates! Here are a few of my favorites:

A male job candidate is confident and articulate, but a women candidate is overbearing and aggressive, and who the hell does she think she is, anyway?

A male job candidate is shy and soft-spoken which means he’s appealingly modest, but a female candidate is mousy and we have doubts about her ability to manage a classroom.

A male job candidate doesn’t seem to know much about our campus or department, which must mean he’s a really hot prospect and must have lots of other great interviews lined up, but a female candidate is just unprepared.

A male job candidate has done a lot of research on our campus and department, which means he has prepared well and must really want the job, but a female candidate is trying to hard because she must be desperate–kind of pathetic, really.

A male job candidate defends his ideas in a Q and A session, which means that he’s really knowledgeable and intellectually self-confident, whereas a female candidate is strident and defensive.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

By: Contract Medievalist Tue, 31 Mar 2009 11:02:40 +0000 Sometimes being *single* is a detriment. I interviewed at one school (Big LIberal Arts School in Tiny Town), and nearly every one of the interviewers worried that without a husband I would find life in Tiny Town incredibly dull, and would not find a partner there. I got the job, but then endured several years of watching all the faculty members with children leave meetings early while I was expected to stay as “I had nothing else to do,” of being told that married couples but ESPECIALLY singles should really be “married to the college,” and of never daring to talk about any non-historical activities — children and family were the only types of “lives” that were acceptable. Anything else was evidence of having a light mind and a lack of committment to the discipline. Whem I left, no fewer than ten of my colleagues expressed the sentiment that it was all for the best, as now I would be moving to a large city where I could find a partner.

We still have SO much work to do!

By: Emma Sat, 28 Mar 2009 21:40:11 +0000 Most importantly, Emma, have you ever actually reported anything? Do you know what it is like, all the things that happen when you do? Do you fully understand, have you taken that risk, and dealt with the consequences of losing?

Yes. And, in fact, my career path has been dictated by a commitment to work on behalf of whistleblowers and people who have been discriminated against. And it’s meant a lot of different things for my life, both good and bad. The jury isn’t quite yet in on the balance of it, though.

Because I have, and in a situation more serious than this one, and later in life. I am still paying for it and the harrasser is still in place.

Good for you and I’m sorry. Again, all I can offer is the advice to see a lawyer and determine what your rights are in this, or any similar, case.

By: Professor Zero Sat, 28 Mar 2009 17:54:48 +0000 Back to the other topic, though, on the women / families / pregnancy / job interviews:

The drill I was taught was, hide your marriage and children if you have them because you will never be taken seriously if it is known you have them.

That was because male professors, who were 90% of the full professors, all believed that women with husbands will not leave where they are because they will not uproot the husband, and women with children will not publish. So, the logic went, if you try to hire a family woman you will be wasting your time, and if you do for some reason hire one, your next step will have to be to deny her tenure. Therefore, hire a man or a confirmed spinster.

I was told this and events always reconfirmed its truth. I notice however that things have changed. Now they LIKE family women. I could say more in more detail but I have to go so I will be telegraphic & get misinterpreted, or scandalize people.

What I observe: they like knowing who you are sleeping with and that this person is respectable. They do not like not knowing. When I was still following the rules I had been taught and being extremely tight lipped they decided (a) that the reason I was living far away was because I had a boyfriend who was a professor in a university in that town, and/or (b) I was a lesbian and that was why I was not discussing men. Either way, they had to make up an explanation so they could Know.

My eccentric theory is that this is why they now love married women, because they can Know (and thus feel they are policing sexuality and so on).

By: Professor Zero Sat, 28 Mar 2009 16:06:13 +0000 And OH GOD, Emma. Stop preaching as though you knew the real situation and how these things work. You are interpreting very heavily, and inventing a whole lot of context and information you do not know.

“So explain to me, please, how attacking the woman for ‘spreading the rumor’ about pregnancy was better or more okay than reporting the actual discriminator in this case?”

This was in a conversation caucusing on how to prevent sabotage of the next female job candidate. The harrasser had already outed himself and been dealt with by the dean and chair.

I was sweet to her. She cried so as to disarm me but also because she was in love with the man and they were both married to other people. It was very hard for her to see that he was willing to do what he had done and that he had developed this crush on job candidate #2. Those were the main things. SHE THEN SAID: look, you’re right, we have to watch this, I’m sorry I cried, it was manipulative.

I quit that Women’s Studies faculty for lots of reasons and because of lots of incidents. Mainly because it was so white oriented but for lots and lots of reasons.

I’m in a hurry and not explaining the whole thing, because it would take a year. But:

(a) my objecting to that is not a direct reason why I lost the job, although it did let the administration know I was a person who would be a whistleblower, which marked me quite a lot.

(b) I was rather shocked that feminist faculty didn’t “get” the gender harassment situation / would not come forward, but I was younger then than I am now and more shockable, had not seen so much inequity yet.

(c) my conversation with that female colleague was about how to not let this kind of thing happen again, how to not say things that can be used by this kind of enemy.

Most importantly, Emma, have you ever actually reported anything? Do you know what it is like, all the things that happen when you do? Do you fully understand, have you taken that risk, and dealt with the consequences of losing? Because I have, and in a situation more serious than this one, and later in life. I am still paying for it and the harrasser is still in place.

There was no way not to report it because it was a safety issue and someone could have died. To that extent I won … the issue was dealt with. But the person is still there and being promoted, and I am maligned and not being promoted, and so there you are.

If you believe that reporting things makes the bogeymen go away, then you believe that the institution is benevolent. That is NOT how things are, and people make changes by suing and fighting, not by “reporting.” And that is why you have to pick your battles, and not whip every inequity / weirdness over job candidate, etc., into WWIII.

By: Emma Sat, 28 Mar 2009 15:58:11 +0000 And, Historiann, your last post is quite right, thanks for the thoughtful response to a not-very-thoughtful series of comments by me.