Tag Archives: antifeminism

Women in Academia

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In this article, a group of female History professors are interviewed, and showcased in colorful and feminine and appropriate attire. Some might find it “disempowering”. Some say the title belittles women. I’m not so sure about that…

First off, I LOVE when a female professor that I work for comes into the office wearing a leopard print dress and high top boot converses and says “Im a badass, I wear what I want.” She embraces her power as a serious intellectual but doesn’t feel the need to downplay her femininity or ability to express herself through fashion.

From the article, however, they ask the same kinds of questions that a journalist would ask male professors: “Why the Tudors?, If you could go back in time…, What do women bring to the way we see history?”

Aren’t these too the same questions that we ask ourselves as educated women—what do I, as a voice that has been surprised and shut down, bring to the world of scholarly work? The article itself reads like an interest piece about a few awesome women in the History world.

As to the “History Girls” thing—I think this is a function of living in a society wherein formality and respect are on the decline on ALL fronts. I can one hundred percent imagine an article in The Atlantic showcasing “The History Boys”—except of course, that Men in academia are so run of the mill and standard that they would have to be an exceptional group of men to even be showcased. This also reminds me of the idea that along with an increase in awareness and support for marginalized groups will come an increase in attention and special treatment—yes women, we have not completely won the fight, but in the mean time, we will continue to be in the news for every gosh darn thing we do because it still surprises people!

Do we like when women are showcased or not? Cause sometimes it seems like there is backlash on both fronts?

And yes, they are dressed up, but isn’t the point that Academia has been dominated by old white men for so long, that heck, lets talk about some kickass women who are equal to or better in intellect? Yes, the picture dolls them up but they were in an article, therefore there has to be a picture. And some of them are in pant suits, and ALL of them are appropriately dressed. —yes, contemporary, colorful, and feminine (but I dare say that if the article dressed them up in ugly jackets and slacks instead, someone would complain that the article was suggesting that women in academia just have to look like men or want to be men).

Additionally, I understand the annoyance with “History Girls” but when society does not respect academia the way it did years ago, I wouldn’t expect anything less. That is what annoys me the most. We can trivialize the work that a PhD does down to a few sentences in a questionnaire? Do an expose! Write a long essay and publish it as a biographical piece! These women poured years and years into becoming experts, don’t ask them to boil their ideas down into a few sentences!

But then again, should we be happy that people are taking note at all? —Probably.

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by | November 4, 2013 · 4:50 pm

Why can’t I relate?

Compounding problems is unproductive but it seems as if it is all I can do when the owners of one set

Oppression is a concept many women think about, argue about, cry about, but how diminishing those cries can be for women who feel it dually. You see, I am woman, I am colored, and although legally, on paper, my worth should be equal it is hard to find this truth in any other form than written.

But somehow the pangs of womanhood are “bigger” or “more important” than those pangs felt everyday as I walk among my less tinted peers. Feminism cries injustice and “down with the patriarchy” but how can I fight that battle when my first one is far from over? How can I fight a battle that I have never been privy to?

Be empowered. Be liberated. Be sexual. Be strong. These declarations and affirmations are more like limitations and obfuscations as before I can do these things I must be acknowledged as worthy of their opposites. I have never been disempowered or restricted or sexualized or weakened because of my gender. Therefore, these struggles seem secondary. My dear counterparts whisper as I, the “prude,” the “antifeminist” the “traditional” one cannot seem to wrap my head around their infinite problems. Their problems, might I add, that seem to disappear as soon as a man or woman looks in their direction. Problems might I add, that I rarely have access to.

And what does it say to wish for these problems? What am I that I can only dream of the day that I am viewed as lesser for my gender—well, I am a colored woman, painted with strokes of the west indies and inlands of Central America. It means that before I can whine about “equal pay” I have to be worth getting the job in the first place. Before I can yell about my displaced feminine whiles I have to be awarded the ability to use them. I wonder what it must be like, to be a majority in any way. I wonder how terrible I would find the world if my only problems stemmed from my gender. From their exclamations, it seems like a pretty awful state to be in—but then again, they walk a ring of Hell far higher than the one I do.

“Quit whining” I want to say. Often frustrated by the incessant montage of unfair treatment and misguided characterizations. How annoying it must be that people hit on you! What a shame that you feel like you can’t dress how you want without being looked at. Grumble grumble goes the X sexuality that doesn’t feel like they have large enough a space to discuss their problems.  Unfair as my treatment is, one wonders what they would do if they weren’t even a problem to be dealt with.

The paper rights that we are given pale in comparison to the rights one is awarded by others.

But in truth I know that everyone has their burden, and that others feel injustice as deeply as I do. This is not meant to be a comparison. Not meant to diminish one pain in exchange for another. This is a time to find their common roots and explore their separate outcomes.

In an environment where equality based on gender is relatively sound, it becomes increasingly apparent where it is lacking—an increasingly easy to forget.

And then I remember who I’ve been all these years. Never afraid to speak up. Never timid in the face of a man. This is because I cannot afford to be timid in the face of anyone—especially those who look so starkly different than me. Before I can assume my womanhood and all of the fighting that accompany it, I have to assume my race—a challenge that can prove to be even more difficult than the challenges that proceed from it. Continue fighting, disproving, emitting a light from the darkness that everyone can see. I choose not to specify an “other” to demonize—everyone is an opportunity to be oppressed just as everyone is an opportunity to be liberated. With my lack of options, I cannot afford to be selective.

Colors, preferences, deities and genetalia—we should quit picking one to reify and others to vilify and simply accept them all to exemplify.

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