Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Academic Splat! - Gender and Professorial Authority

Academic Splat!: "Generally, it seems to me, it's harder to embody professorial authority as a woman. I'm lucky-- as a white man I start with an advantage. I'm already the embodiment of the image of establishment authority. It doesn't take much for me to assert enough authority in the classroom to squash many a potential rebel and troublemaker. This is no guarantee that I will teach well or with sensitivity --like Jesse, who walks on water-- but my symbolic power makes my life easier. As for Jane, it's hard to see her deal with the crap she has to deal with"

I have also experienced this same dilemma - being a doormat or a witch. One female student even apologized to me as she was graduating for helping an older male student (with his own problems) gang up on me . . . I guess the best you can do is be yourself and hope for the best. It's more important that supervisors that evaluate you understand this . . . . . I dare say that's a harder nut to crack.

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