Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Oppressed Men Poll

From a comment yesterday:

..Since I was male nobody spoke up for me. I imagine that if FSP were in my department, she would have been so immersed in the troubles of women, to realize that there are suffering males too.

I hope this goes a bit towards appeasing your sentiments on oppression against women. Men are also oppressed.

My sincere feelings of sympathy for this male student are doing battle with my repulsion at his imagining that it's not possible for women (or, at least, this woman) even to be aware that others may have problems as well.

But it's Friday and this comment has inspired a poll. Technically, only women should vote in this poll, but of course, on the internet, no one knows if you're a man etc.

Women of the blogosphere: Are you so immersed in the troubles of women, that you do not realize that there are suffering males too? This is a yes/no question. In the comments, you can elaborate if you want.

Do men suffer too?
No free polls


Anonymous said...

Men suffer too... from (some of) the same unacceptable institutionalized ways of doing science that oppress women. If we fix the parts of the system that oppress women and minorities, then we'll free a lot of the white men who want a more nurturing, more collaborative environment. I like my science based on curiosity, discovery, and hard work, without the glad-handing pissing-match posturing political distractions.

Kea said...

Of course, I voted no. I mean, given the gender context of the question, we can only assume that the word 'suffer' pertains to our own understanding of the word.

Tony said...

Oh man I love this blog. I am a man, so I won't vote officially. But I can't believe how common this is in your blog (that is, men whinging in the comments).

But surely the difference is between systemic and individual problems. Of course some individual men have problems, but the system/culture/prevalent worldview doesn't discriminate against them (in any significant way).

So I vote 'no'. Men, collectively, do not have problems stemming from any significant source of oppression.

And I'd like to say 'Men, quit whinging on this blog that people care about any cause other than Men's issues'. It's like saying, 'bloody World Vision, don't they realise the rich have problems too'.

But I don't want the men to stop whinging, because it's fairly entertaining.

Isabel said...

It is easy to mock people or feel revulsion as you do, but of course it's also easy to imagine why a young man might feel the way he does. Also, I don't know about his situation, as a college student he may not be badly off, but many men in the world are oppressed and know what it is like to be second class citizens. It is kind of offensive to pretend to be ignorant of this fact. Many men around the world are oppressed, even white men, due to issues of race and class. So yeah sure men suffer and can be oppressed. What a dumb question -I don't believe the frequency with which it comes up in the blogosphere lately.

Kareina said...

Ever since I was a child I felt sorry for men--if they grow their hair long they are criticized for it. If they wear a skirt they are criticized for it. I think they should have the same rights to choose long hair or skirts (or not) as women.

Anonymous said...

Men suffer, yes. But (and maybe I'm oversimplifying here)if we look at the problems men face, in the workplace, they are mostly gender-non-specific, i.e. can happen to both a man and a woman irrespective of their gender.

"Female-specific" problems include
1) juggling the work/household/childcare balance (because, at the end of the day, men cannot breastfeed)
2) the biological and/or societal factors that constrain women to reproduce at a young age

Hence, women may HAVE to make certain decisions in their careers to be less proficient workers, simply because they have other priorities that cannot be fulfilled by their spouses. Which may lead to them being oppressed, perhaps justifiably so, in the workplace.

LMH said...

Everyone suffers, and everyone feels their own suffering the most acutely. Especially in graduate school and when they can't find a job.

Anonymous said...

Of course everyone suffers. If we're going to have blanket statements to start the day off right, I might suggest that women suffer more greatly from trials and tribulations that are unique to women than men suffer from those that are unique to men. But, that doesn't mean it's not real and significant to them.

Anonymous said...

I am that student to whose attitude you felt repulsion, even while feeling sympathy.

I myself wouldn't vote on your poll since you don't want male votes. But I might ask: Why are you asking this question only to women of the blogosphere? If there is such a phenomenon, wouldn't men be in a better position to point it out?

Anonymous said...

When I think about this, yes, it's obvious that men suffer, too. But... I have to admit that I am far, far less likely (as a woman) to engage in any mentoring activities with men. I think several things come into play here:

1) I am single, and I don't want to appear too friendly (this sounds pathetic, but I have had men read too much into my friendliness in the workplace in the past, with dire consequences).

2) They're men; they have more advantages in general, why should I help them? I believe that an us against them mentality isn't that great, and disregards the individual personalities involved, but I can't help it.

3) Some doubt as to whether they would be interested in any mentoring from a female. No direct evidence for this, just maybe a barrier that I perceive.

I have many terrific colleagues, male and female, but I do find that with men, mentoring tends to flow in one direction only; they give, I receive. With women, it's much more of a two-way street.

Sophia said...

I think the question should be posed 'do men suffer too due to their gender?' so it would be unambiguous what the vote is about.

Helen Huntingdon said...

Perhaps the commenter in question might like to read a male professor's perspective on the style of comment he made:

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows that men are unable to feel emotions, just as women are unable to think rationally. Therefore, even if men are under hardship, they don't actually feel suffering or pain.

Anonymous said...

I'm a man and didn't vote, honest. However, I can a) assure you men suffer in the academy and b) we (I anyway) realize that I still have it pretty well off compared to my female colleagues.

Becca said...

The question is not "are men oppressed, too?" because obviously, they are. The question is, "are they oppressed BECAUSE they're men, in the way that women are oppressed BECAUSE they're women?"

Kate said...

I am so tempted to click no, just to piss the commenter off...

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I regret not being able to participate in the poll, ans neither the "yes" nor the "no" option adequately cover my response.

(Dear god, won't someone please think about the men?!?)

hkukbilingualidiot said...

I'm not naive enough to think that persecution only occur on women, as my then-supervisor, male, suffered similar pains as I did though it lasted longer for him as he was on permanent contract whereas I was a female intern. Though if you don't mention it no one will know.

Female Computer Scientist said...

Oh, there are men?

Young Computer Scientist said...

I am always very, very surprised when I hear things like that. It's in my opinion exactly as if a white man would have shown up at a Martin Luther King meeting and say "You know, it's not all about coloured people, white people suffer too".

And there is no good answer to that. Yes, they suffer, yes, everyone is prone to suffer at some point, but noone should suffer *because* he/she belongs to such minority. And there is no denying that in science (maybe not in biology, where female are well-represented, or at least it is so in my country), female science researchers have a high risk of being prejudiced against, and of being at some points abused *because* of their sex.

When a coloured man, a few years ago, or even now, complained that he felt prejudiced against and that some people were rude or patronizing to him only because of the colour of his skin, could a white man decently have answered "Well, you know, it's not all about coloured people, there is that guy who abuses me ; since I'm white, noone cares, you really are a white-hater"?

The point is ; when someone average is abused, anyone can, and has to react, (and most non-nombrilist people will be aware that they have to react). Not only the minorities. Everyone. When someone from a minority is abused because of its minority, then only open-minded people and people from this minority can react. The people who have the same prejudice against that minority (or who simply aren't aware that this is abuse) won't. That's why associations are created.

But somehow, in the last case, some people seem to think "well, it's up (the association)/(the people from that minority) to deal with it". (Whereas this happens most times only because there aren't enough open-minded people).

And in the first case, if noone reacts, some people will say "How happened that people from this minority/association did not react? They are SO nombrilists!". But they are, still, a minority, and everyone should have reacted. So statistically, as a set of people, this minority is less responsible for inaction than the people NOT from this minority.

I don't know if I am making my point (I'm not a native english speaker, that doesn't help!).

Insisting upon protecting the rights of such minority does not mean that we don't care about other people. It just means that we can see these rights are greatly threatened by prejudiced people, and that we know that if we don't step up and protect them, no one will.

And I don't think the man in question had to deal with a prejudiced man. Only with a jerk (that's no mutual exclusive, sadly). It's an entire problem entirely. A war against prejudices is hard to lead, but a war against mean people is even harder. The best we can hope to do is try to make sure that mean people are gender-race-age-equally mean (then we could think of making "being mean" a major offence, and try to overtake the world with flows of decent -or even nice!- people). Feel free to sign up, however.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Screwed up and answered the question in the post "am I so blind that I don't realise men suffer too" rather than the question on the poll. I must be in didn't-read-the-question-right student mode!

MathTT said...

They do, but I totally don't care.

More seriously, I have often been annoyed at the whining I perceive in various "women in science" type programs (and I participate in far to many of them out of some sense of duty, I guess).

I always respond with this: It is really, really hard to get through grad school and get a PhD. It should be no harder for women than it is for men. But remember that it is really, really hard for men.

William said...

I went back to read the two full posts by anonymous. The facts seem to be as follows. (1) Commentator has suffered from likely serious harassment. (2) Commentator received little support from others in the department. (3) What support commentator received came from a female staff member and a female junior prof. The junior prof was forced to leave her position because of the conflict. (4) The commentator admits to having been sexist, but claims to have been "reformed" by the brave actions of his two female supporters. (5) The commentator is now posting on FSP's blog to attack FSP and his former fellow female graduate students for their feminist point of view, which he claims prevents them from being able to see men suffering.

Personally I doubt the commentator has "reformed", and based on (5) I suspect him of outright misogyny. This does not detract from the commentators claim of suffering. But the fact that the commentator was a victim does not excuse his behaviour towards others. If the commentator would like to change things, he should be finding common cause with the people on this blog. As it is, I think his misogyny is simply causing him to blame women for his problems, rather than those responsible.

Anonymous said...

I am a math geek. Let us take the derivative of this issue.
Although women suffer more than men in terms of number of hires, promotions, grants, awards etc, women are suffering less now than 10, 20 or 50 years ago. Therefore the slope of suffering for women is negative.

Men however have an increasing slope of suffering. Men receive less grants, hires, promotions etc as women start to, or continue to compete for the same things.

FSP, is my math correct? If not, feel free to take the second derivative to prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

What about class and/or geographical locale?

Disregarding gender and race, is a person more or less likely to reach the level of a STEM professor if they come from a rural area with no advanced placement courses or paths to the top tier schools?

Anonymous said...

How could we not be aware of the suffering of the menz? Certain men Will Not Shut Up about it. So damn whiny, geez.

Young Computer Scientist said...

Anonymous of 1:00:00 PM, your derivative is perfectly right...

When the right of vote was granted to women, it was such a big improvement of condition for women, while the poor men now had about half less weight in the voting poll. And these never-satisfied women still dared complain about sexism and ask for more rights!

Thank you for pointing that out, for a split second, I almost thought that it was a good thing to fight for equality.

Anonymous said...

and what about whales? what about baby seals? what about the birds and turtles and fish dying in the Gulf? doesn't anyone care about them, not even the female whales and seals and turtles?

Canuck said...

This topic reminds me of the Ben Folds song Rockin the Suburbs:
Ya'll don't know what it's like
Being male, middle class and white

Isabel said...

"Disregarding gender and race, is a person more or less likely to reach the level of a STEM professor if they come from a rural area with no advanced placement courses or paths to the top tier schools?"

Less likely, but class is not considered a "real" privilege in the liberal community. All these brilliant scientists are completely undone by the challenge of considering three variables, so class is out and race and sex are in. The conventation is to simply assign all pale skinned people to the upper-class category, and dark skinned people to the lower class category. Obviously at that point you can just eliminate class because it's redundant. Problem solved! Then we just ignore the fact that in reality the majority of whites are lower class.

I may be exagerating but only slightly. That's why when we hear things like "only 17% of Americans have a passport" (though it's probably higher now with new rules for Mexico and Canada) we can chalk it up to stupidity and xenophobia, rather than the more sensible (and compassionate) realization that yep, that's about the percentage of Americans that can afford international travel. Etc.

Isabel said...

Sorry, that's "convention". I have no idea what a conventation is:)

Gingerale said...

Anonymous at 07:25:00 AM has got a long life of lessons ahead. And may he learn well from them.

Respected FSP, the question in the text of your paragraph is worded in one direction... and then the question in bold for the poll itself is worded in a different direction.

Kea said...

I am convinced that Isobel is a man. He just doesn't get that gender and race are things that you can NEVER hide. And as for the passport thing. Geese, you Americans make me laugh. You can hitch to the damned Canadian border FFS.

Anonymous said...

Since Anonymous at 7/16/2010 07:25:00 AM wants to hear from more man, I'll speak up: Anonymous, grow up. I'm sorry to hear that you had such serious problems in grad school, and yes, anyone who didn't offer you sympathy because you were a man (if there were such people) was wrong. I don't know what your experiences are, and it might be valid for you to feel hurt by the women in your department (although it sounds like you had more help from women than from men!). But it's absolutely wrong for you to generalize this and be upset with feminism.

Women face systematic discrimination in a way that men simply don't. This isn't to say that the patriarchy only hurts women; it hurts men, too. But it's worse for women. We men are the privileged ones, and we have to recognize this and attempt to make up for it. Male privilege doesn't mean that every man is better off than every woman, but there is a systematic problem with sexism, and the only moral response is to be a feminist.

Alex said...

Like I said yesterday, we need to distinguish between groups and individuals. The individual in question went through hell, a lot of people around him apparently didn't help, and he clearly carries a lot of resentments as a result. This is to be expected. Doesn't make him right, but I can understand why he feels this way.

If you ask me whether it is reasonable for men as a group to feel persecuted and think that the world is rigged against them, I'll of course say no.

If you ask me whether an individual who has been through hell should carry resentments I'll say of course not, carrying around negativity and resentment just prolongs the injury.

But I'll also say that it isn't terribly surprising, and people won't snap out of it just because people mock them for the way they see things. He should get some sympathy and some encouragement to take a second look at the world once his wounds heal.

Finally, I would like to again observe that in a sexist society that associates strength with masculinity and weakness with femininity, a man who gets harassed by a superior may actually get a worse response (from some people, though not all) than a woman in a similar situation. They'll view him as insufficiently masculine. That will of course reinforce his resentments and thus perpetuate the very sexism that may have exacerbated the situation in the first place. There's a reason why so many negative things are self-perpetuating.

Anonymous said...

It is well know that nowadays departments will hire a women over a man when they are equally qualified. I heard this many times from search committee chairs when I was in the market. Why do you keep blaming the system for the lack of female profs at academic institutions? If the system is biased towards women (which it is), then you should look into other things. And please dont revert to the child bearing responsibilities argument, as most women get their first child after they are hired (and sometimes after tenure) nowadays...

Alex said...

It is well know that nowadays departments will hire a women over a man when they are perceived as equally qualified.

I inserted the qualifier in bold. Because the condition in bold is often not met, due to biases on the part of the committee, one cannot assume that the process is in fact biased in favor of women. The opposite is more likely to be true, as ties (or perceived ties) are generally rarer than cases where biased perceptions create a decisive advantage.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7/16/2010 06:04:00 PM:

Thanks for your sympathy and understanding. But please don't give me that "grow up" garbage. After I actually grew up hearing this type of demeaning putdowns irritate me. Next, it is not true that I got more help from women than men(I am not claiming the other way around, either). I was just emphasizing the help given to me by women to ensure fairness in my narrative.

Ok, this blog is a very interesting blog. Only that it is too sad that too much of it is directed towards the suffering of women. There are so many other issues in life; why does FSP just go on about this one matter? So I just lost it for a moment and burst out. Sorry for upsetting the FSP.

Now I might be allowed to address the conclusion of the previous post. FSP argued that universities should stop hiring people based entirely on research and look for extra factors. It will be a good idea to make a little change in this view, as follows.

For good quality research, a significant number of hirings must be based on research work and research work alone. Female, black, none of those labels should count.

At a time when things were not as liberal as today, the great computer scientist Alan Turing was forcefully put on a treatment of Estrogen to "cure" his gay habits. He developed breasts and unable to bear the humiliation he committed suicide.

The above is the problem with imposing additional requirements on a researcher. Even if a researcher had made a pact with the Devil to get ahead in his work, it shouldn't be a reason not to hire him as long as he does not disturb the peace of the others around him, and does his research well(Here the use of "he" rather than "she" is intentional, since you are mainly bothered about male sexist jerks).

But FSP's objections are nonetheless valid for selections to posts with administrative responsibilities. FSP could argue, for example, a department chair should never be a person with sexist views. Or the co-ordinator of the graduate school, and so on and so forth.

Isabel said...

Wise words as usual, Alex. Your earlier comment also.

"There's a reason why so many negative things are self-perpetuating."

yes! We need to stop looking at things so simplistically.

Kea, I am indeed a woman, and several people here know my RL identity, so just chill with the jabs, okay? It's tiring.

And you missed the point. Until very recently (ad possibly still) Americans could travel without a passport over the whole continent, much further than most could afford to travel. There is no reason to mock people for not traveling internationally, especially when it means getting on an airplane and traveling 1000's of miles, burning carbon and $$$$'s.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering about what is the point of this poll.

The voters are restricted to female readers of this blog. That is, femino-aggressive academicians whose heads are filled with the notion that females are oppressed and everything must be done to defeat the machinations of evil men.

The outcome is going to be absolutely clear. There is no need to conduct this type of polls.

In all the popular referendums in the socialist countries, the population always overwhelmingly supported Stalin or whatever other Generalissimo that was ruling over them.

It is like requiring that you are a member of the republican party to vote in the US elections, if you ask me.

Or, for a more accurate comparison, it is like asking the Party Polit Buro to vote on whether the party line is correct or not.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Hey, Anon 7/16 7:00 pm! I've been hired. When do I "get" my baby? I promise I won't, as you request, blame my child for all my problems.

And wow! You sure are knowledgeable about the hiring process. Good thing I'm female and got this job over those pesky white males!

Female Science Professor said...

Some answers, in no particular order, to questions raised in recent comments:

The poll was actually kind of a joke, but it did have a point.

I write about what I want to write about. I am continually amazed that that is a difficult concept for some people to grasp. This blog is obviously about cats. Even when it is not about cats, it is about cats.

Doctor Pion said...

I also was honest and did not comment, but I don't believe that male cats are being oppressed. (oops, sorry, wrong topic)

There are gender expectations for men, such as being tough and athletic, drinking hard, and smooth with women. Professor Indiana Jones, for example. In the sciences, guys are supposed to be better at math and can be crushed when a woman does a lot better in class - or actually is the math prof. Never bothered me ... too much ... but there are issues out there even though men don't talk about them in public.

It should also be mentioned that men are indeed a minority in the academy, especially minority men, except in fields like science and engineering. If you look beyond the usual statistic (percent of the population with a 4-year degree) and examine the pool of young adults with a 4-year degree, it gets pretty striking. The ratios are roughly 35% and 27%, so you would be expecting roughly 35/62 = 56% female in any group of college grads applying for jobs.

EliRabett said...

Strikes me that this post is an excellent example about what that student was talking about.

If you actually read what he wrote, he WAS appreciative of the difficulties that women face, but he was disappointed that for the most part, their absorption in their own problems did not allow them to support him.

Kea, CPP and FSP seem to have missed the part where he praises women who reached out to help him AND EXPLAINS HOW THAT CHANGED HIS ATTITUDES TOWARDS WOMEN FOR THE BETTER. Certainly that reformation has taken a hit in this thread.

FSP, by editing out the important parts of his comments turns this into a cartoon, something Eli would have thought below her.

Kea, FSP and some other commentators here miss the real point, that prejudice wins by dividing, equality wins through compassion.

I didn't mean to sound that all females are unsympathetic. As I said some people helped me, and they in fact put me in a good graduate school in a foreign country. Though I lost some years I was able to persist in graduate studies. One of the most helpful ones was a junior female faculty member. It still saddens heavily that she too had to leave the place, when the subsequent conflict with the senior prof in question got too nasty even for her.

Also the female secretary of the department chair was very helpful. I used to wait for a long time outside his office, for getting a chance to talk to him alone, without the obstruction of anybody who is in the difficult camp. His secretary used to see this and she helped me a lot, as far as she could, seeing my plight.

It was the women graduate students' attitude that I could not digest. They were mostly bothered that they were oppressed by the males, and I didn't get a word of compassion. It might have been true that there were some disadvantages to female students. Nevertheless I was in the worst condition in that department, and certainly my condition was worse than theirs.

In fact it was a personal growth experience for me. When the majority of males indulged in political considerations and didn't bother to speak up for me, a brave junior female faculty member, and also a retired emeritus professor without any administrative powers, were the people who helped me up. It reformed me greatly and my eyes were opened and some of my sexist notions were shattered, in deference to that brave lady who took my side with no gain to herself(and in fact suffered some loss), entirely out of compassion.

EliRabett said...

This thread is an excellent example of what the anonymous student was talking about. You have to call your opponents out, but you also have to recognize the problems of friends.

Kea, FSP and others miss the important parts of his comments in the previous thread, captured in his praise for those women who helped him and how that help CHANGED HIS ATTITUDE TOWARD WOMEN. By doing this they contribute to the very problems they encounter.

Eli would suggest that everyone read the GS comment at the end of the last thread, Kea's response and FSP's cartooning of the GS comment here. The last two are in no way constructive.

Prejudice wins by dividing, equality wins through compassion.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

It is well know that nowadays departments will hire a women over a man when they are equally qualified. I heard this many times from search committee chairs when I was in the market.

They just told you that to make you feel better about yourself instead of telling you the truth: you sucked and that's why you didn't get the job.

Jaraxle said...

This issue of class is most interesting to me. I wonder if STEM graduate students are equally distributed across class lines?

My experience is that most of these students are upper-middle class in the US, but where I went might have played a factor.

Kea said...

Dear Eli. Um, so the guy goes from being a total sexist jerk to an ordinary sexist jerk, and I'm supposed to feel sorry for him (while I go hungry)? So we (the women) are the ones at fault here, for being divisive? Why does this all sound so terribly familiar? Are we ever allowed to tell a sexist jerk what he is? (You may not see the sexism, but we do). Are we ever allowed to complain?

FYI, I was a very, charming, sweet, demure and obedient young lady ... once ... I waited 30 years to complain about an oppression that you cannot even begin to imagine. And believe me, we know that complaining won't help us (it will only get us more hatred). We do it so that the younger women will see what they are up against. We didn't know, because there was no internet and nobody told us. We complain as part of a minor battle in a great war stretching across millenia ... and I can assure some sexist jerk who disrespects feminism is in the enemy camp.

Isabel said...

"My experience is that most of these students are upper-middle class in the US"

This is true in my experience also, at a public university yet, but I have been unable to find statistics specifically on class. They are only available for undergrads at my institution.

In the US, the minority upper middle class is vastly over-represented in all fields of academia, the arts, the professions, and politics, as well as in "progressive" movements of all kinds. Not only is this obviously unfair, it colors their agendas (due to their sheltered lives and unconscious prejudices) in ways that have unfortunate results for the society at large. THIS is why I feel class is important to address in these discussions.

I have said many times that equal representation of socioeconomic classes is as important as equal representation of race and gender.

Anonymous said...

FSP, I take issue with the fact that you are using this blog to talk exclusively about cats! I think you should talk about academic issues and feminism!

That aside, I am afraid that I agree with CPP and FSP on the topic of this particular post. The comment discussed here is so unspecific and "everybody was against me" that it reads as whiny and caricature-ish. Having seen a couple (fortunately not more than that) pretty screwy grad students in my days, I certainly wonder what the other side of the story is (and what the story is, after all).

The fact that the writer admits to not thinking much about women before but having reformed (he thinks) to thinking enough about them to complain that they are not taking his side does not make him any more endearing to me.

Anonymous said...

Isobel, perhaps the middle class predominates in academia because by convention academics are considered middle class. Class can change and be concealed. Race and gender can't (at least not very often). I doubt many successful academics would ever refer to themselves as working class, but many grew up in working class families. They have changed their class. Get it?

EliRabett said...

Last Anonymous, it is so unspecific because you have not read the last thread from which it was excerpted.

FSP made it non-specific, which of course, set the scene.

Kea, why do you expect anyone to sympathize with you, when you have no sympathy for others who don't fit into your categories? If your attitude towards anyone is a hearty CPP like fuck you what do you think they are going to say to you.

And, BTW, CPP, ur typical me big guy pull up your boots shit is a perfect prescription for more of the same.

Isabel said...

"I doubt many successful academics would ever refer to themselves as working class, but many grew up in working class families. They have changed their class. Get it?"

We are talking about class off origin. Always in these discussions, okay? Especially when we are talking about grad students. Get it? If you add the words "of origin" to my comment it still holds.

And the fact that it can be "hidden" is about as relevant to a discussion of discrimination as the fact that PoC and Jews can "pass" or the fact that people can now change their gender.

And it's never really successfully hidden - nothing ever makes up for the lack of experience, guidance, contacts, confident feeling of entitlement, and of course financial support etc in the early years. There are always life-long scars and major gaps - not to mention a complete traumatic break with family and culture of origin - there is a large literature on this if you are interested. We are getting off-topic here:)

Kea said...

Eli, I assure you that I do NOT expect any sympathy whatsoever. Hence my careful use of brackets and rhetorical questions.

Bagelsan said...

Hmm, maybe he didn't get a lot of encouragement from his female classmates because they couldn't get a sympathetic word in edgewise over all his assurances that his situation was way way worse than theirs? I personally think they must've been saints, to listen to all that ego-centric whinging and moaning and not strangle the asshole!

For the record, I voted "yes" -- I'm sure this self-pitying loser suffered, and I'm sure all the bastards forced to listen to him suffered too!

Esther said...

Do some men suffer in academia? Yes, of course they do. Is this a reason that people should not be concerned about sexual harassment or disadvantage experienced by women. No, of course not. If you want a blog about equal opportunity bullying try

Academic bullying can be a devastating experience. I'm not sure that flinging insults at someone who talks about such an experience, however well they have managed to combine whining with being patronising, is exactly progress towards promoting more respectful workplaces.

Anonymous said...

I'm almost a little shock that such a "duh" question was asked in a poll so I opted not to vote. Even if wasn't the intent, it sounds like some offhand sarcastic response to the male's comment. Either way, disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Elirabbit said:
"Last Anonymous, it is so unspecific because you have not read the last thread from which it was excerpted.

FSP made it non-specific, which of course, set the scene."

Except, the post that you excerpted explaining anonymous's reformed ways was posted after FSP's poll was posted (well they were both posted July 16 but usually FSP posts very early AM). So it's not fair to say that FSP unfairly portrayed anonymous.

FSP only excerpted the previous comment (which was much less apologetic), and definitely portrayed the gist of it.

Female Science Professor said...

At least now the Anon guy can say that 23% of women might not support him, rather than being vague or singling out one particular woman who might not have supported him despite the fact that other women did.

EliRabett said...

What Esther said

Kea said...

Nice blog link, Esther.

For example, appearing too weak, anxious, submissive, unassertive, or conflict-aversive is claimed to provoke aggression (bullying) in others ... as is communicating aggressively, rejecting less-ethical group norms, and overachieving.

Yes, I know this well because I am capable of exhibiting every single one of these traits, however contradictory that may seem. Not surprising that I have been bullied my entire life. But that is not the point of FSP's poll, and this is not a blog about bullying. Has the bullying ruined my career? Well, it may have contributed to stress ... but it is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, compared to the problems faced by truly oppressed groups. A bullied person may still have friends, and some institutional support. A bullied person can go elsewhere and forget the evil people (forgetting is a very great skill).

Alex said...

I agree with EliRabett agreeing with Esther.

Anonymous said...

FSP: I had thrown in the towel and left, irritated by Kea's remarks. But I was softened by the remark #21 of your previous post. So I return to answer you.

Ok, I concede your point. You are more fair and equal-minded than what I naively imagined at first. No, it was not one woman who did not support me; it was quite a bunch. But I am not blaming women for my problems, because my chief enemies in this matter were all men. And I am not apologetic of it.

Now, I can tell you of one anecdote which I learned the last week. A math faculty in an important place told me over the tea about correspondence with an amateur mathematician. At first this person pretended to be a woman, but later admitted that he was a man. He explained his camouflage by that pretending to be a young (and possibly beautiful) woman would fetch him more attention than would be possible to attain otherwise. I am also aware of the situation a few centuries back, when some female mathematician had to pretend to be a man in her correspondences, in order to get good responses from professors.

I next make a small correction to the notion that women are at a disadvantage because they have pressure to reproduce at young age. Yes it is true that reproduction is easier for women when they are young. But so is the case with men. After we lose our hair, after our bellies bulge out, after we lose our stamina, no woman would look our way and forget about reproducing our genes with their help.

(Having said all of the above, I must also note that I don't intend to stay around here. I understand that women face some problems and I sympathize with the issue. But it is also clear that I might very likely be at odds with a section of the readers. So I better leave anyway, after acknowledging FSP's note to me, the Anon guy.).

Bagelsan said...

Yes it is true that reproduction is easier for women when they are young. But so is the case with men. After we lose our hair, after our bellies bulge out, after we lose our stamina, no woman would look our way and forget about reproducing our genes with their help.

...Yes, trying to reconcile biological imperatives like menopause (and a tragic lack of uterine replicators) with a demanding and time-consuming career is exactly like trying to date/sleep with your wife while slightly flabby. Exactly. (Also, I guess women don't visibly age like men do? And are shallow!) 9.9

More substantively, take the example of an informational talk I went to about MD/PhD programs (unlike PhDs in the biological sciences these are still male-dominated, and take more like 8 years rather than 5 years.) Because you won't be out of school (let alone postdocs and residencies!) until you're 30-something, one of the young women asked the panelists when female students managed to take time off to have kids. And all the panelists, being 100% middle-aged-or-older men, looked around at each other in befuddlement until one of them piped up to say that his wife was a stay-at-home mom, at which all the rest of them nodded in agreement and the talk moved on. Helpful, yeah?

That's the kind of barrier you get before women even set foot in the damn program! I can't imagine what other barriers are faced if you actually want kids and a dual degree ...because I said "fuck it!" and went for "just" a PhD to keep my options open.

Anonymous said...


Interesting you should mention the MD/PhD response. When I went to a recruitment event they focused on how more women should do the MD/PhD route as opposed to med school because there is a perfect baby-rearing time during the PhD. Now of course this assumes that you have a man lined up and ready to make babies when ever you can fit it in... but I digress! :)