Sunday, 30 October 2016

Force of argument

Daily Draw: Tarot de Marseille, Francois Chosson 1736 La Force

I went to a conference once where a female academic spoke of the hurt that is literally etched onto our bodies when our knowledge is rejected because of who we are. Outrageous I thought but surely an isolated case? University the apex of the school system so must be the best, people judged on the strength of their arguments right? Wrong. 

Female academics are routinely silenced by male academics especially if there is a whiff of feminism about their work. There can be nothing more threatening than challenging how space (aural and physical) is taken up. Intellectually able academics are silenced by the less well qualified (who have gone up the management rather than research route and probably shouldn't be in a university at all). 

There are so many ways to silence someone besides outright aggression or rudeness (when did a snigger count as serious academic critique?). You can give them so much teaching, so many students that there is no time to read a book chapter let alone write up an article. Keep them busy all through the summer on invented urgencies so as to isolate them from the wider academic community. Impose research priorities that suit yourself rather than building on people's actual skills and interests. Lend your support to other men regardless of (in spite of) the quality of their work. The list could go on and on. 


  1. my mother's "look", which is why I pretty much stayed away for 20+ years. It was pretty much her only look as the dementia became advanced.

    1. The power of the disapproving look or the atmosphere. Seen that in my family - made me stay away too. Dementia such a cruel illness it must have been really hard. Hugs.

  2. Any woman in a position of authority experiences this I think. Just look at the crap flung at Hillary (though some might be deserving, I think most of it is simply because she is female and dares to be president). Of course the whole biblical "women should be silent" didn't help matters either...