Young Female Scientist asks her readers to rank their undergraduate and graduate institutions on a scale of 1 to 10, “10 being the most egalitarian and synergistic even with conflicting opinions from strong personality types (probably doesn’t exist), 1 being the most sexist, demeaning, lawsuit-deserving place in the world”. She wants people to name names – not their own, but that of their institutions.
In the four comments she got, nobody named names.
Apparently people – women? – do not feel safe enough to call out their departments and institutions on their sexism. What if someone figures out who they are? What would be the consequences of saying out loud, “I perceive my institutional environment to be sexist”? In theory one ought to be able to make such an observation without negative impact to the self. In practice we know that’s not true. It will be held against you, you will be considered a trouble-maker, you will have self-identified as a WOMAN.
What if your department is high in the rankings? Is that a universal good?
One commenter, who ranked his/her institution as an 8, felt compelled to explain how “all the focus on parity in hiring and special seminars/events, both social and professional, for women faculty and women students can leave the men feeling disadvantaged, actively marginalized, and without access to critical information”.
I am so sure.
Sigh. Everytime the focus of attention shifts in even the slightest manner towards women’s issues, women’s needs, alarmist cries go up about the poor neglected men. The men feel actively marginalized! Oh dear, what shall we do? Because of course, we cannot tolerate for one instant an environment where anyone [meaning a man] feels actively marginalized! Now, when women feel actively marginalized, or claim to feel that way, it’s important to remember that their opinion is biased and they see gender everywhere and that science is a competitive sport. A man who claims to feel actively marginalized should, however, be taken at his word. Surely it’s not the case that he is imagining his sense of exclusion merely because for thirty seconds attention was diverted from Man As Center Of The Known Universe to Something To Do With Women. It must be the case that having one seminar specially designed for women faculty, for example, has cut men out of the information loop altogether.
You see what gender equity means, then. It means hordes of suffering men, bravely keeping a stiff upper lip while the women run roughshod all over them. It’s enough to make one weep.