Academics: sexist and out of touch


9:58 pm - September 24th 2009

by Laurie Penny    


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By now most of you will have picked up on Dr Kealey of Buckingham University’s disgusting piece in the Times Higher Education supplement this week, in which he advises university lecturers to treat their female students as ‘perks’, and enjoy watching the little hussies ‘flaunt their curves’. (KJB has a brilliant satire on the whole fiasco over at Get There Steppin’).

Addressing his article to the only members of the academic profession who really count – straight, male ones – Kealey advises his chums to have fun flirting, because everyone knows that ‘normal’ young women are more interested in men than in their education:

Normal girls – more interested in abs than in labs, more interested in pecs than specs, more interested in triceps than tripos – will abjure their lecturers for the company of their peers, but nonetheless, most male lecturers know that, most years, there will be a girl in class who flashes her admiration and who asks for advice on her essays. What to do?

“Enjoy her! She’s a perk.


Kealey has expressed his irritation that women have failed to ‘get’ the article, which was intended to be humorous, or semiotically playful, or both, or something:

Because transgressional sex is inappropriate, the piece uses inappropriate and transgressional language to underscore the point – a conventional literary device. At a couple of places, the piece confounds expectations, another conventional literary device, by employing the good ol’ boy language of middle aged male collusion.

Anyway, the T.H.E editor says the humourless feminists are to blame for denying Dr Kealey (with, Laura Woodhouse points out, his 45 peer-reviewed papers, 35 scientific articles and two books) his right to free speech.

Of course, feminists haven’t called for Kealey to have his tongue cut out of his fatuous head or, indeed, even asked for a retraction, they’ve merely called him out on his pathetic sexist jerkery,but even so:

If we cannot have freedom of speech and robust debate in the academy where can we have it?

…yep, that would be the same ‘academy’ which is still cutting funding from women’s studies courses all over the country. Clearly some speech is freer than others.

This pile of festering bollocks has not deterred feminists across the country from taking a stand, with Feminist Fightback offering to treat Dr Kealey to a seminar on respect for women in education and the NUS leading a campaign against misogyny in higher education, with Women’s Officer Olivia Bailey collecting stories of personal experience of sexism at university which will be published anonymously over the next few days (send yours to olivia.bailey[at]nus.org.uk).

But wait, there’s more! Today, another male academic has been enjoying having a great big media-sponsored male privilege soapbox to shout from exercising his free speech over the evils of contraception in the Torygraph.

David Lindsay of Durham university, who claims to be a liberal voice, here tiptoes merrily down misogyny lane into the steaming ditch of the completely sodding bonkers, but there it is, prominently placed in a national broadsheet. A woman’s pure untainted fertile reproductive system is not only the core of her personhood, it is sentient, yes, sentient of its own accord, able to independently process subjective perceptual experiences.

Well, I for one can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with my uterus. It strikes me that David Lindsay, who is in his own special, Catholic way actually trying to speak on behalf of women, may have heard of the core feminist text ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and made some misplaced assumptions about the content.

Oh, and also, the contraceptive pill is a horrible poison that prevents women from doing ‘what comes naturally’, and the Pope should make it stop, because women don’t enjoy sex anyway, they only use contraceptives to satisfy male desire like the manipulative little SLUTS they are. Jesus saves!

This matters. It matters that high-profile academics and commentators, who hold the keys to learning, to advancement and to power, hold these views and see it as their god-given right to express them no matter who they hurt. It matters, because these words do hurt. They hurt more than these men, who clearly find it exceptionally difficult to understand that women are people just like them, can possibly understand.

It hurts, as a person who loves books and science and learning with a bone-crunchingly hard passion, to be told that my brain is merely incidental to my body, that what my teachers and superiors, most of whom are male, obviously, are interested in are my curves, my tits and my arse and my magical sentient uterus.

And they wonder why women fail to put themselves forward for top jobs after university. They wonder why only 30% of women science graduates, compared to 95% of men, go on to do research or get jobs in their field. They ask why so many women in higher education and beyond feel like frauds in academia, in business, in the arts, in science, why women lack confidence, why we fail to put ourselves forward for promotions and pay rises. This sort of thing is why. And you may like to think it’s all in good fun, but I’m not laughing. I’m not laughing at all.

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About the author
Laurie Penny is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She is a journalist, blogger and feminist activist. She is Features Assistant at the Morning Star, and blogs at Penny Red and for Red Pepper magazine.
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Reader comments


Wow,

Kealey’s undergraduate misogynist wankers will pass off their bullying and marginalisation of women peers as “just a joke”.

Kealey passes it off as intellectual irony.

I fail to really see the difference. They’re all arseholes.

I swear, we as a society are definitely taking steps backwards these days…

“David Lindsay of Durham university”

He is an odd chap. Wants a mixture of Old Labour economics and right-wing social policy.

3. the a&e charge nurse

I anticipate lots of male hand ringing here – maybe a few will be brave enough to own up to the fact that they are slaves to their biology.

Laurie is quite right about the issues here.

Can I veer off topic a little. I know Terence Kealey a little bit because, in my first job after university at Macmillan, I published a book of his in 1996. So reading about Kealey in the papers this week rather reminded me of someone else – our friend Mr Hannan. (I am not accusing our new friend Mr Hannan of sexism, but bear with me and I will explain why I think the comparison a valid one).

Firstly, Kealey has what we might now come to call a rather “Hannanesque” style. Kealey is very personable and charming. There is a bit of a twinkle in the eye whenever he is pushing the boundaries of conventional and respectable opinion. They both make a point of saying things with which none of their peers agree in a tone of sweet reasonableness, and asking why the rest of the world appears to have gone insane. Dr Kealey and Mr Hannan would get on very well. (They even kind of look a little alike, allowing for the age difference too)

But I make the point only because this also reminded me that Kealey is also one of the very few really genuine “Hannanites” out there. Indeed, he can now be seen as something of a John the Baptist figure, and I imagine that he remains plus royaliste quo le roi in ths respect … The book which Macmillan were publishing was an argument that there should be no government funding of science whatsoever. (The final chapter is called “Dr Pangloss was right). He said he was inspired to write it when Oxford University organised against Thatcher’s honorary degree. And Kealey was a talented polemicist and good at the self-publicity which prosecuting an argument of that kind requires.

And this reminded me that, for all of the credit our friends Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell get for challenging conventional wisdom, you could ask whether they are really Hannanites at all, or simply careerist political trimmers.

I wonder whether they will back Kealey’s argument – no government funding of science; why, indeed, any government funding of universities at all? (as ViceChancellor of the private university of the University of Buckingham, he was trying to practice what he preached). And if not, why on earth not? Will they not stand up for the Hannanite cause when others like Kealey will? Perhaps the grassroots over at ConservativeHome, might begin to wonder if they are Fabians after all.

(Back on the topic …. It seemed to me fairly obvious that Kealey wasn’t being serious in his piece. Indeed he was commissioned to write a piece on “Seven Deadly Sins of the Academy” and given (or chose, I don’t know) the theme “Lust”, which does create the possibility that it was a satire on the lecherous male academic, and is certainly a bit different to seeing the comments in a broadsheet news story, where i first read them.

Though I guess it is equally possible that the point of it was to be cheekily transgressive, anti-PC, to cause a few raised eyebrows and/or a little bit of outrage. (He might or might not have thought it would be a national ‘controversy’ as opposed to causing a stir in the senior common room, as it were … Though that doesn’t mean that Laurie and others are wrong to call it, particularly if the second reading is more true than the first. So to note the context is not to defend. And the sin might be to be trying to be funny, and failing, because it might be a rather 1950s style of humour which we might thankfully be losing – but again the question of authorial intention – whether holding those attitudes or satirising them – matters in decpihering that. And clearly offence has been taken.

I love the way Kealey tries to wriggle out of it by saying “oh, I was just being frightfully postmodern and clever, you horrible oppressive feminists just wouldn’t understand”…yersss. And nothing going-on after 1982??

I think I remember quite a few cases (ultimately unprovable in court, alas, although when we oh-so-wittily-and-cleverly exposed some of them in our pathetic attempt at a satirical magazine, nobody threatened us with anything…) at York Uni (1987-90), where certain letcherers ALLEGEDLY actively pursued female students, with not-terribly-subtle threats to grades, etc. Allegedly. Could well have been in the music department. Or not. I can’t seem to recall at this present time, so I could be completely wrong. Allegedly. (will that do for ass-covering, Mr. H??)

Certainly one (famously drunk & letching) old guy from the English dept. went up to a woman as she came off-stage at graduation and tried to press a rose (and himself) on her…oddly enough he swiftly took retirement… (witnesses a-plenty to that one, safe ground there.)

As for this David Lindsay guy, he must have been taking lessons from the Italian Catho-Communists. Bizarre.

Thanks for posting this Laurie, brought back some..odd…memories. 🙂

The author is writing satire. is this impossible due to a lack of sense of humour? Can there be no jokes made about this issue? This seems like a massive sense of humour failure – can he not mock such opinions by parodying them?

Sunder,

Though I guess it is equally possible that the point of it was to be cheekily transgressive, anti-PC, to cause a few raised eyebrows and/or a little bit of outrage. (He might or might not have thought it would be a national ‘controversy’ as opposed to causing a stir in the senior common room, as it were … Though that doesn’t mean that Laurie and others are wrong to call it, particularly if the second reading is more true than the first. So to note the context is not to defend. And the sin might be to be trying to be funny, and failing, because it might be a rather 1950s style of humour which we might thankfully be losing – but again the question of authorial intention – whether holding those attitudes or satirising them – matters in decpihering that. And clearly offence has been taken.

Ah, but that’s what my comment at 1 was pointing a finger at.

Kealey’s defence is exactly the same as your average undergraduate idiot who passses it all of as “a joke” when he and his male friends bully and victimise women students, but with a smile on face, laughs from the audience and the unspoken understanding that to challenge what they are doing makes you prudish, uncool and destined for status of social pariah. That’s how a lot of gender discrimination works nowadays; it has to be covert because the overt stuff has been rendered unacceptable.

But there’s a little more to it than that. I imagine Kealey – like the undergraduate morons who parse it all in terms of a “jokes” or “irony” – genuinely does think that it’s funny or ironic. Because he doesn’t understand why it is so offensive, beyond the pale and not funny; because he doesn’t understand that to be “anti-PC” is all very well when you’re a white privileged male who thinks they’re being terribly witty, tongue-in-cheek and subversive – but as Laurie points out, it just isn’t that way when you are on the receiving end, as a non-elite.

The fact that Kealey doesn’t get what the problem is – or worse, gets what the problem is and delights in it nonetheless – doesn’t get him off the hook, it impales him on that hook a great deal more deeply.

No doubt

@ #3: but they’re not though.

Clarice,

You’re right of course.

But the “A&E Charge Nurse” would rather go for 101 – “how to excuse sexist and misogynist behaviour and shirk the responsibility of male action – and the society which enables that action more widely in the first place”.

It’s a nice short step from there to blaming women for, you know, “provoking” men by “asking for it”.

Paul@7

Yes, if he is doing that. But it would be different if his intention is to satirise that opinion, rather than to express it and then have some plausible (or not) deniability.

There seem to me three different possible scenarios and different objections, where the intention were satirical or is claimed to be so.

1. The claim that the satire is fake and a cover : the author is really wishing to express these views, and is hiding behind it – which I think is the case in the examples which is to bully and then laugh it off and say “can’t you take a joke”. Against this, your argument is a valid one. (And I agree the “anti-PC” to be brave transgressive version is a subtler version of this category .. courageously being the only person to stand up for conventional opinion).

2. But there could be a different type of problem where a (genuine) attempt at satire is too gentle: the author sympathises rather too much with the attitude he is portraying. (One could take Kealey’s conclusion to do this for example, or as a failure of satire because he has to state a supposedly “moral” view in conclusion, because he fears being misunderstood. Swift did not do that!)

3. Or, alternatively, that the satire is misunderstood or misfires. Eg in particular, the Alf Garnett/Loadsamoney examples where the attitude expressed is celebrated by those who were intended as its target, and the question of whether the author is somehow responsible (were that predictable, etc).

My Twitter comment on Kealey yesterday was along the lines that I almost admire the ability of someone living in the real world (FSVO) in 2009 to pretend he’s a character in Lucky Jim or a Tom Sharpe novel.

Pedantry corner: “They wonder why only 30% of women science graduates, compared to 95% of men, go on to do research or get jobs in their field.” – got a cite? Out of the science grads from my university, a lot more men than women went onto consultancy/City jobs rather than researching or working in the field. Might be unrepresentative, but it’d be nice to see the data.

A backward-looking, chauvinistic idiot with a penchant for liberal baiting? At Britain’s only private University, which also employs Chris Woodhead and Karol Sikora and Antony O’Hear? Whatever next!

The David Lindsay articles are amazing. It’s not that I don’t agree with his politics – they’re just incoherent. How on earth did this man ever get a position in a university?

And here I was under the illusion – told me repeatedly by Tories – that university professors were hotbeds of political correctness gawn maaad and Marxists.

Good piece Laurie! And thanks for some context Sunder – quite amusing. I think the correct response though, shouldn’t be anger, but heaping even more ridicule and sarcasm at these people.

15. the a&e charge nurse

[8 + 9] – you’re both shouting at evolution – male arousal requires stimulation, although some regarded this as something of a design fault nowadays.

Or another thought – in most large cities there is a well known heath, bathhouse or parkland were men meet up purely for sex – no introductions are necessary since name and status are largely irrelevant.

These men happen to be gay – there are no heterosexual or lesbian equivalents as far as I know – why is that I wonder.
To my mind these spaces are where the male sexual psyche is at its most unadulterated, and authentic but many disapprove and even feel frightened by such behaviour.

Men like to look – end of story.
I expect a few more timid hypocrites to be added to the thread before long?

16. dreamingspire

Having (quite some time ago) worked as a University Research Assistant, with a brief that included taking undergrad problem classes and assisting with their use of equipment, I quickly learned the typical difference between the male and female students’ approaches to their work and their interaction with the staff. On average: the girls appeared to me (a male) more outgoing and more vulnerable, the boys more reserved and self-possessed. As a supervisor, you quickly learn to adapt your approach to helping them learn. Living now in an area where there are many students, and where they work in the shops and bars, I think that the distinction is still the same. And the girls behind the bar talk to the male customers, the boys to the female customers. That’s life.
Perhaps I was lucky: there wasn’t a problem with a pushy girl in the classes that I (a mere male) took. But writing an inappropriate piece about that is going much too far.

@15 a&e charge nurse – I like to look. I’m not ashamed of that. I don’t think Laurie is taking issue with the idea that men find their eyes caught by women they find attractive. Even lecturers. Yet the language of the article is inquestionably sexist – not to mention that it drags on a bit. It is sexist both in that it derides female students alone (and through my five years of university I always found male students to be just as bad), suggesting the only way for them to compensate is to be pretty, and because ‘the joke’ is set the context of a male-dominated space where men can act like pack-animals and rape is a real danger.

I don’t think one has to gouge one’s eyes out in order to be safe from hypocrisy here: one can admit to being heterosexual, and involuntarily finding women attractive and wishing to look at them, as well as to being slightly put off by such an obvious boor as this Buckingham chappie.

“there are no heterosexual or lesbian equivalents as far as I know”

Yes there are. They’re called ‘nightclubs’.

Though sex doesn’t (normally) take place on the premises.

(Or does it? It’s years since I’ve been to a ‘nightclub’.)

If Kealey was aiming for outrageous satire he should have argued that it was quite all right for lecturers to fuck their students for grades. If he had, I would have been happy to defend him from angry feminists on the basis that it was self-evidently a joke.

But the “look don’t touch” compromise (which obviously is the approach that plenty of male academics actually take), combined with not being remotely funny, does make it rather strange and uncomfortable reading.

And here I was under the illusion – told me repeatedly by Tories – that university professors were hotbeds of political correctness gawn maaad and Marxists.

Well, not Buckingham University obviously. That’s a hotbed of rational capitalism, as is only to be expected from an institution not dependent on the nipple of spublic spending for its existence…

David Lindsay is not an academic at Durham University. He is a college tutor, which is a minor role with no teaching responsibilities at all. It’s an odd thing to mention unless you want people to think that you’re an academic – which he evidently does.

There’s a bit more about the role of tutors at Collingwood College, which happens to be David’s college, here:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/hr/recruitment/applicants/working/tutorpers/

I’d strongly encourage people not to be taken in.

Yes, Buckingham. It must be reassuring to know it’s a capitalist lecturer fantasising about your daughter while he masturbates, rather than some longhaired degenerate marxist (urgh, imagine!).

Well worth the fee, I’d say.

Laurie,

This is an interesting piece, but it has some inaccuracies which should not go unchallenged to ensure the debate moves forward.

Firstly, it is not at all helpful to characterise the views of these academics as being typical. The reasons for academic demographics are complicated and have more to do with the relative lack of mobility of the generation who gained their positions with the last great academic expansion in the Sixties than with sexism.

Secondly – and now are entering a field in which I have direct expertise – this statement is very unhelpful.

“And they wonder why women fail to put themselves forward for top jobs after university. They wonder why only 30% of women science graduates, compared to 95% of men, go on to do research or get jobs in their field. They ask why so many women in higher education and beyond feel like frauds in academia, in business, in the arts, in science, why women lack confidence, why we fail to put ourselves forward for promotions and pay rises. This sort of thing is why. And you may like to think it’s all in good fun, but I’m not laughing. I’m not laughing at all.”

No, that might be why you don’t do it, but you are now making a series of problematic assumptions, few of which are definitely true. Firstly, you’re presuming to know the mind of all women. Let’s not do that.

Secondly, you are assuming that there is a demographic gap purely due to a sexist culture. This is not true for a range of reasons (it really is a lot more complicated than that, although sexism – or perceived sexism – is one factor of many). That this is not true is simply demonstrated by a simple question – if a demographic gap demonstrates sexism, why, then were only 42% of last year’s first degree graduates men? Sexism? No, a range of factors.

But this is where we reach some serious issues. Firstly, “95% of male science graduates go onto jobs or research in their field”

This is not true, and without giving too much away – I am anonymous for a reason – I *would know*. The unemployment rate alone for male science graduates alone at the moment (higher than women science graduates) blows that away. Secondly, the sheer volume of physics graduates leaving physics immediately and not coming back also renders this figure incorrect.

Just for research’s sake, here are some free stats to show this. All data comes from this year’s Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey. Not in the public domain, so you can ask yourself – “Do I trust a self-professed professional in the field I’ve never heard of to have given me the right stats, or do I think he’s made all of this up just to win an argument on the Internet”

Taking graduates in sciences – biological and physical sciences (I’ve cut out psychology, which is classed in with the biosciences, but unless you’re at PhD level, in which case almost all doctorates are clinical psychology, it’s really more on the social sciences). Medicine and the like are not included – doctors and nurses muddy the stats. I’ve not included mathematicians or computer scientists either – the former don’t really do maths in large numbers any more (far better to go into finance) and the latter have the highest unemployment rate of all graduates (take that ‘media studies is useless’ brigade!)

I’ve also used *all* qualification levels, from Foundation Degree up to PhD status.

So, 2007/8. We have 14,105 women and 15160 men. The women are largely biological scientists of one stripe or another, physical sciences dominates the male field. Different subjects, different labour markets.

For women, the breakdown is this: 61% working, 24% studying, 6.4% unemployed, 8% doing something else (usually travelling, but looking after family and sickness is also important).

For men, 59.8% working, 24% studying, 8.6% unemployed, 8% doing something else.

Let’s assume our “95%” figure actually means just those working or studying.

I’m not going into gigantic detail because I’m supposed to be doing something else, and this is a bit fiddly, but here we go. Based on occupational classifications, and making the following assumptions:

– management is not science (some of it is, but that’s later in careers)
– teaching, for scientists, is science
– engineering, for scientists, is close enough to science to count (this boosts the men)

Obviously, you could drive a bus through this, but if you want it done properly, you need to find the right person (and I would be willing to bet that if you asked around, the chances are better than evens you’d get me in my professional capacity), it would take a few days, and it would cost you a few quid.#
Anyway, as we’re about to see, it doesn’t matter.

So, on that, 33% of women science graduates graduate into a role directly involved in science, and that adds onto the 24% studying. As careers progress there will most likely (research into the field suggests this is the case – longitudinal careers research is bloody difficult, though. My grey hairs!) be movement out of science, again for a range of reasons, some of which will be gender-based and some of which will be purely pragmatic.
And men? Oh, 29%.

Not 95%.

(Management, IT and finance, thanks for asking)

This might seem an inordinately long-winded and elaborate way of saying ‘don’t make things up’, but there are a few reasons why I’ve done it.
Firstly, and most importantly, Laurie, you were wrong and have repeated a figure from who-knows-where that is damaging to people’s understanding but, I think, are entitled to a decent effort to show why

Secondly, there are people on this case, and they are working very hard on it.

But most importantly, this is the bit where I am doing my best to be polite as possible. This is a serious debate, with a lot of very hard-working and committed people putting their heart and soul into it.

It is not helped one bit by people, no matter how well-meaning, making statements that are simply not true.

Career choice is a very complex field. When women feel “feel like frauds in academia, in business, in the arts, in science, why women lack confidence, why we fail to put ourselves forward for promotions and pay rises”, you may not be aware that this is a recognised issue that affects men as well. It’s called ‘Impostor Syndrome’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome

Sexist academics are *not* the reason why we don’t have many female (physical) scientists. They are not the reason why people feel like impostors in their own jobs.

They may be a factor, but to reduce it down, to trivialise people’s career decisions in this way, and to reduce all of academia down like this is not helpful.

In the end, bad information makes people make poor decisions. And every time you misinform someone – no matter what your intentions are – you’re helping them come to a bad conclusion based on bad information. At this point, you jump the fence separating people who are helping from people who are hindering.

Come back over the fence, please Laurie.

25. Mike Killingworth

Many thanks, Ken.

I’d like to ask Laurie why she is so exercised about the position of women in science, but seemingly not at all about the fact that a woman footballer, no matter how talented, can expect earn about 1% of what her male equivalent can.

I’d like to ask, but I won’t – that would be dragging her onto a man’s agenda, an utterly disgusting and sexist practice…

I like Sunders Hannesque comparison above, other than that I agree with Sunny the best response is not anger but sarcasm and satire.

“to treat their female students as ‘perks’, and enjoy watching the little hussies ‘flaunt their curves’.”

Quite an amazing misreading of the piece. He’s actually saying that you will get offered such perks but you’d better not take them. However, enjoy being offered them.

Sunder @4

Brilliantly thought through analysis as usual that puts the initial post in much needed context. Agree with everything up until the final

And clearly offence has been taken.

The fact that offence has been taken does not necessarily mean that the person causing the offence must be at fault in some way and that they should necessarily be condemned.

I seem to remember that somebody wrote the word “among” in a post on this site and was lambasted for being disablist!!!

@17 I don’t think Laurie is taking issue with the idea that men find their eyes caught by women they find attractive.

Want to bet?

Mike,

I want to stress that there does exist in some areas of science – and academia – a culture that is inimical to women – although these days it is not so much sexist as just not good for people who are not hypercompetitive and who also are interested in having, and spending time with families. There’s some interesting debate as to whether this hugely competitive atmosphere – which has clear benefits in driving discovery – also, conversely, inhibits collaboration (I come down on the side of the fence that says “yes, it does”).

And, of course, it is worth pointing out that Kealey was a biochemist.

30. Mike Killingworth

[29] That “work comes first” notion is by no means restricted to academia. It is a given in politics for example. We have a lot more women in politics than we used to, but I can’t for the life of me think of a single example of political process which they’ve changed…

You need to be very careful with titles of articles, as they are the first and only thing many people will read. “Academics: sexist and out of touch” is a quite outrageous, entirely indefensible statement, and one pretty much guaranteed to alienate every academic who might otherwise read the article. Which is rather unfortunate, as they are precisely the people you need to engage on this issue.

You certainly have a point that people in positions of authority need to think hard before writing articles of that type. But why not say so upfront and get more people on your side?

As I understand it he didn’t claim the ONLY reason women were in university was because they were good to look at, he claimed that having good looking females around was something that was a positive side of the job. Maybe he should have also said that having buff fellas around must also be a benefit for the female/gay lecturers?

I assume, Laurie, that you take no enjoyment whatsoever from beauty, in a physical form or otherwise, being around you?

Either way this is storm in a teacup stuff.

30 Mik Killingworth. It is now acceptable for women politicians to be as useless and mendacious as men and still hold high office.

34. Stuart White

I’d like to echo what Will A says at 31 about the title of the article, which I otherwise think is very good. To tar all ‘academics’ with the brush of being sexist and out of date is clearly unfair and shouldn’t be done even by way of rhetorical flourish. As an academic I probably would say this, but I don’t think one has to be an academic to appreciate its truth.

David Lindsay is a loon who should not be taken at all seriously. I am surprised the Daily Telegraph did not pick up on this. He is the head of the mighty ‘British People’s Alliance’ and expects to be swept to political power any day now.

Good article LP but ridiculous title.

@24 thanks for that, precisely in line with what I thought.

37. John Meredith

Apart from not being very funny, I can’t see anything objectionable about this piece at all. He is only suggesting that if a female undergraduate flirts with a male professor, he is best advised to enjoy it without doing anything to encourage it. That’s not very radical, is it? A quick test, if this piece had been written by a middle-aged lesbian professor, would it still be scandalous? No, I don’t think so either.

38. sanbikinoraion

Laurie always writes inflammatory articles, presumably because she thinks it’s more important to be angry than factually accurate. For example:

that would be the same ‘academy’ which is still cutting funding from women’s studies courses all over the country

The clear implication here is that academia is sexist because it is cutting funding for womens’ studies. But how did womens’ studies get funding in the first place? Is the funding really being cut because the people who choose have become more sexist, or is it because fewer people want to study it? I don’t know the answer to this question, but I’m fairly sure Laurie doesn’t either.

Anyway, all this silliness really reminds me of this xkcd strip.

39. Donut Hinge Party

I imagine this same courtesy applies to gay lecturers checking out the tight buns and firm muscled arms of their male students as well.

Bring on unisex burkhas!

I don’t know if this is significant but out of 40 posts only l female has responded (based on the user-names)

I should have changed the title – I accept it’s a bit too broad a brush.

“I don’t know if this is significant but out of 40 posts only l female has responded (based on the user-names)”

And how many academics have responded (based on the user-names)?

We’re all adults (I assume), we’re all supposedly intelligent (I hope), it’d be nice to have one thread where someone cries sexism without a terrible amount to back it up (thanks post @24) and not have all comments claimed to be nullified by the lack of a female voice.

43
I don’t know what the point of your post is with reference to my comments, I was merely making an observation. Do you think I am ‘crying sexism’, if so this is one almighty leap.
I have only recently joined LC so maybe the other females, who have been here longer, predicted that there would be some prat crying “‘crying sexism”,


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  3. Liberal Conspiracy

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  4. maximal is me

    RT @libcon Academics: sexist and out of touch http://bit.ly/4CLlbA <– @trixl

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