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August 21, 2006

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elizabeth

When one is gay or lesbian, the graduate knife edge becomes even more dangerous. As if one is gay, they are often avoided by male profs because there WILL be gossip and because homosexual panic is allowed free reign in some older male dominated universities.

If closeted lesbian, the question becomes, once propositioned, could any complaint could bring out your orientation? Though the concept may seem foriegn to others - there are closeted gays and lesbians. The one openly gay Ph.D. student in our department was almost a department to himself as only one professor would work with him at all. The head of the department, when I suggested doing some queer theory papers told me that if I continued down, "that dead end" I would be performing "professional suicide." And upon passing my dissertation I felt secure enough to come out - thus losing the recommendation of one of the strongest supporters of my work in the viver (did I come out too soon?).

But then again, a friend was in a departmental meeting where the department head resolved to set an "informal" policy that no students with disabilities be accepted into graduate studies as it was "too much hassle."

Graduate work is often not just about the research but about navigating a department of old white guys whose stereotypes come from the 1950's and 60's.

Antigone

Two points:

a) Were there any rumors about you and your female mentor?

and

b) I sometimes wonder if it will be easier for females when more and more professors are female: they can have this same level of intimacy with less worry. Although it seems really difficult to break it.

Hugo

No rumors about me and my female mentor. We also met behind a shut door for tea, cookies, and medieval philosophy. She was and is one of the first women ever ordained a priest in the Anglican Communion, and is now at Oxford. Her reputation for personal sanctity and warmth was legendary.

I absolutely agree that having more female faculty members will help.

mythago

I suppose I'm not the only one who noticed that Crazy PhD first sneers at FIS's wife, who MUST have fucked her way to the top, and then turns around and worries that others will sneer at her for being young, female and presumably willing to fuck her way to the top?

harpy

While Crazy PhD does talk about how she doesn't respect FIS's wife, she clearly feels bad about it. And in a way FIS's wife has fucked her way to the top- it's a common practice to offer the spouse of a FIS an academic post in order to get the FIS, and since most FIS's are male, it's generally the female who get's the sweetner job. It's sad that the wife will never get to know whether she would have made it without the connection, but she also has the advantage of having a platform for furthering her career that others don't.

Of course, as an academic it's not unusual to end up with someone in your field, and I can think of at least one case where both husband and wife are FIS's, and teach at different, highly prestigious universities. Nobody would think of accusing her of sleeping her way to the top, since she is stellar in her own right.

Lisa

"While Crazy PhD does talk about how she doesn't respect FIS's wife, she clearly feels bad about it. And in a way FIS's wife has fucked her way to the top- it's a common practice to offer the spouse of a FIS an academic post in order to get the FIS, and since most FIS's are male, it's generally the female who get's the sweetner job."

Very few people make it very far without any connections. Guys use connections to their advantage all the time. Definitely in the corporate world, and probably in academia (which I admit I know a lot less about) too.

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