Skepchick Quickies 4.11


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Oh, that double dress standard in acaedmia! So frustrating. I enjoy dressing up when I feel like it, but also love being able to not think about my looks and wear whatever’s comfortable at times. But as a professor, I am 100% aware that I need to look reasonably well dressed while teaching. And that my older male colleagues, who dress atrociously, are respected regardless and probably seem endearingly sloppy.
    But dress is just one of the ways women can try to compensate for the fact that female professors are just less worthy of respect than male ones. Other ways to compensate can include: not even trying for that elusive respect and instead just being extra helpful and there for the students; being sure to add many kind comments even for work that is execrably bad; getting graded work back astonishingly fast; responding to students’ emails astonishingly fast; etc.
    I know there are male professors (especially young ones) who do all this too, but then they win teaching awards because it’s on top of their automatically respect-worthy maleness.
    Re: the dress thing – bring back the academic gowns! Uniforms are great levellers.

    1. “the fact that female professors are just less worthy of respect than male ones”

      I hope that was just bad phrasing!

      1. Ha ha! Yes, it was very bad phrasing. I meant, of course, that unfortunately too many unthinking undergraduates deem male profs as automatically more worthy of respect than female profs. I’m sure most are not even aware that they do this.

    2. It was a very interesting post to me. I wasn’t actually quite aware of this, and I think I will try to pay a little more attention.
      Particularly because I have noticed a related tendency, but from a different angle. I was wondering why I, and so many other men, are so apathetic about dressing up. Why don’t we do it a little more? It’s become an almost weirdly true meme at this point: “women care about clothes, men don’t.”
      Thinking it over, the immediate reason I don’t care, seems to be that dressing up in a culturally acceptable way for me appears to be synonymous to donning a suit. Preferably with a dark-coloured jacket, a white shirt, and maybe, if I’m lucky, a tie with slightly more personality than the rest of the suit. Go too far outside that template, with more colour or frillyness, and I feel like I will be thought of as weird or silly.
      Basically, if I have to wear a suit, I feel a bit like I’m joining the Borg Collective. And then it’s no wonder that I don’t care about dressing up. I get more interesting choices running around in t-shirts, for goodness’ sake. I sometimes envy the culturally acceptable variety afforded women when dressing up.
      The conclusion is similar to scicurious’ blog post. The (rather creepy) message I get from this is: “we don’t have to try to stand out, and we shouldn’t, because we’re MEN! But you women: Dress up, in your frilly dresses. We need to be able to tell you apart and admire your appearance, so that we can select the right specimens for ourselves.”

      And as much as I would encourage people to just shit on cultural norms, when those norms make no sense whatsoever (which they often don’t), that’s much, much easier said than done.

      1. That’s a really interesting perspective on why women are expected to dress up more.

        Personally, I’d love to be able to join the Borg collective when I dress up for professional purposes. Sure, you could say that a woman can wear a suit (sans tie) as well, but the pressure is to personalize your look – to be classier/more fashionable than just a suit and blouse. Also, women’s shoes are vastly more complicated, too.

        Even if one wants to go the “simple” route with a dark suit and white shirt, it’s a pain to find a woman’s suit and shirt that fit correctly and look flattering, “age appropriate”, and professional. It’s like women’s clothing manufacturers have forgotten a lot of us have boobs and butts and hips and thighs and bellies that need accommodation in our clothes.

        1. I might feel better about joining a “Borg collective” sometimes as well, if it stemmed from an actual, professional dress code that, as Kaloikagathoi suggests, applied in the same way to men and women (bring on the academic gowns! \o/).
          So long as I would feel free to dress up a bit more interestingly at non-professional events. Which I do occasionally, I will say. But it seems like a special case: I do folk dancing, and for some of those events, dress up in a folk costume. And while the gendered templates are of course still present, even the men’s costumes tend to vary much more in colour and shape than the average suit would. Partly because many of them are modelled after traditions from different parts of the country. It’s usually a wonderful spectacle, the sameness pressure disappears entirely, and it’s part of what made me wonder about the whole suit thing.

  2. Amanda

    I just saw the first episode of that “Australia’s First 4 Billion Years” the other day. So far its really interesting and entertaining as well as educational. It seems they don’t have a lot of good science or history documentary like that being broadcast anymore, so I was really glad to see that. By the way, people who are into Paleontology should also be interested in it. It also also talks a lot about prehistoric life as well.

  3. I would say the double-standard of how we have to dress extends to the professional world, at least the world of tech. I’ve seen male engineers dress atrociously – ratty clothes, torn jeans, etc. However, a female engineer cannot do this. I mean, can you imagine a woman who dresses like Mark Zuckerberg in a position of power?
    On top of this, there is pressure to dress “nicely”, but not in a way that can be viewed as sexy at all. For those of us with big boobs, there is the constant search for the perfect shirt that hides the figure but doesn’t look frumpy. ugh.

  4. “Australia’s First 4 Billion Years” was really interesting (I might just buy this one). Once again though I cry at my inability to remember geologic timelines. I feel very uneducated that I can’t keep that stuff in my head. Seems like Australia is the place all geologists would want to hang out

  5. Do you have any control of the types of ads on the site? The Dominican Cupid ad with scantily clad busty women is rather off putting. There’s enough of that on the whole rest of the internet.

    1. Ugh, Moniqa, I know what you mean. I can’t stand most advertising these days. I hope I’m not telling you something you already know, but have you heard of AdBlock? It’s an add-on you can use to block most types of advertising on websites you visit, so you never have to see objectifying ads (or those super horrible weight loss things). I use it and I’m not seeing any third-party content on any of Skepchick’s pages. If you’re interested, you can get it for your preferred browser here: http://adblockplus.org/

      (I’m just a lurker, so I can’t speak as to whether the Skepchick folks can blacklist the Dominican Cupid ad. I hope this was helpful to you!)

      1. Just so you’re aware, ads are the only way this site covers our server costs. We block offensive ads as soon as we find them but there’s only so much we can do, since Google ads are targeted at the end user and based in part on your browsing history.

  6. theia: I absolutely agree, Australia would be a great place to visit. I occasionally visit it via, googleearth and have enjoyed reading up on it history and its coral reefs. But even with an awesome place like that on the planet there are great places to rockhound and enjoy EVERYWHERE! I am not a geologist, but I LOVE rocks and minerals :) My favorite thing to do is read up on the geological history of where I am living (I seem to move a lot) or where I am visiting, then squarely keep my head pointed down and find all kinds of great rocks, fossils, whathaveyous and bits of history right on the ground! Turns out rocks and fossils and history are EVERYWHERE! For me it is the best feeling.

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