Thursday, March 13, 2008

Politics as Usual

Sometimes, political stuff in departments and colleges just sucks. I suck at politics. I don't keep a straight face well, and I have a tendency to say things out loud in front of important people, things that wiser people only say in the privacy of their showers or something.

I'd like to think there's a certain level of responsibility that comes with tenure, and part of that involves speaking your mind, hopefully I do it thoughtfully, reasonably, and respectfully.

I think I realized at some point that I wasn't good at the "good daughter/wife/supportive woman" thing, and so the patriarchal folks (including women who benefit from the patriarchy) aren't going out of their way to reward me anyway. And that made me a bit more outspoken. Or a bitch, depending on who you ask.

But I have mixed feelings about my attitude. I should just hunker down and get my work done. Or, I should try to stand up for what I think is right, even if that doesn't gain me friends. I feel manipulated at times, like someone who's not willing to take a stand will sort of prod me to be a bit louder about my stand. (That's different from knowing that people without tenure or long term contracts can't afford to take a stand politically. It's not my place to speak for those people, but it is my place--as someone with tenure--to try to be aware of how difficult our system makes it for them, and how relatively protected I am.)

I hate the sexist crap. I hate the heteronormative, racist, classist crap, too. (I hate the racism, sexism, and classism I fight in myself as I'm aware of it.)

There's also the whole "what if I'm totally wrong?" thing. Ugh.


  1. although i'm not in academics, this struggle between speaking out, being respectful, trying to find solutions, recognizing the burdens of others who are not so able to speak, and calling bullshit even if it is unpopular, and what if i'm wrong? that's all familiar.

    it isn't a problem exclusively of thoughtful women in complicated helping professions -- but i think it is easier for women to be branded as uncooperative bitches and marginalized than seems to be the case [generally] for men. do serious, substantive disagreements among men EVER get characterized as "catfights?"

  2. Thank you, thank you for posting this. You said it much better than I ever could.

  3. Anonymous7:03 PM

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