According to anonymous testimony from one of his graduate students, [one] particular professor has been starting his classes by telling his women students, “In my class, you check your vaginas at the door.”
You know, I am not unaware of how much power profs have over the lives of grad students, and I have much sympathy for the students described in this post, who've generally kept mum about this prof's behavior. In fact, despite my own tendency toward wiseassery, I must admit that I've kept my mouth firmly shut in the presence of many a sexist comment for similar reasons. (Just one quick example: a prof asking the "strong young males" to carry a book or two, as if all the women in that classroom didn't routinely lug about approximately a metric ton of printed material, some of us while wearing heels.) But honestly, I would have been physically incapable of keeping my mouth shut if a prof had ever said what this one did.
I am not sure, however, that I would have said anything particularly articulate. In fact, even right now, I am so mad about this that I can't think of a single clever thing to imagine myself saying to this unbelievable asshat. Anybody want to offer some ripostes?
Speaking of ripostes, I very much like GayProf's rejoinder to a typical conservative response to those progressives who critique sexist, racist, and homophobic behavior:
When questioning our funny-bone fails to win them approval, they claim that we are wrongly demanding them to be “politically correct.” This reductive phrase has become a convenient way for conservative individuals to refuse to scrutinize their own actions or words. Instead, complaints about real injustices or hurtful words get turned back onto women, minorities, and gays.
I have simply never understood the knee-jerk hostility to being “politically correct.” Opting to chose words that are inclusive or don’t hurt another person’s feelings hardly seems like a major chore to me. For some, though, clearly this infringes on their personal liberties. To those who whine about “political correctness,” let me say this: “Yes, we are asking you to do some work. It means you will have to think more about your own race, gender, and sexuality. Live with it. We have lost our patience for your racism, sexism, and homophobia.”
Thanks very much to New Kid for pointing out this excellent post. And thanks, of course, to GayProf for writing it.