As the only female in my department, I am often the only member of staff to notice certain obvious problems regarding scheduling (after-school/evenings), female doctoral students too afraid to talk to their supervisors (but comfortable sharing concerns with me), exclusion of women from lectures and other events hosted by our faculty etc. After so many years of expressing these concerns, I had hoped others might begin to notice – especially since they are not being required by external bodies (university regulations, funding bodies etc). Sadly this is not the case and I am burnt-out. I want to be able to talk about my research, my projects, etc and not about problems that we should all be combatting together? Any other burnt-out feminists experiencing a similar reality?
Signed: Burnt-out Feminist
The story happened to me at an academic institution in Belgium
I am a non-white male philosophy graduate student working on feminism. I thoroughly enjoy my studies and find feminism important and existentially relevant on many levels. However, thus far I’ve found my work with feminism to be a difficult and alienating experience where male peers either dismiss my personal interests and philosophical work or neglect my personhood altogether. In this way I’m beginning to learn what it’s like for women to feel dismissed within philosophy, something that I’ve realized that I’ve been guilty of myself in the past. As a male working on feminism, I’ve become more and more aware of how philosophical discourse is utterly co-opted by male heteronormative culture.
I have women friends who hesitate to speak up in class because they don’t want to be “talked down to” by their male peers. Personally, I am still unsure of how to voice a feminist position as a male. While I feel compelled to speak up during class discussions on behalf of feminist thought, at the same time I feel uneasy about perhaps taking opportunities away from women to speak up for themselves. Especially when so many professors are prone to preface certain lectures by saying that sex has nothing to do with the content they’re about to speak on. But of course, as we know, everything is sexed.
Feeling my way through all of this has been a challenging yet beneficial experience. I just wanted to share this small snapshot of my experience of working on feminist philosophy within a dominant masculine culture.
Story signed by: queering masculinity
The story happened to me as in the year 2014 at an academic institution in Flanders