Category Archives: everyday sexism

Slaying the patriarchy: Everything I need to know I learned 20 years ago from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

By Stacia M. Fleegal

Stacia M. Fleegal is the author of two full-length and three chapbooks of poetry, as well as many essays. She teaches at the Elizabeth Ayres Center for Creative Writing, works for the Baker Institute for Peace & Conflict Studies at Juniata College, blogs erratically, does nonprofit domestic violence victim advocacy work, and resists. She tweets as @shapeshifter43. Her favorite season of “Buffy” is 6.  Reblogged from Salon.com. Image result for buffy vampire slayer

On March 10, the most feminist show in the history of television celebrates its 20th anniversary. Today, the many lessons of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” become even more necessary, because women aren’t any safer or more valued than they were two decades ago.

My love of this show — a campy, brilliant feminist relic of the 1990s that still boasts legions of fans just like me — runs deeper than the love stories, the witty verbosity, the gutsy fashion of Lucite rings and platform combat boots, or even the woman-centered witchiness I adore so much. Those are the reasons I continued watching the first time through; now, I come back to Buffy because I need a hero. Here’s what Buffy taught me:

Women get it done

You’d think this would be duh, right? Remember that Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced by men on the Congressional floor only a few weeks ago. To say nothing of what happened when Hillary Clinton tried to claim power. The colossal efforts of organization and activism by women of color are routinely ignored. Clearly we need the reminder.

Buffy is a hero because she kicks all of the ass, up and down the Big Bad streets of Sunnydale. “The thing about the Slayer is … she is a whiny little thing, but when it comes to the fighting, she does have a slight tendency to win,” Spike, the vampire who was at turns her nemesis and lover, once said. She does not lose, ever.

Buffy was a fierce warrior, but reluctant. Further, she is a hero with both flaws and a strong moral compass. Often, her faith in humanity facilitates the redemption and perseverance of supposedly evil characters; think season 5’s half-dead Spike chained to a wall in Glory’s mansion, or tortured and enslaved by The First in season 7. Often, he copes by muttering over and over, “She believes in me, she believes in me.” To maintain that kind of faith in the face of incomprehensible evil requires work, especially when it’s constantly tested.

Buffy starts out as The Chosen One, but by the TV series’ end, she and her best friend Willow have activated thousands of potential Slayers, called them into a realization of their own power, so that there isn’t a One anymore, but many. She doesn’t just get the job done, she lifts other women up, too.

The adolescent female voice has value

In an article in The Atlantic celebrating the 18th anniversary of the show, Sophie Gilbert asserted that, “in transmogrifying common teenage issues into actual, tangible villains, Buffy makes them seem important, and worth agonizing over. It also makes them seem conquerable.”

As an adolescent girl, I was angry all the time. There are a hundred reasons, maybe more. Joss Whedon created symbols of teenage angst in the form of villains; those villains include, according to Gilbert, “a controlling mother who’s so intent on living through her daughter that she switches bodies with her, a pack of teenage boys who become uncontrollably feral, an Internet boyfriend who pretends to be a normal kid but whose real identity is much more complex (in this case, he’s a demon called Moloch who got accidentally uploaded onto the Internet”). Whedon’s not-your-typical-blonde protagonist fights demons made literal and given greater weight and meaning.

Giles, her Watcher and librarian mentor, routinely questioned Buffy’s interest in school events, dating, shopping — all the “normal teenager” things she wanted to do. She did them anyway and still managed to “save the world a lot” from a rotating cast of Big Bads. Was Buffy distracted for long after Angel, her vampire boyfriend, dumped her? Nope. She missed prom to stomp some hellhounds. Was she swayed when Angel’s soul was restored despite the portal to hell opening anyway at the end of season 2? Her boyfriend, cured of his evil ways, was back! Nope. She stabbed him in the heart and sent him to hell, because it was either him or the rest of the planet.

Instead of cringing when Buffy cries over Angel or wants to go shopping instead of patrolling for monsters, we root for her to have that normalcy. Whedon turns inside-out the idea “that being young and frivolous and having profound influence are mutually exclusive,” which subverts both the sexism and ageism that prevent young women from being taken seriously. And then lets Buffy kick its ass.

Emotions and friends are total assets

Time and again, Buffy is told she should fight alone. The show’s opening dialogue features Giles’ voice reminding us, “In every generation, there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.” Though Buffy’s Watcher eventually gave up admonishing his Slayer for resisting solitude and an unwavering focus on slaying, Giles initially opposed her friendships.

Kendra is the Slayer who is activated to replace Buffy when Buffy drowns at the end of season 1, and the two meet in season 2. Kendra is appalled that Willow and Xander know Buffy is the Slayer. Giles tries to explain what a “friend” is to Kendra, who doesn’t understand. “You allow this?” Kendra asks Giles. Ha. Later, Buffy assures Kendra, “My emotions give me power. They’re total assets.”

Buffy comes to realize very early on that she could be even more powerful with a little help from her friends. She asks for help when she needs it. She includes her friends in her battles, though she expresses frequent misgivings about the danger they will encounter. She accepts their aid and support because it makes her feel more human and because she knows that they know what’s at stake and what’s worth fighting for, and believes they deserve to have a choice to take on that fight as their own.

Throughout the show, Buffy relies heavily on the Scooby Gang — always Willow and Xander, usually Giles, often Cordelia, Oz, Tara, Anya, Riley and Robin Wood — for help fighting demons. When Kendra dies early in the series, Faith is activated as the other second Slayer, and arrives in Sunnydale looking for a good time. But Faith, like Kendra, has no friends. No matter how devil-may-care she acts, Faith is not the contented loner she wants to be. Her loneliness is her very downfall, as she overzealously kills a human, pretends it doesn’t bother her, and is ostracized by the Scoobies. She takes solace with the up-and-coming Big Bad of season 3, the mayor, who exploits Faith’s barely concealed emotional neediness by treating her as his daughter so she will do his evil bidding. Faith has Buffy’s superhuman Chosen One strength. What she doesn’t have is Buffy’s support system.

Take no prisoners, but remember: redemption is possible

The truly evil are never spared on “Buffy,” but the sort-of baddies are never abandoned, never deemed lost causes. Spike, a notoriously savage vampire, was never a typical savage vampire. He loved. Spike loved his companion Drusilla. It wasn’t a convenient relationship; he was generally nuts for the nutso Dru and was devastated when she left him — so devastated that he kidnapped budding witch Willow to make her perform a love spell that would bring Dru back to him. When the Initiative kidnaps Spike in season 5, they implant a chip in his brain, making him incapable of killing or harming a human without suffering agony. Buffy refers to him later as a “neutered vampire”; I would argue that that the chip is only a literal manifestation of the emotions Spike already possessed. Love made Spike soft long before Buffy was the object of his affection; once he realizes he loves Buffy, he doesn’t kill anymore.

At the end of season 6, in the most notorious scene among Spike haters, Spike’s true evil resurfaces and he tries to rape Buffy. He becomes any abuser, any rapist, any misogynist in the world — both the imagined world of “Buffy” and the real world where I’m writing. And Buffy, of course, kicks his ass. I love Spike’s character, and I loved the arc of his feelings for Buffy and how it plays out, but this scene sickened me. Still, it is necessary that we are reminded of Spike’s true evil, to make the restoration of his soul carry more weight, to make his redemption that much more remarkable. “How can men not rape?” the show asks. The answer: By getting a soul.

Redemption is a major theme in “Buffy,” and one that allows her heroic qualities to transcend ass-kicking. Buffy makes both Angel and Spike, two ex-demons, want to be better men — to protect women, but also to stand back as women protect themselves. (“God, I miss watching this,” Angel says as he moves aside so Buffy can pummel Caleb in season 7.) In their feral, delirious, post-soul-restoration states, Buffy is the only one who can get through to both Angel and Spike. Buffy nurses them back to health (yeah yeah, tired female caretaker trope, I know), convinced they can be allies for good.

But men aren’t the only villains she helps. Buffy believes a grief-stricken, magic-drunk Willow can be rehabilitated after flaying Warren for shooting the woman she loves. She begs Faith to show remorse for accidentally killing a human because she doesn’t want to take her out, but knows she must.

And then there’s Anya. When the former vengeance demon is making Xander happy and not killing people, Buffy tolerates Anya’s quirks. When Xander breaks Anya’s heart and she takes up vengeance again, Buffy has no problem setting out to kill her after Anya’s massacre at a nearby college frat house. If you murder humans on “Buffy,” the heroine is coming for you. Except Anya wants to take back what she’s done and live as a moral human again. Conundrum! Can it be done? Can murder be undone? Buffy, twice dead and twice revived, lets Anya live when the boss vengeance demon “undoes” Anya’s bloodbath.

Anya is no stranger to apocalypse. She fled one in season 3, when the aforementioned mayor was fixing to unleash hell on Sunnydale High’s graduation day and she thinks Xander is crazy to stay and fight. At the end of season 7, though, Anya has different thoughts about humans: “And they have no purpose that unites them, so they just drift around, blundering through life until they die. Which they — they know is coming, yet every single one of them is surprised when it happens to them. They’re incapable of thinking about what they want beyond the moment. They kill each other, which is clearly insane, and yet, here’s the thing. When it’s something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they’re lame morons for fighting. But they do. They never… They never quit. And so I guess I will keep fighting, too.” By aligning herself with Buffy and the Scoobies, Anya redeems herself not just as a former demon, but as an apathetic “new” human, too.

What would Buffy do? Slay the patriarchy

It’s obvious to me now that “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is an allegory for patriarchal society, for all the misogyny and trauma and struggles women have to endure. I mean, Buffy kills Caleb, uber-misogynist and vehicle for The First Evil, with a girl-power scythe to the cock; and she smashes Warren’s Orbs of Nezzla’Khan, the barely concealed metaphor for testicles. It would be disheartening if, at the heart of that allegory, the conclusion is that only one superhuman woman can defeat the patriarchy. Whedon knew better. Further, he knew better two decades ago, and few stories bearing that knowledge have been written for the mainstream since.

What if we think of all the Potential Slayers in “Buffy” as survivors of rape and domestic violence? What do they have that we don’t have? Superhuman strength, and each other. Without each other, though, the superhuman strength couldn’t have saved the world, and the show would’ve had a very different ending. Collective power and consciousness are necessary for the survival of women. The show couldn’t have been more clear about that fact.

Many of the Potentials take a lot of coaching from Buffy before believing in and channeling their own prophesied power. Listen to Buffy, I say to today’s young women. Girl knows what she’s talking about, though she doesn’t look like an authority on more than leather jackets and lip gloss. Believe in your own power to save yourself and make the world better for everyone.

What would Buffy do about gendered violence? Empower women to fight back in large numbers, on a large scale. Urge them to take on the fight, not wait for it to come to them. I think Buffy would be a huge fan of self-defense classes, and I think she’d always believe someone who says they have been victimized.

What would Buffy do about misogyny? Surround herself with a support system of friends and allies. It’s OK if they’re mostly women, or female-identified, or witches, or lesbians, or formerly vengeance demon bad girls. It’s OK if they don’t look like you. Try to understand all of their unique, intersecting struggles.

What would Buffy do about consuming anger and fatigue in the face of persistent gendered violence and misogyny? Continue to believe in the good of humanity, even when it’s constantly tested. And never stop fighting back.

 

Read the original article: http://www.salon.com/2017/03/11/slaying-the-patriarchy-everything-i-need-to-know-i-learned-20-years-ago-from-buffy-the-vampire-slayer/

 

 

 

 

Fire Station and Campus

by Claire DeLaval ’17

Claire DeLaval was a finalist in the 2017 Bailey Oratorical competition. This year’s prompt was: “At the heart of the liberal arts is civic engagement: How can we use the values of our liberal arts education to heal divides in our nation and world?”

I love my life. This semester I’m taking all politics and economics courses, like Human Rights and International Political Economy. Once I’m finished with my day on campus, I head down to the fire station next to Johnny’s, Huntingdon Regional District 5. Three nights a week I have to be there by six o’clock to do my fire classes: four hours of classroom or practical skills all about how to lay fire hose in the bed of a truck so that you can pull it out quickly and smoothly; how to rescue a person from a vehicle; how to fightImage result for fire hose fire in its various forms. Being a volunteer firefighter in Huntingdon is just as important to me as being a student of the liberal arts at Juniata, but sometimes I feel like, in my daily life, I have to cross a divide between these two spaces I care about. I’m sure I’m not the only person here who’s experienced that–the feeling of belonging, somehow, in multiple places that are divided from each other. And on a societal level, it’s clear that we’re struggling with how to live in a divided America. Hillbilly Elegy, the memoir by J.D. Vance, was chosen by the New York Times as one of the “six books to help understand Trump’s win.”

For me, living in both these worlds has been a test of my values. I have learned that the values of one person’s reality will not always be a road map to understanding another person’s reality. I have had to suspend my reflex for quick judgment, practice open-mindedness, and most of all, confront my assumptions. Let’s confront the assumptions in tonight’s question.

“How can we use the values of our liberal arts education to heal divides in our nation and world?” I think we cannot put our liberal arts education to real use if we don’t start by seeing and second-guessing our assumptions. Historically, and even in the writing of this prompt, the liberal arts seem arrogant. Are we assuming too much? Until we confront our assumptions–examine each and decide whether or not it can stand–we are not ready to engage in civic action.

First, let’s examine the assumption that everyone wants these divides to be healed. There are clear divides between the fire station as it exists in the community and our college, up on the hill. But, since I started, my presence has created new divides in the firehouse itself. I’m the only one of us not from Pennsylvania. I’m the only woman. Not long after I started, the guys found out I was a politics student. I knew I was the only one in the station with my political views, but I value honesty, and so I was honest. We had arguments about Benghazi, and emails, and conspiracy theories. I told them I thought there was no way Trump would win. I heard a lot about that after the election.

Despite all our differences, the guys have let me in and we all get along. But we are firmly divided along political lines. We talk about politics in the station, but none of us is going to heal this divide and it seems no one really wants it to be healed, because we would each rather coexist with this divide than change our political beliefs. I find some of their views morally outrageous. They think I am an out-of-touch leftie. Sometimes, I wonder if I am. In electing Donald Trump, our country and our friends chose the candidate campaigning against intellectual elitism, against unity, and indirectly, against the values of the liberal arts. The changes people have experienced in the United States and the world have been a long time coming but the nationalism, racism, and separatism that define the world’s current divisions have been, in part, reactions against ideas that the liberal arts values, and against the condescending assumption of liberal elites that they know best. For us to assume that divides must be healed before different people can coexist is a critical mistake. If we demand that these divides be healed before we engage with people different from ourselves, we are walling ourselves in.

We have examined the first assumption of the question (that everyone wants the world’s divides to be healed), and it is up to each of us to decide whether or not that assumption can stand. The second assumption of the question is that we are owed a special ascendancy because we are students of the liberal arts. How can we–distinguished from others by our prestigious education, which we are lucky or talented or rich enough to receive–use our values to alleviate the disunion? It is dangerous to assume that if we only find the right strategy, stringing together the right parts of what we have been taught, we will be what is needed. If we allow this particular assumption to stand, we fail to live up to our liberal arts values by failing to face the world’s discrimination, exclusion, and inequality of opportunity. In the words of bell hooks, an academic and activist whose life’s work has been to challenge assumptions, “If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice, have recognition for difference without attaching difference to privilege.” We students are in this room because, somewhere along the way, we were privileged enough to attain an expensive liberal arts college education. When we graduate our experiences here, in our classrooms, in our labs, on our sports fields–these will have shaped our educations and they will set us apart. We will be different from the 68 percent of Americans who did not have a bachelor’s degree in the 2014 census. Our educations may allow us to do things other people cannot do. But we must not ever forget that the differences between people–whether it is the degrees we have, the colors of our skin, or the bathrooms we wish to use–do not make us better than each other.

The third assumption in the question is that we are the only people with liberal arts values. Our fire station is full of misogyny. But at the same time, the guys are committed to making sure I succeed as a firefighter. They encourage me to take leadership roles. Last year, when I told our Chief that I was applying for a Forest Service training program in California to get certified in fighting wildfires, he did everything he could to help me train for the fitness test. The crew I trained with in California made the news, and for a few weeks Chief kept forwarding videos he found online of me training in California, because he was proud of me. The guys encourage me to be the best firefighter I can not because they have read bell hooks or even because they spend their free time thinking about workplace discrimination, but simply because they believe a woman can do the same physical job just as well. They believe this even though they laugh at rape jokes in my presence. The complicated thing about values is that other people can share your values without sharing all of your values; other people can share some of your values while also having values that are completely antithetical to other things that you value. People do not have to be us to be good people. People with liberal arts degrees are not the only people with good and useful values.

Civic engagement is indeed at the heart of the liberal arts. From its beginning in late Classical and Hellenistic Greece, the liberal arts education was formed around the subjects considered obligatory for a free person who would participate in civic life. I argue that before engaging in civic action, we must challenge our own assumptions, and that this is best done by getting an outside view of our world. If divides are going to be healed, anyone can lead the way. Let us be open-minded. Our liberal arts do not preordain us to heal the world, but they may be our best tool in civic action. Let us remember what we have been taught. We can take note of opposing views without compromising our own values. We can listen to what others think without forgetting or abandoning what we think. We will not necessarily be the people who heal our divided nation and world. Let us have faith, and remember that our values are strongest when tested by the challenge of reckoning with our assumptions.

Professional Warnings

by Belle Tuten

After my independent study student left my office the other day, I realized that I had just done some serious gender-specific advising. She is going off to graduate school next year, and we’re working to get her prepared in terms of her research and language skills. Yesterday, though, our conversation turned to something else: “that talk” that I wish somebody had given to me back long ago.

I was 23, and newly married. I was at a major conference, for the first time in my graduate career. I went to an evening reception where I ran into some other grad students that I was acquainted with, and they introduced me to their senior professor. I liked him immediately: he was funny and charming.

This particular conference is known for its Saturday night dance, which goes until 1 or 2 in the morning. (You haven’t lived until you’ve seen around 600 medievalists letting their hair down on the dance floor.) As I left the reception to go back to my room, the professor I had met followed me. He asked if he could “escort me to the dance” (with a knowing look). Those who know me know that I would rather be dipped in battery acid than go to a dance, so it was easy to turn him down. Still, as I went back to my room, I was kind of rattled. He was at least 30 years my senior, and also married.  Had I imagined that knowing look? A few weeks later, I asked a friend. Sure enough — all his female grad students knew never to be alone in his office with him.

There’s one in every graduate program — at least there was, and I imagine there still is: one professor (usually white, male, middle aged) who thinks of the new female graduate students as his personal sexual smorgasbord. He might actually date them, as in ask one particular person out and see her consistently, then move on to another. He might also simply make suggestive comments, or quietly suggest to a student that she might wear nicer clothes or try to “look pretty.” Now that there is something called “sexual harassment,” he won’t often grope or proposition, but he’ll let women know that he’s on the prowl, whether he’s the charming or the creepy version. (Please note, he can also be she; the relationships may not be heterosexual. My observations are based on experiences I have observed, which were male-female.)

What do you say to a young woman who might encounter this kind of thing? First of all that she’s not imagining it, and if she feels uncomfortable, to listen to her feelings and stay away from him. If possible, don’t get him as an advisor. Don’t talk to him, unless in a professional setting and preferably with others present. And be straightforward: if you’re creeped out, speak up — to trusted faculty, to friends — and also to him. Take somebody with you if necessary. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Image result for male professor sexual harassmentI wish I could say that I saw some romantic relationships between professors and students turn out well. I know that they do turn out well sometimes. But the difference in power is so great, and the potential fallout so serious, that I can’t say that I could ever encourage such a relationship.  Now that we think of romantic relationships as partnerships, the attempt to partner with someone who is pretty much your boss can go terribly wrong.

“Don’t be Ugly”

by Belle Tuten

“I so sorry I was ugly.”Image result for little girl in a dress bow old 19th century

My cousin’s three-year-old daughter stood before me with solemn eyes peeking between her blond curls. She had some crumbs stuck to her lips.

She meant that she had taken and eaten the cereal O’s I had brought as a snack for my baby son. I said “That’s OK, honey,” and sent her on her way (valiantly not laughing).

It struck me that “Don’t be ugly” is what many Southern mothers say to their little girls (and sometimes to their little boys) when what they mean is “stop misbehaving” or “mind your manners.” It made me wonder what that phrase meant to girls, and to think about all it meant to me.

“Don’t be ugly” = don’t play rough games; don’t use strong language.

“Don’t be ugly” = don’t hit back.

“Don’t be ugly” = don’t smart off to your mother. Or your grandmama. Or the pastor.

“Don’t be ugly” = don’t argue with the teacher who thinks girls can’t do biology, math, science.

“Don’t be ugly” = don’t tell the music teacher that a boy comes into the practice room every day and harasses you. You’re pretty sure it must be that skirt you wore last week.

“Don’t be ugly” can mean “stop misbehaving,” or “mind your manners,” but it can also mean “don’t bring up uncomfortable subjects” or “don’t make a scene” or even “don’t tell the truth.” It can also mean “don’t do anything” even when someone else is doing or saying ugly things to you.

I can’t help remembering the scene in the Senate this past week, when Elizabeth Warren was, essentially, told not to be ugly to a fellow senator. The letter Sen. Warren wanted to read was later read out by four other senators, all male. Nobody told them, “Don’t be ugly.”

I decided to put that phrase aside forever.

I will do the activities and say the things that I want to say.

I will speak the truth; I may do it nicely, but I will do it.

I will not be silent when others are doing or saying ugly things.

I will do something. I will respond.

When ugliness is required, I will be ugly.

The Mansplaining Hordes

by Belle Tuten

Today a new version of the “mansplaining” meme appeared on social media. A far-right politician in the UK, Arron Banks, got into a Twitter war with one of the world’s most eminent historians of the Roman empire, Dr. Mary Beard. Beard has written more than a dozen books on Roman history, so when Banks tweeted that immigration had destroyed the Roman empire, she politely suggested that his view of Roman history was not entirely accurate. What followed was classic mansplaining: after doubling down, suggesting that Beard had no idea what she was talking about, and spouting a bunch of hot air, Banks ended by tweeting that Beard had been a “good sport” and then ended with this zinger:

“They [professional historians] view history through the prism they want to, it doesn’t make it right or wrong.”

If you aren’t grabbing your stomach from nausea right now, then congratulations, you have a stronger stomach than I do.

Beard herself is hardly unfamiliar with this sort of thing. In 2014 she gave the London Review of Books address with the title, “Oh Do Shut Up Dear,” in which she demonstrated the systematic silencing of women’s voices in literature from the Greek classical period onward. Toward the end of this piece (which is excellent; you should read it), she writes:

“We need to think more fundamentally about the rules of our rhetorical operations. I don’t mean the old stand-by of ‘men and women talk different languages, after all’ (if they do, it’s surely because they’ve been taught different languages)… [W]e need to go back to some first principles about the nature of spoken authority, about what constitutes it, and how we have learned to hear authority where we do. And rather than push women into voice training classes to get a nice, deep, husky and entirely artificial tone, we should be thinking more about the faultlines and fractures that underlie dominant male discourse.”

Amen. While we’re at it, let’s work on the other rhetorical constructions that Mr. Banks’s interesting Internet adventures highlight.

  • Everyday sexism. Certainly, by saying that Beard had been a “good sport,” Banks expressed surprise. He expected that she would behave like a bad sport — i.e., by responding negatively or with anger — i.e. emotionally — i.e., like a woman. Had Beard’s tone gone more negative, what do you suppose he would have said about that? Certainly, something along the lines of “Oh Do Shut Up Dear,” or “Don’t get so emotional.” Certainly not: “Oh, I beg your pardon: I see you have written 12 books on Ancient Rome and are better informed than I am.”
  • “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion.” I am going to start to call this EETO-ism. No, everyone is not entitled to have their uninformed, uninterested, or even malignantly ignorant opinion considered on the same level with those which are informed, interested, and educated. Philosopher Patrick Stokes has written a wonderful piece on this at the website The Conversation. Find it here.

A terrific book by writer Rebecca Solnit called Men Explain Things to Me relates the now well-known story of her meeting with a man who spent part of a party lecturing her on the “very important book” that she should read if she really wanted to know about a particular subject. The problem was, of course, that the book he was referring to was Solnit’s own book. (Read her account of that moment here.) Here is part of her reflection on that and many other moments:

“The battle with Men Who Explain Things has trampled down many women–of my generation, of the up-and-coming generation we need so badly, here and in Pakistan and Bolivia and Java, not to speak of the countless women who came before me and were not allowed into the laboratory, or the library, or the conversation, or the revolution, or even the category called human.”

As a college professor I have the luxury of having at least some claim to knowledge about my own expertise on my own turf (although many college students may not consider it knowledge worth having; that is a different problem). But I’m a professor in the humanities. There is certainly a different conundrum for my female and non-binary colleagues and colleagues of color in the social and natural sciences. I cannot help but think that as the humanities have more and more female etc. professors, the humanities get more and more sidelined by the “real” [read: quantitative?] social and physical sciences, from which female and nonbinary students and students of color are dropping out at demonstrably higher rates than straight white male ones. Is that also a statement on the nature of authority?