A sin of omission

October 15, 2009

In the contributions to the feature on the "seven deadly sins of the academy" (17 September), one sin was plainly visible throughout but never named - sexism. Seven sins, seven male authors.

There is an assumption throughout the feature that academics are male ("nobody in his right mind", "alpha-male status", "every scholar worth his salt"). One of the many crimes against women committed by Terence Kealey ("lust") is to assume that all scholars are male and that women serve merely as "acolytes". Women are assumed not to be pedantic (so my fine combing of this article will be forgiven), nor arrogant (for it would seem we have nothing to be arrogant about); by contrast, we are criticised for our "utilitarian" appearance and for being "more interested in abs than labs". Indeed, the only woman pictured in this article is in her underwear.

So there we have women's sum contribution to the academy - our clothing and our transgressive desire for male scholars (aka "bitch-magnets"). Sinful? Shameful more like.

Rainbow Murray, Queen Mary, University of London.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Boats docked in Port Hercule, Monaco

Richard Murphy praises a bold effort to halt tax-dodging by the 1 per cent

It’s a question with no easy answer, finds James Derounian

  • Man walking, University of Oxford campus, photo negative

Donald Brown shares the experiences that prompted him to talk about ‘institutional racism’ at Oxford

  • Egg timer and clock showing deadlines

Meghan Duffy thinks you can get on in academia without being chained to your desk

  • James Fryer illustration (19 November 2015)

With no time for proper peer review and with grade inflation inevitable, one academic felt compelled to resign