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

Board Member BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY (MAIN OFFICE)

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education

smiley, laugh, happy, funny, silly, face, faces

Scholars should cheer up and learn to take the rough with the smooth, says John Tregoning

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

James Minchall illustration (12 May 2016)

An online experiment proves that part of the bill for complying with the Freedom of Information Act is self-inflicted, says Louis Goddard