Male-tinted glasses

February 5, 2009

Last week's Times Higher Education confirms something I've been noticing for years. The illustrations of the typical academic, whether photos or cartoons, tend to assume he is male.

This seems to be your default assumption. Females do appear moderately often if it is students who are being shown or very occasionally in somewhat subsidiary roles in a picture of academics - or, of course, when illustrations accompany copy specifically about women. But the overwhelming impression is that the generic academic is a man. Have you thought about updating your view?

Helen Phillips, Cardiff University.

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