Stop feeling - think 1

July 7, 2006

I was fascinated by your front page story "Female lecturers more likely to freeze" (June 23). This is an issue of considerable cultural importance. A female academic described how male colleagues had aggressively asked questions "that she felt aimed to destroy her argument. She felt personally undermined."

Might I suggest that given this was a conference paper delivered to her peers, there is far too much "feeling" going on here and not enough thinking? Her male colleagues were almost certainly not aggressive; this is an interpolation on her part. Moreover, being men, they took for granted that the speaker was capable of separating herself from the views she had expressed. There is more to all of us than our opinions.

I work as a lecturer in higher education and as a stand-up comedian and over two decades I have noticed that female students and female comedians find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to accept that criticism of an intellectual or comedic presentation is not a personal attack - it's a commentary on the work, not on the person.

Kevin McCarron

London

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