More on Being a Woman in a Male-dominated Field

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Rose Woodhouse

Elizabeth Picciuto was born and reared on Long Island, and, as was the custom for the time and place, got a PhD in philosophy. She freelances, mainly about disability, but once in a while about yeti. Mother to three children, one of whom is disabled, two of whom have brown eyes, three of whom are reasonable cute, you do not want to get her started talking about gardening.

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83 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Who’s smart, and who’s smarter than who, is a constant question at grad school and beyond.

    One dynamic I noticed in college (and notice a lot on the internet) is that there are far more relational traits (so-and-so is more X than someone else) than binary traits (they either are or are not).

    Everybody is smart… it’s just that some are smarter than others.

    Therefore gaining status is always a zero sum game insofar as you demonstrate that you are clever by being *MORE* clever than someone else.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Also too: being clever is not the same thing as being smart, tho lots of people caught up in the game – the clever ones! – think they are.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        True enough, though there are enough clusters to make one suspect some sort of connection.

        Clever also happens to be a much more vicious relational trait than smart. Two people can both be smart and have a pleasant enough conversation. You get two clever people? There will be blood.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I first noticed the Value of Cleverness in grad school. I wrote a paper which (I thought!) convincingly dismantled a pretty popular and well received argument of the times, and a Prof commented to me that my argument was “clever”. My initial reaction was that his comment was mild repulsion. Being clever wasn’t the goal of the paper. I was after the TRUTH! But from his pov, a clever argument was a publishable argument which was a career advancing argument. Being clever was a valued commodity!

          But I also think being clever has tremendous merits. It’s the source of lots of the funny/entertaining/enriching/mentally simulating stuff we watch and read. And it’s one of the features of relationships that makes being around another person consistently a joy, or a creativity explosion, or synergistic in any other way.

          IT’s not necessarily a bad thing. In many ways – if pop culture is an indication of worth! – it’s a good thing. I just don’t think it’s identical to “being smart”.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          You get two clever people? There will be blood.

          Have you ever read Killy by Donald Westlake? It is the best illustration I know of that sentiment.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
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            says:

            I haven’t. But the quick review of it that I’ve read here makes me wonder why I haven’t heard of it (“because you’re a dork who, until recently, only read non-fiction!” “that was uncalled for”) and why it hadn’t been made into a movie.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Westlake was an incredibly prolific writer, the kind that uses four or five names at a time to sell to different markets. As Richard Stark, he wrote the novels I mentioned recently because they feature a sociopaths professorial thief named Parker, like your co-worker. Under his real name, he started with five very dark, noirish novels, of which Killy is probably my favorite. The sixth one, about a not overly bright Mafia hanger-on who gets falsely accused of stealing from the Mob and has to flee for his life turned out funny and became very successful, so now Westlake was his name for funny crime novels. Not too long afterward, Westlake wrote a book about an unlucky thief who was doomed to steal the same jewel over and over. That was wildly successful and was even made into a movie starring Robert Redford, so everyone knew what to expect from the Westlake brand. As a result, the first five, which don’t fit, became obscure and unjustly neglected.

              If I’ve piqued anyone’s interest, and on my recommendation you were going to try just one Westlake novel, read The Ax, although it breaks the pattern by not being at all funny. It’s the story of an executive who loses his job, and realizes just how much he needs an equivalent job and income to be the same person and what he’s willing to do to get back there.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      “Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I’ve ever had.”
      “Single-serving friend?”
      “You see, it’s like–”
      “No, no, I get it. Very clever. How’s that working out for you?”
      “What?”
      “Being clever.”
      “It’s all right, I guess.”Report

  2. Avatar MFarmer
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    says:

    “Smartness claims are also remarkably immune to counter-evidence (“He’s smart, he just doesn’t work very hard”; “She’s not really smart, she just works very hard”). Moreover, smartness judgements are deeply tied to the notion that there is such a thing as smartness, of which some people are lucky enough to have a big dose while the unlucky get less. And this view of intelligence, Carol Dweck has shown, makes it easier for stereotype threat and implicit bias to do their nasty work. Teaching people instead that intelligence is malleable and can be increased through effort helps to insulate against both phenomena. It also helps to motivate people to seek out challenges and to work hard.”

    There is no such think as “smartness” and a natural capacity for smartness? Isn’t it true that some people have a greater capacity for smartness than others but anyone who applies the effort can reach their maximum capacity?Report

    • Avatar Rose Woodhouse in reply to MFarmer
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      says:

      I think the natural capacity portion of “smartness” is vastly overrated.Report

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Rose Woodhouse
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        says:

        I don’t know about that — it flies in the face of everything I’ve experienced dealing with thousands of people in longterm counseling situations. Plus, I think biology/science has something to say about this. It’s not a negative judgement to say that some people are just born with a greater capacity to be “smart”, with smart meaning the ability to learn and comprehend difficult, complex concepts.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to MFarmer
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          says:

          I think the better way to say it Mike is that some people are born with a greater capacity to _______, where the blank is filled with a narrow and very specific type of thinking. I wouldn’t imagine too many people disagreeing with that claim.

          I think the resistance is to equating “being smart” with a narrow conception of intellectual, especially academic types of reasoning.Report

        • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to MFarmer
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          says:

          ” it flies in the face of everything I’ve experienced dealing with thousands of people in longterm counseling situations. ”

          Everything? Absolutely everything? No contradictory evidence whatsoever?Report

          • Sarcasm and uncharitable interpretation of your hyperbole aside, I do think I agree with this statement of yours:

            Isn’t it true that some people have a greater capacity for smartness than others but anyone who applies the effort can reach their maximum capacity?

            Report

          • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Pierre Corneille
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            says:

            “Everything? Absolutely everything? No contradictory evidence whatsoever?”

            Yes, Pierre, everything related to the subject. Why wouldn’t it? If I’m right, and I think I am, then my experience would be that natural intelligence is a reality, and some people have a greater capacity for learning and comprehending complex concepts. If someone says it’s highly overstated that fire burns the unprotected skin when it’s touched, and I say this flies in to face of my experience touching fire, is that so odd?Report

        • Avatar Remo in reply to MFarmer
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          says:

          A random person makes, on average, 2000 friendships over a lifetime

          That means that if you pick up a random person on Earth, you have 1 chance in 3.5 millions of being someone you know. it is equivalent to 0,0000028% of humanity.

          These 2000 friends in general were exposed to a culture similar to your own, don’t live too far from you and went through evens similar to those you went through.

          Where i am going with this?
          “In the face of what i experienced” is not a good argument.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Rose Woodhouse
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        says:

        That really doesn’t square with my own experience.

        I try to avoid blowing my own trumpet, but I’m going to have to for this example. I had an adult reading age by my 6th birthday, I exceeded my teachers in mathematical ability (not necessarily in knowledge, but in facility with solving a novel problem) when I was in the equivalent of 7th grade). At university I was able to get almost all As while doing less than half the work of other A students. I once compared pre-exam study schedules with one guy I shared most of my classes with and he spent 10 times as much time as I did studying and yet we got similar grades. While he expressed admiration at my intellect, I pointed out that he was the impressive one – he earned his grades the hard way, while I was coasting on talent.

        I really don’t think most people can do what I outlined above. I’m sure that IQ and other cognitive capabilities have big environmental components (both in terms of things like diet, as well as education and training), but there’s still a big chunk for biology to explain. It may even be the case that environment magnifies biological differences.Report

        • Avatar Rose in reply to James K
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          says:

          I was a very early reader, etc. too. Not as striking in math as you, but adult by 6. Turns out, we are not necessarily the ones who take the world be storm with our intellect. That is, early achievement does not correlate as well as people think with super high achievement (I’m talking Nobel level – I’m getting a phD, which is high enough, but it’s not Kant and I’m surrounded by plenty of people who were reading Dick and Jane at age 6.)

          Also, there is no child prodigy who does not practice. People have to log in the same hours and go through the same phases to achieve each level of mastery, child or adult. I’m sure you remember, as I do, reading all the time when you were younger.

          You probably have a much greater than usual interest in academic subjects. Diligence and willingness to keep practicing is a natural capacity and you probably have it in spades. You also likely had an environment that could foster such activities.Report

          • Avatar KenB in reply to Rose
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            says:

            OTOH you’re more likely to work at things that come easily to you, especially as a child. I don’t think the mere fact that successful people have logged many hours in practice is a slam-dunk argument against natural talent.Report

            • Avatar Rose in reply to KenB
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              says:

              No. no slam dunk at all. I just think it’s FAR less of an important matter. For example, in this case, you don’t get better at things doing what comes easy. You get better practicing when you hit a brick wall.Report

          • Avatar James K in reply to Rose
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            says:

            It’s true I did read a lot as a child. I think that had less to do with diligence (from what I recall I was fairly lazy) than the fact I get bored extremely easily. Still I did have a very supportive home environment.

            I do see your point though about people often attributing too much to natural ability, in fact that lines up with the Fundamental Attribution Error. Sheer experience counts for an awful lot, and many people have this strange tendency to just stop whenever they hit a problem they can’t immediately solve.

            I suspect like most nature-nurture stuff it’s a complex interaction of genetics, epigenetic and environmental factors, interacting in such a way as as to make attributing causes extremely difficult.Report

  3. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
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    says:

    We need to see what happened to the 46% female phil undergrads.

    “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

    I dunno. Seems to me men can just pull the plug on marriage and family and go philosophize–like that creep Rousseau–but women tend to prioritize their personal relationships. Just a guess.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      says:

      Seems to me you’ve developed a convenient stereotype. One that, to be sure, does not explain the presence, even the predominance, of women anywhere else in academia.

      My own field is mostly male, which is made even more noticeable by the fact that psychology as a whole (including clinical and experimental psychology) is mostly female. I suspect that, as in philosophy, stereotype threat plays a role. Cognitive psychology/science is math-heavy, whereas most of the rest of psychology, including much of experimental psychology, is not (a lot of undergrads major in psychology because it’s so math-lite). Fortunately, I think cognitive psychologists at a whole see this as a real issue, and are working to change this by reaching out to more female undergrads, and I’ve seen more and more female grad students over the years. But the gap persists. And I’ve been to a lot of meetings and meals that resembled the one that Rose described, so the field is not yet as female-friendly as it needs to be.

      Also, Tom, this feels like a necessary rejoinder to your Socrates:

      Up to the present what great philosophers have been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer–they were not married, and, further, one cannot imagine them as married. A married philosopher belongs to comedy, that is my rule; as for that exception of a Socrates–the malicious Socrates married himself, it seems, ironice, just to prove this very rule. -N.Report

      • Avatar Rose Woodhouse in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Yes, on Chris’s point – why not other fields?

        Chris, I work sometimes with cog sci folks and sometimes with dev psych. The dev psych people are ENTIRELY female, cogs are ENTIRELY male. It’s really striking!

        Actually, I once went to lunch with a popular moral psychologist (don’t go to that many lunches with prominent people, but there you go) who, per Tom, confidently told me as a matter of fact that the reason that there weren’t more women in senior positions in academia was entirely self-selection. Okay, folks, that’s it! Question over, let’s go home. I was like, seriously?Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Rose Woodhouse
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          says:

          Rose, you said “philosophers,” not synonymous with “senior positions in academia.” In fact a) may be an obstacle to b). ;-/Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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            says:

            Tom, I’m with ya on this one. At least as far as I think you actually want to run with it. Which probably isn’t all that far.Report

          • Avatar Rose Woodhouse in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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            says:

            Yes, he was talking about psych. And I shouldn’t have confalted what he said with what you said — fair enough.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Rose Woodhouse
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              says:

              Thx Rose. I’m simply musing–the “Philosophy as Bloodsport” essay is semi-famous and may be familiar to you.

              http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/philosophy-as-a-blood-sport/

              http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/blood_sport.htm

              I’ve really had it with playing Law & Order every time I open my mouth, and many women are dispositionally disinclined toward adversarial rather than cooperative discourse. Or at least that’s what I read @ LoOG. ;-0

              As a father of a daughter who is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in philosophy, I have been afforded a rare opportunity to see academic philosophers from the outside, through someone else’s eyes. But it is not just, or even especially, Diane’s views which have troubled me. It is, rather, that she has been the catalyst for my seeking to learn from my own students how they view philosophers and, along with that, the contemporary practice of philosophy. Many of my women students, having finally been invited to offer their opinions and to relate their experiences, have been forthcoming. And what stories I have heard.

              What so many persons currently practicing philosophy, currently serving as role models and mentors to students, find exhilarating – the cut and thrust of verbal battle – antagonizes, indeed offends, many students. Colloquia are viewed by these students – especially women – as the academic counterparts of courtroom battles. (Is there something of F. Lee Bailey, Louis Nizer, and Melvin Belli in many of us?)

              My students tell me that there is a palpable feeling of combat in philosophy paper readings and colloquia. And with their having alerted me to it, I, too, have come to sense it. Moreover, certain anecdotal evidence suggests that aggressive challenging of guest speakers’ theses has chilling effects on many of our students. For example, my best student of a year or two ago, a student with a real flair for philosophy, told me that she wanted no part of the hostility she felt at colloquia, and, despite my trying to convince her otherwise, was determined to leave philosophy. So far as I know, she has.

              It is not only in meetings. I find something of the same ruthlessness in many journal articles, and to an even greater extent in the reports that journal referees write about others’ work. I have, in various capacities, had opportunity to read a fair number of referees’ reports. Many of them leave me incredulous. What is there about writing an anonymous report on another’s work that empties the spleen of so many philosophers? Time and again, I have had to edit referees’ reports so as to make them, simply, civil. (Steven Davis, who sees far more referees’ reports than I do, has told me that he, too, finds many of them outrageously hostile.)

              Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Rose Woodhouse
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              says:

              Yeah, my fault. My only point in response to Tom was that his theory had little if any explanatory value, because it can’t explain any other academic field (and I don’t just mean “senior positions in academia”). The bit about my field was a response to your post, just saying, “Yeah, I see that in my field too, but I think my field is trying a bit harder than philosophy to do something about it.” I should have made that a separate comment.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Rose Woodhouse
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          says:

          Rose, oddly, almost all of the male dev psych people I’ve known over the years have been in cognitive development. Most of the cog dev people are female, but the males end up there. I suspect that is self-selection, though on the part of the males not the females.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      says:

      Relatedly, when I was an undergrad, one of my profs told me that she had been told in grad school not to get married until she had tenure, by more than one person. I’ve seen heard from other female grad students and faculty that they’ve gotten similar advice. I never received that advice, and I don’t know any male grad students or faculty who have. I suspect this is because a lot of people, both men and women, share Tom’s stereotype, which leads them to believe that women, if they get married before they get tenure, will either not get tenure or the marriages won’t last, but if men get married before they get tenure, they’ll be just fine. Because hey, women expect their men to be away from home 14 hours a day, but men want their wives at home in time to make dinner, right (this is the other side of Tom’s stereotype, it seems to me)?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
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        says:

        I think Tom’s sterotype actually goes the other way in the case you’re describing. It’s that women who get married early aren’t committed to their career in the same way a man could/would be committed to their career. There’s kids, acourse. And the whims of the husband’s career choices, which may “require” the woman to relocate and surrender her appointment.

        All stereotypes, of course. But but not denigrating to women, necessarily. It’s more a stereotype based on evidence – and the persistence of stereotypical cultural roles each sex ends up playing.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
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          says:

          Yeah, that’s what I meant with the last bit: either you wait until you get tenure, so that you can focus on your career, or you get married and focus on the family. You can’t do both. I assume that’s what Tom thinks, and what the “don’t get married until you get tenure, ladies” folks mean.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
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            says:

            And interestingly, that advice would still be relevant if women (rather than men) were deciding who gets hired to academic positions, it seems to me.Report

            • Avatar Rose Woodhouse in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              I was just talking about this with my advisor when talking about the job market. I think people are very concerned that you are not sufficiently devoted if you are a married female especially with kids — no one worries if you are male. (My husband is a male in the same department, so we have a real basis for comparison).Report

              • Avatar FridayNext in reply to Rose Woodhouse
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                says:

                I was wondering if you know of any research of the effect of the practice of spousal hiring on this phenomenon and the difference between subjects. I am a graduate student in a history department that is about one third spousal hires. All were married, as far as I know, before being hired, let alone tenured and I think the balance of gender strongly favors men hired because of their more recruited wives (flag ship state school in the SEC with a fairly large department). That’s not data, obviously, but I was curious if there was any studies that show how these practice effects gender equity and marriage.

                And if not studies I wonder how this growing practice fits in with this subject.Report

              • Avatar Rose in reply to FridayNext
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                says:

                There are no studies that I know of, and I’m pretty sure I would have come across them.

                I certainly can’t think of any philosophy departments that are 1/3 spousal hires! There is one in my department, and the woman was hired because of the more recruited man (but she had made a not insignificant name for herself). I think that is unusual, and that if there are spousal hires, it is usually male for more recruited female or power couple.

                My husband and I expect that one of us will have to give it up or adjunct.

                No studies in history then?Report

        • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Stillwater
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          Sometimes I think it’s the expectations throw at women because of those stereotypes that makes them throw up their hands and say ‘There are a lot of things I could do with this degree. Academia is not worth dealing with this #$%@’.Report

  4. Avatar George Turner
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    says:

    Seems to me you’ve developed a convenient stereotype. One that, to be sure, does not explain the presence, even the predominance, of women anywhere else in academia.

    The explanation is pretty simple. Philosophers usually sit alone on mountaintops, where the weather is windy, nasty and often cold. Hot women can’t make full use of their gift of hotness if nobody can see them because they’re alone – on a mountaintop. Even if someone did see them, they’d be layered in flannel and baggy outwear, so again, their hotness is poorly rewarded in the marketplace. Even when they come down off the mountain, they’re still dressed like a bag lady with a bad hair day, so even prestigious academic positions can’t compensate for the basic lifestyle flaw.

    In contrast, the male archetype of the crazed monkish genius with bad hygiene has been with us forever, so a man can wear flannel, sunglasses, and grow a scraggly beard (looking exactly like the Dr. Dario dude in his FB photo) without destroying perceptions of his social status. The problem with the professor in question is that he’s upset that he’s pulled off the look and paid his dues on the mountain top, imagining himself to be a Jedi knight crossed with Bertrand Russell, but when he comes down off the mountain to attend a conference, there’s no Mara Jade, no Princess Leia, Black Widow, Nikita, Lara Croft (oops, she’s not at the archeology conference, instead), Catwoman, Poison Ivy, EVA, or any other femme fatales looking to apply Nietzsche and Machiavelli to philosophy-conference hotel-room sexapades.

    And they are not there because hot women would like their hotness appreciated more than just once a year, and not by scuzballs in flannel and tweed who think they’re Jedi knights. If they wanted that, they’d go to Comic-Con in a Leia bikini and save themselves the trouble and expense of getting a PhD in philosophy.

    But perhaps I’m stereotyping.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to George Turner
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      says:

      Maybe I’ve been dealing with crazy conservatives for too long in my life, but I can’t tell if this is a great post of sarcasm or actually serious.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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        says:

        Like all such great pieces, it’s both.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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        says:

        Well, my other option was to examine what the world would be like if philosophy departments were in fact filled with hot babes. Charlie Sheen would obviously hire a couple nubile PhDs, parade them around as his “personal philosophers”, and subject us all to a worldview so impenetrably batty that it would leave society in tatters and send people fleeing to the nearest church of scientology to find respite. Academia would crumble, and with it would collapse the entire edifice of Western thought and culture.

        Some philosophers suggest that something similar must’ve happened with Tom Cruise and pyschology babes, and in the post-apocalyptic aftermath a handful of surviving scientists managed to send a single man back in time to prevent that unholy nexus at any cost. That man was L. Ron Hubbard. The question is what percentage of philosophy chairs believe this, and think hot women in philosophy are an existential threat as great as Skynet, the Sith, or Mitt Romney, and how they’d rank these threats respectively.

        That, or as Tom pointed out above in his Bloodsport comment, and I’d elaborate on, girls who already have high social status (cheerleaders, yay!) are probably not going to be attracted to a field where the powers that be delight in publically shredding their ideas, causing an immense loss of prestige and reinforcing the worrisome signal that they’re valued because they’re very pretty, not because they’re very smart.

        It may be that an underlying insecurity and the lack of positive reassurance within the field of philosophy, as practiced, drives a significant portion of that set away. It would narrow the field to girls who are supremely self-confident or who are hardened to attack and derision, who didn’t grow up afraid that people would apply the dumb blonde stereotype to them, and who don’t just assume that they should enjoy praise, prestige, and social status because it’s always been showered on them.

        So basically, if the philosophers sat around at conferences pointing out how super-smart and elite all the attendees were, it would be as packed with babes as a party in Charlie Sheen’s tiger-blood filled hot-tub, even if everyone there was a total dick. If instead you accuse each other of being wrong and fundamentally misguided (etc), then you’ve got Nick Nolte, Joe Piscopo, Robert Blake, and Carrot Top getting drunk in the hotel bar, wondering where all the womin’s are at.Report

    • Avatar Rose Woodhouse in reply to George Turner
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      This was awesome.Report

  5. Avatar Peter
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    says:

    Men often (usually?) consider younger women to be more attractive than older ones. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that most of the women at this neuroscience conference were age 30 or older. Hence, not as attractive to some male observers as a group of, say, 20ish women would be.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Peter
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      Well, the attending women were PhDed, tenured, practicing Neuroscientists!, yes?, and not young, perhaps impressionable grad students. So there’s that.Report

      • Avatar Rose in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Is that true? When I go to conferences (in phil and psych, not neuro) there’s usually a mix of grad students, untenured and tenured. Actually, tenured profs have least reason to go.

        You guys are the males, so I suppose you know what you like, and you all say you like the young ones. But I am in my late 30s. I still get lech-ified and seriously, not much less than I ever did. If you guys didn’t all say that all the time, I wouldn’t think that. The main difference is that men in their 20s are not interested.

        Anyhow, the larger point is that this guy’s opinion does not generalize in that plenty of people hook up at academic conferences. And get hit on. And get harassed. They’re kinda famous for it. I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Rose
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          Yeah, I know what conference he was attending, and there are definitely a lot of grad students there. That said, I think Still was being facetious.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Rose
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          says:

          {{{Oooops.}}} You’re right about all that. That comment was intended to be a dig at the guy at in the OP photo and his comments about the conference, and a more general comment about … I don’t even know what, excatly … power structures that some men internalize as a right of status, I guess.

          It was out of bounds, no doubt. Sorry. But I’ve seen – or used to see – that dynamic in play quite frequently.Report

          • Avatar Rose in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            Sorry, Still. Misread you.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Rose
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              says:

              Thanks for that. It was a subtle enough point that confusion about my intent was understandable, but I think the comment itself was inappropriate. I don’t know that guy. And people just do what they do. And it’s a sensitive enough subject – one which I take seriously – that I should have exhibited more care before hitting submit.Report

        • Avatar Remo in reply to Rose
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          says:

          Well, to be honest, i just think that as guys get older, the ‘good age’ gets broader.

          You start up very restrictive, and as you grow older your restrictions fall. You don’t see much young guys interested just because they are still too restrictive.

          Well, except the odd one. There is always someone that is attracted to something.Report

    • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Peter
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      says:

      I suspect it had less to do with the women being older and more to do with the fact that none of them found him particularly appealing. Scumbags who get rejected (because somehow the women there were immune to his obvious charm) tend to react with ‘all them bitchez was dogs anyway’.Report

  6. Avatar Shazbot3
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    says:

    I’ll guess the ethicist was Schafer-Landau and you go to school in Wisconsin.

    Or maybe McMahan and you go to Rutgers.Report

  7. Avatar Shazbot3
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    says:

    Just joking.

    But I am curious as all heck.Report

    • Avatar Rose in reply to Shazbot3
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      says:

      I kinda wish I could tell! Neither of those guys, and he’s not at my school (this was at a conference). I wish I went to Rutgers, would be less worried about the job market! My school is closer to Wisconsin in the rankings.Report

  8. Avatar BlaiseP
    Ignored
    says:

    Somehow a comment of mine about Elizabeth Anscombe got lost. Always liked her work on Intent.Report

  9. Avatar joey jo jo
    Ignored
    says:

    Rose, I see this cut the other way as well. My wife is active in a charity organization and organized a local action team. She and her fellow volunteers are attractive people. Their photos were picked up by the larger charity organization’s facebook page and things blew up. First, people were angry that the charity used paid to pose models for the pictures. After the organization noted that these were the actual action team, the outrage pivoted to, “using attractive people undermines the mission of the organization because people could look for the wrong reasons”. Ahhh, humanity.Report

  10. Avatar NewDealer
    Ignored
    says:

    “Who’s smart, and who’s smarter than who, is a constant question at grad school and beyond.”

    I knew that this plagued me a lot in my MFA program. The faculty liked me but I was clearly not a favorite in terms of people who they thought were going to have big careers. The dean summed me up as being a “model student, problematic director”.

    Ironically, now that I have given up on theatre for the time being, went to law school, and am working as a lawyer, now people are telling me that I will end up with my name in lights and on Broadway. I find it kind of ironic that it took getting a law degree to have people tell me “I can see you pitching a TV show successfully”Report

  11. Avatar Shazbot3
    Ignored
    says:

    Scar Face’:

    In philosophy, first you get the PhD, then you get the tenure-track job, then you get the publications, then you get the tenure, then you get the power, then you get the money, then you get the women.

    (That use of the apostrophre to say Scar-Face prime was very clever of me.)Report

  12. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    I support Professor Dario Maestripieri’s position, but it’s worse than just not enough hot girls at this conference.

    There are simply NOT enough hot “super model” types around anywhere! (With the possible exception of a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

    This deficiency simply MUST be corrected!!!!Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Suggest you read the japanese research on how to correct this obvious deficiency.
      And then promptly go crawl back into the hole that you came from, as a man with your attitude will never, ever get a chance to put theory into practice.Report

    • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, and despite being in a male-dominated field, there are simply never any guys at conferences who look at all like David Beckham. It is extremely unfair! ;DReport

      • Avatar Remo in reply to bookdragon
        Ignored
        says:

        Excercise does some part in looking like David Beckham.

        You can count on the fingers how many hours of excercise a collective of scientist did on the last year.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Remo
          Ignored
          says:

          You can count on the fingers how many hours of excercise a collective of scientist did on the last year.

          That’s definitely an inaccurate stereotype. Hell, about 10% of the scientists I know ride bikes to work, and a large portion of them work out regularly. I even knew one who was one of those “all natural” competitive body builders.

          Scientists, in my experience, tend to be very obsessive people, and very obsessive people do well with work out regimens.Report

        • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Remo
          Ignored
          says:

          I know a lot of scientists who work out (myself included). The point was more-or-less that male-dominated fields may lack supermodel type women, but given the large number of men, the lack of men who resemble hot male underwear models is truly appalling!

          (yeah, I know Beckham started as a sports figure, but the name brings to mind certain ads…)Report

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