Read and discuss.
Does anyone else have a problem with the fact that they illustrate this story with a still of John Houseman from The Paper Chase? (How many of you XX types have been told, especially in your younger years, that “you don’t look like a Professor!” by someone who meant it as a compliment?)
Please note that the only people interviewed for this article are male professors, and they rhapsodize about the opportunity to “humanize” themselves in their students’ eyes. Somehow, this reminds me of the discussion in January over at New Kid on the Hallway about clothing, and the fact that many male professors are clueless that the liberty they have to dress as they like in the classroom is a gendered privilege. I don’t really think my students need to see me as more “human.” That just gives them more information about me outside of my professional life, and my professional life is the only thing my students need to know about.
As it happens, I’m reading Leslie Bennetts’ The Feminine Mistake (which I recommend highly) and she’s got all kind of depressing facts and studies that show how women’s work is devalued, but in particular, the ways in which women are paid even less than other women and viewed as less competent if they’re mothers. As you all know, Historiann has a sex, but as far as most of you know, she is otherwise like the Publick Universal Friend, Jemima Wilkinson–a wife to none, and a mother to all humankind. Thanks, but no Facebook “friends” for me–I’d rather be a Professor Universal Friend.