Let me get translate this for ya —
- (context) There has been a long history of male philosophers, who have nearly complete control over their grad-students, making inappropriate comments, demands, advances, etc.. toward female graduate students.
- (implied premise) female grad-students can’t hold their own and show their worth in the classroom by doing stuff like saying smart things and writing smart papers.
- If a female graduate student is mentored by a male philosopher, it will be assumed that it’s because of the way she looks.
- So, for her own good, male philosophers don’t take female grad students as mentees.
- Because male philosophers don’t mentor female grad students, fewer of them finish their dissertations.
- Thus, the reason there are so few females in philosophy is because there are so few females to mentor them…
YIKES!!! How about starting with the fact that feminist philosophy is widely discounted by the patriarchy that lives in many philosophy departments? They don’t see the direct impact of their own patriarchal system in their own hallways and offices?
How about the fact that I, personally, had NO chance to take graduate-level coursework from a woman.. because the only woman on the graduate philosophy faculty spent her time doing administrative-level work. I’ll never say I didn’t learn a lot from my grad school faculty, I did.. they were smart, passionate and nearly all of them were quite willing to work with women — and all of them deserved their positions. The thing is, I refuse to believe that in the decades-worth of searches that resulted in them having their positions, that there weren’t qualified female philosophy Ph.Ds in the pool — females who were equally qualified to do that job… I just won’t believe that.
How about the studies that show strong papers/arguments made by males are called “smart” and when they’re made by females the same arguments are attributed to luck — or, perhaps getting the idea from a boy?
How about the fact that the in-class experience in graduate-level philosophy courses is quite competitive, aggressive, and sometimes just plain nasty?
How about the stories of actual women in actual philosophy programs… the ones who tell the truth under a cloak of anonymity because speaking up would make them subject to subtle and not so subtle discrimination that would put years of hard work and sacrifice at risk?
How about the simple statistics about women NOT finishing Ph.Ds, and when they do, they have a hard time getting jobs…
Yea — not taking a female mentee is really doing her a favor, because the assumption is that she’s only worthy of being mentored because of her looks — yea, that’s it.
Damm… I’m lucky my dissertation adviser was wiling to take the risk of the perception that he decided to mentor me because of my looks — or, perhaps I’m lucky to be a chubby chick for whom that’s not relevant..