Instances when even highly-educated, powerful women allow themselves to be treated with a complete lack of respect annoy me to the point where I just get extremely angry. Female Science Professor describes on her blog the following situation that took place during a meeting with a group of male colleagues:
TWICE during the first half hour of the meeting, somewhat out of context, and completely gratuitously, one of The Guys mentioned that I was only part of this group because "they had to have a woman". He hastened to say that he was totally on board with this because he recognized the realities of the world today. Diversity has been deemed to be important -- although he noted that he has seen no evidence of the discrimination that some women in our field claim to experience -- so our group should be diverse.
So what do you think this scholar did in response? Told this jerk and the group of losers who just sat there quietly in the meanwhile exactly how far they could stick their group and their diversity into their assholes? Not even close.
What did I do when my esteemed colleague made his "FSP is a token" comments? I calmly changed the subject to one more relevant to the meeting, made a point that no one else had thought of, got complimented (by someone else) for having noticed something that had long been overlooked by other members of the group, and basically just moved on with the tasks at hand. I am a useful member of this committee, and I will continue to contribute for as long as it is worthwhile for me to do so.
She gets insulted by some creepazoid and her response is to try to prove that she is useful. When I first read this, I thought it was some kind of joke. This is taking place in a civilized country in the twenty-first century, and a woman whose professional qualifications have been dismissed in such an offensive manner meekly and submissively strives to demonstrate her usefulness and celebrates that one of the jerks in the group complimented her. Has the world suddenly gone insane? I wonder, if she thanked the kind sir and master for acknowledging her usefulness with a compliment.
If something like that ever happened to me, I would immediately and very vocally inform the losers of the group that I despise them and will not find myself in their company until every single one of them issued a public apology to me. Then, I would inform the entire university community exactly of what happened. And finally, I would publish the story on my blog with names and, if possible, pictures of every jerk in that group.
Women who put up with this treatment signal to the offenders that it is perfectly fine to insult and dismiss their female colleagues in such a way. If the FSP wonders where such jerks come from, I can tell her: they are encouraged daily by meek, weak and sad women like herself. We, the women, form half of the population of this planet. Together with men who are our allies in the belief that women are valid human beings, we are a huge power. We do not have to put up with crap. Let's stop sitting there like silent little robots, smiling and trying to prove our usefulness. Let us finally start telling the jerks that it is not OK to treat us like crap. Let's form our own groups and decide whom we accept based on their usefulness to us.