You know how sometimes it takes so long to form an opinion that it’s almost not worth voicing it anymore? That’s what happened after I read this list of tips for male academics on how to deal with women on TenureSheWrote. My first opinion was:”If we (women) are telling men how to behave, isn’t that exactly what we don’t want to have happen to ourselves?”. Isn’t the idea of feminism that we (men and women) are all treated equally and that therefore neither men nor women should tell the other sex how to behave?
It is not that I don’t agree with the list; I’ve had many of those things happen to me and I think that sucks. But after seeing the amount of anger and annoyance when people commented on this exact issue, I didn’t really dare to voice that opinion until I had thought about it a bit more. Because the reactions on twitter and in the comments made me doubt:”do I suck at feminism?”. Am I too privileged with a grandmother who had a job and a grandfather who walked behind the stroller? Am I too privileged with two parents who have PhDs? Am I too privileged because my mom always treated my brother and me the same? Am I too privileged because all my life I had this knowledge instilled in me that I could become anything I wanted if I just worked hard enough for it? Even though I get comments on the way I’m dressed and the amount of children I produce or the fact that I look way too young to be where I am in my career, my first thought is:”You can say that, but I have every right to be here and be as awesome as whoever just gave me that comment.”
But this upbringing also makes me think that everybody thinks the same way. And that maybe even though a man may comment on my outfit, that does not make him think less of me in a scientific way. This is where I probably go wrong. Perhaps my idea that if we all work together we can create a happy society where nobody needs to tell the other sex how to behave is a bit too optimistic. Perhaps it is necessary to tell each other how to behave in order to create more equality. Not just in science, but for everybody who needs feminism.