Do male professors need and seek out attention from their female students?
A popular feminist blogger thinks so, as do many of her Twitter followers. She soon followed up with a humor piece imagining a conversation between two male professors bemoaning diminishing adulation from the new generation of female pupils.
A sampling:. Another follower cited a proclivity for flirting among her theater professors, one of whom bragged about once trying to meet women with actor Pat Morita. In anSaxena said she enjoyed close relationships with several of her professors, and that in New Orleans, seeing faculty members out at a bar was not outside the norm.
Making eye contact
Saxena said she never took classes from the professor mentioned, and therefore felt less intimidated than awkward following the incident. Johnson, who has her master of fine arts in creative writing from San Diego State, said she saw male professors seeking sexual attention from their female students as the rule, not the exception.
Some professors, male and female, used it to encourage students. Others used it to insist on how cool they were.
Johnson said the professor-student power dynamic was to blame, more than gender. Obviously not, but clearly there are structural issues at work in higher education that lend themselves to potential abuses of authority. Of course, other responses note undergraduate experiences free of any such behaviors from professors of any gender.
And some followers, including men, said they were dismayed by the experiences described. Whether any misogynist professors follow Mallory Ortberg is another question.
William Deresiewicz, a former academic and writer, published a essay in American Scholar discussing the professor-seducer stereotype, tracing its literary roots and arguing that it has largely supplanted the once-pervasive notion of the absent-minded professor, due to various cultural factors. It also advocates a certain kind of erotic intensity between professor and student, based on the Classical mentorship models. And finally, I think we'd all do well to be a little more self-aware about it, and a little less judgmental.
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