Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Third finger, left hand

When I first read about this, I thought it was stupid, and Schuman nails just how stupid this is:
Last week, executive recruiter Bruce Hurwitz dropped in from 1973 to offer some real talk to the networkers of LinkedIn: If you’re a woman interviewing for a job, “Lose the rock!” You heard the man, gals: If you’re engaged to be married, and have chosen to symbolize that agreement via a chunk of compressed carbon, for the love of all that is holy, pry that Taylor-Burton off your finger before you walk in the door! Why? Well, “When a man sees that ring he immediately assumes you are high maintenance,” Hurwitz explains. Because obviously all men in important hiring positions are heterosexuals with shrew wives at home whose $19,000-a-month Oxy-and-Botox habit hoovers away their bonuses, amirite?
(btw, when I was on the market, I was worried about being 'dressed for success' and in particular obsessed over the bone-crunchingly painful shoes Molloy recommended. I should have been more concerned about explaining Kant's schematism. Note to this year's job applicants: dress comfortably.I hope to see some of you on Skype in January.)
 Schuman continues:
The reasons female academics are routinely advised to remove engagement and wedding rings for interviews are, of course, totally sexist. If committee members see a ring on a woman’s finger, they will surely fret—as they finalize the pages from Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble on their syllabus—that she’s going to try to finagle an expensive spousal hire for her husband. Wives of male academics, on the other hand, are never assumed to need a career as a condition of relocation, or they’re assumed to be content with courtesy title and a few shitty adjunct courses per year. (A man, on the other hand, would of course be far too emasculated, if everyone in the department knew him as “the spousal hire” adjunct. Not even worth considering!)
Ach, worse, the committee members will worry—as they donate another $25 to the historic Clinton presidential campaign—does this young lady think she’s going to pop out a litter and take fifty maternity leaves as soon as she gets a steady job, and throw her tenure case down the drain? Of course, with (cisgendered, hetero) male applicants this isn’t an issue. For, lo, there is no marriage or baby “penalty” for them—indeed, a family is a career booster for them—so search committees rarely worry that a man’s family will impede his productivity.
And no, I’m not talking about some high-pressure STEM field where people are in a race against time to invent a sentient robot that has more empathy than the current, prevailing sentient robot. I understand that the pressure on scientists of all genders to “be in the lab Sunday or don’t show up Monday” is real. What makes me so pissed is that this utterly irrelevant sexism happens in the humanities and lab-free social sciences, a.k.a. literally the family-friendliest workplaces the world has ever known.
Be prepared, job questers. I have no advice about the rings, but I do advise: wear comfortable clothing, and then stress over something more interesting. And for those academic bloggers who have in the past dissed Schuman for no discernible reason (I'm looking at you, Brian)---try wearing comfortable shoes. You'll think better.



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