Recently, a female colleague said that she believes that I had achieved my professional position because I am an attractive woman and work for male administrators. The (not-so-subtle) implication of this statement was that, as an attractive woman, I was given opportunities not afforded to others who she believes are better qualified than I am.
To be quite honest, I was shocked at this accusation. I would never classify myself as an attractive woman. I would describe myself as a runner, athletic, a feminist, an educator, a wife, a sister, a mother, an animal lover, and a laundry list of other adjectives…but never would I label myself as “attractive.” The idea of of using my appearance in an attempt to get ahead is ridiculous to me. I am the person running out the house at the last minute with a dryer sheet stuck to the arm of her blouse. I am so frugal that I only shop at second-hand clothing shops and that one red tag clearance rack at the back corner of the store. My husband is far more fashion forward than I am. In fact, he does all the ironing in our household as my skill level is not up to his standards, which is fine by me. I spray that magic wrinkle spray on myself and call it good enough. Most of my time outside of work is spent in running shoes and workout clothing. My beauty “routine” consists of my daughter’s baby oil, eczema cream, and prescription acne ointment from a dermatologist (yes, in my mid-30’s I am plagued by both acne and wrinkles). Those are certainly not the features that one would normally associate with “attractive.” Continue reading Feminism and the Alpha Female
This is the third post in a series contributed by Susan Albertine, Senior Fellow at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).
This blog post started as a conversation with my daughter. About three years ago, I asked my daughter about feminism. She, Hannah, had just finished her first year of college. Prime time for a mother to swoop in and take temperature. Let’s be more precise. Second-wave feminist mom who at age 43 gave birth to her daughter descends on wary daughter after year one of college, bearing annoying questions. I could easily have been her grandmother, but she was under no obligation to extend me that courtesy.
I took the risk. Note: I am often too direct for my own good. Indeed, the conversation was awkward. Asked about the word feminism, Hannah said, “That’s your generation. I don’t know a single person who says she’s a feminist.” She said it genially, with a gleam in her eye. It put me in mind of her baby self, beaming with love, looking me straight in the eye, opening wide her adorable little mouth, and biting me. Her young adult conversations retain both their affection and their teeth. I felt it, but I was ready. Then followed ruminations.
Continue reading Reflections on Gender Equity in Higher Education: Intergenerational Feminism Starts at Home
This is the second post in a series contributed by Susan Albertine, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).
In the months since I last wrote for #SAFeminist, we’ve seen racial, ethnic, and sex-gender violence continue to flare across the country, on campuses, and in communities. For some of us, this unrest seems new, a different turn of events. Others of us–I among them–hear and feel the past echoing in the present. Many of us recognize a high-publicity phase of conditions that have simmered, boiled, and exploded all along. Perspective matters here.
Regardless of one’s experience, regardless of the ways one recognizes origins and continuity, social unrest now is impossible to miss. Reading an opinion piece by Danielle Allen, a political philosopher at Princeton, I found myself stunned by empathy when Allen describes—in a single sentence—a moment of continuity in her life. She says, “I, too, was called ‘n-‘ on campus in the lovely, deep late-night dark of Princeton in the spring of 1993.” That sentence haunts me. It is an experience I, as a white woman, have never known. But for a moment I felt a pulse of familiarity. It was not the full actuality, which is beyond my grasp. Still I felt breath and heartbeat for a moment. Thinking about equitable leadership for this #SAFeminist blog post, with that sentence ringing in my ears, I realize what I need to say. Continue reading Reflections on Gender Equity in Higher Education: Equity and Leadership
by: Jodi Koslow Martin
An alternate title for this entry is ” What’s Taking So Flipping Long?” Let me explain.
In 2012, Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an article in The Atlantic titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” This article sparked a great deal of debate and dialogue among professional women and was certainly a point of discussion for the founding authors of this blog. Recently, Ms. Slaughter’s spouse, Andrew Moravcsik, added his own entry into the same periodical, which was titled “Why I Put My Wife’s Career First.” As you can guess from the title, it was a personal reflection of the choices that the two-career couple made with respect to the ever elusive balancing act of raising kids and having a meaningful careers.
As you can imagine, this article elicited some strong responses from the women in our group, especially from me. My reaction was this…of course there’s a lead parent! Sometimes, there’s even only one parent. We’ve all known this. It seems as if it’s taking a really long time to finally realize it’s OK if it’s a male lead parent. Like a really long time. And, apparently, it takes a Princeton professor to say, “It’s okay, guys, you’re going to have to give up some things but this, this bond with the kids, ya’ know, you should really try it out.”
Continue reading Who’s Lucky: Choices about Primary Parenting
This is the first post in a series contributed by Susan Albertine, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
Reading the postings at SAfeminist, I’ve been thinking not just about leadership and mentorship for women on campus, but also about the purposes of leadership itself. Why do we—by whom I mean SAfeminist voices—care so much about leadership, specifically about female leadership? Is it really self-evident why it matters? SAfeminist writers are united in their call. I hear that. I hear that women continue to feel pulled between the personal and the political, between family and career, between fixed and fluid identities, between one polarity and another. Personal experience tells me those dynamics are real. What I am not hearing as clearly is why women’s leadership and mentorship will help right now. I’d like to reflect on that question. To what end do we envision the leadership for which we are calling? Continue reading Reflections on Gender Equity in Higher Education: An Introduction
By Jennifer Keup, Jodi Koslow Martin, Sara Hinkle, Jennifer Stripe,
and Heather Shea Gasser
Just over a year ago, the five of us gathered at ACPA at a 5 p.m. ed session in Indianapolis hopeful that a few folks would straggle in at the end of the day to talk with us (roundtable-style) about feminism in student affairs. Much to our surprise, the room was full to the gills, spilling out into the hallway. Shocked at the much larger audience than we expected, we proceeded with openness and vulnerability to tell our stories under the title Wonder Women: Leaning In as Women in Student Affairs. Clearly there was a need and an interest for opening up space within our professional development for the intersections between our personal, political, and professional lives as feminists working in student affairs.
After the session, we wondered out loud, where else can we continue this conversation with all of these fabulous people? and, how can we invite more voices to this discussion? and further, how can we move this forward for the purpose of social change?
And so in April 2014, we launched this blog, Feminists in Student Affairs, to provide a forum to continue the invigorating feminist conversation, connection, and activism. In the 11 months since, we’ve gained over 200 followers, received over 18,000 views, and posted nearly 50 contributions from over 21 different authors. We’re thrilled to welcome Amy Howton and Kristen Abell to the core editorial team. Continue reading #SAfeminists: One Year Later
by Heather Shea Gasser
My overall philosophy in serving as a host of Student Affairs Live is to bring to the forefront the topics and issues that we as student affairs educators, need to have open conversations about in order to better serve our students and the profession. Late last fall in the wake of the non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, it was clear to me that we needed to host a conversation about Ferguson and confronting racism on campus.
As soon as an opening in the schedule was available, I scheduled the episode and began looking for panelists to address the topic “#BlackLivesMatter: Confronting Racism on Campus” which aired yesterday on the Higher Ed Live network (a recording of the show is available here). Continue reading My Reflection: It’s Time to Talk About Race