Friday, August 22, 2008


At one of the many pre-semester events yesterday, not one of which included a visit from the syllabus-writing fairy, I found myself in a cheery little conversational circle with a bunch of boyz (some of whom would revel in this designation, and at least one who would probably resist it). All of them were hamming it up to some degree; someone had made a comment about how he might be called upon to dance while giving a presentation in Big Sky Country next week, and that kicked off a series of jokes about everything from the Cabbage Patch dance (remember that one?), to Brokeback Mountain. A VERY senior faculty member walked as we were hamming it up and remarked: "I love this! One, two, three, four, five (counting the menz) to one!" and walked away. My just-hired colleague turned to me and said: "I don't think she meant that the way it sounded..." Another remarked: "She thinks we're your posse!!"

It's certainly the case that there is a surplus of women on my campus. It's an issue in the student body (almost 80/20 women/men), and it's also reflected in the faculty---particularly in my department. When I first got hired, I remember thinking that this was a great thing---such a woman-centered department! Since I'd just left Cornfield College and it's network of old guys in blue blazers, I thought I'd arrived at Amazon Island. Five years and many bruises from the granny mafia later, and I've revised my ideas. A female-heavy faculty does not make a female-friendly faculty. I've got friends and colleagues here who are sisters of the first order; and I have colleagues here who run the gamut from "my feminism says you're bad" to "I'll throw you under a bus to make my own star shine brighter. Bitch."

And so I have to pause for a moment to give the boyz some love. They are bringing an energy and an irreverence to my academic life that is sorely needed, and in doing so, letting me be less focused on the number of upcoming shitstorms and more on planning happy hours in the coming weeks. Huzzah for the y-chromosome in the xx pool. Now someone get me a beer.



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