math_mommy (math_mommy) wrote in feministthought,

Cars and research careers

It is all simple with cars and customers.
Say a young woman went to buy a new car and made a deal with a salesman for  a sport car,  paid the required money.
Then when was the time to pick up her new vehicle she sees an ordinary used sedan. And the salesman tells her: “And then you can be my mistress!” Cheerfully smiling, like it is a bonus.  But she has expected a much better car and feels cheated. In addition the guy, married and elderly, does not look like his is in high demand even for free, let alone for a few thousand dollars which she is losing by accepting the used sedan. Realizing her lack of excitement he bitterly tells her that she is ungrateful and should not have come to him if she does not like him, and looks hurtfully, like he’s the one who is deceived. When she tries to complain to upper management, she is treated like her money does not mean much. She hears that the used sedan is good enough for her, and that the guy claimed her a liar.

In our day and age everybody understands that a female customer has every right to be resentful and sue if she did not get what was paid for.

While it is clear with cars and customers, for some reason it is not clear with girls and graduate schools. To get a Ph.D degree a graduate student must work for years, passing difficult exams and paying her tuition. And when a female graduate student believes that now she is on her home run to her degree and within a reach of her research career, suddenly all her work of many years and the paid tuition may go down the toilet.  Because a professor who promised his guidance to the female graduate student hits on her. What she had been seing as a guidance from her university, a service for which she paid with her tuition, for him was an opportunity of convenient and free dating. The situation for the student is lose-lose: if she rejects him, he will be displeased and can retaliate. If she does not and agrees for the forced upon her affair, her professional reputation is stained forever. Nobody will believe that her results are actually hers. And while it seems clear that there is nothing in it for her, you’ll be surprised how many professors do not understand that by pressing their students for sex they show themselves as not suitable for dating. Because a guy who abuses his power as a mentor presents himself as uncaring, hypocritical, manipulative and cheap. So the professors continue to do it. For me, such people are wish-to-be-rapists, because they use their power to get sex. I have no doubts that in case when physical force would be acceptable, like in a society where upper class men can have their ways with slave women, they would do it.

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