Passing (as a Student)

Posted by – October 24, 2007

I don’t know what it is about me, but the ladies in the cafeteria & some students (who aren’t in my class) as well as some administrators, seem to think I’m one of the students. It doesn’t matter how I’m dressed, though today, on a non-teaching day, being in jeans & hoodie probably doesn’t help. But even in a suit jacket, I’m still assumed to be a student. (Must be my acne.) There aren’t any grad students around, either.

Still, I’m wondering if I just don’t radiate professor. Probably I don’t, and I don’t think I will when I’m 80 years old, either.

I suppose the anarchy ring doesn’t help, nor do the new piercings, nor does the fact that the campus, in general, is pretty mainstream: sadly, no blue-haired kids, no goths that I’ve seen. A lot of athletes, though; I get the feeling a lot of people here have never met a NYC hipster before.

3 Comments on Passing (as a Student)

  1. drjillygirl says:

    Hello, sexism? My observation is that many female professors tend to downplay femme characteristics as a trade-off in order to be taken more seriously, resulting in a certain “frumpy professor” look. Femme characteristics, particularly if one is considered “attractive,” mean that many people don’t take you seriously. I’m not saying this is right, just that I have observed it. I think it’s because part of the package of attitudes that are inherent in social categories of “femme” and/or “sexual attractiveness (female)” excludes social dominance and authority (i.e. “serious”). Try wearing gray, loose-fitting clothes, forego any makeup, put your hair in a bun, and put on a pair of thick black framed glasses and see what happens.

  2. nmonster says:

    I can relate, Helen. Although I’m not a professor, I am taking a couple of classes at the local branch of Indiana University. I think I ‘pass’ pretty well as a student, although the bald spot might give me away ;-)

  3. Susie G says:

    It must be your youthful look. I’ve been mistakes for a student in my sons High school by the new principle. It actually made me feel really good since I’m probable 15yrs older than he is.

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