Friday, February 15, 2013

Conferences and photo ops

In this month's glossy magazine for my field, I found a photo montage with snapshots from the recent Annual Conference.

Now, if one were to describe the roles women play in The Field by looking at the photos, here's what one might say.  Women, judging by these photos:

  • Sell books
  • Listen to men and diligently take notes
  • Have men point to a large map and explain things to them 
  • Drink wine
  • Serve cake
  • Buy books
  • Sit in cafés

In these pictures, the men:

  • Walk and look important
  • Talk into a microphone
  • Lecture
  • Explain things
  • Think Deep Thoughts
  • Drink beer
  • Use smartphones
  • Buy books
  • Walk other places looking important
  • Lecture again
  • Interview for jobs

There are twenty-five photos over three pages.  Not a single photo shows a woman giving a paper.  "Oh, I know," quipped a colleague, "they must be at a conference where only men are allowed to speak!"  I'm terribly tempted to write a scathing letter to the editor... but I want a job.  I don't dare.

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