I was trying to get my mind off the Canadian general election tomorrow so I started to peruse some of the blogs on which I keep track from time to time. I recently posted on the foreign language educational cuts in Louisiana where I queried the motives of the administration so I checked on a blog from a Spanish professor in the state. This person’s posts from the last few days have been some of the most depressing that I’ve read in a long time.
”My larger point is this — am I the only one who thinks of academic atmospheres as violent, punitive ones, riddled with instability, menaces, and threats? I do not have this impression in R-1 environments but everywhere else the smell of danger is so rank that I have very serious trouble concentrating. Is it just me, or do you, too, find these things destructive?”
Speaking as someone who had been married to a person who at one point in her career suffered from suicidal ideation, I find these comments disturbing to say the least. It’s tough being a brilliant, feminist pioneer like my Ex – first priest in the history of the diocese to take maternity leave. My eldest two daughters were in utero when she was made priest. The joke at the time in the diocese was when the bishop was talking about the three in one (pun on the Trinity- Father, Son and the Holy Ghost) he wasn’t kidding. She did her graduate degree in what McLean magazine refers to as the top college in the country and ploughed her way into the most conservative, patriarchal organization that you can imagine.
Why do women blame themselves about situations which are the consequence of external factors? I’ve have been in some difficult situations but I never blamed myself. I accurately pointed the causative factors at the people who were responsible. A certain type of brilliant introspective woman seems to want to hole themselves up like Julian of Norwich (c. 1342 – c. 1416) - a sort of southern anchoress who acts like a hermit and engages in a form of electronic contemplative prayer. She says that even her suicide antidote, her cat, has disappeared.
Am I acting like a white sexist male? How do you say anything without sounding like a presumptuous male rescuer?