mistaken identity

Sarah L. Pallas spallas at bcm.tmc.edu
Tue Feb 27 14:51:33 EST 1996

In article <3A2FB6B664D at canr1.cag.uconn.edu> Carol Auer,
CAUER at canr1.cag.uconn.edu writes:
>I have an office on a long hallway - almost all of the offices are 
>filled with male faculty.  However, I am the one that students come 
>to with questions "When is the computer lab going to be open?"  "Can 
>I borrow a pen?".


>What can we do?  Should we do anything?

I am one of the rare female faculty at a Texas medical school.  People
who don't know me often assume I'm somebody else's lackey.  For example,
when I bring a grant to our Office of Research for signatures, I'm asked
"And which doctor do you work for?"  I don't know if it's my femaleness,
or the fact that I don't wear fancy clothes like most of the female MDs
around here, that makes secretaries assume I'm a technician.  I finally
got a new lab coat that says Dr. Pallas on it (all the clinical types
around here wear such lab coats that are freshly pressed and look like
they've never been at a bench).  I also adopted a deeper and more
authoritative voice, difficult for a former 1st soprano!  This works on
the phone too.  People call and ask to talk to Doctor Pallas, and when I
say "This is Dr. Pallas", they'll repeat themselves ("No, I need to speak
with *Dr.* Pallas!"), as if it just doesn't compute that someone with a
young female voice could be a Dr. Pallas.  I find it very annoying and
not really all that funny after the umpteenth time.  Good for you if
you've retained your sense of humor about it!

Sarah Pallas

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