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?".

[snip]

>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



More information about the Womenbio mailing list