stereotypes

Janet Mertz Mertz at oncology.wisc.edu
Mon Nov 6 15:15:16 EST 2000


>Reminds me of my experience in Honors Chemistry in high school.  The class
>started out with 8 females and 16 males.  It ended with 16 males and 1
>female (me).  The male instructor would grill the girls in the class,
>sitting on your desktop while staring down at you, if you faltered in
>answering the question he would always say, "I'll bet there is a boy in the
>class who can answer that!" (Well, duh, one out of the 16 is bound to know
>the answer!) This was the cue for some boy to jump in and answer the
>question, while the teacher, still sitting on your desk, would look down at
>you with a smirk on his face.  After 1st semester, where he managed to
>dispose of all the females except for myself, he tried to get me out of his
>class by going to my guidance counselor and telling him that I was really
>"struggling" in his class and he might have to fail me (I had an A average).
>I refused to drop down and ended up getting a C, since I had a serious
>deficiency in sports trivia knowledge, which became an important part of
>subsequent tests in that class.  At that point, I really didn't give a damn
>about the grade, I just wanted to make the point that he couldn't scare all
>the undesirables (women) out of his class, no matter what he did.
>
>Sheryl White, Ph.D. (Biochemistry/Cell and Molecular Biology!)

Reminds me of my high school physics teacher who believed girls couldn't 
understand physics. After he gave me an 85% for my first semester grade, I 
went directly to the principal of the school. I told him that I had 
received higher grades on all tests and other graded work in the course 
than boys I knew who were given a grade of 90%. I was applying to MIT and 
would not accept a grade of 85% in the course, lower than any grade I had 
ever received in high school. The physics teacher backed down, raising my 
grade and saving face by claiming the 85% was a transcription error. He 
gave me a 98% for a final grade. We need to challenge blatant 
discrimination of this type when it occurs. Otherwise, things will not change.

Janet Mertz







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