Sexism Ed Redux

*The academy has a gender problem. And it’s not new.*

So, Sexism Ed has been out for 28 days. (Who’s counting? I am clearly.) And there are few things that I want to direct your attention to.

First, The Revealer published an excerpt recently, which is one of my favorite essays on all the men who pretend to be allies, but really aren’t. Here’s a glimpse:

A man, who claims to be an ally and/or a feminist, has become a red flag for me. Especially if he loudly proclaims to be an ally. Especially if he looks around to see if everyone is paying attention to him. Especially if he insists on telling me about his feminism in detail while ignoring my arched eyebrow.

Second, David Perry was kind enough to interview me about the book and sexism in higher education more broadly at The Pacific Standard.  We talked about the push back I received for even bringing up sexism in academic circles:

I received emails, comments, tweets, and messages from academic men, who wanted me to know that sexism wasn’t a problem in academia. They told me about how their universities (or colleges) had women presidents. Or how their departments had a lot of women. Or how there were women in their grad programs. Or how they knew a women academic once. They sent me anecdote after anecdote about how women were doing fine in the academy to tell me that I was wrong. It was bewildering to see so many men try to shout me down for mere mention of a gender problem, which really just seemed to prove my point.

Previously, David also hosted my cover reveal, in which I wrote a whole essay (of course!) about how I came to write the columns for Chronicle Vitae that eventually became the foundation for the book:

What I found instead was that I would write about sexism, and later contingent labor, in the academy for the rest of my life. The limits that I thought I would encounter were not there. The academy has a gender problem. And it’s not new. This shouldn’t have surprised me. We live in a patriarchy, but I had hoped that academia was somehow better than the culture surrounding it.

Third, I am guest hosting this week at Nonfiction Fans: Illuminating Fabulous Nonfiction over on Facebook. I’ll be giving away a copy of Sexism Ed and a copy of Grace Period later in the week. So, make sure to pop by and ask me questions. Here’s part of my interview that started off the week:

You’ve written books on very different subjects. How did that happen?

Oh, boy, I do *write* on very different topics from white supremacists to zombies to sexism, which tends to surprise people, who, I guess, think writers stick to one topic or two. I write about what interests and fascinates me but also I write about topics that make me nervous and uncomfortable. It’s kind of like, “What’s keeping me from sleeping at night? Yes, I’ll write about that.” But, I also like to write about topics, in which we already assume we know the shape (narrative) of the story, so that I can show how the topic is always more complicated than the popular assumptions about it.

Check out the full interview here.

And finally, I wrote about my very complicated feelings about this particular book in my most recent TinyLetter:

An author is supposed to be elated when her book is published. She’s supposed to shout from the rooftops (or tweet or email or message) about her accomplishment. She’s supposed to be beaming with pride. She’s not supposed to look weary when you congratulate her about her new book. She’s not supposed to seem bummed.

(If you haven’t signed up for my sporadic newsletter, you can here.)

Lovely readers, I have a small request for you. If you pick up Sexism Ed (or any of my books), please let me know. It is the best feeling in the world to know that someone is reading my book or books.

 

Sexism Ed, Coming Soon

*We live in a patriarchy, but I had hoped that academia was somehow better than the culture surrounding it.*

So, I’m late on this (because deadlines and life), but Sexism Ed: Essays on Gender and Labor in Academia is now available for pre-order. As you might already know, this is my newest book, and it will be published on April 2. (Eek! That’s less than two weeks from now.)

Here’s the blurb:

Why aren’t more women at the top of the ivory tower?

The academy claims to be a meritocracy, in which the best and brightest graduate students gain employment as professors. Kelly J. Baker, a Ph.D. in Religion, assumed that merit mattered more than gender. After all, women appeared to be succeeding in higher ed, graduating at higher rates than men. And yet, the higher up she looked in the academic hierarchy, the fewer women there were. After leaving academia, she began to write about gender, labor, and higher ed to figure out whether academia had a gender problem. Eventually, Baker realized how wrong she’d been about how academia worked. This book is her effort to document how very common sexism—paired with labor exploitation—is in higher ed. (more…)

No Silver Lining

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Graham Cassidy and the ACA

*Every time I used my insurance card, I was grateful for ACA.*

Here’s the letter I sent to Senate Finance Committee opposing the Graham Cassidy repeal.

Greetings,

I’m writing today because my family relies on ACA for quality, affordable healthcare. Because of this, I oppose the Graham Cassidy repeal.

Currently, I work as a freelance editor/writer, and my partner works for a small start-up company. For the last couple of years, we’ve relied on ACA for insurance for our family, which includes an eight-year-old and a four-year-old.

This week, our four-year-old complained about his leg hurting. We thought he might have bumped it, but he hadn’t fallen. Then, he started limping and refused to climb stairs or climb into my SUV. When I attempted to carry him on my hip to give him a break, he yelped and started to sob. I called the pediatrician for an appointment, once I realized that a limp is always something their office recommends having checked out.

I handed over my insurance card when I took him to pediatrician. He sat in my lap while we waited, which is unusual because he’s usually too busy to sit still. The PA looked over his leg, but called in the pediatrician for an evaluation. The doctor explained that he needed x-rays to determine if something was wrong with his hip or if it was toxic synovitis, inflammation of the hip joint that can sometimes occur after another virus. (more…)

You Were Ambitious

*I used to be ambitious. At least, that’s what people routinely told me.*

I was ready to write an essay on motherhood and ambition, but then my three-year-old wouldn’t let me leave at drop-off while his older sister waited in the car. He wouldn’t hurry up the stairs to his preschool or through the door to his classroom. We place his stuffed troll in his cubby and hang his green monster lunch bag on a hook. He walks even more slowly across the floor of the yellow room to the door that leads to the playground outside. “Could you hurry up?” I huff at him, and he grins at me. I’m annoyed at his slowness, but I’m also angry at my annoyance. His small legs only propel him forward so fast. He doesn’t hurry. His friends were already swinging on the swings and climbing up the equipment while he walks in slow motion and clings to my hand.

I hug him goodbye and discreetly glance at my watch. Now, I am running late. His eight-year-old sister has to be at camp in 20 minutes, and we will be hard-pressed to make it. One hug goodbye isn’t enough. He wants another and then another. Then, he wants a kiss, and then, he gives me a kiss on my arm as I try to look at my watch again.

“One last hug,” I say, “and then go play.” (more…)