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Treated like a child - is this a feminist issue?

(33 Posts)
AgeingArtemis Fri 17-Feb-17 20:12:02

I am in my early twenties, a third year student on a professional course.

I was supposed to attend a teaching session, which I missed. I won't go into the reasons, it was it was fully my fault, but it is very very unlike me (I have never missed a session before) and there was a reason behind it.

I sent a email profusely apologising to the person leading the session, and she replied saying for me to come and see her. I thought that she was being kind and was going to explain to me how I could catch up (e.g. recommending some reading or something).

When I arrived at her office she immediately started to scold me, telling me my reason wasn't good enough etc. This I can understand. But she acted like she was a teacher at primary school or something- she even called me a "naughty girl!" I was too shocked and upset to stick up for myself (I have some childhood issues so tend to cower when being "told off"). I felt small and ashamed.

I agree I was the wrong, but I don't think it's acceptable for her to treat me like a child. I realised that if I were a young man this would NEVER have happened and that really pissed me off.

VestalVirgin Fri 17-Feb-17 20:25:23

That's very rude.
I have never had this happen with someone who actually knew my age (look younger, so I give people the benefit of doubt).

What was she thinking!

And yeah, I don't think she'd have done this with a man.

LynetteScavo Fri 17-Feb-17 20:30:20

Even if she had said "naughty boy" it would have sounded almost mildly amusing and therefore a male may well have just rolled their eyes.

She was bang out of order, and I suggest emailing her to say as much.

But also roll your eyes at her pathetic comments.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Fri 17-Feb-17 22:57:35

Sorry this happened to you. You're right. She was completely out of order in the way she spoke to you and, yes, she wouldn't have done it if you were a man.

If she can influence your grades I'd ignore it. If you can safely speak your mind I'd write to her saying more or less what you've said here.

garlicandsapphire Fri 17-Feb-17 23:04:49

How do you know a bloke wouldn't get a bollocking for a pathetic excuse?

Spend your time catching up with your class work rather than moaning about being told off. Kids make excuses and blame other people. You're deflecting from your responsibility for your own learning.

Its not because you're a girl - you missed class. How to avoid? Make it. Catch up. Otherwise you're just wasting your and other people's time. Other people out there would be desperate for your opportunity.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 18-Feb-17 00:12:14

You don't know how she would have treated a man.

Was the teaching session just you and her? In which case you have wasted her time.

I think it is a bit naive to think you were being called for a catch up session, which tbh does sound a bit childish as if you were expecting her to go " there, there, never mind" - and she didn't.

AssassinatedBeauty Sat 18-Feb-17 00:52:18

I do think it's odd that she called you a naughty girl, when you're an adult. I used to be a secondary school teacher and I'd not even use that phrase with teenagers tbh. It's definitely infantilising and perhaps inappropriate, but I'm not sure it's sexist.

HelenDenver Sat 18-Feb-17 10:22:47

Calling a twenty-something a naughty girl is inappropriate.

AB, I think the sexism is that women are much more likely to be called girls in their twenties than men are boys.

Garlic, op took responsibility for the mistake. She isn't objecting to the bollockjng but to the language. If OP's race, sexuality or disability had been referred to in the bollocking, it would also be inappropriate

AgeingArtemis Sat 18-Feb-17 22:57:07

Garlic I'm not saying the bollocking was "because I'm a girl" at all. That is part of the issue- I'm not a GIRL, I'm a grown woman!

Teaching session had several people, it wasn't just me and her. My reason for missing the session is frankly not relevant.

I'm not saying that she was being deliberately sexist, or that the bollocking was inappropriate, but I do stand by my original comment that she wouldn't have used such teacher/child type behavior with a man.

DrDreReturns Sat 18-Feb-17 23:34:02

tbf I know a male (adult) student who was called an 'immature boy' by an academic when he was an undergraduate.

HelenDenver Sat 18-Feb-17 23:36:30

What was the context, Dre?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 18-Feb-17 23:37:18

You have no idea whether she would have done the same to a man.

You sound quite petulant - you were expecting she was going to mother hen you over the missed class and she didn't. Perhaps she treated you as a child because that is how you presented yourself.

YetAnotherSpartacus Sat 18-Feb-17 23:56:43

Wow ... Some condescending assumptions there ...!!!

The language (calling you girl) was inappropriate and the way you described your initial email clearly shows you were not acting like a child, but were simply owning up to a mistake. I assume you'll note your displeasure on any feedback?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 19-Feb-17 00:41:49

I thought that she was being kind and was going to explain to me how I could catch up (e.g. recommending some reading or something)

This was a rather naive assumption.

RebelRogue Sun 19-Feb-17 01:09:22

The use of "naughty girl" was highly inappropriate,and if you can you should complain about that.
But you have no idea how she would have acted with a male or wether her reaction was sexist or she's just a bully/fed up /condescending twat

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Sun 19-Feb-17 09:30:01

You don't know that she doesn't speak to male students in the same way. She may well do. And for what it's worth, last week I saw two students, one male, one female, being told off line naughty children in front of a full lecture hall. They deserved it, they were being childish. Some lecturers are disks, it doesn't make them sexist.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Sun 19-Feb-17 09:30:48

Like not line, and dicks not disks

OfftheCuff Tue 21-Feb-17 09:28:28

As a feminist academic, while I wouldn't have called you a "naughty girl," I would have ticked you off. No way would a one to one tutorial in those circumstances have been about "helping you catch up."

Firstly, I'd have tried to find out why you missed a session, if that were unusual for you, in case there was something you weren't coping with & needed support. If you'd missed it for anything other than an urgent medical reason, or urgent personal circumstances (but only very pressing eg death of a parent) then you would be told in no uncertain terms that your behaviour was unacceptable, and that you needed to understand the consequences of your actions.

I would be likely (and indeed do) deal with a young man in the same circumstances rather more stringently, as IME, if there's no pressing mitigating circumstance, young men can tend to feel they're more entitled to take the mick.

So - apart from "naughty girl" - I don't think you can assume you were treated in a sexist way. You missed a session which you should not have missed. You need to deal maturely with the consequences ie take the ticking off on the chin.

I suspect you feel that you were treated like a child because, deep down, you know you were in some way behaving like a child: irresponsibly.

deydododatdodontdeydo Tue 21-Feb-17 11:17:00

You wasted her time, which is precious to academics (and others!) and she was rightly pissed off and gave you a roasting for it.
"Naughty girl" is very weird, but you have no reason to think it wouldn't happen to a man the same age ("NEVER"), is totally wrong. I have witnessed plenty of men being humiliated like naughty schoolboys in academic and commercial workplaces by both male and female bosses.

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 21-Feb-17 12:17:36

You wasted her time, which is precious to academics (and others!) and she was rightly pissed off and gave you a roasting for it

The OP was invited to the discussion she didn't ask for a catch-up. If the lecturer didn't want her time wasted she could have simply ignored her communication or sent around an already scripted template reply directing her to applicable policy.

SomeDyke Tue 21-Feb-17 12:50:46

"If the lecturer didn't want her time wasted she could have simply ignored her communication.........." The time and effort wasted for me would have been preparing for the original session, then having to faff about with whoever saw fit not to turn up for whatever reason! Because when students don't attend at my uni, we are expected to check why they didn't, deal appropriately if there is a reason for the absence, and also deal with it if there isn't a good reason. Which all takes time and effort. So I can quite understand trying to get a bit grumpy with someone who just misses stuff with no reason (and who from the original post seemed to expect the lecturer to be 'nice' and offer advice on how she could catch up). I might even see why someone would berate someone for acting like a naughty child, in that many students don't always make the transition well from being children at school to being adults at uni. I can understand why someone might say ' stop acting like/expecting to be treated like a naughty girl at school, you're an adult so start acting like one'.

So I think I can see why, if really pushed, I might use such phrasing to a woman, or to a man, if I was really miffed and they kept doing the 'naughty schoolchild' thing. Yes, I would appreciate the different dynamic between a female lecturer and a female student, and a male student. And also appreciate the considerably different dynamic between, say, an older male lecturer and a younger female student, where calling someone 'a naughty girl' would be very creepy, sexist, and frankly very worrying.................

But a female lecturer berating a fellow female for acting like a naughty girl. I'd have to be really pushed to say that. But I could appreciate, I think, why some women might. Even if part of the motivation is trying to get women to 'man-up', and acknowledge they will have to try really hard and act like responsible professional adults, even if some men will still see them as girls and non-adults however hard they try...........

"I was too shocked and upset to stick up for myself.........." Perhaps, to be honest, that is the very reaction she was trying to shock you out of! I'd expect an adult to be able to stand up for themselves somewhat better. Also, a profuse apology isn't really the point, since if a group session that can still run, no skin off my nose really if someone doesn't turn up. Might piss off the others in the group, might mess up their group work, but the lecturer? Nope, barely notice. The person who really is going to be effected (affected? I never can recall!) is the one who misses. Hence a stop being bloody daft (and childish, I can feel it coming on!) and get the basics right and attend, 'cos no matter how profuse your apologies, It's not my responsibility if you mess up and fail, it's yours, so grow-up and get on with it...........................

Or maybe I just have particularly worrysome students at the moment, who keep thinking it is my responsibility to make sure they pass, or my job to tell them off if they haven't done the work. 'I'm not your Mum' keeps running through my head sometimes, but I haven't said it yet! :-)

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 21-Feb-17 12:56:28

SomeDyke - maybe you should have a look at this ...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeSdC7lbAlA

Because when students don't attend at my uni, we are expected to check why they didn't, deal appropriately if there is a reason for the absence, and also deal with it if there isn't a good reason

Ah Ok ... in my neck of the woods things are a mite different. Don't know which I prefer really.

deydododatdodontdeydo Tue 21-Feb-17 13:17:07

The OP was invited to the discussion she didn't ask for a catch-up.

I was referring to the original teaching session, not the catch-up.

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 21-Feb-17 13:25:29

I was referring to the original teaching session, not the catch-up

Which had others in it ... ??

SomeDyke Tue 21-Feb-17 13:32:21

O goddess! A lot of that is so true! As regards plagiarism, now we have to make sure we do explain, to both undergrads and postgrads, what exactly is wrong, and what will happen if they do it. Still get cases of plagiarism though, and still get the 'I didn't know it was wrong' response. Cos what else are you going to say? Yep, I knew it was wrong but did it anyway..........

As regards attendance, since (I assume) many unis do monitor for visa purposes, and good unis will assign students a personal tutor, at some point if someone persistently misses classes/lectures/labs, someone is supposed to notice and do something. If you're lucky, someone notices as soon as you start missing stuff and maybe does something useful like pointing out that people who miss stuff might not have such a good chance of actually passing the course. Because some of us actually do care and do try and do the best for our students, even if sometimes doing the best means trying to give them a bollocking and trying to get them to grow up a bit before they get savaged in the outside world..................

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