A Young Female PhD Student – My first encounter with “innocent” misogyny

I started my Ph.D. in the Humanities in the Fall of 2015. Riding out the energy from finishing my Master’s degree the previous term, I was ready to begin the long winded process of receiving the title of “doctor”.

Every Ph.D. student in my program receives a Teaching Assistantship (TAship). The TA’s assist in grading and examinations for full time courses, and they are also given designated tutorials to help students learn how to work with the material in their given class. Being a TA was a dream come true – I love grading and it was like an apprenticeship before I actually got to direct my own course one day.

Every year there are workshops at the beginning of the year for new TA’s to attend in order to learn the ins and outs of the classroom. During the first session (which had about 60 other keen Ph.D. students from several different departments), I was approached by an administrator. He was tall and thin with white hair and glasses. He asked for a private conversation, and then began whispering to me at a level where the rest of my peers in the immediate area could hear exactly what he said: “You are so young. Students tend to not respect younger women, so are you prepared to deal with the consequences of that?” My jaw dropped. My beet red face was throbbing with anxiety and anger. I was singled out. I was not scared of his warning, but more concerned with the reason why he would feel he needed to approach me before I had even entered a classroom.

When this administrator approached me, he set a very dangerous equation before me: (age)+(gender)+(authority) = disrespect from students. What was left unsaid? This could possibly lead to an ineffective classroom model for both me and my students. This is a bold assumption. This is “innocent” misogyny that seems to come from a place of care… but it doesn’t.

Fast forward to today.

My first year as a TA in the classroom wasn’t easy; the second year was better; and this year is the best so far. I teach full courses in the summer as an adjunct professor at another university. And you know what? I have never been disrespected by a student. My students are awesome. I have excellent attendance from my students. I have excellent evaluations. I feel good about my overall experience.

Further, I have witnessed that students who are held to accountable to a mutual respectful relationship rise to that task. I am sure there are the outliers and that some professors (both women and men) have been disrespected in more ways than one in the classroom; however, it seems toxic to expect disrespect before class even starts.

That first conversation with the male administrator illuminated a problem that continues to be confirmed for me: male authority figures at my university judge me by my age and gender and not on my merit. While I may be expected to succeed, it is not surprising if I fail. I have been belittled by that one administrator, my program director (indirect), and the first professor who I worked for (who thought I was too young and unexperienced, and therefore useless. Might I point out that he read his lecture straight from the powerpoint….).

I am not really sure how to end this post. I think this ugly symptom of graduate school is problematic, but definitely not the end-all-be-all of my career or the very capable women around me. I am disappointed every time I have faced a male authority figure who sees my age and gender as a liability, but part of me just loves proving them wrong.

Let’s go ladies.

*PS: I also should add that the university that I teach at in the summer is amazing and gives me hope for equitable relationships in the academic workplace.

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Walking on Lake Ontario – Free Toronto Weekend Adventure

Do you ever do something awesome and then immediately feel like you should have had it on your curated bucket list? It’s probably not an every day occurrence, a random enjoyable experience can sneak up on you and you just know that it was bucket list worthy.

This sort of experience happened to us last week (and by us I mean: me, the husband, and the dog).

It was another day of going to the dog park with our pup. We decided to forgo our normal winter area and check our the Cherry Beach dog park since it was above freezing and parking is free. When we got there, we realized the lake was FROZEN SOLID. Not only that but people were walking on the ice… with their dogs!

We had heard tell of this before, but we’re not necessarily all that familiar with winter. In my mind ice = danger. I think of scenes with near death experiences from Its a Wonderful Life, Little Women, The Chronicles Of Narnia, etc. However, how could we pass up a chance to walk on a Great Lake?? & with our dog??

When we stepped our onto the ice I went into oscillating states of happiness and pure fear. Eventually the fear went away and I was able to really take in how amazing this happen stance opportunity was. I could tell that walking on the lake was kind of normal to other people there, but it was honestly something that I would have never known that I wanted to do until I did it. It was beautiful, natural, and a lot of fun!

Monday OOTD – Work Casual

Lately I’ve been shopping the Zara sale and I’ve found so many work appropriate items. This silk top is one of my favorite colors (forest green 👌🏻) and is perfect for pairing with jeans for an easy work casual look.

Silk blouses are actually my favorite to wear to work. They aren’t stuffy and they steam easily in the bathroom while I shower (so no ironing!). I paired it with a pair of flare jeans from Gap and my favorite heeled black boots from Amazon. The flare jeans are about 8 years old… but a closet staple for my long legs! The gold necklace is vintage and a part of my late momo’s (grandmother) extensive costume jewelry collection.

Do you want more work casual looks? Let me know in the comments!

-Forrest

Friday Favourites – Hodge Podge

This week I have been completely bedridden. Whatever is going around, it doesn’t vibe with me. However, I’ve still have some great things to share (including my most recent Netflix binge!).

  1. Urban Outfitters look-a-like dress: Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 9.11.04 PM.png

I have been on the hunt for this dress ever since October and then I finally took the chance and ordered it from shein. I’ve heard horror stories of websites like this one, but I double checked my measurements and ordered it. It fits so well! It looks just like the one I wanted from Urban Outiftters for a third of the price.

2.  Trollhunters

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Alright, hear me out. This show may look like it is for children under 10 years old, but it is honestly some of the best story telling that I have ever watched. The characters are diverse and dynamic. The pacing of the story is just right. And the main voice actor is the belovedly-lost-too-young Anton Yelchin. I’m seriously a fan girl and can’t recommend the show enough! Plus it is written by Guillermo del Toro – oscar nominated for Shape of the Water. 

3. Sonic Care Toothbrush (Target)

Something really weird about me is that I have a super acidic mouth. As such, I am super prone to cavities and my dentist has been BEGGING me to get an electric toothbrush after he painfully gave me 12 fillings in one year. I put it off because it seemed ridiculous that I could achieve astronomically better results with an electric toothbrush. I was wrong. So wrong. My teeth are honestly cleaner and I believe they are a whole shade whiter after 2 weeks. Lesson learned. I got this light pink coloured one from Target for Christmas and I love it!

4. Lush Valentine’s Collection

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Rose is one of my favourite lush scents, so I go a little crazy around Valentine’s day. I have my eye on some new items this year and I’m definitely stocking up on the best body wash I’ve ever smelled. 

5. Walking on Lake Ontario!

This weekend we went to the beach at Lake Ontario to visit the dog park. We go all the time, but this was our first visit when the lake was frozen at the shore. I have never seen anything like it! Full blog post coming soon!

Friday Favourites | Girl Power

  1. Girl Power – My favourite thing that I have seen this week and possibly this year has been Aly Raisman’s kick ass (pardon the french, but I feel strongly about this) address to her gymnastics coach. Aly vocalized what many victims only dream of telling their attacker / harasser: “I have the power and the voice now; you are nothing.” Not only did she defend herself and other women, but Aly full on attacked the infrastructure of the US Gymnastics Organization. Her conviction brought me to tears and also enlightened me about this very serious issue that seems to have been swept under the rug for way too long. Watch her speech here. 
  2. Getting creative – I finally opened my Etsy shop! I’ve been closed since December and also working on some new products for my Disney loving friends. My favourite thing that I have designed for 2018 are cosmetic bags (and I’m partial to the Mary Poppins one). Mary Poppins CBag
  3. Evaluation Research – this is a very specific thing that may not apply to everyone. As a future professor and a current TA, teaching evaluations are a large part of hiring processes in my life. I have been given tons of research by my union that has informed me of the incredible biases in these evaluations, especially concerning gender and race. Even though the research is depressing and disturbing, I am glad that this sort of research is being conducted to help better the job security of professors. Here are some of the more informative links:
    1. http://activehistory.ca/2017/03/shes-hot-female-sessional-instructors-gender-bias-and-student-evaluations/
    2. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/09/26/345515451/student-course-evaluations-get-an-f
  4. New Girl – I have recently started re-watching New Girl on Netflix and I don’t know why I ever stopped. Often I will choose to rewatch a show instead of starting something new and I really don’t regret it in this instance. I still relate to Jess just as much as I did 5 years ago. The only downside is that it makes me want to get bangs. new-girl3
  5. Crazy Rich Asians – As a Ph.D. student, I read all the time; however, it is rarely for pleasure. I really wanted to read a highly engaging fictional book (for a female audience) and came across CRA on a “Best Sellers” shelf at Indigo and was intrigued. I mean… just look at that cover art! I bought it later at a used book store and could not put it down. The story telling is incredible and the ending leaves you wanting more! The characters are polarizing too – you love the lovable characters and you love to hate the mean ones. It is very much like a Cinderella Story-meets Gossip Girl-meets-Singapore type of feel. I 100% recommend it! Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 12.34.40 PM.png

Bumper Car Trauma| The Bachelor Recap| Arie Week 2

My name is Forrest and I’m a procrastinator and a hopeless consumer of all Bachelor franchises. I’m writing a weekly blog devoted to each episode — a project that I was hesitant to start because I feel like Youtube videos are a better platform for such thing… but alas that is simply not my cup of tea. A Bachelor blog it is!

Week 2: 

I think I went into this week expecting more drama or more crazy. The episode itself was a little uneventful, but we still got to meet some very interesting ladies who already seem like bright and colourful rainbows in comparisons to Arie’s beigy-ness. The second episode is a great teller for how I think the rest of the season will go: Arie = not interesting. Most Women = not that interested.

Becca K: Oneonone date

Am I the only one who does not remember this girl from the first night? I knew there were two Becca’s & half of the world’s population of Lauren’s, but I simply did not have a memory of her that stood out. 

Becca’s date started with a motorcycle ride (a feat way too dangerous for Krystal). They arrived at a seaside mansion with a ready-set seafood buffet (the lobsters though). She then met Rachel Zoe and got to play dress up with some gorgeous designer dresses. She genuinely looked like she was having fun, but Arie merely sat and watched her joy. They later sat and watched the ocean and she got a kiss from the kissing bandit. I’m in awe of the material opulence but my brain is yawning around 9:12 pm.

Becca walked away with several dresses (of which Arie bought), some Louboutins, and diamond earrings. I don’t know much about the Gossip Girl brands, but looking at her carrying all of the bags after the date I knew that it was all EXPENSIVE and IMPRESSIVE.

I felt nearly sympathetic for Becca on this date. While we all know that she received an enviable amount of wonderful gifts, this seemed like a trophy wife sort of date to me. I needed more substance rather than merely a dumping of cash. Becca seems to know her worth, and self worth does not = x amount of cash. I want to see Arie validate these women in more ways and now the bar is raised even higher for him.

Krystal: Oneonone date

While watching Krystal’s date, I was CRINGING. They went to SCOTTSDALE,AZ (Arie’s hometown) and walked through his empty highschool. Arie alluded that he barely made it through high school, which means this place is of little importance to him and simply a waste of time. Krystal smiled through the bulk of it and complimented the deserted halls with her mysteriously raspy voice (why is it so raspy?! I need answers!).

Then they went to Arie’s “house” that had the most boring decorations I have ever seen. This has to be a set home because how could a person live somewhere that looks like the decor equivalent of oatmeal? They watched weird home movies and Krystal still continued smiling. I would have been begging to go home by this point. 

Krystal then went to meet Arie’s family. I don’t think I like the show doing the surprise hometown dates two Bachelor seasons in a row. Raven did so well meeting Nick’s family, but it still seemed like it was more forced than actual hometowns. Arie’s family seemed really happy for him to come home, and Krystal gave them a little interrogation on their own successful marriage. She took the conversation seriously, which I think is a good sign of her intentions. Later, she tells Arie that her family life is very different. Her vulnerability is exactly what everyone needs to do on one-on-one dates. She was obviously scared and also very honest. Even though I wanted to dislike Krystal on the date, I really couldn’t complain about her…. yet.

Group Date: 

I feel like I could sum up this date in 2 words: Bumpercar Trauma. 

The girls head to a demolition derby, which actually looked immensely fun and dangerous. My friends and I would jump off of cliffs into the river when we were in college. We always got such adrenaline rushes and felt like gods. I’m guessing the derby feels the same way.

Bibiana’s need to smash things was REAL, because you know these girls are ready to do anything after being cooped up without books, music, or television for a week. In fact, everyone seemed pretty excited except for Annaleise. I felt for her tears initially, because I thought she had been in a car accident. Turns out, she is scarred from a bumper car accident from her childhood. WHAT. ABC must be deliriously desperate at this point because not only do they give this problem tons of attention, but they also create a “cut scene” of bumper car footage. The cheesy level I needed was exceeded beyond belief. Sienne and Tia shine during the derby, as well as Brittany T. (who went so hard she was injured).

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The end of the group date began to test my patience. Chelsea makes me want to avoid suburbia forever, because her crazy eyes are the type that watch you go to the mailbox through her designer shades after she slips Kaltene bars into the snack bags that she made for other mom’s at her bi-weekly spin class.

Any time Chelsea talks, I’m waiting for her to say something that will land her in the role of the villain. On this date, she was very adamant about letting Arie know she had a child; which, is all well and good except she made it seem like it aligned her with his past love. Here’s the formula I see Chelsea creating: Arie loved Emily. Emily has kid. I have kid. Therefore Arie loves me. It is crazy, but it just might work.

Becka M also stood out to me because her and Arie have obvious chemistry. Their kiss had so much spark! Her fur jacket also made me want a fur jacket.

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Bibana begins to feel the pressure on the group date. I have always wondered why we don’t see the Bachelor or Bachelorette interact with everyone  on these group dates, and it turns out that it just can’t happen. There are too many girls at this stage, and you have to be quite aggressive to get your time. Bibiana plans on stepping up after this and I’m ready to see her give it her all!

Sienne stood out on this group date because she is 1) gorgeous and 2) ARTICULATE. I love seeing contestants look the Bachelor in the eye, and Sienne did so with such confidence and grace. She knows what she wants. She also tells Arie that she went to Yale, which is impressive for the show. I already thing she may be too good for Arie. Arie is also impressed and gives her the group date rose.

Cocktail party: 

The cocktail party was one huge eye roll for me. Arie kisses nearly everyone; Becka M claims to be no drama mid-kiss; and Krystal interrupts women twice even though she already has a rose. One of the women she interrupted was Bibana who was on the verge of a melt down most the night as she was trying to get time with Arie. When she finally gets time, she doesn’t know what to say and then Krystal barges in. As much as I wanted to see her succeed, I was more okay with her sticking up for herself as she failed to connect with Arie. Though her time was short, Bibs did tell Krystal that she did not want to be interrupted and then later called Krystal out for being fake. Krystal seemed clingy for asking for so much time, and I think what Bibiana told her was on other girls’ minds: “check yourself before you check on other people”.

The Rose Ceremony:

These actually happen?! YES!

Many girls did not get time with Arie, and many a girl who did looked nervous in this ceremony. I especially noticed that Tia looked particularly uneasy (which made me nervous because I want her to stick around!) In the end, Arie sent home 3 girls who I can’t even remember.

Here’s what google tells me:

Valerie, Lauren G., & Jenny (who was upset to leave her friends).

Right now I have about 4 front runners and they all are the women who have had the most screen time: Becca, Becca, Krystal, Sienne.

I’m hoping this next week brings some real connections and also some real conversations about what the women see in Arie besides his “pillow lips”.

Friday Favourites – Eggs, Oils, + More

  1. Jaime Oliver’s Youtube Channel: I have fallen in love with cooking since August of 2017. I find such joy in taking time to follow recipes and enjoying the results. Jaime’s Youtube channel is like the easiest to follow cookbook. I love the guest appearances and also the way he incorporates easy ingredients. His egg video(s) astound me. So many new ways to cook one of my favourite foods!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzm2kExgIPc

2 . The CINNAMON ROLES THAT DON’T PROVE YOUR WORTH

The realness of this post gave me CHILLS. If you feel like you’re trapped in a patriarchal and misogynist cyclone, give this a read.

3. Essential Oils

How am I so late to this game? I have never doubted the effectiveness or MAGIC of oils, but I never knew where to start. My MIL gifted us a diffuser and small oils kit and I have been so pleased with how they have added to our home in a positive way. My current favourite combo is Eucalptus + Lavender. What oils should I get next?

4. PC Butternut Squash Soup

The President’s Choice brand (Canadian brand) has some of my favorite foods to pick up from the grocery store. Their soups are incredible and my new fave is definitely the boxed Squash soup. It’s extra creamy with a little kick.

5. Blogilates New YEAR challenge

I’ve been loving Casey’s Pop Pilates videos for a couple of months and I love this calendar to reset your fitness life for the New Year. All of the workouts can be done in under 30 minutes and always leave me sore!