Professor calling female students beautiful- is that bad?
June 1, 2009 12:17 PM Subscribe
A professor singled out a (blond, pretty) female student in a relatively small class and asked several male students and one female student to describe her beauty. The men were asked to describe her as though they were trying to tell a male friend how beautiful she is, while the woman was asked to describe her as though she was a family member. Should I register a complaint with the university?
posted by Baethan to Education (75 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This professor went on to single out almost every female in the room over the course of the class. He something about their beauty to each one (mixed in with what he was teaching), with the exception of an older-looking woman and an overweight woman. (And me. He ignored me almost completely, but I am not considering complaining because I feel hurt- I have had enough time to cool down. I expect he ignored me because I was making eye contact throughout the class and probably started looking pissed off after a bit.)
He also asked two of the women whether they cooked. He did not ask any of the men whether they cooked, nor did he talk about their physical beauty or ask other students to describe their looks. He did not call on the men unless they indicated they had a response, but he asked for responses from women and asked a few of the women to read out loud.
This was in an English class, by the way, and all the comments he made were somehow related to his lecture. The incident in the first paragraph was apparently a demonstration of descriptive language.
I'd like MeFi's opinion on this because of a few things: this was my first class with the professor, and I have already switched into a different class- I don't know if two hours of this nonsense is enough basis to make a complaint. The class did have more women than men- I think it was something like 5 guys to 10 girls. The professor brought up discrimination, specifically related to race (he's black, and from Nigeria) at one point, and towards the end of the class said that when he started teaching at the university, some girls from one of his classes reported him for calling them "ladies"; he said he explained to them that he uses the term to honor women, not insult them.
I don't know that any complaint I make will stay anonymous and I plan to major in English, so I don't want to get on any of the other teachers' grudge lists. If I stayed in the class I would have made these comments on the teacher/class evaluation sheet, but I've decided to switch out (different teacher, same class). No one complained during class and I don't know that anyone else will be complaining to the university. So, is he harmless and should I just forget it, or should I complain? Also, my mother suggested that I explain what happened to the professor of the class I switched into if she seems nice- to me that screams DANGER! but I suppose it's an option.