People are crazy. It seriously blows my mind that anything about my latest Slate article–which offers helpful navigation about what to call your college instructor in an ever-stratifying university–could be the least bit controversial. Like my idol Clarissa often says of my work, all I really do, the vast majority of the time, is point out the obvious: the job market stinks; adjuncts are underpaid; grad programs need to react to the adjunct crisis; essays are over-assigned; racism and sexism are things.
College students often don’t know what to call faculty, because faculty come in many forms. FACT.
When you enroll in a college course, you are proclaiming to the Registrar and the world that you would like to learn something you do not already know, from a person who knows that thing as a profession. As such, that person is in a position of authority about this one single thing. FACT.
That person has often–though not always–earned a terminal degree in her or his field, and often that degree is the PhD. FACT.
The officially “correct” form of address for a person who has earned a doctoral degree of any sort–juris, medical or otherwise–is Doctor. FACT.
Some “doctors” do not want to be called Doctor. This is totally fine. FACT.
Some do. This is also totally fine–and it’s up to them, and not you. FACT.
“Doctor” is a a gender-neutral title. FACT. (This is, indeed, one of the reasons I like it.)
The outsized, vitriolic and altogether hilarious response to this article demonstrates that someone who looks and acts like me (a lady-woman; sarcastic and authoritative) assuming any form of authority about anything will immediately receive derision and scorn (and multiply what I’ve gotten by infinity-x if I were not a white woman).
If Slate had published the same article under a different name–a male, WASPy sounding name, like, oh, I don’t know, Brett Betherton Weatherby IV or whatever–I guaran-fucking-tee you it would not have provoked the same response.
As one of my Twerplez, Josh Raulerson, pointed out a few hours ago:
Once again, trolls responding to a @pankisseskafka piece make a more convincing case that she’s right than the piece itself.
— Josh Raulerson (@PeeAitchDee) March 13, 2014
Yep. Yep. Yep.