I am starting to get punchy on this topic of difficulty and I declare that plenty of things are actually better hard – the table at which I write, for example. I think people who cannot handle difficulty should just hang it up.
The hardest thing for me about academic jobs is listening to the railings of people who are giving me advice for my own good, advice based upon their projections into me of who and what they believe me to be.
♦ Because I am a girl, I must want to spend all my time on lower division teaching and student support activities, like foreign language clubs.
♦ Because I am a girl, I probably cannot understand that those are not the most important activities.
♦ Because I am a girl, to do these things and enjoy them is my duty. To be criticized for that is my second duty, and to be beaten up for not doing them or for not appearing to enjoy them enough is my third duty.
♦ Because I am competent and look well, I must be lazy.
♦ Because I do research and have views, I am mean – I should, in fact, correspond to the “girl” stereotypes above, so you could criticize me again for that.
♦ Because I am blond, I cannot be intelligent.
♦ Since I am both blond and intelligent, I am incomprehensible as a being; my intelligence is a form of violence since by merely existing it does violence to your image of me and to your hopes regarding what you can get me to do – and to like doing, or say I like doing, or want to do.
So rail all you want: I am still research oriented, bitchez, and I am still efficient, bitchez, even if you would rather I were all fluff.
I might be better looking than you, too, and stronger than you; I might have better taste than you and a better design sense. And I will bury you, and I will dance on your graves, and I will cover them in cast iron; and I will sit in a Finnish bath until every word I ever heard from you is steamed out of me.