I got told what to call this poem by my male colleague

This poem is for all the men
Who have sacrificed their time
To explain my research to me.
In train stations and hallways
At 1am drunk at a party
And over bad coffee after a presentation.
Often knowing no more about my research
Than a title
You have sacrificed your chance to learn
In order to enlighten me to the depth of your knowledge.

Thank you for telling me “it’s all just greed”
When I told you I was researching moral beliefs in finance
Thank you for telling me about the gold standard
And for explaining the plot of The Wolf of Wall Street to me
And that financial crises would not hit people so hard
If they only diversified their portfolios
And thank you for telling me to read Chomsky
And Žižek and Graeber
And all the other Great Men.
And no, I did not know that Paul Krugman had a blog.
Thank you for reminding me to cite your book.

Thank you for the first-year PhD student
Who gave me advice on how to prepare for my viva
Within the first three minutes of our conversation
(Yes, I timed you)

A special thank you to my dissertation advisor
Who, when I told him what I wanted to write about,
Told me about his son’s last holiday abroad
And how his son had told him something interesting
Vaguely related
To my interests
And wouldn’t that be a more interesting topic to write about?
I’m sorry I never went to another meeting with you
And stuck to my topic.
Thank you for giving me a B minus.
I’m sure you weren’t punishing me
Even if the thesis got a straight A from the second marker
And won a distinction when I defended it at a conference.

Thank you to the professor who in the Q/A after my presentation
Informed me that I should not have included
Discussions of the Stanford Prison Experiment
Or the work of Stanley Milgram
In my work on war crimes
I did not know psychology wasn’t a real science
And that it can’t possibly tell us anything
That isn’t completely obvious
To you.

Thank you also to the lecturer from a different university
Who shouted in my ear
In the pub after my presentation
That I had to read the Walking Dead comics
If I really wanted to understand the genre
Because the 12 films in my sample
Were not sufficient
And yes, you were standing very close
But you were a star
And everyone said you were hot
And I was flattered
So I guess it wouldn’t be fair to call you creepy retrospectively.

Thank you also to the professor
Who, at a meeting about what principles should guide universities,
Took care to make it clear that his point,
About a commitment to truth,
Was more important
Than my point
About working conditions.
Because I might have thought that my voice mattered as much as yours
Had you not thought to include the words
“This is the most important thing”
“If we don’t have an absolute commitment to truth
(Or was it a commitment to absolute truth?)
All the other details, like working conditions, don’t matter”
I am still not sure what you meant.
But maybe that is just my own financial insecurity
Clouding my judgement and distorting my priorities
And if I were just a white male professor
I could better be objective
And less worried about working conditions
And more committed to absolute truth.

And thank you dear self-described libertarian on twitter
For informing me
That I wouldn’t have such a victim mentality
If I hadn’t decided to do a PhD in unemployment
And yes, extreme virtue-signalling bitter feminazi bitch is a good description of my character
How insightful of you.

Thank you to the young man
Who dropped out of organising a workshop
Based on principles of anti-oppressive pedagogy
Because he disagreed with our decision not to invite a charismatic male speaker
Who he liked
Who would have had so much more appeal
Than me.
Thank you also for the lengthy email explaining
You weren’t interested in taking part in something so niche
That would only appeal to a postmodern crowd
Whereas you were more interested
In getting students excited
About revolution.
Thank you for your feedback.
It was surely helpful in making our event the success it was.
I’m sorry I missed your event with broader appeal
I seemed to have missed the invite for that.
I hope it went well.

Thank you also, of course,
To the numerous men
Who have informed me about the importance of putting class politics in front of identity politics
And that talking about racism or sexism is a distraction
From the real issues
And that wanting to talk about how oppression affects different people differently
Divides the left.
It is a little strange that I never see any of you at the union meetings
Or on the picket line
And I am not sure what class politics are
Beyond shouting at people
But I am sure you are doing good work elsewhere
With your undivided left.

I owe you all a debt of gratitude
And an apology, I suppose.
I am sorry that when we met
All I was good for
Was your assertion of dominance
A canvas for your insecurity
Which is frankly an underutilisation of my skills and my intellect
I am sorry for your stunted growth
For your arrested development
Which made a real engagement between us impossible
And that is more your loss than mine.

And I am sorry
That I will not try harder
To win your respect
I will not seek you out
I will walk away mid-sentence
I will mute you on twitter
And let you shout into the void
Because I care nothing for your approval.
I am done leaning in.

Because there are more than enough
People who will build a community with me,
Which is not built on dominance.
And I am sorry
That you will not have a place in that community
Until you learn that one half of the population
Does not just exist
To listen to you
Explaining their research to them.

By Grace Krause

Follow me on Twitter for more extreme virtue signalling bitter feminazi victim mentality @TheGraceK

With thanks (real ones this time) to Will Mason-Wilkes for naming this poem and to Ellie Johnson for providing me with the most amazing picture of her cat Brenda.
And an apology (also real) to David Graeber, Noam Chomsky and Paul Krugman, whose work I greatly respect.

This poem was originally posted here


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