The Unbearable Hotness of Being

13 August 2010 at 10:24 am 6 comments

| Peter Klein |

Does blogging reduce research productivity? Are we O&Mers worried about posting something we’ll later regret? Nah, we think blogging is good for us, professionally. But we have another problem, more difficult to remedy: we are hot. I mean smokin’ hot. Harrison Ford in the first Indiana Jones movie? Forget it. He looks like some dork philosopher compared to us. Colleagues and students — females, especially — don’t take us seriously. “We know why you got this job!” We get one-line student evaluations: “Yum.”

Apparently, this is a real problem for some faculty members, according to a recent Chronicle story. “[I]n academe, being hot has a downside: Professors who are considered too good-looking can be cast by their peers as lightweights, known less for their productivity than for their pulchritude.” As the article points out, students have been falling in love with their professors for years, but only now do they have a chance to express themselves, often anonymously, at sites like RateMyProfessor.com. One professor — an economist, no less! — got so annoyed with the leering after making a hot professor list that he moved out of town. “He found notes under his door asking ‘what it would take to lasso me.’ And female students coyly ask his advice on whether it’s OK to date professors once a class is over.” I feel for the guy, really I do.

One anonymous professor quoted in the article puts things in their proper perspective, however: “on a scale of hotness academics aren’t all that hot, relatively speaking, and to make a list of hot ones is thus, relatively laughable.”

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. FC  |  13 August 2010 at 4:36 pm

    No doubt all this is from the “Letters to CHE” section.

  • 2. k  |  13 August 2010 at 5:21 pm

    “on a scale of hotness academics aren’t all that hot, ”
    Well, one faculty at my school was a beauty queen and is the mother of a Miss World pageant this year. And she was in the top of her class. Here ,at less , hot faculties, are usually better rated academically than ugly ones

  • 3. k  |  13 August 2010 at 5:22 pm

    And to have admirers is not uncommon even without been hot. Since less than 20% of faculties are men and young while 90% of students are female ( Law school)

  • 4. Recomendaciones « intelib  |  14 August 2010 at 9:48 am

    […] The Unbearable Hotness of Being, Peter Klein […]

  • 5. rose  |  15 August 2010 at 5:49 am

    ‘Colleagues and students – females, especially – don’t take us seriously’…

    Are you kidding? All the serious, hardworking, scholarly men are being objectified and intellectually denigrated by shallow girls?

    Fortunately, the original article presents a more balanced picture and points out that (a) this is a particular problem for women, and (b) that they are more used to having to deal with it.

    If a few more men are having to deal with a phenomenon that women have had to deal with for, ooh, centuries, then frankly, my heart bleeds…

  • 6. Peter Klein  |  15 August 2010 at 9:55 am

    Rose, “us” refers to the O&M bloggers, all of whom happen to be males.

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