Europe--threat or menace? | Bleader

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Europe--threat or menace?

Posted By on 08.16.06 at 12:21 PM

As someone who's never personally traveled more than a few miles outside U.S. borders, I'm endlessly fascinated with others' endless fascination with Europe.

There's Good Europe, where social programs still work and (the old parts of) cities are still designed with pedestrians in mind.

Then there's Bad Europe, where there's lots of unemployment and they can't figure out what to do with the new immigrants.

Depending on your point of view, there's the Good/Bad Europe that often declines to play along with our current imperial adventure. 

The other day I learned of a Bad Europe in which academics have almost as much trouble with the notion that women are people as the folks at Jim Bob University. This, from a female science prof recently returned from a year's sabbatical at an unnamed university in an unnamed major city in an unnamed European country:

"When asked what my position was back in the U.S., I would reply that I was a professor. Sometimes I would be corrected, as if I were confused, and I was told that I may have a Ph.D., but in Europe that didn't mean I was a professor. * NOTE: I am deep into my 40s and had 'Professor X' on the nameplate on my office door *

"Another typical response to the news that I was a professor was the statement 'There must be a lot of professors in the U.S. It is not such an important position as it is here.' No of course not--how could it be if they let women be professors? There is an element of truth to the statement that professors are less 'important' in the U.S. than in Europe in terms of the academic culture, but no one ever told my husband that professors must be less important in the U.S. upon hearing that he's a professor, and it happened to me a number of times.

"And then there were the endless official government and university forms to fill out. These all assumed that my husband was filling them out, and there was always a space labeled 'wife' just for me."

And that's not all. Read the whole thing.

Which Europe did you visit? 

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