Honorifics

HONORIFICS….Eszter Hargittai (BA Smith, MA/PhD Princeton) thinks that female academics are less likely to be addressed as “Doctor” or “Professor” than their male colleagues:

Another related anecdote underscores the importance of gender in all this. I was presenting at a conference (in the U.S.) a few months ago. It was not necessarily clear who on the panel was a student vs a faculty member, we all looked fairly young. There were two women on the panel and a man. In the end, it turned out that I was the only faculty member, the other woman was a Ph.D. student, the man a Master?s student.

The discussant (seemingly American) stood up to give his comments. He started mine with ?Miss Eszter?. I don?t remember how he addressed the other woman. I do, however, remember that he addressed the man ? the Master?s student ? as ?Professor X?. While I realize that my last name may be a challenge to pronounce, everyone on the panel had hard-to-pronounce foreign names so that doesn?t quite explain the distinction in how we were addressed.

On a related note, the sport I watch most often is tennis, probably the most gender integrated major sport in the world. Announcers, however, very clearly refer to male players by their last name far more often than they do female players. It’s Federer, Sampras, and Agassi, but Lindsey, Monica, and Steffi. I’ve never counted up the references or anything, but the difference is so noticeable that I’d be shocked if I were mistaken about this.

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