Good Ol’ Fashion College Sexism

ATTENTION COLLEGE STUDENTS! You might as well just drop our right now because the website RateMyProfessor is taking over your education and making you waste your money.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve definitely used RateMyProfessor before. I haven’t submitted anything, but I have looked up rates of teachers of mine in hopes of knowing what the class is going to be like before I walk into the room. Here’s where the problem starts.

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On RateMyProfessor.com, anyone with internet access can assess a professor at any college they want, despite the fact if they’ve taken that teacher or not. These reviews are pretty useful in retrospect. For example, if you’re an incoming freshman, you don’t want to be even more lost than you already are, right? You want to take classes with good professors so you’re getting your money’s worth? WRONG. 

 

According to studies by Nicole Parcheta and Cecelia Ridgeway, male and female professors are reviewed drastically different, and it has nothing to do with how bad everyone wants to bang that one philosophy teacher you heard about in the dining hall. Male professors are strictly rated on their intelligence and how well they portray it. Female professors, on the other hand, are rated on their politeness, likability, strictness, and her ability to be motherly or nurturing. Nothing about her intelligence and her ability to teach. Many would assume that the fact that our society is evolving into a more gender-equal and feminist culture that a silly website like RateMyProfessor would still be the reason why this sexist flame is still burning pretty high.

 

 

But here’s the scary part. We college students are the reason why that fire is still burning as high as it is. Even if one doesn’t personally rate a professor, if someone looks at the review, it can affect them subconsciously. For example, if you hear a rumor about some girl in your Psych 101 course, you unconsciously connect that rumor with the person it’s about, despite the fact if you know it’s true or not. The same goes for RateMyProfessor reviews and the professors of the school. There has been accounts of students who have done worse in some courses because they were told and/or read about this specific professor and how they are a bad teacher because of sexist stereotypes 1, 2, and 3.  A former student at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO posted on the popular website,

“[Johnson] is very unprofessional and not helpful. She plays favorites. I was a lover of math but [Lisa] has ruined it for me. She does not teach– as a student you can tell that she hates her job and probably her life. I wish Fort Lewis would find a better suited teacher. WHAT A WASTE OF MY MONEY AND TIME!!!!!!!! NEVER TAKE HER!!!!!!!”

And ironically, a male professor who teaches the same math course received reviews that were the polar opposite of Professor [Johnson’s], it was actually a very positive review.

 

Gender Equality Cartoons Austria gender equality

 

 

By reading these reviews and later taking that professor’s course, it can and will affect how you receive and understand the information given by the teacher. By reading these bad reviews before hand, you’re going to have preconceived notions about the professor and how they teach. If we’re walking into the classroom thinking that the class is going to suck, it’s going to. So why waste your time and money going to a class that you know is going to suck? These sexist expectations and stereotypes that derive from the reviews on RateMyProfessor, and are being subconsciously made towards our professors which in the end, encourages students like us to not want to learn from or listen to a professor with a bad review because “we already know everything there is to know”, right?