PhDiva not one for female solidarity

// 25 May 2005

Dorothy King, self-titled PhDiva ("we wear Manolo Blahniks but we also have doctorates") is angry about academic women who "whinge about life\x92s challenges rather than getting up and doing something about them". Indeed, she thinks that those women "should learn that supporting other women, rather than abusing men, is more likely to further her cause".

In an article in today\x92s Education Guardian, Dorothy makes the case for "beautiful and brilliant" women such as herself and her friends getting out there and fighting for whatever it is they believe in, (as opposed to simply writing about it). The argument centres around a comparison between one female academic\x92s article criticising the lack of female comment writers on the LA Times, and Dorothy\x92s friend (and fellow PhDiva) Dr Jennifer Smith who is an academic and, apparently, ace networker, trying to raise a million dollars to vaccinate African girls against HPV. Which is, quite clearly, a fantastic thing to do.

Underneath it all, I think Ms King is trying to encourage women to get out there and do something, to use their brains to change the world for the better, and that\x92s laudable. But the tone of the article is, at best, divisive and, at worst, catty. Most annoyingly, she believes that the reason there are less female political comment writers is nothing to do with the editorial process, and everything to do with the fact that "women do not publicly express strong opinions as willingly as men" \x96 and never questions why that might be. Lack of role models, perhaps? Or maybe it\x92s just because when they do, other women vilify them for being whingeing harpies and berate them for not schmoozing on yachts with Ms King and her PhDivas?

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