Sathnam Sanghera explains why men are in an a nearly impossible position when it comes to seducing women:
Men need to be hugely successful, but pretend that they are not. And this is only one aspect of the almost impossible balance that needs to be struck. Men need to convey sexual desire without sexualising the person in front of them, need to be authoritative, opening doors, paying bills, deciding where to go and so on (recent research found that 60 per cent of women would consider it a bad first date if they paid), yet treat women as absolute equals. They need to flatter without seeming overly impressed, they need to care about their appearance (but not too much), and when it comes to chatting up, they need to take the initiative, and absorb any humiliation that comes their way, without seeming at all arrogant or pushy.
Got all that?
From an article entitled “Sex and the University”:
For Jane Gallop, professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the US, tough policies on relationships are affecting tutors’ ability to teach.
In her book Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment, she says: “At its most intense – and, I would argue, its most productive – the pedagogical relation between teacher and student is, in fact, a ‘consensual amorous relation.’”
Gallop is candid about her relationships with both male and female students, and her exploits as a graduate student herself, when she slept with two men on her dissertation committee. She is more than aware of the power relationship that existed between them.
When it comes to professors who sleep with their students, “pathetic” is usually my first thought. But when it comes to students who sleep with their professors, especially professors on their dissertation committees, the phrase “conflict of interest” comes to mind, among other things.
On a related note, part of me admires Gallop’s honesty here, and I’d love to attend one of the sexual harassment workshops I’m required to go to every year with her, if only to watch her lock horns with the person who runs it.
Related Reading: “The Higher Yearning: Bringing Eros Back to Academe”