chapter  10
16 Pages

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Lesbian Professors in Popular Culture

Historically, the popular perception of professors involves the older, distinguished, white gentleman-scholar, the liberal intellectual who sits in the Ivory Tower, contemplating questions about which the majority of people could not care less. Clearly, the conventional image conveys both hierarchy and separateness to higher education, an aura of exclusive elitism that keeps out the intellectually unwashed. And this particular reputation may be well deserved. Some of us choose lives in academia because we enjoy the fact that intellectual work separates us from others in different kinds of careers. Some of us choose academia because we enjoy intellectual work, and that alone may separate us from others who see us as heady and overly analytical. Either way, being a professor holds some social clout, traditionally putting us in positions of authority whether we want or deserve it. This clout may lead others to perceive us as a threat, in the sense that our work is to question commonly held assumptions, values, and beliefs and to ask questions about the world around us.