The cartoon shown in Figure 8.1 was intended as a graphic illustration of the problem of students who are nominally registered at a university but who do not appear to exist, or at least are not actually attending the course. Coincidentally, however, it illustrates what some see as the ‘phantom’ existence of women in texts that appear to include them in their scope of reference but are often understood to refer only to men. Presumably not all ‘phantom students’ are male, but the unambiguously male representation of this phenomenon in the cartoon is characteristic of the stereotypical images of certain categories of person that have been revealed in many empirical studies: asked to draw ‘a doctor’ or ‘a manager’ on the one hand, or ‘a nurse’ or ‘a secretary’ on the other, both male and female test subjects more often than not produce pictures of a man in the first case and a woman in the second. Given the relative distribution of men and women in 1these occupations, these responses may not be surprising, even if they are disturbing. By contrast, there is on the face of it no particular reason to perceive ‘a student’ as male.