Dr. Nancy Wayne

Scientist, Educator & Speaker

Put-Downs from the Patriarchy

I am a tenured Full Professor at a Tier 1 Research University. I have a solid reputation as an educator, scientist, and academic administrator. I have received honors and awards in all three areas. This has all added up to earning a certain level of respect from my students and colleagues.

I have also enjoyed living in a bit of a bubble of avoiding being called a diminutive term as part of my profession – until now.

Here’s what happened on March 6, 2018:

My most recent research article titled, “Impact of gender, organized athletics, and video gaming on driving skills in novice drivers,” was published in late January 2018 in a respectable journal – and has been getting some media attention.

A journalist (X) from a major news network saw a university press release about the article and emailed my media relations contact with a query:

“Interesting story on drivers ed by Wayne/Miller… would Wayne or Miller want to be interviewed for a quick quote or two?”

This query was forwarded to me and I wrote directly back to Journalist X:

“Did you want to send me your questions? Or do you have what you need for your article?”

Mind you, I signed off with my full name (followed by PhD) and title of Professor of Physiology.

Journalist X replied:

“Awaiting word from editor. Maybe just a snappy quote would help push him over the top …”

I sent him two “snappy quotes” for his editor:

Quote 1: “If you want your teen to be a better driver, make sure they get involved in sports.”

Quote 2: “If your teen claims that all that video gaming is going to help them be a better driver, don’t believe it.”

Journalist X to me:shankman.comimagesimguploaderimagesare-you-kidding-me

“Attagirl! I’ll see if that moves him.”

Are you kidding me? Attagirl? In 2018? And he was coming to me as an authority. I was in no mood to give this unprofessional journalist a lecture on respecting women in science, women with skills and expertise, women period. I quickly decided on a one-word reply.

Me to Journalist X:


THE END. Let’s see what I hear back from him, if anything.

Do you have any experiences like this? Write me back and I’ll include it in a future blog (anonymized, if you want it that way). You can either post your story in the comments section of this blog or email me at WomenAdvancingTogether@gmail.com.


4 comments on “Put-Downs from the Patriarchy

  1. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber
    March 7, 2018

    Not surprised! Good comeback.

  2. nwayne2014
    March 8, 2018

    Update: Journalist X published the story, got the facts right, and even used my quotes. Attaboy!

  3. Melissa
    March 25, 2018

    I totally agree and support you Nancy, but unfortunately I’m not surprised in the least. I’ve had similar experiences pretty regularly at my own university (where students will email me using my first name or just “hey” and colleagues have made patronizing remarks), as well as a few irritating experiences with the popular press. Sometimes I take the time to explain why it’s inappropriate, but other times I just don’t have the energy. I think it’s great you took the time to blog about it.

    • nwayne2014
      April 2, 2018

      Thanks. It is exhausting to constantly correct. I tell my undergrad students on the first day of class how they should address me – either Professor Wayne or Dr. Wayne. They always seem relieved to get some guidance!

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2018 by .

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