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People Are Fighting Against Stereotypes In Academia With #ILookLikeAProfessor

Professors are not only white, middle-aged men.

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People are sharing their stories and selfies with the hashtag #ILookLikeAProfessor to fight back against the stereotype that professors are usually white, middle-aged men.

A colleague told me I look like a student. Nah, champ. #ilooklikeaprofessor. All 3 of us do.Because all 3 of us are.

Associate professors Adeline Koh and Sara Pritchard started the hashtag on 6 August.

#ILookLikeAProfessor! Let's showcase how diverse the professoriate is! #DoesNotComeWithElbowPatches

They called on professors around the world to share their selfies and stories in order to showcase diversity within the professoriate.

#ilooklikeaprofessor #medieval Yet still patronizingly told "Good for you" in response.

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"#ILookLikeAProfessor is not meant to pour salve over the terrible conditions of academic labor today," Koh said in her blog.

At the summit of Arthur's Seat, and #ilooklikeaprofessor

"It simply is a rallying cry that bodies which are not-white, not-male, not-cis/het, not-abled, can and should be counted as bodies who also deserve respect within academia."

The hashtag aims to call attention to persistent stereotypes and biases in academia.

#ILookLikeAProfessor I WILL NEVER WEAR ELBOW PATCHES. Medieval literature.

"The first time I taught a large survey course many years ago, an undergrad asked me for 'my credentials' in front of the entire class,” Pritchard told BuzzFeed.

@adelinekoh "Oh! Are you in the cleaning services? I just love how clean they keep my office!" #ILookLikeAProfessor

Some of the stories from the hashtag have included a female professor mistaken for an undergraduate, male teaching assistants assumed to be the professor, faculty members of colour assumed to be the custodian, and Asian professors assumed to be Chinese food delivery drivers.

Historian Michelle Moravec played a key role in kick-starting the hashtag’s publicity.

#ilooklikeaprofessor proof positive - I'm with a graduate! I've taught history for twenty-two years.

"On one memorable occasion I recall being snapped at "the line is over there" by a harried staff member who thought I was jumping the student queue when I was simply trying to get to my faculty mail box," she told BuzzFeed.

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However, Moravec described the reaction to the hashtag as being “extremely positive”.

#ILookLikeaProfessor; also I look like a mathematician & a mom.

"The best moment for me was when someone tweeted that the hashtag was giving her encouragement to persevere in graduate school," she said.

Yes, #ILookLikeAProfessor. #Medieval literature, translation, digital humanities, disability, queer theory. Peace.

"I personally would hope that people in higher education who have made comments about the appearances or identities of professors would be made more aware of the consequences those remarks have."

#ILookLikeAProfessor Asst. prof of writing and rhetoric. Have taught women's studies, theory and histories of rhet.

"Even comments that may be meant as compliments, on the attractiveness or youthfulness of a professor, denigrate the professional standing of individuals, and for professors whose identities are already marginalized due to gender, ethnicity, ability, sexuality, the effects are amplified."

Pritchard hopes that the hashtag will reduce the isolation and marginalisation many professors from historically underrepresented groups feel.

Not only do #ILookLikeAProfessor, so does my Auntie!

"There has been tremendous solidarity on the hashtag," she said. "I hope it continues."

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