Klein, Laughter, and the Academy
By Bryan Caplan
In their paper, Gross and Fosse are suggesting that men don’t want to become nurses because people will giggle at that. Perhaps there is something to that. There may be a path-dependence that has gendered nursing and works to keep it largely female. But for the non-left professor–by “non-left” I mean in particular classical liberal, libertarian, or conservative, not centrist or neuter–the analogy does not ring true.
I’ve never dreaded telling an acquaintance I’m a professor. I don’t fret that he’d figure I like FDR or The West Wing or single-payer healthcare. Why should I care if he did? As for people I care about, they get past any professor stereotype.
I hang out with a lot of non-left professors. I’ve never heard any say he dreaded people’s reaction to the professor revelation.
Most elite chess and poker players are men. Are those fields gender typecasted? Would a woman dread reactions to the revelation that she is a chess or poker player? Might not such a woman find a special pride in having cracked a male field?
Indeed, sometimes the non-left professor may feel that way. Also, the non-left professor has the comfort of blaming leftist bias for his not being more eminent.
Since the plural of anecdote is data, I’ll second Klein’s career-long non-observation. I too have never heard a non-left academic complain that non-academics assume they’re liberal and/or laugh at them. Non-left academics’ primary complaint is that other academics are too left-wing. A few complain that other academics assume they’re liberal, but that’s far less common.