From Russia with Anxiety: An Accidental Alt-Ac Story (#Postac Guest Post)

I’m pleased to host this guest post by the indomitable Chrissy Stroop. Chrissy is one of my post-ac heroes, for her courage and commitment to exposing the Evangelical cult through her #EmptyThePews and related online community building and writing. Please consider supporting Chrissy on Patreon. She has just launched a new life in Portland, and could use a little help getting established to do her best new important work.

By Dr. Chrissy Stroop

Holding a Ph.D. in Russian History and Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities from Stanford University from Stanford University, Chrissy Stroop taught at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration and the University of South Florida before deciding that chasing a tenure-track job was no longer worth it. Having set out with the mistaken notion that academia would provide a “safe” path on which to pursue thinking and writing, Stroop accidentally acquired the life experience necessary to return to her original dream of being a writer. Stroop’s work can be found in Foreign Policy, Playboy, Religion Dispatches, and other outlets, and she is the co-editor (with Lauren O’Neal) of the forthcoming essay collection Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church. A prominent ex-evangelical voice, Stroop has created a number of viral hashtags aimed at exposing Christian Right extremism including #EmptyThePews, #ChristianAltFacts, and #ExposeChristianSchools. Her personal blog, Not Your Mission Field, is found at Click here to book her as a speaker.


After weeks of sending somewhat panicky e-mails, I was sitting anxiously outside the office of a high-level administrator at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). It was Wednesday, January 28, 2015, the beginning of the second semester of my third academic year teaching at the massive Moscow-based institution.

I don’t remember exactly what went through my mind as the snow swirled outside the imposing late Soviet-era structure in which I sat awaiting my fate. Perhaps my thoughts turned to the way that, in the middle of the 2011-2012 academic year, my advanced Russian instructor had convinced me to send my CV to the man who ran the now defunct Stanford in Moscow study abroad program. Proudly hailing from the Moscow intelligentsia, the always elegantly dressed Zhenya was sort of a mother hen to her students, and I suppose I will always regard her as one of the best people I’ve ever met.

The short, bespectacled brunette was someone who taught us not just Russian grammar, but also the kind of life wisdom that only a strong woman who had spent half her life in the USSR could provide. Zhenya was someone in whom you could confide. Someone who would scheme to help you get your life on track, whether that meant attempted matchmaking of a personal or professional variety. I still remember how, standing on one of Stanford’s columned arcades surrounding the quad, she said to me (in Russian of course), “You’ll become a true Muscovite!” It was a high compliment, coming from her.

And so I went to work for RANEPA, just in time to have a front row seat for the steepest decline in relations between Russia and the West to take place since the end of the Cold War. After getting my Ph.D. in modern Russian history and interdisciplinary studies in the humanities in 2012, I had no immediate tenure-track or postdoc prospects in the United States. Temporarily going to work in Russia seemed like a normal enough Area Studies path at the time. I had access to Russian archives, and the Russian government was putting pressure on universities to hire foreign scholars who could help with English-language course offerings and also assist Russian scholars with publishing in prestigious international journals. And the job seemed like a way of staying in the tenure-track game.

But as the old joke about a one-sentence summary of Russian history goes: “Then things got worse.” The Kremlin’s destabilizing move to annex Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 represented brazen disregard for international law, and in late 2014 and early 2015, the consequences of sanctions, counter-sanctions, and large-scale capital flight were finally beginning to catch up in a significant way to those of us who were earning a living in rubles. I’ll never forget the day that the ruble, which had been trading at about 30 to the dollar when I began working in Moscow, plunged to over 80 to the dollar. I was not a verified “Twitter personality” with a large following then, but I tweeted about it at the time. And then, because nothing happens in Russia around the New Year’s holiday, I had to wait a month to address the situation in a meeting with my superiors.

While the ruble had lost well over half its value, and I was attempting to pay down debt denominated in dollars, RANEPA could only give me a 20% raise. That spring, I finally got a chance to get back to America with the offer of a postdoc at the University of South Florida in Tampa that I was thrilled to accept.

While I was in Tampa, Trump came to power, backed by a Russian influence campaign and the Christian Right. And suddenly, as a historian of modern Russia, an expert in how conservative religious ideology functions, and a former Christian school kid who knows white evangelical subculture from the inside, I was increasingly able to get work as a writer and commentator on current affairs something I’d begun to do already while living in Moscow.

Since the 2016 election cycle, my frankly really weird combination of academic expertise and lived experience has led to considerable visibility on Twitter[] and to alt-ac research and writing opportunities for outlets including ReligionDispatches, Political Research Associates, Eurasianet, Foreign Policy, and even Playboy. As things worked out, I never got around to making any serious effort to turn my dissertation into a scholarly monograph. Applying my scholarly skills in writing for popular audiences was honestly far more satisfying.

I began to pursue these opportunities more and more as my prospects of ever attaining a tenure-track position diminished, and I eventually gave up on that dream altogether. Of course, freelancing alone isn’t a realistic way to pay the bills these days, and I have neither a trust fund nor a partner who can support me. Despite that, after two years in my postdoc and one as a visiting instructor in USF’s Honors College, I decided to pass on adjuncting, moving back in with my parents in Indiana for a year to see if I could find a way to make it as a blogger, writer, and public speaker.

I had some B plans in mind, but as of now this path is working out, if only thanks to crowd funding via Patreon[], where people who understand the horrors of the gig economy can throw a few dollars a month toward those of us who create work they find valuable and believe should exist, despite the lack of traditional jobs. I am both grateful for my patrons and juuust Gen-X enough to feel at times that this is not a “real job”—although it is—and to worry that it is still precarious.

Those worries notwithstanding, I am currently living a life I’m proud of. I’ve helped to build up a community and movement of “exvangelicals” or “exvies,” former evangelicals speaking out about the authoritarian leanings of the conservative, mostly white evangelical demographic that makes up Trump’s key base. I’ve been part of an award-winning documentary about ex-evangelicals and have a co-edited anthology of personal essays by former conservative Christians—exvies, ex-LDS, and ex-Catholics—coming out on December 1 of this year. I’ve written investigative journalistic exposés on evangelical colleges’ mistreatment of LGBTQ students and on America’s history and present reality of predatory adoption practices. And as a paid invited speaker, I still get to interact with college students, as I did at Alma College last fall and will at the University of North Florida this fall.

While my particular path to what seems like a sustainable alt-ac career is not replicable, I have learned not to let anyone tell me that humanities Ph.D.s don’t have transferable skills. In fact, I wish I’d given up putting all my eggs in the tenure-track basket and given myself permission to try other things earlier on. If I could offer one piece of  advice to struggling grad students and early career scholars, it would be to throw off academia’s imposed myopia as soon you can, dipping your toes into various projects and networks that appeal to you and relate to your interests. Perhaps you’ll find, as I have, that there’s something you can do that is more immediately satisfying and more personally meaningful than writing for narrow circles of specialists. After eleven months in Indiana, I’ve moved to my dream city of Portland, Oregon, and I get to work on projects that reach far more people than any peer-reviewed research I’ve ever published. This in turn generates engagement with others that I find value in. And I’m beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, the alt-ac path I’ve accidentally forged is going to work out for the best.

#MakeupMonday: Revisiting The Beauty Blender

I was today years old when I learned the origins of the Beauty Blender. Turns out Rea Ann Silva, a Latina makeup artist, created it for the actresses of Girlfriends, the first show shot in HD, in order to replicate the effects of airbrushing.

Apparently it was an instant hit, and the actresses started stealing them from the set! Silva created a business to sell them, and the rest is history.

So, I rejected Beauty Blenders a long time ago… but coincidentally, I had just started experimenting again with one I still had around in the past few weeks.

Now that I know more about it, I’m using it for real. I apply my makeup with a brush, but finish with the Blender.

And turns out, the reason I didn’t like it before is because I was using it wrong. Yes, you must use it damp. I didn’t read the instructions.

Now I spritz it with a little mini (travel) spritzer I keep at my makeup table — surprisingly useful for all sorts of mishaps and cleanups! — squeeze lightly to remove any drips which would smear the makeup, and then pat.

Learn more about how (not) to use the Beauty Blender here:

You’re using the sponge dry. We get it, you didn’t read the instructions, but theBeautyblender is supposed to be used wet. The damp surface gives you streak-free blending and a dewy finish.

Your sponge is dehydrated. Professional makeup artists like to keep a cup of water nearby to keep the sponges moist while working on set. “The best way to use the Beautyblender is when it is activated and damp and completely wet,” Rea Ann says. This January, the brand is releasing a new Reactivate spray that will plump the sponge when water is scarce.”

And, apparently you’re supposed to clean it every single day–UGH.

Please share your Beauty Blender tips…. I’m still learning!

Esteemed Gentlemen of the Internet:

July 4, 2019

Esteemed Gentlemen of the Internet:

I want to thank you for your generous and enthusiastic participation in the public scholarship project, “I’ve Heard Enough From Old White Men.” Your energetic contributions to several related comment threads (to be found here, and also here) on The Professor Is In Facebook page – regarding an incident revolving around my Tshirt with the message, “I’ve Heard Enough From Old White Men”* — have provided a valuable insight into the operations of troll, incel and incel-adjacent communities online in 2019.

There has already been considerable excellent scholarship dedicated to this important topic (see, for example:  Gorman 2019, Phillips 2015, Zuckerberg 2018). I hope that you may find these resources useful as you move forward in your work.

However, as we know, language and culture are not fixed, but always evolving, and so this snapshot of troll culture in Summer 2019 will provide valuable data to scholars of internet troll culture moving forward. Your painstakingly assembled comment set has already been shared with several scholars for their doctoral research. Some of your contributions may even be featured in a doctoral dissertation in a few years’ time! Congratulations!

You have already been so generous with your time that I hate to impose further. At the same time, your generosity is such that it seems no amount of time is too great for your willing participation in this project.  I want to give particular recognition to the gentlemen who went to the trouble of contributing from his wife’s hospital room during the birth of his first child!

Figure 1:

Thus I will allow myself to further impose upon your good will to ask a few follow-up questions below. 

Before, that, however, please do know that we have taken your contributions thus far to heart. We have understood that those of us who identify as female are ugly, fat, crazy, have big noses, and strange eyebrows (this is a point about which we are seeking further clarification, however), have alarming sun damage (thank you for your concern!) and also that no man will ever want to have sex with us, that our Daddies will certainly not be coming back, and that we will certainly and without a doubt die alone surrounded by cats, who will eat our faces.  (Speaking just for myself, I am unfortunately allergic to cats, so in my case I will be surrounded by bunnies, who, being herbivores, will not be able to eat my face, but they will certainly destroy all my Mac cords, furniture, and clothes. We do what we can.)

While we deplore this inevitable fate, we take heart that at least for the tiny amount of time left to us as pitiful and worthless Boomers, we can continue to pursue our studies of your valuable work! We regret that our studies do prevent us from making you sandwiches at the present time, but will revisit this possibility when we have all lost our jobs, as you have foretold. Speaking again just for myself, I can only deplore my failed business, which has failed continuously for a decade, as well as my simultaneously desperate and completely boring attention-seeking efforts to boost the pitiful Facebook profile of 62,000 fans, on which you shared your thoughts.

Similarly those who identify as men among us understand that they are cucks, and also betas, and emasculated.  I wish I had additional insight on the identity and fate of scholarly men, but alas, since I only look like an old man, I cannot (even with the benefit of a partner who also looks like an old man), speak authoritatively on this point.

As they say in the legal profession it has also been “asked and answered,” that we scholars and academics in this and related fields are: a) worthless to society b) bad professors c) harming the children d) incompetent at any activity except teaching.  Good heavens, don’t tell the Dean, LOL! 

Particularly since the things we research never happened, as you so rightly point out.

We are, however, grateful for your stunning insight: “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”; it is the discovery of such new and original ideas that spurs us on in our work!

It is only unfortunate that some of us, being Jewish, are poisoning society in the process.

However, as a lesbian, I was moved by the LGBTQ+ sensitivity you bring to the project:

Ambular Encinias: I get it you’re a feminazi, who probably cucks her husband, or wife, whatever… ”

More broadly, noting with sadness your conclusions that the wider university community is racist/intolerant/deluded/idiot liberals/social justice warriors/performatively “woke,” we thus acknowledge that we alone are responsible for the election of Trump and that because of us, Trump will continue on as President for the foreseeable future.

It is the least I can do, to express my gratitude, to share with you a database of your comments. The database is below, and has also been provided to scholars active in the field of Internet Troll/Incel Studies. My only regret is that it is incomplete; I made efforts to include all major categories of comments, but in the interests of time, did not include redundancies and repetitions—unfortunately, with 3500+ comments, I’m afraid I must point out that there were just a few redundancies and repetitions!

Please peruse at your leisure.

In addition, I took the liberty of creating a preliminary taxonomy of your comment categories. In the interest of cultural sensitivity, I have retained your native parlance as closely as possible; please forgive any language-learner errors of syntax or word choice, etc.  This taxonomy is in Figure 2:

Figure 2: Taxonomy of Troll, Incel, and Incel-Adjacent Responses to “I’ve Heard Enough From Old White Men” Incident on Facebook

1) it never happened; of all the things that never happened this never happened the most; etc.
2) you are an ugly, bitter, fat old lady with big/saggy boobs;
3) you will end up living alone with cats who will eat your faces
4) Boomers suck;
5) white men created the best civilization;
6) Trump 2025;
7) “I’ve heard enough from feminazi cunt bitchez” ;
8) you are a terrible professor/of course you are a professor
9) “terrible things will befall you and your ilk and EVeRyOne WilL LaUgH aT YoU haAHAhAhA VENGEANCE IS MIIIIINE”
10) you are crazy;
11) You’re the real racist;
12) Projection!!!!
13) You look like a man; you are a man; your partner is/looks like a man;
14) Thanks for getting Trump reelected;
15) Attention seeker!
16) Stunning and brave/brave and stunning;
17) JEWSSSSSSSS [should burn in ovens, etc.]
18) Ur stoooooopid
19) I haz the sex but you does not haz the sex
20) weird memes.

This taxonomy was compiled quickly, so please excuse any oversights. Several of my colleagues (see Gokey 2019) have already pointed out the absence of one of your most effective techniques, the Straw Man Argument, for example: when presented with “Some men are sexist, even if they are liberal” you so rightly respond: “SO YOU THINK ALL MEN ARE TERRIBLE AND SHOULD BE EXECUTED, HUH? YOU’RE A CRAZY OLD SNOWFLAKE!!”

It is my humble hope that this taxonomy, as well as the complete database below, may help your community further refine its trolling practices moving forward. 

As I mentioned above, some of us have a few follow-up questions. May we make so bold as to ask you to indulge us further in responding to them?

Here they are:

1) Why do you hate cats?

Thank you again, gentlemen, for your efforts and dedication to the troll and incel cause.  And let me close by saying that although we are pleased and humbled by your praise, please do not consider us brave and stunning/stunning and brave! We cannot accept so much credit!  We are just doing our jobs.

Wishing you the best as you seek additional methods of confronting and expressing your impotence, political and otherwise.


Karen Kelsky and The Professor Is In Community



“Sharing from my personal page. (update: the banning and blocking commences. Further Update: I’ve started collecting all the Incel-threads for a blog post and to make available to scholars working on internet trolling and Incel-culture; several have requested. )


Today at the Immigrant Justice rally in Eugene, I wore my “I’ve heard enough from old white men” T-shirt.

An old (hippie) white man walking by read my shirt, stopped and shook his head vehemently. “This is wrong. I’m an elder, and a shaman, and I HAVE THINGS TO SAY.”

“No,” I said, turning to look him straight in the face. “I don’t care and I am not interested.”

“But I know things!”

“I don’t care.”

“This is what the corporations want! For us to turn against each other!”

“Whatever. I do not need to hear from you.”

“Anyway I’m not even white! I am half-Cherokee.”

“OHHHHH NO,” I say, holding up my hand. “DO NOT EVEN.”

He walks off.

I stop to do a gut-check. Is this really what I want to say to old hippie white men who are attending anti-concentration camp rallies in Eugene, Oregon?

I reflect.

Dude’s FIRST INSTINCT in reaction to me just standing there in that t-shirt is to come at me claiming his right to speak.

“No” is EXACTLY what I want to say.

Old hippie dude is part of the problem (just like Bernie S.). I have NO more time or patience for that in 2019. I am done. That time is #over.



BJ Kyzar That face. So smug. So punchable. Keep being a part of the problem.

Jacob Smith You’re dumb.

Randall Ewing I cant wait until you’re old so your opinion wont matter anymore. Old white men were raised by old white women like you’re going to be.

Scott LaBossiere The Professor Is In. Ur a typical uninformed liberal ass get s clue I ignorant closed minded woman u actually look like man ppl like u should not be teaching our kids and figures u block anyone who distress with u. Your nothing but a self hating white person and a misandrist oh and btw they detention centers are not concentration camps no comparison. They came here voluntarily not forced and need to come here legally moron and where were u when obama bush and Clinton were enforcing this policy hypocrisy right here.

Jake HossinThe Professor Is In. But youve purposely made yourself look like a white man…

Sean DonahueThe Professor Is In. I see things like this and think it just adds to the adage of “those who can’t, teach.” I see someone who never went out into the world to accomplish anything think they have some valuable insight into how the world works beyond the books they read. How can you really give advice on something you never accomplished yourself? Maybe you should ask that old white man you shouted at.

Bert Stone Beware black women, these Jewish lesbians have targeted your money as a source of income.

Bert Stone Matthew Paolucci Callahan she makes racial posts claiming to be sick of old white men, I am sick of old jewish women, she should go to Israel and welcome refugees there, and help PoC over there, where there is an apartheid ethnostate. we in America lead the world in diversity, so she should go somewhere like Israel where they are struggling with diversity.

E Pluribus Unum And this is why you will all be cat ladies, alone, old, wondering what happened to your life.

Bert Stone no one cares about women’s soccer, especially us women’s soccer, after they got beat by 15 year old lads lol. (in response to Megan Rapinoe post)

Michael VanordThe Professor Is In. Lmao. You buy a shirt about old white men from old white men. Not realizing that the old white men are selling that shirt just to take your money and laugh at you.

Mats Kalinka Kate Ouimette ain’t no one give a shit about your ploy for attention
They laugh derisively then you grit your teeth

Tony Diego Lol!!! You may think you’ve heard enough, that’s fine. But you’ll live under “old white men” policies.

Dominic Gallegos You haven’t heard enough. You just need to be put in your place.

John Paul Johnson The young white (and other races) men who fought for your freedom in places like Normandy would later become “old white men”. Do their thoughts and opinions not matter to you?

David Marc Grant Cool. Try creating a first world country without old white men and let us know how it goes. Japan seems to have pulled it off but that’s about it as far as I can tell.

Randall Ewing I cant wait until you’re old so your opinion wont matter anymore. Old white men were raised by old white women like you’re going to be.

Richard Kuehn Glad to know that ageism, sexism and racism is alive and well.
Let the left continue to eat itself.

Caleb Sc Banning and blocking = Modern day equivalent of book burning. You censor and silence anyone you disagree with.

Daniel Dickens I doubt there hasn’t been a single man walking the earth since the dawn of civilization that hasn’t heard enough quacking from a woman.

This is old news to us. The oldest.

Shane Savoie Yass, Queen! SLAYYYYY!
How weak does one have to feel, in order to see being an asshole to someone with the same(FU’d) values asa victory?
Eugene and Portland are NOT Oregon, BTW.

Tom Southall Cass Lynch He was perhaps irrelevant to call himself shaman but perhaps not. You invaded his identity by disrespectfully invading a belief system which proves. Every. Point. I. Just. Made. The extra periods ”prove” that according to some.

Felix Trotter Does she really believe that a letter writing campaign initiated by deeply concerned women would have defeated the Persians at Thermopylae? The Umayyad caliphate at Tours? The ottomans at Vienna? It is the patriarchy that has delivered us to this comfy place in history.

Comfy posting is a direct and proximate result of the Patriarchy

Ronald Pierantozzi The most treasured gift someone could ever give to you is their time. This is invaluable, not worth all the money on this planet. It is life they could never get back. I wouldn’t want to waste my time with you because you closed that door. “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” Old African proverb. And this is all this old white man has to say to you.

August Voidhardt sYsTeMaTiC oPpReSsIoN


Vincent Barie Ooga booga where da white wimminz at?

David Marc Grant You sound like you’re unhappy here. Maybe you’d like to start your own country without the people that built this one.

Ambular Encinias That’s why cats are your only friends.

Zylphia Sepiida Please pay attention, a mediocre middle aged woman wants attention and refuses to get it from any healthier source

Andrew Davis So dismissive of what The Reverend Dr. MLK jr proposed as the critical guidepost on the way to a better place. “Judge them not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Sorry professor I am with MLK jr on this one.

Logan Kienast Discrimination is only ok when its against whites. You claim mlk was on your side yet you ignore gis message. Hed be tirning in his grace at this shit

Micheal Howard On today’s edition of “Shit that never happened”

Also, I’ve never seen such an old snowflake survive so long in direct sunlight.

Rebecca Mahfouz Brand building with uncritical identity politics and frothy mouthed defense of the neoliberal status quo is a bad business.

What a shame. Thank God you’re escorting former academics to the corporate world and not actually teaching.

August Voidhardt No worries, Rebecca. Maybe some day she’ll realize how to run a business and reach broader audiences in order to make more money.

Until then I’m sure her second job at McDonald’s will help pay the bills ?

Tim Anderson Yep, dont listen to white guys ever. You probably dont vaccinate your kids because a white guy told you to.

David Marc Grant Because “muh inter-sectionalism”. These people are power hungry charlatans. They can’t obtain power based on merit so they use psychological manipulation and a bankrupt ideology to obtain collectively what they cannot individually.

Charles Johnsonstein I doubt it’s a problem you run into very frequently.

Bert Stone Danielle Somers you would have to be attractive for that and you’re not.

Gerald MillerThe Professor Is In. You’re going to need to post a pic without the shirt to prove that….. ??

JC BryanThe Professor Is In. Pathetically hashtagging someone who doesn’t give a shit what you think of them and will not give you a second thought does not change the fact they are correct. You can engage a dialogue with me or you can admit defeat by banning me, your choice.

Corey Abel What’s hilarious is that her belief in human and civil rights — old white men. Her belief in universal human dignity — old white men. Her belief in using reason to know herself — old white men. Her belief that public rallies make a difference — old white men. Her (possible) belief in civil disobedience — old white men. Her belief that there is such a thing as a social system that is oppressive — old white men. Her belief in historical progress — old white men. If she is actually a “prof”, her belief in the value of university education (whatever that means to her) — old white men. Optics, the English language, and the entire inventory of her soul — old white men.

OF COURSE, none of these were really and simply white (or necessarily old). They were French, German, Greek, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Chinese, Japanese, and on and on and on. And some were “brown” and some were women; to be sure. But she would need to read more history — some of which might be written by (ahem) “old white men” to understand this. I am ceaselessly amazed at the readiness of many on the left to surrender their entire civilizational inheritance, in a fit of pique, to a demographic that doesn’t even exist.

Steve Fernandes Professor of what, stupidity? That’s about all you’re qualified for from looking at this page and comments. Don’t bother responding with something you find witty, trust me it’s not, because I’ve already turned off further notifications2

Mark Roling I hope she can fix her own car

Mats Kalinka Stunning

Zach Samya Look at that nose!

Sean Saxon burn in hell where all kikes go… hahah fucking ugly bitch!!! look how big your fucking nose is?

Rose L. Xane [what follows until the *** is all one long thread from Xane]

Rose L Xane

Damn bitch you have so much sun damage put some fucking sunscreen on your white ass I can see your neck peeling starting to look like a old white man


1What white old man hurt you enough to make a T-shirt bitch


1Block me in the block my comments I’m going to keep writing them


1Damn bitch you have so much sun damage put some fucking sunscreen on your white ass I can see your neck peeling starting to look like a old white man


1You look hella burnt bitch



Rose L Xane

Damn bitch you have so much sun damage put some fucking sunscreen on your white ass I can see your neck peeling starting to look like a old white man


1Damn bitch you have so much sun damage put some fucking sunscreen on your white ass I can see your neck peeling starting to look like a old white man


1You ugly white bitch


1Damn bitch you have so much sun damage put some fucking sunscreen on your white ass I can see your neck peeling starting to look like a old white man


1Deleted my shirt cuz it’s true


1Old white bitch with aging skin


1U look like a banana


1Aging like a old white man


1Aging like a old white man


1Aging horribly


1Well then again


1You’re white


1Damn bitch you have so much sun damage put some fucking sunscreen on your white ass I can see your neck peeling starting to look like a old white man


1Damn bitch you have so much sun damage put some fucking sunscreen on your white ass I can see your neck peeling starting to look like a old white man


1Damn I bet it suck hating yourselfHonestly tho what old white man hurt youYour father??ProbablyTwins


1Look too much alike


1What’s wrong with you eyebrowThat sun damaged neck Please wear sunscreen your neck and face looks awful so burnt to aging old white women I mean man. AMOldWhiteWomenIma make a shirt of you on it and under will say old White womanI’m quick to delete my comments Block me bitch can’t handle the heat put on some sunscreen because your fucking face is sun damaged


1It’s like it gets worse and wrinkly when the shirt comes offGod your skin is terribleJust like an old white women



Rose L Xane



1That aging neck omgGrossYou know I don’t got to worry about hurting you cause a sun fucked your shit up sis




Thomas Bérard You might be oppressed but I tell you what

them titties ain’t?

Avalon Al-KekistaniTwo What boobs? I see your picture, they are nothing to write home about.

Howlandicus Maximus You have some pretty rockin’ tits doc’. I would def poke.

Ryan Aalberg Peak boomer cringe


Michael D. Abbott Eight year old logic.

Michael D. Abbott Dad is mean!

Matthew DiFrancesco And the sidewalks clapped

Zee Plant Get used to Trump till Jan. 2025

Pankaj Pandit Attention seeker

Dustin Northwood So STUNNING and BRAVE I bet everyone CLAPPED

James Busby Stunning and brave

Ivan Gene Johnson Sooo stunning, and brave ???

Dylan Tyler Stunning and brave

Joey Taylor Of course she’s a professor…

Yakob Loots#anotherliberalmiddleagedwhitewomenfromcali

Glen Daniels I’d like to thank the anti-white hags glad-handing each other for being undesirable in this thread for confirming every reason I have to support patriarchy, race-realism, and willingness to fight in any oncoming civil war. Thank you. Hopefully you all will continue to marginalize yourselves out of sane society before the rest of us are forced to do it for you. ?

[Name not copied] You are a hateful person. You need to learn how to love——— white men.

We built our universities, our civilization, our science, our law, our medicine, our everything.

The least you could do is have an ounce of gratitude.

But you won’t because you let hate into your heart.

Tom Southall Then assert positive message rather than slur an entire class, to say nothing of appalling ageism. Men are through with meekly accepting these general calumnies. I am not an old hippie and I have always opposed concentration camps.

Jacob Hayward Nobody cares if the old white lady doesn’t like old white men. Especially when the old white lady is Professor dumbass here. Being racist and ageist helps nobody. Don’t judge by race,age,sex, or any other classifications, judge by people by the merits of their actions.

Uknow Topher Draft women like yourself first for the next war. No matter the outcome it’s a win/win.

Enward Hardarr Lol ok Oven Dodger ?1

Marc Chadwick Im a young man, and you should listen to me. shut up and stop spreading this poision. ?

Nick PerksDev Robinson who is this old white man with the silly T-shirt?

Alec Szigeti this is the most boomery boomerpost I’ve ever seen in my life lmao

Charles QuintanillaI’ll take “Things That Never Happened” for 500, Alex

Greg Robertswhy are boomers like this

Joe SarmentoOf all the things that never happened, this never happened the most.

Mark Simmonswhat a weird thing to lie about1

Ben Connellyand then everyone stood up and clapped1

Jacob Hayward Nobody cares if the old white lady doesn’t like old white men. Especially when the old white lady is Professor dumbass here. Being racist and ageist helps nobody. Don’t judge by race,age,sex, or any other classifications, judge by people by the merits of their actions.

Dan Coughlan I’ve heard enough from fake victim complex privileged white women

Joey Christian Roland I’ve heard enough from crybaby white liberals

Dora Lucija O’Matich I’ve heard enough from old racist feminazi bitches.

Fred McCarty I’ve heard my fill from nagging nags.

Walter Kurtz Oy vey how many shekels for the T-shirt?1

Luca Spencer Yeah fuck you old white men for fighting, putting your life on the line and watching friends die in our wars to protect our way of life and the freedom of expression of which I am currently using to blame you all based on the colour of your skin thus incriminating myself as a hypocrite.

Raymond Stanger We are tired of hearing you immigrants telling us your better bc you can hop a border and steal from old white dudes

Steve Philly Since when do we allow mentally ill people to teach in our schools?

Brian Gloskey What a retard, I’ve heard enough from old white women

Johnie Harper I’ve seen enough from ugly white women

Brandon Binder Shut up commie

Bert Stone I’ve heard enough from old commie jew women.

Taylor Somers I’ve heard enough from self-righteous goblins6

E Pluribus Unum Lili Marlene we cant be oppressed.. we are better than you

E Pluribus Unum You would be living in a cave, with no electricity, vaccinations, television, electronics, buildings, freedom….shall I continue?

Avesta Dayeny No one gives a shit what you think or say you dumb retarded spineless liberal cunt

Tyler Paddock Williams IV You’ve heard enough from white men. We’ve heard enough from post-menopausal Jewesses LARPing as revolutionaries. And before you accuse me of antisemitism, I would just like to point out that it is impossible for white people tk be antisemitic because antisemitism is prejudice + power. We have no institutional power over Jews but Jews have institutional power over whites. Mori Osborne

Daniel Meredith You will never see an attractive woman in a shirt like this. Just salty cows

Tony ES People who are anti racists are the ones who have the racist tendencies.

James Hall Lol what a harpy

Michael Bochenek Imagine being rejected by men so often that you have to do this to get attention.

Eric Lopez You’re a vile racist ?merchant

Goran Leši? Go live in the Kongo, you fucking mongo LOL

Jason Carter I’ve heard enough from agist sexist cunts with chips on their shoulders

Matthew Murphy She’s one of those rich private school girls that hates her dad because her brothers going to take over the family company and only getting a few million in inheritance makes her an oppressed minority. She can’t even ugh.

Ambular Encinias I get it you’re a feminazi, who probably cucks her husband, or wife, whatever…

Gino DiGioia It’s extra funny because I’m sitting in the labor and delivery room at the hospital with my wife right now.

Remember, the left *always* projects. It’s as though this lady thinks that just because she’s an unlovable pig with a barren womb, then all of her critics must be in that same state, or worse.?

Kenneth Kaczor Barun VonDarun Honestly, it looks like she’s angry because she runs a (in my opinion, going by the description, useless) consulting business and isn’t getting enough white men bucks to afford another pair of cat-eye glasses which is causing her to angrily lash out in a rather entitled manner. Or maybe she’s being politically provocative that way all of our favorite large corporations are and is trying to get people angrily sharing her comments to get attention. Most of all, I see a lot of projecting in her apparently mentally imbalanced posting–it’s clear she has some deep anger over relationships issues and might be lashing out over loneliness or something, but I’m just making an educated guess there. Either way, it’s kind of pathetic.

It’s clear she’s deeply troubled, and I kind of feel sorry for her, even if she’s angrily posting it’s clear she’s hurting inside.

Raymond Ramirez Still can’t figure out how to deal with your daddy issues, can you?

Marc Chadwick Im a young man, and you should listen to me. shut up and stop spreading this poision. ?

#Makeup Monday Guest Post: How K-Beauty Restored My Faith in Skincare – WOC Guest Post


I am delighted to offer another guest post in my series of contributed posts by black women and other women of color.

If you’d like to submit a post or an idea for a post for consideration, email me at I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer and can be about your experiences of racism/microaggressions in grad school or the career, your post-academic musings, hard-won advice for other students/faculty of color coming up, intersectional practices in teaching or research that you have found valuable, and also of course, makeup and clothes, or even tech gear you’ve found that helps in your work. More information can be found here.

Today’s post is by Dr. Shahla Khan

Shahla Khan is an author, blogger and YouTuber when she isn’t teaching or researching. Life forced her to convert to feminism and she never looked back since.  She tweets from @ShahlaSparkle. 


Working for a Phd is not a bed of roses even for the best, most genius of us. Some people deal with it well with just a few bumps along the way while others like me are not so lucky.

My primary supervisor abandoning me in the middle of my studies for a better job elsewhere, threw me down the depression spiral. Things went so bad, the mental illness took toll on the physical health too. The impact that I am going to talk about in this article is the one on my face, my skin.

In my twenties my skin was super perfect. Even during puberty I never had acne. No scars. No pores. Just perfect radiant olive skin. In the above picture for example, I have some eyeshadow and some gloss on. There’s no foundation or mascara or layers of concealers. Nothing.

For some reason I could not maintain this effortless natural skin as the Phd took its toll on me. I started having cystic acne and my pores on my cheeks and nose were visibly enlarged.

It came as a shock and I completely stopped taking any pictures. My self esteem drastically reduced. No matter how much I told myself not to attach my self worth to my outer appearance, I’d be lying if I say it didn’t matter. Because for some reason if at any point I didn’t notice, I come from a family where my mom and sister would leave no chance to point out the slightest bit of imperfections on my face.

Being the youngest at home I’m at the receiving end of this game. They assume I’m always going to remain young and never grow old. So any white hair or any scar on the skin is instantly pointed out. They aren’t ill-intentioned, just too used to seeing me a certain way and then they see me differently, they can’t hide but react.

I got worried and started trying some of the well known skincare products in the market.

Now these are products people swear by so by no means these are scammy.

I tried:

I even expanded to The Ordinary products

  • Niacinamide
  • Peel off mask
  • Alpha arbutin

None of these worked.

The acne kept recurring. The scars wouldn’t even lighten. The skin looked dull. Pores enlarged and clogged and I cannot even describe the hyper pigmentation.

It’s not like none of these worked. The expensive brands like Estee Lauder, Dior and Lancome are great when your skin has no ‘trouble areas’. They’d give you the luxurious feel and probably a placebo but not work wonders. It didn’t for me. The Dior moisturisers for example, they have all these fancy descriptions but since I have an oily T zone and slightly dry cheeks, it produces so much oil on my face it feels like an oil well in Iraq.

I tried the Origins ranges with a lot of conviction, people saying all these great things about them. But unfortunately, not one of their products actually made any difference at all. There’s only one product that somewhat suited my skin, the Planscription serum that came as a sample. It didn’t produce oil and moisturised without stickiness. I know its main purpose is to help with wrinkles but in a sample pack I don’t think there’s enough to see if any wrinkles could be fixed, also I don’t have any yet. Up until then my hunt was only to find something that controlled the sebum, the first step to solve the pores and the acne issue.

I tried The Ordinary Skincare with even more hopes. The raving reviews and the YouTube sensation was just too promising. I ordered few products based on my skin issues. Sadly, not one worked. It may have worked if it stayed on my skin but for some reason none of these products actually stay on my skin. Just a few minutes after application, they begin to rub off. I thought at least the peeling mask, the red one making so much sensation on Youtube would work. But the problem is that it can be applied on unbroken skin only. My skin was already suffering from acne and I could not use the product as much as it suggested.

Then I came across a skincare concept that changed my life: Korean Beauty brands

Korean beauty or K-Beauty is not just a bunch of products, its a philosophy. Seriously, they have books written on this subject and I felt like I had been living in a cave that for all these years I had no clue such magical things existed.

K-Beauty is simple:

  1. Exclude all harmful substances such as alcohol, parabens, artificial fragrances and colours etc.
  2. Keeping the ingredient list as brief as possible so that you get more of the key ingredient, hence the targeted benefit.
  3. The widest range of natural flowers, fruits, plants and acids produced naturally in nature.
  4. Innovative kinds of products that are fun to use and don’t feel like chores; ampoules, serums, sheet masks, essences, sleeping packs etc.
  5. And the best thing; affordable.

I discovered revolutionary things like the pH level of the skin, the proper way to use a toner isn’t just wiping it off your face, that cleansing your face is a crucial step of skincare as important as brushing your teeth.  K-beauty is based on a 10 step skincare routine, the convenience and fun of using mask sheets and actual skin healing products that turned my skincare upside down.

Let me give you a brief list of the top best holy-grail of all the products I tried:

1- Some By Mi Miracle Toner

I think this was a total game changer for me. It’s full name is AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner. Tea tree is the key ingredient of this toner and it has a low pH which keeps the acidity of the skin in check, hence probably the control of acne. It perfectly provides a gentle chemical exfoliation and it has become the foundation of my skincare. I am waiting for the serum of the same range to be delivered too. The 30 days claim made in the name of the product is not a scam.

2- The Face Shop Rice Water Cleansing Oil

I had never ever used an oil based cleanser before and this was something I was too excited to try. The best part of using this product is that it does not strip your skin off the natural oils that your skin barrier needs. Of the uncountable reviews on this product on several websites, I have not read one person complain about this. Certainly worth a try.

3- Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence

Essences are somethings I had never tried before either. But in short I can tell you, the whole ‘glass skin’ hype on YouTube; it’s achievable by layering this in the night. Just pure magic.

4- CosrX blackhead power liquid and poreless power liquid

These are 2 wonder products from CosrX. All their products are highly rated but since I tried only these two, I can see why these are so famous. There are millions of products out there that claim to reduce pores but rarely any work. This won’t make your pores disappear because obviously skin has pores. But it will control sebum and make pores manageable. The blackhead liquid melts dirt stuck deep in your pores and clears it out.

5- Secret Key Starting Treatment Sleeping Pack

There is a reason why ‘beauty sleep’ is a thing. And how wonderful it is when you have a secret to wake up to a face that is actually glowing and not like you just fought a monster. The texture of this night pack is a gel consistency and quickly melts in your skin. The packaging is so luxurious, you’d think it may be a £50 plus dollar product. There’s plenty in a huge tub and you only use very little, a pea sized amount at a time. I can’t say enough nice things about it, you have to try it to feel that glow and plumpness in your skin when you wake up next morning.

I am not saying that any of the other luxury brands from French companies or Origins, Lush, Neutrogena and The Ordinary are useless. Of course they may work for people hence they are widely sold. But they failed me terribly. Not to mention a Dior or a Lancome that I could buy for about £50 plus, I could afford 5 magical, change creating, mind-blowing K-Beauty products at that price. When I was desperate, I didn’t even mind spending and got the top few from Dior, Estee lauder and Lancome. Only if they were worth it.

None of them could control sebum hence none worked on enlargement of my pores and ultimately they failed. After about 6 months of using a combination of K-Beauty products, I am close to my pre-depression face. I no longer need foundation and concealer to cover everything before I leave the house and am brave enough to take a selfie once in a while.

Why Work as a Federal Research Scientist? – #Postac Post

I’m pleased to introduce Dr. Matthew Bakker, our newest #postac coach. For many years I have sought a coach with experience working for the federal government; this has been difficult because federal work rules prevent employees from taking outside jobs. Matt fortunately has just transitioned from government to a tenure track job, and will be able to provide #postac coaching for anyone seeking STEM-focused careers as well as government work.


Academic research at universities is only one species in a larger research ecosystem. Private industry also makes substantial research investments, for example. Federal government agencies form another component of the research ecosystem that is less well-known. In the big picture, it is a good thing (in terms of productivity, innovation, and balance) that there are multiple research enterprises, each of which have different incentives and strengths.

What are some of the advantages available to those doing research as federal scientists? There are several.

1. Less time selling research, and more time doing research. Staff scientists may pursue grant funding for a variety of reasons, but it is rarely required that they do so. Less time, effort and attention directed toward chasing dollars can mean a more focused, cohesive and thorough research program. This should not be misconstrued as suggesting that federal research scientists are free to choose anything they want for a research subject, or that no time will be required to plan and justify a research agenda. There are certainly research planning efforts that can consume considerable amounts of time, and research plans are frequently evaluated via external peer review. However, these plans are often made on the scale of a team of several scientists, may extend for longer durations than most grants, and the emphasis of the evaluation process is more on ensuring excellent science than on competing for limited available dollars.

2. Clear performance expectations. For many, the nebulous requirements and expectations for earning tenure are unsettling to say the least. Poorly defined expectations contribute to over commitment, and a continual feeling that ‘I should be doing more!’ Performance expectations are substantially more explicit as a federal employee. Each employee has a performance plan that lays out duties and expectations in yearly increments. Mandatory performance reviews with your supervisor provide a structure for receiving frequent feedback on performance. As a research scientist, it was valuable to know that submitting two original research reports in a given year would satisfy my primary performance expectation, and that productivity greater than this would be evaluated as being above the satisfactory level.

3. Equipment! One of the quirks of the federal appropriations process is that federal agencies are nearly always prohibited from carrying any funds over from one fiscal year to the next. You’ve likely heard news of threatened or actual ‘government shutdowns’ from time to time; this is the underlying reason. US law requires that congress make new funds available to the government each year, and without congress performing that basic function, government operations must cease. Monies appropriated to a federal agency but not spent by the end of the fiscal year must be returned to the treasury. Naturally, most agencies find useful and appropriate ways to spend their balances down to zero, rather than giving up funds. For researchers, this can mean relatively frequent access to one-time cash, enabling the purchase of equipment and instrumentation that many academic researchers could only dream of.

Conclusion: Research in the federal government service offers some real perks and advantages. However, many trainees and job seekers are unaware of these opportunities, in part because location and security requirements can ‘hide’ government labs from view. If you’ve never considered this career option, I encourage you to do so!A future post will look at some of the challenges and disadvantages of doing science in a government lab.

#MakeupMonday: Lipcolor Failure/Success

For those of you following my #science project of matching the Marc Jacobs berry-colored lipcolor in a product that actually stays on for longer than 10 minutes… well, I have reached a conclusion. And I’m not happy about it.

After a simply ridiculous expenditure of time and money in berry-colored lipcolors, both luxury and drugstore – including even Pat McGrath! – and walking around for 2 months with my hand looking like this…

I am left with but two usable options:

CoverGirl Outlast in Extraordinary Fuscia and Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink in Artist

Neither of these is a perfect match the way the Pat McGrath and Ginvenchy options were… but unlike those overpriced products, these two actually stay on through meals.

Here is the CoverGirl after a full day and two meals:

Here is the CoverGirl after dance:

I don’t have action shots for the Maybelline, and in fact, this particular shade doesn’t score as high on the durability scale as a few other Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink shades do. But it’s still a good 4-6 hour option. It’s a decent color match (Maybelline on the left, Marc Jacobs on the right).

I’m still going to try the Stila Stay-All-Day in Bacca that I got, but I already know from countless disappointments with this brand that Stila is not going to deliver. And I have a L’Oreal Pro-Matte Gloss in Rouge Envy that I’m going to try out so I’ll report back on that.

But honestly, this has all been very disillusioning. Basically, either because of my body chemistry, or my absurdly high expectations based on Beauty Bakerie LipWhip performance, none of those prestige lipcolors were even remotely acceptable, endurance-wise. I expect a long-wear lipcolor to 100% last through a meal and a full day and look as fresh at the end as it did at the beginning. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and a LOT of money, and I’m really really annoyed. I did just notice, though, that Beauty Bakerie makes a Sangria Splash color that I have not tried before… what if, after all this, THAT were to be the solution? Oh, that would simultaneously appall and delight me!

Does anyone want a shipment of berry-colored prestige lipcolors? I’ll pass them on to you at a deep discount – most have been worn only once. LMK.

Mentoring as Self-Care – WOC Guest Post

I am delighted to offer another guest post in my series of contributed posts by black women and other women of color.

If you’d like to submit a post or an idea for a post for consideration, email me at I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer and can be about your experiences of racism/microaggressions in grad school or the career, your post-academic musings, hard-won advice for other students/faculty of color coming up, intersectional practices in teaching or research that you have found valuable, and also of course, makeup and clothes, or even tech gear you’ve found that helps in your work. More information can be found here.

Today’s post is by Guadalupe (Lupita) S. Gonzalez. Lupita writes: “I am a doctoral candidate in cognitive neuroscience in the psychology department at UT Austin. My research interests include the use of neuroimaging methods to examine racial biases in socio-cognitive processes. My current research uses eye tracking to examine how social contexts influence perceptions of racial ingroup and outgroup members. When I’m not conducting research, I advocate for social justice and increasing diversity in academia. To this end, I serve as a mentor for undergraduates from underrepresented groups and am a member of our department’s diversity committee.”


When I attended my first lab meeting as a graduate student the first thing I noticed was that I was the only POC in the room. The lack of diversity in my program became even more apparent after attending my first Ford Fellows Conference. During the conference, a fellow Fordie and WOC asked me, “so how do you handle being a WOC in cognitive neuroscience, a field that is primarily White male-dominated?” I couldn’t answer her because I had no idea how I was going to handle being one of very few WOC in my department and in my field as a whole. I continued to think about this issue and realized I could help increase diversity in academia by mentoring underrepresented students. In fact, I knew first-hand the positive impact a great mentor can have on students of color. As an undergraduate, I experienced imposter syndrome while attending a private Christian college. I probably would have quit after my first year had it not been for a professor who introduced me to research, taught me how to navigate academia, and nurtured my passion for learning. I could tell he genuinely cared about my success because he often advocated for policies that would make campus more inclusive for students of color. After four years, his incredible mentoring helped me graduate at the top of my class.

My first mentoring experiences came unexpectedly after I hired my first group of research assistants (RAs). All three of them had two things in common: they were seeking research experience and they were WOC. Shortly after they started working with me, they expressed interest not only in my research but also in my experiences as a WOC and first-generation college student. Through our conversations I realized that I was becoming a mentor and role model for them. Although I didn’t have much experience as a mentor, I knew I wanted to be compassionate and honest with my mentees. I was particularly concerned about being compassionate because although I wanted to prepare my mentees for the negative aspects of graduate school, I didn’t want to crush their dreams in the process. To this end, during my first meeting with a mentee I always mention that I’m a Latina, low-income, and first-generation college student. I tell them that I’m the daughter of immigrants and that Spanish was my first language. I also tell them that although I’m grateful to have a career that I love, my experiences have taught me how difficult and unwelcoming academia can be for POC. By talking about my background, my goal is to show my mentees that I’m human just like them and that I also struggle in this field. More importantly, I hope that my mentees can see that WOC do belong in academic spaces.

I quickly realized that mentoring would be a learning experience not only for my mentees but also for me. In one instance, one of my mentees told me she was no longer applying to graduate school. Although I was taken aback by her decision, I tried to be as supportive as possible. Later she mentioned that during a meeting with one of her professors a few months back, the professor told her that he only recommended graduate school to his “best students.” She mentioned that her self-doubt increased because he seemed to imply that she would not be accepted into graduate school so she decided not to apply. After expressing my outrage at her professor’s ignorant comments, I tried my best to offer encouragement and support. I first tried to validate her feelings by explaining that she had experienced a microaggression and that it often happens to students of color. I shared that I had a similar experience when one of my undergraduate professors advised me not to double major because it would be “too difficult.” However, my mentor/professor helped me see that I was more than capable of double majoring. I told her that as first-generation college students we often place a high value on our professors’ opinions and reminded her that, although we see professors as experts, they can also be wrong so we should take their advice with a grain of salt. We had a long conversation about how microaggressions can exacerbate imposter syndrome and by the end of our conversation she seemed relieved and thanked me for the advice. Looking back, this has been one of many instances in which I have grown not only as a mentor but as a person.

When we talk about mentoring in academia, we often focus on the benefits for the mentees but we seldom focus on the benefits for the mentor. In fact, many people view mentoring as a one-way relationship. I’ve heard academics (usually non-POC) argue that academics of color should stop mentoring and practice “self-care.” While I agree that burdening POC with a majority of the mentoring work is a problem that needs to be addressed, I disagree with the idea that mentoring and self-care are mutually exclusive. For some of us, mentoring can be a form of self-care. For example, mentoring allows me to give back to my community. On a more personal level, mentoring helped me develop a sense of purpose and belonging in academia and knowing that many of my mentees relate to my experiences helped reduce my imposter syndrome. In addition, mentoring has kept me motivated by reminding me that my experiences as a WOC in academia provide me with valuable knowledge that can help others navigate the academy. While I realize that mentoring alone will not solve the lack of diversity in academia, I believe that mentoring is a powerful tool. In fact, during one of our recent lab meetings I looked around the room and noticed that the majority of our RAs were women and POC. Today, as I remember my first lab meeting, I can’t help but think that my mentoring efforts over the past few years might finally be making a difference.

Another Teaching Statement Cliché: The Messiah- Narrative

Today we are launching a new semi-regular series, “Missives from the Editing Trenches” written by long-time TPII editors. They are the real MVPs, working in the trenches to catch you in all your job document pitfalls — from the self-deprecating to the self-aggrandizing. They’ve seen it all and are happy to share their knowledge and give you concrete tips on how to make your documents shine.

Today’s post is by Dr. Verena Hutter.


I will say it loud and clear for everyone to hear: Teaching Statements are hard to write. For some clients they are hard to write because they barely have any teaching experience, and they are grasping for straws.

For other clients they are hard to write, because they have a lot of teaching experience, and they want to tell us everything they have ever done.

Others cannot help themselves and do go on about their love of teaching (don’t!).

Those are all common pitfalls, but today I want to focus on another one: The Messiah-narrative.

It goes along the lines of:

“Often, students don’t understand xxx. After I had them read yyy, and we discussed zzz, they were able to make sophisticated arguments on xxx, and contribute critical observations.”

Sounds good, no? No.

First off, if students understood x and had ready y already, they wouldn’t be in your class to begin with. So you have simply described your job. Only that you have done it in a painfully self-congratulatory manner.

Perhaps, this becomes clearer if I give an example using a nuts- and bolts- course that I have taught many times in many variations, Intro to German.

“Often, students are confused that German verbs require conjugation. After I explain to them that the verb will always indicate the subject of a main clause, and show them several example sentences, they understand the importance of conjugation and subject verb agreement, and subsequently apply it to their writing.”

Sounds basic? Indeed, it is (still, always conjugate your German verbs).

But aside from its basicness, there are more problems with the Messiah-narrative. It infantilizes students, while elevating yourself and as such articulates a deeply authoritative, top-down process. Of course, you need to show that you’re in control of your classroom, and you need to point at learning outcomes, but you need to do this without belittling students or commenting on their lack of knowledge or comprehension.  

This is not to say your teaching sucks. On the contrary, some of the most engaged and experienced teachers fall into the trap of the Messiah-narrative. Why? I blame the abysmal job market and/or training students get, and societal narratives of teachers changing lives etc. And of course, administrations love to point to outcomes. “When they entered my classroom, they didn’t understand algebra, now they do.”  

Resist the Messiah-narrative! Instead, give us specific, clear examples of how you teach. Want another German class example?

“I often visualize hard-to-grasp concepts. When teaching the accusative case for example, I bring a tennis ball to class. I throw it to a student, and after they’ve caught it, we write down what just happened. Who is the subject? Ich. What is the corresponding, conjugated verb? werfe. What is the target of the action of the verb (the accusative)? den Ball. Ich werfe den Ball.  I encourage students to color and mark up the various elements of the sentences with arrows, so they can visualize the transfer of energy and the trajectory of the ball. In the future, if they are struggling over a sentence, they can repeat this exercise to pull apart the various elements of the sentence.”

These are two vastly different paras, but they describe the same teaching unit. The difference is that in the first para, I focused on me, my role as a teacher, and my awesomeness of taking the students out of the darkness of not understanding German syntax. In the second para, I used a specific example, and in detail illustrated how I bring the beauty of German syntax to students and how exactly they can apply this knowledge in the future.

How to be specific in your teaching examples? Read here.

The only Messiah worth listening to is Georg Friedrich Handel (sorry, I couldn’t resist here)

Too Big, Too Brown, and Too Much – WOC Guest Post

I am delighted to offer another guest post in my series of contributed posts by black women and other women of color.

If you’d like to submit a post or an idea for a post for consideration, email me at I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer and can be about your experiences of racism/microaggressions in grad school or the career, your post-academic musings, hard-won advice for other students/faculty of color coming up, intersectional practices in teaching or research that you have found valuable, and also of course, makeup and clothes, or even tech gear you’ve found that helps in your work. More information can be found here.

Today’s post is by Naiomi Gonzalez, doctoral student in History at Texas Christian University. Naiomi and I had lengthy discussions about whether or not she wished to publish this anonymously, and sought the opinions of mentors and on FB. Naiomi carefully considered all responses, and in the end decided to publish it under her name.

I’m not only brown but I’m also fat and opinionated. This means that I not only take up more physical space but that I also insist that my voice be heard and respected. For the most part, I have been lucky to have professors that have supported me throughout my academic career. They know I am opinionated and they have attempted to create nurturing environments that allow all students, particularly those from marginalized groups the opportunity to express themselves.  

However, academia in general, despite all its lofty conversations regarding the importance of “diversity” continues to embrace the stereotypes of “the big angry black woman” and the “fiery” Latina. These stereotypes pathologize and treat as character flaws the very real and the very justifiable anger that many black and latinx graduate students feel as we confront and navigate institutions that were built off of our oppression.  Issues regarding racism, sexism, ableism and the many other forms of oppression that intersect with race and gender, are not, for many of us, abstract problems that we can have a friendly debate about and then move on. Many of these issues impact our lives in very real, tangible ways.

For instance, discussions about police brutality and violence against black and brown people are not simply matters of opinion. The issue is not whether black and brown people “like” or “don’t like” individual police officers. The problem is that an institution that holds so much power is able to murder our loved ones with impunity. The issue is not that “free speech is under threat” at so called “liberal” institutions, but that black and brown students are expected to be ok with our peers inviting speakers who advocate for our continued oppression. Meanwhile we get criticized as “snowflakes” or “social justice warriors” for demanding that our campuses protect us and treat us as human beings. While our white male peers are encouraged to voice their opinions and are allowed to express anger, black and brown graduate students are often mocked for being too “emotional” when discussing subjects that directly impact our lives. White students are allowed to express their anger and displeasure and not be reduced to the stereotype of an “angry white man” or “fiery” white woman.  Yet when we protest and demand that our humanity be respected, we are often ridiculed in subtle and not so subtle ways for not endorsing the status quo and remaining silent.

How many black and brown graduate students wonder if their outspokenness will prevent them from being gainfully employed in a job market that is already focused on shutting out large numbers of people or shunting them into adjunct hell? How many black and brown graduate students worry that their activism somehow makes them “less serious academics?” How many black and brown graduate students, studying subjects dominated by white men, agonize over whether or not they be given the opportunity to be heard? How many black and brown students are at the verge of giving up-on their studies and on academia in general, because they refuse or are unable to confirm to the standards that white academia has set as normative?  Standards that claim that only certain topics are ‘valuable” or that only certain voices have the ability to be authoritative?

Academia has a lot of good qualities. In addition to the supportive professors I have had throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to travel to different countries; something that seemed off limits to me as a child because I grew up in public housing and my family relied on government assistance to survive. I have studied so many interesting subjects related to my own personal interests and outside of them. While yes, no one needs to go to college or grad school to read books, the reality is that I have learned more from interacting with my peers then I would have by reading a book in isolation. I love learning and academia has provided me with the time and resources to discover and embrace my passions. I am beyond thankful for that.

But academia also has a long way to go if it truly wants to live up to its lofty ideals and rhetoric regarding equality and diversity. It is not enough to simply acknowledge that most universities and colleges need to admit more students and people of color. It is not even enough to actively implement programs that seek to increase students and faculty of color on campus. But academia needs to be willing to embrace us: all of us. Academia needs to embrace our concerns, our opinions, and yes, even our anger. If academia is truly serious about changing and doing better, it needs to be willing to accept those of us who are too big, too brown/black, and just too much.

#MakeupMonday: Clean Your Brushes

If you do makeup at all, you know that you’re supposed to clean your brushes on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. It’s like flossing. You KNOW you’re supposed to do it…. and yet…. days, weeks, months go by, and it is not done.

After the 5 week trip to Europe (and frankly, about a year of other traveling) my travel brushes were in a sickly state. Even I was grossed out by them.

And of course like magic, Instagram kept showing me a “Super -Fast Makeup Brush Cleaner” gadget each time I logged on. I resisted as long as I could, but of course I was going to buy it, it was just a matter of time. I mean, come on! It promises to instantly spin your brushes CLEAN AND DRY in under a minute!

Reader, I bought it.

Amazon actually has about 10 variations of this product, all from China. I picked one almost at random–it has good reviews. Is it the best, I have no idea.

But, here’s the thing: I cleaned my brushes.

Setup below. I had previously scored some super discounted BareMinerals Well-Cared-For Brush Cleaner at TJ Maxx a while back, so that’s what i used. I also had a brush cleaning mat from another TJ Maxx purchase, and brought that out just in case.

Setting to work, one by one, I took up a brush, found the rubber collar that matched its handle, inserted the brush, attached the collar to the battery-operated mechanism, stuck the brush head upside down in the little pot of sudsy water, and pressed the button. I spun the brush CLEAN up and down IN the water, and then I spun the brush DRY up above the water. (Watch the video at the Amazon link to see a demonstration). About 30 seconds or a minute of spinning per brush…. theoretically.

There was a definite learning curve involved. A surprising amount of things can go wrong with this apparently simple technology.

A: the brush handle forming a vacuum inside the rubber collar, and being almost impossible to get back out.

B: I quickly noticed that my beloved double-sided space-saving travel brushes (see below) would not fit in the rubber handle-collars. I had to do those by hand.

C: A learning moment: discovering that my foundation brushes are beyond the cleaning ability of my new little battery operated system. The thick black brush above on the right, with the white tips? That needed about three deep-cleanings, by hand, in hot water, before I’d removed all the embedded foundation.

D: Weird mishaps: about three brushes came apart during cleaning! The warm water melted the glue holding the handle and brush head together! Wut?! So, out came the handy superglue to fix that.

E: Another mishap: the rubberized handle of one Real Techniques brush turned permanently gunky/sticky from the hot water! But, it’s my absolute favorite contour brush and I’m not prepared to give it up! What to do? I grab a bottle of nail polish, and paint over the gunk! (see it drying on the left above). Two coats, and the brush handle was restored to a hard finish!

So brush-cleaning with this supposedly time-saving gadget took more fortitude and time than you’d expect. And no, the brushes were not spun “dry” after 10 seconds. They still needed to sit and dry for at least one hour.

But: feast your eyes on the clean fluffy glory of my brushes above. Do you see them? They’re transformed back to original state!

Below, my home brush set on the left side towel, and my travel brush kit on the right (minus a few sitting out to dry in the sun). All clean, fresh, fluffy, and soft.

And when I used them again the first time after washing? Whoa. Seriously, whoa. It was night and day. I had NOT been getting optimal performance out of those dirty brushes, most particularly any brush that dealt with foundation, either applying or blending.

So, I’m sold. I’ll be cleaning my brushes regularly from now on, and my new spinny gadget makes it fun. Was it quick? No, it was not. It took more than an hour to get through the entire ordeal. But assuming I don’t wait 1.5 years again, I expect the next time to go faster.