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View Full Version : Something frivolous to distract those waiting: Rationality vs conservatism in econ



thewhiterabbit
02-20-2008, 07:03 AM
Hi folks,

This is a rather random question, but I hope it'll provide a slightly entertaining discussion while everyone is waiting :-). And maybe give me some useful insights, too.

I've been toying with the idea of the idea of getting a tattoo - in a place that would be hideable if need be, but that isn't something that would be hidden every day unless I really wanted it to be (smallish, on the left inner forearm, if you're curious). I won't go into detail about why but presume it won't look obviously idiotic (not a heart with an ex-boyfriend's name!). Don't worry - chances are pretty low I'll actually do it (I'm pretty risk-averse!) and it's certainly not going to happen in the immediate future, but it got me wondering and hence the question.

Practically speaking, how much do you think something like this would hinder someone in economics academia? Economists are supposed to care more about merit, and be more rational and libertarian than most, so in theory it really shouldn't matter at all if my work is good, right? (And if it were hidden at "important" times and while meeting "important" people.) On the other hand, this isn't the queer theory or women's studies department, where people are flamingly liberal and you'd expect them to be permissive of "alternative" lifestyles as a matter of course.

Which attitude do you think would prevail, rationality or conservatism?

It's already somewhat relevant to me because I have one visible (unobtrusive) facial piercing and I've always assumed I would take it out at some point in the future when I "had" to. But, I've gotten this far very successfully. And I like it and don't really want to take it out and am wondering why I should feel this pressure if I'm entering into a profession that should in theory only care about what's behind my face, not on it :-)

I can think of a few different arguments for and against, but thought I'd see what you guys thought. So, what do you think, future colleagues?

(I think/hope this is on-topic enough to warrant discussion, especially with all the economics research out recently about how appearances affect career chances... :-)

Olm
02-20-2008, 07:14 AM
YouTube - Red Vs. Blue - P.S.A. - Tattoos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEmzIgfPGzY)

israelecon
02-20-2008, 08:58 AM
i think it would actually give you an advantage in academia to be less conservative. for example, in my sister's previous university there was a prof who had a sex-change (to become a woman) and i think it definitely helped her (him). this is of course on top of the fact that it is a really big advantage on the academia job market to be a woman because departments have a big majority of men and they try to even it out.

bauble
02-20-2008, 01:21 PM
i think it would actually give you an advantage in academia to be less conservative. for example, in my sister's previous university there was a prof who had a sex-change (to become a woman) and i think it definitely helped her (him). this is of course on top of the fact that it is a really big advantage on the academia job market to be a woman because departments have a big majority of men and they try to even it out.

There ARE some things I won't do to get a good job..

AstralTraveller
02-20-2008, 01:26 PM
i think it would actually give you an advantage in academia to be less conservative. for example, in my sister's previous university there was a prof who had a sex-change (to become a woman) and i think it definitely helped her (him). this is of course on top of the fact that it is a really big advantage on the academia job market to be a woman because departments have a big majority of men and they try to even it out.

Is this the whole Donald (--->Deirdre) McCloskey issue? Or is this more common than it seemed?

jazzcon
02-20-2008, 01:28 PM
I've heard that Robert Solow has a tattoo of a heart with a banner that says "MOM" on is lower back.

I disagree with you. If you are going to get a tattoo you might as well get the cheesiest thing you can think of.

buckykatt
02-20-2008, 09:49 PM
Is this the whole Donald (--->Deirdre) McCloskey issue? Or is this more common than it seemed?

I was wondering the same thing. Clearly, the sex change was the right thing for McCloskey to do, but *not* for professional reasons...

buckykatt
02-20-2008, 09:51 PM
Anyway, my two cents on the tattoo issue: I would say that it would make no difference whatsoever in an econ department, but might if you wanted to teach in the business school down the hall. I'd still cover it up when going on an interview, though, just as I'd dig the sports coat out of mothballs and maybe even find a tie to wear...

08Applicant
02-20-2008, 10:06 PM
(not a heart with an ex-boyfriend's name!)

You're a girl!

No... wrong thread, wrong topic.

I plan to get tattoos when I have the inspiration for one. It will be a half sleeve, but any design is very tentative right now. I'm not really sure if my professors or students I TA would think less of me when I'd wear short sleeves to class. Thankfully, any button-down shirt's sleeves even rolled up doesnt pass the elbows.

I guess my idea is a compromise so I have to ask are you committed to placement you've chosen? Does the forearm hold any special significance for the tattoo.

buckykatt
02-20-2008, 11:14 PM
You're a girl!


Seems to me there's another possibility you've failed to consider...

guan
02-21-2008, 12:11 AM
Solow (http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Solow.html): "Everything reminds Milton [Friedman] of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper."

Trapped In an EW Box
02-21-2008, 12:55 AM
Brilliant~! Thanks for that :)

I'm thinking about getting one too - I don't think it really matters vis-a-vis professional concerns!