Shameless Self-Promotion

My blog recently hit 50,000 pageviews:

And, I accumulated over 2,000 followers on Twitter:

Some of my followers on Twitter asked me how I got to these benchmarks, and I have one answer: Shameless Self-Promotion. Good Female Academics are mild and quiet and work away at their jobs, hoping to get noticed, but well aware that any attempt at blowing their own horn will be met with derision and dismissal. Bad Female Academics put themselves out there. Repeatedly and persistently.

When I was about 12 or 13, I remember standing in the school’s bathroom with my best friend as she ran through the list of things she wanted to change about herself. Then she asked me what I wanted to change about myself, the things I didn’t like. I shrugged my shoulders and said that there wasn’t anything I wanted to change. She looked at me and spat out, “Well, that’s awfully arrogant, isn’t it?”

This is the message we’re sent as girls and as women. To believe in ourselves is arrogant, unfounded, untrue. It takes an immense amount of confidence to put yourself out there, to promote yourself, to tweet your writing, to submit your name and your work for judgement and recognition. I believe that my work and my writing is good enough, maybe even great. And if it’s rejected, I take the critique, integrate it, and send it out again. I blog as myself because if I want the recognition and respect, it has to be as myself. My advice for reaching these milestones is just simply to take chances, to put yourself out there. Follow those people who you admire, engage them in conversation, tweet and retweet your work and theirs. Bring it their attention. Post your work in the comments of relevant blogs or articles. Look for both traditional and non-traditional opportunities, from going to conference in your field to submitting more traditional op-eds to stuff that really out there (I’m applying to SXSW this year!). To use an absolutely sexist and negative term, be willing to whore yourself. How is that for a loaded expression when it comes to self-promotion? Above all, be patient and be persistent. Be relevant and be accessible. Be open and have thick skin. Don’t give up. Find a supportive network of people who will push you and encourage you and be honest with you. But above all, don’t let that voice inside of you win. It’s my birthday today (August 14th). In the spirit of honestly, I’m 34. My world is nowhere near where I thought it would be, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I took a lot of chances, none of them I regret. I put myself out there and I don’t regret it at all. I want to thank all of your for helping me be the best Bad Female Academic I can be. No, a better one. Because shameless self-promotion isn’t about just you; it’s about being better because of the people you’ve reached.

Originally published at on August 14, 2011.

Bad Female Academic

Misadventures in Academia, Motherhood, and Beyond

    Lee Skallerup Bessette

    Written by

    Learning Design Specialist, Georgetown U. Lover of Literature. Neurodivergent. Size XL.

    Bad Female Academic

    Misadventures in Academia, Motherhood, and Beyond