Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Naomi Wolf on Aging: What do you think? August 12, 2014

Filed under: academia,ageing,aging,self-esteem,sex — annejjacobson @ 5:50 pm

Is the following just a description, or in part a recommendation? In any case, it carries a lot of information about values, though just whose may not be clear. In any case, what do you think about it? definitely on the right track? Spending too much on yoga, pilates, organic food and expensive hair stylists? Some big flaws? Just wait untill she gets to 65?

When I am at a social occasion, the showstoppers are no longer the young beauties in their 20s. Rather, those who draw all the light in the room are the women of great accomplishment and personal charisma — and these are usually women in midlife. (Indeed, at events I have attended recently, cadres of conventionally beautiful young women seem now to be treated almost like wallpaper or like the catering staff.)

The change in social norms around the issue of women’s aging is immense. There is now an influential and growing demographic of educated, well-off women whose status, sense of self-esteem and sexual cachet rise rather than fall as they head toward midlife. I do not see younger women looking at accomplished women in their 40s with pity or derision: I see them looking ahead with admiration and even envy...

Because of advances in health and well-being awareness, many women I know are entering midlife feeling as good as (and looking better than) they did in college. But they also have professional success, self-knowledge, sexual magnetism and awareness, and even thriving children, admiring husbands or ardent lovers. These signs of accomplishment merely add to the allure of many midlife women — women who, when asked if they would like to be in their 20s again, think of doing so with a shudder.

So male philosophers who hit on young women in classes or conference are what? Incredibly insecure? Following the pro-creation narrative? Out of touch with the values of the cultural elite?

 

Beware the DNR order February 17, 2014

Filed under: ageing,bioethics,medicine — annejjacobson @ 4:47 pm

This post is for those of us involved in caring for ourselves or others. (If you don’t give a sh*t about anyone, don’t read on.) It comes from a blog post by a highly credentialed physician and professor of medicine.

“DNR” is supposedly just about employing CPR. Even that was somewhat surprising, but facts about how it’s used can be very upsetting:

And it’s not just in the midst of a disaster that physicians mistake “DNR” for “Do Not Treat.” Study after study has shown that physicians say they would not administer a whole variety of treatments to patients who are DNR. One representative study of 241 physicians found that they were far less likely to agree to transfer a patient to the intensive care unit or even to perform simple tests such as drawing blood.

Most recently, physicians and nurses caring for pediatric patients also told interviewers that in practice, DNR means far more than just do not perform CPR. In this survey of 107 pediatricians and 159 pediatric nurses in a hospital setting, 67% believed a DNR order only applies to what to do after a cardiac arrest—but 33% said it implied other limitations. And 52% said that once a DNR order is in place, a whole host of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions should be withdrawn, over and beyond CPR, and a small but disturbing minority, 6%, said that a DNR order means that comfort measures only are to be provided.

Note: comment 1 below draws our attention to the possibility of state variations on a DNR order. In addition, some DNR forms are part of a living will, where you specify more about what is wanted. So it is worth checking out what is available. The focus of this post is to say ‘DNR’ may not be understood as you want it to be.

I’m reminded here of the Wiittgensteinian point that you won’t find an interpretation that won’t itself need an interpretation. That’s why at some point we need community practices.

 

Having a cocktail is such fun; let’s blame breast cancer deaths on it. April 12, 2013

Filed under: ageing,aging,breast cancer — annejjacobson @ 12:37 am

Goodness knows why alcohol got the blame, but it certainly did. A large study based on nurses’ self-reports was a very significant factor in this story.

Alcohol and Risk of Breast Cancer
Steven A. Narod, MD
JAMA. 2011;306(17):1920-1921. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1589.

In this issue of JAMA, Chen and colleagues1 report findings from the Nurses’ Health Study exploring the relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk. The authors’ principal findings were that the cumulative amount of alcohol a woman consumes during adulthood is the best predictor of her breast cancer risk and that low levels of alcohol consumption (as few as 3 drinks a week) are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Everyone (it seems) at the large, famous and amazingly effective cancer center, MD Anderson, is extremely anti-alcohol.

But that may not be the whole story. From today’s NY Times:

Alcohol consumption is known to increase the risk for breast cancer. But a new study suggests that moderate drinking has little effect on survival after diagnosis, and may reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Researchers, writing online in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, studied 22,890 women with breast cancer, recording information on alcohol intake before diagnosis and, for a subset of 4,881 of them, after diagnosis as well.

After controlling for age, education, stage of cancer, body mass index, smoking and other factors, they found that breast cancer survival was similar in women who drank alcohol after diagnosis and those who did not. But women who drank moderately before diagnosis — three to six drinks a week — were significantly less likely to die of breast cancer and of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease, the authors write, is increasingly being recognized as a mortality cause among breast cancer survivors.

There are a lot of questions left unanswered. One is about the difference between risk and death for people not yet diagnosed at age 50.

 

Feeling past it? Don’t! February 12, 2013

Filed under: ageing,aging,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 8:55 pm

I haven’t had time to watch the whole thing, but I’d bet it is heteronormative. On the other hand, its portrayal of African American women seems to be non-standard in a good way, though it might be classist. See what you think!

 

Pensioner dies after care agency shut down February 6, 2013

It’s difficult to know where to start with this. The bare facts, as reported by the BBC website, are that an eighty-year old woman was left without food, water, or medication for nine days after the company responsible for her care was raided and shut down by the UK Border Agency. Sadly, she later died in hospital. The agency, it seems, had been illegally employing folks without papers, although I don’t think that much has been officially confirmed. There are so many things about this tragedy that make me angry. First off, care work is one of the most poorly paid jobs going. A 2010 report by the Low Pay Commission found that 9% of care workers were paid less than the minimum wage. Many were not being reimbursed for their travel costs. No surprise there, as caring has been – and still is – associated with women, and what has traditionally been considered ‘women’s work’ is always more poorly paid than traditionally masculine roles, no matter how important it may be. In addition, few care workers are union members, and as private companies have taken over – and made to compete for – the provision of care, this has led to reduced pay and poorer working conditions. Second, migrants without papers are one of the most easily exploited groups of people – lacking any official means to support themselves, they have to take any work they are offered, and their illegal status means that they have no power over their pay or working conditions. They cannot join a union to fight for a better deal, and they cannot complain if their jobs fail to meet the legally required standards. Third, the existence of such a vulnerable group of people, living in the shadows of our society, makes it harder for those with papers. Their pay and working conditions are driven down by the exploitation of illegal migrants, and they must now compete for work with people who can be paid less, made to work longer hours, and so on – people whom, from a certain perspective, it makes more sense to employ. And there we have it: a matrix of oppression, which leads to the various sufferings of care workers, folks without papers, and those who require care.

 

So you found the magic pill… January 2, 2013

Filed under: ageing,aging,appearance,autonomy — annejjacobson @ 7:41 pm

Let’s suppose you were given a prescription for a pill that will mean you lose 2-3 lbs a week, while you eat as much as you want of anything you want.

But it has some side effects.  One is getting seized by itching, which seems to move around your body at random.  (Cortisone cream helps.)  Another is that you can get tense and a bit bad tempered; your partner’s new and strange desire to help with dinner is irritating you a lot.  Digestion is not as simple as before, there may be mild hair loss(temporary), sleep can be disturbed easily and you have quite dry mouth.  And even with insurance, it is $10 a pill, one pill daily.

Of course, you strongly disapprove of the cultural obsession about women’s weight that is all around you.  But then you remember the recent remark on this blog that if you lose 20 lbs, your course evaluations will go up.  So it isn’t that you are endorsing these norms; you are trying to survive them.

Not everyone gets all the side effects.  How much would you tolerate to lose 15 lbs in 5 weeks?  Without ever being hungry, eating what you want, etc.

——————————

By the way, there really is such a pill.  Do you know which it is?

 

Seventeen December 23, 2012

Filed under: ageing,aging,appearance,autonomy,glbt,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 12:22 am

Seventeen is a magazine that tries to cater for late teen tastes.  I used to look at it occasionally when I was a teen, and so when I was trapped waiting for 45 min for a friend, I decided to take a look at its prom issue.  I could divide the comments in my head into two types:

From long ago:  1.  Some of these dresses look like night gowns; do you want to go to the prom in your underwear?

( a bit of a non-sequitur, but you get the idea)

2.  Thank goodness some of them are not strapless.

(the nuns would roam around with muslim muslin and safety pins to cover up an immodest girl.)

And then voices from the present century:

1.  Some of the dresses are sized 2-18 and others go as large as 24.  Fabulous.

2.  Big bottoms are clearly allowed and maybe even enouraged.  Yea!  (When I was buying Seventeen, we – already poorly endowed white women/girls – all wore girdles.)

3.  No more photoshopping of bodies, Seventeen says, and that’s actually likely.   Plus-size models are genuinely plus.  Hooray!

The down side:  the burning questions of today look awfully like those of the 50’s and 60′, which means way too many of them are about how he will react to you/her.   Gay couples don’t have any  problems??  There are no important problems that don’t have to do with sex?

O, Tra-la-la.  Life is deliciously trivial

 

Would you have expected this? November 22, 2012

Filed under: academia,ageing,aging,altruism — annejjacobson @ 7:26 pm

I was surprised by an incident – involving me – on my campus. I would not have expected this, and in fact I’ve embarrassingly agreed in print with Hume about our having a natural tendency to care about others, at least those in our community who are like us.

I had been at a large and fairly formal lunch. No alcohol, but I was in my best daytime attire. Shortly after I left the hotel on campus where the event was, I stumbled and fell. Fortunately, my left hand and arm got most of the damage; my head didn’t touch the ground and nothing was broken. But I was very shaken up. So I decided not to move for a while.

So picture this: definitely older woman, black silk trousers, quite nice red top, a rope of pearls, sitting on a campus sidewalk, her back against a wall, and her legs straight out onto the pavement. A few possessions scattered by her side. A university name tag still on her top.

I think something like 20-25 students passed me. No one stopped and asked if I needed help.

Of course, I could have asked for help, but decided not to when no one seemed the least bit concerned. But I hardly looked to be just enjoying myself; I hope I would have stopped if it were someone else.

 

Fat police refuted? September 18, 2012

Filed under: ageing,bias,bioethics,body,bullying,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 5:18 pm

Our posts on accepting women’s bodies of all shapes and sizes will sometimes inspire the fat police to appear to denounce any acceptance of being overweight. So I’m very happy to say that the idea that being overweight is unhealthy now has a huge question mark against it. Though we’ve heard this before, the idea is getting new attention from an August finding that even with diabetes II, being overweight can be a protection. From the NY Times:

In study after study, overweight and moderately obese patients with certain chronic diseases often live longer and fare better than normal-weight patients with the same ailments. The accumulation of evidence is inspiring some experts to re-examine long-held assumptions about the association between body fat and disease…

…. there were hints everywhere. One study found that heavier dialysis patients had a lower chance of dying than those whose were of normal weight or underweight. Overweight patients with coronary disease fared better than those who were thinner in another study; mild to severe obesity posed no additional mortality risks.

In 2007, a study of 11,000 Canadians over more than a decade found that those who were overweight had the lowest chance of dying from any cause.

To date, scientists have documented these findings in patients with heart failure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, high blood pressure — and now diabetes.

There are many possible explanations. One is that being overweight is often not studied independently of fitness:

The link between obesity and health derives in part from research like the Framingham Heart Study, which has followed thousands of men and women since the 1940s. But Paul McAuley, a professor of health education at Winston-Salem State University, has noted that Framingham and other longitudinal studies often fail to take into account physical activity and fitness.

Research that does tease apart weight and fitness — like a series of studies conducted by Steven Blair at the Cooper Institute in Dallas — shows that being fat and fit is better, healthwise, than being thin and unfit. Regular aerobic exercise may not lead to weight loss, but it does reduce fat in the liver, where it may do the most metabolic damage, according to a recent study at the University of Sydney.

The bottom line? This may be it:

In 2005, an epidemiologist, Katherine Flegal, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that the biggest risks of death were associated with being at either end of the spectrum — underweight or severely obese. The lowest mortality risks were among those in the overweight category (B.M.I.s of 25 to 30), while moderate obesity (30 to 35) offered no more risk than being in the normal-weight category.

The article is interesting in another respect, as a comment on what happens to opinions that go against very established beliefs. An early article ran up against the critical review, “This cannot be true.” And as they say, it will take some time before you can expect an internist/general practitioner to accept it. It goes against the “paradigm”.

 

What do you think? September 4, 2012

Filed under: ageing,appearance,autonomy,beauty,bias — annejjacobson @ 8:02 pm

This really pisses me off!

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,557 other followers