Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Body hair teaching exercise July 6, 2014

Filed under: appearance,teaching — Jender @ 7:14 am

That’s the question confronting students in classes taught by Breanne Fahs, associate professor of women and gender studies in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Since 2010 Fahs has offered students the chance to participate in an extra-credit exercise related to body hair.

Female student participants stop shaving their legs and underarms for ten weeks during the semester while keeping a journal to document their experiences. For male students, the assignment is to shave all body hair from the neck down.

“There’s no better way to learn about societal norms than to violate them and see how people react,” said Fahs. “There’s really no reason why the choice to shave, or not, should be a big deal. But it is, as the students tend to find out quickly.”

For more, go here.

 

Some reflections on the Tata Top July 4, 2014

Have you seen the new “Tata Top”? Feeling ambivalent about it? Of course you are!  Help is on the way.

Over at Fit Is a Feminist Issue, Tracy offers a useful survey of the pros and cons of the Tata Top. Check her post out here.

 

 

 

Children’s clothes that fight gender norms– from a Philosophy PhD! June 17, 2014

Filed under: appearance,gender,gender stereotypes — Jender @ 11:13 am

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Jenn Neilson writes:

My name is Jenn, and I’m a former academic with a PhD in philosophy from UT Austin (2011). I’ve moved on from academia to my next project, but I thought that you might be interested in a post about it for the Feminist Philosophers blog.

I’m starting a kids’ clothing company called Jill and Jack Kids to challenge gender stereotypes and inspire the next generation of leaders to think beyond pink and blue. We’re launching our new line of kids’ clothes that go beyond pink and blue on Kickstarter from May 19th – June 6th, 2014. We’re starting with t-shirts in sizes 2-8, with 4 designs that change the messages we’re sending to kids, and our products are eco-friendly, socially responsible (no sweatshops!) and made in Canada with US-sourced materials.

As she explains:

Of course it’s great that we’re starting to see skill-building toys being marketed to girls, as well as boys (Goldieblox being the prime example). But this is really only a tiny part of the change that we need to make in kids’ environments to stop reinforcing the outdated gender stereotypes that limit their opportunities in life. If we want kids to want to engage in play that develops new skills, they have to see that kind of play as acceptable for kids like them. This will be easier with some kids than others, but how easily it comes depends both on the examples and influences that they see around them, and on their sense of self–their sense of how they’re supposed to behave, what sort of interests are seen as acceptable for them to have, and what options are open to them. A child’s sense of self is shaped by a combination of his or her own personality, along with a wide range of social factors. To change the environment that kids grow up in enough to stop reinforcing outdated gender stereotypes, we’re going to have to do a lot more than market skill-building toys to kids who are already independent enough, who already have a strong enough sense of self, to be interested in them. If we want to see the level of real, widespread change that stands a chance of eradicating gender inequality as we know it, then we have to start earlier. We have surround kids with influences that will help them to develop a strong and resilient sense of self, so that they will be secure enough to choose toys and clothes and books and movies based on their true interests, instead of choosing according to what society expects of them.

So how do we do that? We start by changing the messages that kids receive from role models in books, on TV and in movies–ending the era of the traditional Disney princess, where adventure, curiosity and personal strength are reserved for boys. But that’s not enough. If we want to change the messages we’re sending to kids, we need to recognize the communicative power of the things that are closest to them–the very clothes we dress them in. Gender conventions in children’s clothing reinforce the idea that building, discovery and active play are for boys, and that girls should be concerned with home life and aesthetic appeal. The bows and ruffles and hearts and frills teach girls about the importance of looking pretty, and the dark colors, truck and sports motifs show boys that they’re destined for competition and adventure. We should strive to make our children’s worlds reflect our hopes for a future where men and women are treated with equal respect, and have equal access to and responsibility for all aspects of life. Only our own choices as consumers and business-owners can make that change happen.

Check out her website here!

 

Appearance norms – facial hair February 24, 2014

Filed under: appearance — Monkey @ 10:30 am

Harnaam Kaur
Photo credit: Huffington Post

Hats off to Harnaam Kaur! After enduring years of bullying due to her thick facial hair caused by polycystic ovary syndrome, she decided to stop attempting to shave, pluck, and bleach it out of existence, and for the last few years has had a full beard. Hats off too, to Harnaam’s brother, Gurdeep Singh (pictured above), who she says is her biggest supporter:

Kaur slipped once and shaved off her beard at the age of 17 after pressure from her extended family, but revealed: “All I could do was cry because I didn’t feel like myself without my beard.

“My brother was actually the one person who was completely shocked by what I had done – he hugged me and said I had looked so beautiful with my beard, he didn’t understand why I had done it.”

She added: “It was from that point that I thought I’m never going to remove it ever again.”

You can read more here.

 

Not the usual makeover reaction February 20, 2014

Filed under: appearance,Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 6:29 am

This video features four women who get makeovers, photoshoots, and photoshopping, and their reactions to the way they look. Could be useful in teaching. (Thanks, Mr J!)

 

‘They cannot change me’ January 21, 2014

This video is a nice commentary on beauty expectations for women in the entertainment industry. From Jezebel:

Here’s a striking video from Hungarian singer Boggie, in which her moving image is being retouched and “corrected” throughout the entire video. Directed by Nándor Lőrincz and Bálint Nagy, the three-minute video shows Boggie’s transformating from a lovely woman in dim lighting to a lovely, flawlessly made-up woman who has, judging by her glowing surroundings, been abducted by aliens and forced to sing for them.

 

 

PUT YOUR HEAD IN THE MACHINE January 7, 2014

Filed under: appearance,beauty — Jender @ 8:37 pm

In. The. Machine. YOU CAN’T BE BEAUTIFUL UNLESS YOU PUT YOUR HEAD IN THE MACHINE.
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(Thanks, Mr Jender!)

 

Women in Media in 2013 December 5, 2013

Some progress, but a lot of room for positive change.

  

 

Sexism, STEM, and Internet Bullying December 3, 2013

Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop talks about creepy, sexist, internet comments, what it’s like to be a woman in STEM related internet content creation, and what we can (begin) to do about it.

 

 

‘Don’t call me Freakface’: Changing Faces campaign November 25, 2013

Filed under: appearance,disability — Heg @ 9:14 pm

I can’t say I’m very familiar with Moshi Monsters, but I know how massively popular it is. So it seems important that it shouldn’t reinforce deeply unpleasant stereotypes about people with disfigurements by using character descriptions like ‘Bruiser’s scarred skin makes for a scary sight’. The charity Changing Faces is launching a campaign to change that:

Changing Faces, the national disfigurement charity, is launching a new campaign, ‘Don’t call me Freakface’.  It is calling on Mind Candy, the creators of Moshi Monsters, to stop using names like ‘Freakface’ which are common terms of abuse towards children with disfigurements.  It is also asking Mind Candy to stop using scars, spots and missing eyes to emphasize the evil nature of their bad characters.

There’s more in James Partridge’s blog post, including Mind Candy’s responses.  And for more on why it matters, see our post ‘Moving beyond the stereotypes‘.

 

 
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