Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Good news, bad news June 10, 2014

Filed under: gender inequality,rape,sexism,sexual assault,violence — philodaria @ 10:11 pm

The bad news is that the Washington Post has been up to some sexist shenanigans. The good news is, it’s under fire for doing so. Read about it here.

 

University of Texas tells women what to wear June 4, 2014

Filed under: academia,discrimination,gender inequality,sexism — philodaria @ 6:56 pm

Via Jezebel.

UT Austin Dress Code

A reader spotted this sign up at the University of Texas School of Nursing in Austin.

Our reader said the signs popped up this week. “Revealing clothing MUST NOT be worn while in the School of Nursing Building. It distracts from the learning environment.”

“It distracts from the learning environment.” Oh, OK. For a second there I thought we were only teaching young girls in elementary, middle and high school that their bodies are nothing but shameful sin receptacles which must be covered up and hidden at all times from men who absolutely cannot control themselves at the slightest hint of a woman’s skin. Good to see that this outdated sexist bullshit is being instilled in college students in a professional training program, too!

 

Stop taxing periods. Period. May 21, 2014

Filed under: body,gender inequality,gendered products,health — Lady Day @ 1:27 pm

A new petition demands that the United Kingdom stop taxing women’s sanitary napkins and tampons as luxuries. According to the petition, men’s razors are not taxable whilst women’s sanitary products are because it is a woman’s choice whether or not to use the latter. Hmm… Perhaps it’s time that British women gather en masse whilst choosing not to use such products and descend on Parliament to protest the tax, perhaps sitting on some posh parliamentary cushions while they’re at it.

…or maybe just sign the petition. Here it is.

(H/t to CA for sharing the petition and to MS for the unorthodox protest suggestion.)

 

A reply to Robert George: Why sexual assault can’t be blamed on the sexual revolution May 18, 2014

Recently, philosopher of law Robert George wrote a piece in which he links the culture of sexual assault on college campuses to the sexual revolution. A philosophy graduate student has written a beautiful and moving reply. I quote from it below, and the full response is here.

Yet, the fact is, sexual assault is deeply wrong and harmful regardless of the victim’s sexual history or values. The Philadelphia Magazine article provides ample evidence that students who have casual sex, seemingly without sharing metaphysical or ethical commitments about what it means for “two to become one,” still experience assault as a serious trauma. Moreover, sex workers can be sexually violated and process it as such, irrespective of their views on sex. Some people might counter that victims can be mistaken about the source of their trauma, and that if they think it has nothing to do with the meaning of sex, they are lying to themselves. This reasoning, much like sexual violence itself, denies people agency. It’s hard to capture the sheer horror of having one’s will subjugated by another person, the utter powerlessness of being at someone else’s mercy. As long as we see sexual assault as an offense against purity or chastity rather than primarily against autonomy, we cannot do justice to that experience.

. . . Professor George, I share your sadness and yearning for truth, in my various roles as young Catholic philosopher, Swarthmore alum, sexual assault survivor, and human being. I am just worried that when culture wars overshadow the discussion of sexual violence, it leaves all parties hurt and none transformed. By all means, let’s create spaces for college students to discuss campus sexual culture, the meaning of sex, and healthy relationships. All I ask is that we not let questions over which many reasonable people disagree turn our attention away from the distinct and severe wrong of sexual assault. Otherwise, I fear you will be right: We will live in a “hell on earth—complete with ideologies hardened into orthodoxies to immunize it from truth-telling and to stigmatize and marginalize truth-tellers.”

 

Debate on changing the gender politics in UK universities May 9, 2014

Filed under: gender inequality,women in academia — axiothea @ 9:44 am

GENDER EQUALITY NOW!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 – 2:15pm to 7:00pm
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Auditorium

Help us to change the gender politics of UK universities! Come along and listen to and debate
proposals from 4 leading humanities academics, who want to make universities a fairer place for all.
We’ll then break out into workshop sessions to design a manifesto for gender equality in the academy
– and launch it with a reception.

2.15-3.15 manifesto presentations by Edith Hall (KCL), Rebecca Reilly-Cooper (Warwick), Francesca
Stavrakopoulou (Exeter), Patricia Skinner (Swansea)

3.15-4.00 roundtable discussion

4.00-4.20 tea

4.20-5.00 breakout groups

5.00-6.00 presentations and general discussions

6.00-7.00 Reception and unveiling!

Attendance is free, but please sign up here:

www.SignUpGenius.com/go/10C0A4FAFAD22A6FF2-gender

Theme: Women and the Humanities
Contact name: Tim Whitmarsh
Contact email: tim.whitmarsh@ccc.ox.ac.uk
Audience: Open to all

 

Your chance to Kickstart some feminist theatre May 7, 2014

Filed under: comedy,gender,the arts — Lady Day @ 10:44 am

What a neat idea! Travesti is a new play that takes verbatim women’s “stories about unruly body hair, being groped on public transport, and experiences of sexual violence” and puts them in the mouths of an all-male cast. Here’s what its creators have to say about it:

By putting these stories in men’s mouths, we wanted to highlight the absurdities of typically ‘female’ behaviours – why are women expected to wear make up and men aren’t? Why are we expected to shave our body hair and men aren’t? Why are we expected to consider our safety at night in ways that men don’t have to? Happily, as a result, it also opens up interesting discussion about the social roles enforced on men, for example how male rape is something that is not discussed in the same way as female rape. Our intention was to make a feminist theatre piece that looks like the women we know: intelligent, playful, funny and sexy. 

Want to help Travesti get to the Edinburgh Festival? Here’s their Kickstarter page.

 

TransAdvocate Interview with Judith Butler on Gender Identity May 3, 2014

The TransAdvocate recently posted an interview with Judith Butler on gender and gender identity, specifically surrounding trans* issues. There are a lot of quotable gems in there, so I encourage you to check it out!

 

“We [all] form ourselves within the vocabularies that we did not choose”

 

“No matter whether one feels one’s gendered and sexed reality to be firmly fixed or less so, every person should have the right to determine the legal and linguistic terms of their embodied lives.”

 

“My sense is that we may not need the language of innateness or genetics to understand that we are all ethically bound to recognize another person’s declared or enacted sense of sex and/or gender. We do not have to agree upon the “origins” of that sense of self to agree that it is ethically obligatory to support and recognize sexed and gendered modes of being that are crucial to a person’s well-being.”

 

“Sometimes there are ways to minimize the importance of gender in life, or to confuse gender categories so that they no longer have descriptive power. But other times gender can be very important to us, and some people really love the gender that they have claimed for themselves. If gender is eradicated, so too is an important domain of pleasure for many people. And others have a strong sense of self bound up with their genders, so to get rid of gender would be to shatter their self-hood. I think we have to accept a wide variety of positions on gender. Some want to be gender-free, but others want to be free really to be a gender that is crucial to who they are.”

 

Harvard Professor suing over denied tenure May 1, 2014

Dr. Kimberly Theidon, an anthropology professor, is suing Harvard University, alleging discrimination and retaliation after she spoke out on behalf of victims of sexual assault and criticized the university’s handling of their cases.

“I’m not going to be silent, I was not going to be a dutiful daughter so they denied me tenure and effectively fired me,” said Theidon.

Now she’s blowing the whistle on the university by filing a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination alleging she was discriminated and retaliated against for criticizing the university’s handling of sexual assault cases.

“This case is about the importance of women who are sexually assaulted on campus having someone to go to as the first responder who will not be afraid to help them,” said her attorney Elizabeth Rogers.

“We want Harvard to change their policies,” said attorney Phil Gordon.

A spokesman for the University declined Team 5 Investigates request for an interview, citing the pending litigation.

However, in a written statement, the university told Team 5 it “would never deny tenure due to a faculty member’s advocacy for students who have experienced sexual assault.” Instead, tenure decisions are “based on the quality of a faculty member’s research, teaching and university citizenship.”

“I think in principal that is probably true, but in practice, they violate it often and in my case they violated it,” said Theidon. However she said she doesn’t have any regrets,” I would do it all over again, only I would be louder.”

Read more here. 

 

 

Schliesser on de Gournay: sexism is “serious blasphemy” April 26, 2014

Yesterday, at his Digressions & Impressions blog, Eric Schliesser posted a (second) lovely discussion of 17th century philosopher Marie de Gournay and her account of the Church’s role in the subordination of women. Strikingly, de Gournay argues that, in having played this role, Christianity also oppresses men, by encouraging them to make idols of themselves.

For, men have chosen to let themselves be ruled by “superiority of…strength” (73) and not their rational faculty. In fact, she argues that in so doing men have committed “serious blasphemy” because men have elevated themselves above women. For, women are “worthy of being made in the image of the Creator, of benefiting from the most holy Eucharist and the mysteries of redemption and of paradise, and of the vision–indeed, the possession–of God.” (73) Man’s political decision to deny women “the advantages or privileges of man” is, thus, a way to make an idol of himself. 

De Gournay’s argument is a powerful reply to the Pauline-Augustinian argument that woman only expresses God’s image when she is united to man (de Trinitate, Book 12, Ch. 7). I know what I’ll be adding to the syllabus the next time I teach philosophy of gender. Thanks, Eric!

 

If you’re wondering how wrong university procedures can go… April 24, 2014

[Trigger Warning]

This story from Brown University will give you some idea. I encourage anyone who is confused about why victims may not come forward especially to read it. But of course, this isn’t just about Brown.

Students were outraged in 2013, when Yale University disclosed in a semi-annual report that only one of six people found responsible for sexual assault had been suspended, and the rest were punished with reprimands, training or probation. A subsequent report showed one student was found guilty of sexual assault and was given a two- term suspension, and the rest of the assault cases hadn’t concluded or did not lead to a formal investigation.

From the 2008-09 academic year to 2012-13 at Harvard College, five students were required by the Administrative Board to withdraw from the undergraduate school due to “social behavior – sexual.” Two students were punished with probation for “social behavior – harassment/sexual” and the college took no action against six students for “social behavior – sexual.” Harvard College was hit with a federal complaint last month for, among other grievances, forcing sexual assault victims to live in the same residence halls as their attackers.

Documents provided by Dartmouth College show that from 2010 to 2013, sexual violence cases resulted in two students being “separated or resigned” from the college, two students suspended, two placed on probation and four found “not responsible.”Dartmouth may implement a policy that would make expulsion the preferred sanction for students guilty of sexual misconduct.

Colleges are not required to disclose how many students are investigated or punished for sexual misconduct. Columbia University, for instance, has so far declined to release such statistics.

Three women accused the same male student at Columbia of sexual assault. Still, two of the reported victims told HuffPost that the male student was found not responsible and was allowed to stay on campus.

 

 
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