Society for Interdisciplinary Feminist Phenomenology

…now has a new website. Here is their announcement:

The recently formed Society for Interdisciplinary Feminist Phenomenology is pleased to announce the launch of our website. SIFP was formed by Professors Bonnie Mann and Beata Stawarska, both faculty members in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon; Dr. Sara Heinämaa, Senior lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, Finland, Professor of Women’s Studies at the Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Research at the University of Oslo, Norway, and International Adviser of SIFP; and Dr. Eva Maria Simms, Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University and the National Adviser of SIFP. Please visit the new website, located here, for more information about the society and our activities, to create a “scholars page,” join our listserve, and more!

SIFP’s activities have been made possible through funding from the University of Oregon’s Center for the Study of Women in Society, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Philosophy.

Steak and a blow job? No thanks.

In my few months as an ex-pat in America, I’ve been introduced to several new festivals and holidays. My girlfriend brought another to my attention recently, and couldn’t understand why my reaction fell somewhere between unease and dismay. What problem could I possibly have with ‘Steak and a Blow Job Day’?

Well, let’s start with the name, and the implication that the tastes of men can be summarised so. The corollary, as the website makes clear, is the idea that women’s interests can be equally easily rounded up; ‘gifts, flowers… baubles’. Of course, it’s just a name, not an order for how the day’s got to be marked, but names are important.

Now, on the day’s point. It was conceived – and presented to me – as a reciprocal measure for all the expense and attention that should be lavished on one’s dearest on Valentine’s Day. Wonderful. It’s still possible, perhaps, to celebrate Valentine’s Day without endorsing the idea that the festival, and by extension your relationship, is about commercial exchange, in which a man seduces a woman with wealth, and she, the junior partner, yields with sex and food. But that possibility is nullified if you create and celebrate a corresponding festival that formalises the exchange of commodities and reifies the idea of such exchange as the basis of heterosexual ‘partnership’.

Finally, about the people endorsing this day. I could just about laugh it off if they were mostly men, mostly reactionary, mostly middle-aged, mostly rather sad. But instead, my girlfriend proudly described it as an ‘underground’ holiday of which she and her (girl) friends were enthusiastic advocates. ‘Underground’, I suppose, connotes young, hip, liberal, free-thinking. If this is indicative of how (American) women who would describe themselves as such think about their relationships, we return to a depressingly pervasive thought; feminism still has a long way to go.