I’m Back

And I had a lovely time. Eagerly, I looked to see what had happened on the blog while I was gone. And there was much that was good. But not all. Whoa. Looks like it’s time for a reminder to BE NICE. And perhaps a clarification of what that means. One key bit of it: Assume good will and a genuine desire to understand on the part of your interlocutor. We all make mistakes, and one of the great things about blogging is how easily and quickly these can be pointed out. And we here at FP are very grateful to you when you point out our mistakes. But there’s a difference between pointing out mistakes and making conjectures and accusations about our motives. The former is great. The latter is not. You may not agree with these rules, which is totally fine. But they are in fact the rules HERE. If you want to talk somewhere with different rules, it’s very very easy to get your own blog at wordpress.com. Let us know about it, and we’ll even link to it and send readers over.

Now back to the fun! Sorry for this methodogolical interruption to your regularly scheduled substantive blogging.

Computer game tells ten-year old that she’s fat

Not sure how this had escaped my notice up until today, but for those of you who have similarly been living in some metaphorical broom cupboard for the past couple of months (and thus been oblivious to the news), it appears computer games are now going round telling our youngsters that they need to lose weight. The Wii Fit by Nintendo calculates players’ BMI and categorises their bodies before setting them various agility tests. Sadly, Nintendo classifies players whose BMI is within a certain range as ‘fat’. It should be noted that children’s BMI cannot be accurately calculated in the same way as it is for adults. Moreover, some researchers also think that the BMI is a bad indicator of health, even for adults as it does not take bodily composition into account. But these worries about the BMI aside, there are enough pressures on children – especially girls – to look a certain way without being told they’re overweight by computers. Shame on you, Nintendo!

Read the Metro article here.

Local Builders Merchants and their saucy calendar, ‘Flirtations’

Those who know me might be surprised to learn that I have a delightful calendar showing topless ‘glamour’ models on my kitchen wall. What, they might wonder, is a self-proclaimed feminist doing with such offensive material on public display? Well, my friends, it was a present from my partner, who was gobsmacked to discover the local builders merchants giving them away, and thought I might be amused. In a grim, ironic sort of way. I put it in the kitchen to remind me that Building Stuff is for Men. Real Men. With red blood and lots of testosterone*, who like looking at pictures of naked, oiled-up, surgically-enhanced ladies. Don’t you forget it.

*Actually, women have red blood and testosterone too. So do men who aren’t into naked glamour models.

Aging and “Sexiness”

This article by India Knight celebrates the fact that women are no longer considered wholly asexual upon reaching the age of 40, or upon becoming mothers. Hurray! Right? Uh… maybe not so much, as we learn that we can still be sexual in our sixties *if* we have a body like Helen Mirren, and that we should be very grateful that surgery is now available to help us in that pursuit– a feminist victory, according to Knight. She tries to spin her idolisation of Mirren as really about her natural appearance, but it doesn’t last long:

There are no comedy plastic bosoms, or an eerily smooth face, or grotesquely inflated absurdi-lips, no weirdly sinewy body that suggests she lives in the gym. She just looks great.

She has perhaps had a reasonable bit of “work”, but nothing that is outside most people’s league, now that so-called minor surgical procedures are deregulated and your chiropodist can technically give you Botox: we are hardly talking three facelifts and intensive body work.

Knight devotes quite a lot of effort to spin all of this as feminism. Silly me, getting the feminism all wrong, thinking that one could be a sexual being without getting work done so as to have a body like Helen Mirren’s. Ah well, live and learn. (Thanks, Jender-Parents!)

CFP: Midwest SWIP

The Midwest division of SWIP (Society for Women in Philosophy) is looking for papers, poetry, panel
proposals and/or other proposals for our upcoming conference.

The conference will be held Sept 19, 20, and 21, 2008 at the University of
Wisconsin-Whitewater. We invite work in all areas relating to feminism and
feminist practices; anti-racist theory/practice; political theory and ethics; metaphysics and epistemology as well as papers, panels, and performances that engage feminist anti-racist praxis
and theorizing more broadly.

Midwest SWIP is an interdisciplinary conference with a particular emphasis on troubling the discipline of philosophy and the theory/practice dichotomy.

Queries and submissions should be sent via email to each of the following: Tinola Mayfield-Guerrero at tinolam AT yahoo.com and
Chris Gallagher at cgallag3 AT utnet.utoledo.edu

Please visit us at: http://blogs.uww.edu/midwestswip/

The deadline has been extended to August 1, 2008.