FGM at Cornell & The Internet: update

We reported last week on (apparent) female genital mutilation and sex abuse committed against little girls by a pediatric urologist at Cornell University. The story has since gone viral, with a facebook group and all. This sort of thing makes me love the internet: regular, every-day people are able to find out about serious issues like this even when corporate media aren’t covering them, band together (virtually) and do something about it. Excellent!

…Unfortunately, Dan Savage reports today that this attention has led to death threats against the doctor in question, on the facebook page and elsewhere. I want to first make it clear that we at Feminist Philosophers (I assume I can speak for everyone) do not support such talk. And second, to hang my head more generally: interweb crazies coming after the man is only going to make him into the victim and distract away from the very important issues surrounding his work.

Condom with “teeth” to fight rape

The hooks on the condom lodge on a male member when penetration takes place.

When South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers once heard from a patient, a rape victim, that she had wished she had teeth down there, an idea was born. Read the full story here.

The product that Ehlers developed is called Rape-aXe. A woman inserts it and if she then is penetrated, the thing lodges painfully on the penis and can only be removed by a physician.

Of course, the violating act still takes place and that will still be traumatical. However, it might give a grim sort of satisfactory idea that the brute will instantly suffer from his act too.

On the other hand, it might also enrage the rapist even further which might have more nasty consequences.

Suppose that they would catch on and women would be wearing those so often that the average rapist would encounter them regularly, that might deter the average rapist. But I doubt there is an average rapist, and I think few rapes take place when a woman “expects” it.

Apart from those considerations and the other ones mentioned in the article, I can stil imagine how Dr. Ehlers got so gripped by the idea that she sold her house and car in order to get it developed.

(Thanks @amitanurag)

“Gaga Feminism”

The New York Times series, The Stone, organized by Simon Critchley, features philosophers writing on timely topics.    This week’s essay is by Nancy Bauer, and it is about Lady Gaga feminism.  That feminism features the idea that one can both strive to be the perfect object of male lust and, at the same time, a personally powerful woman, with the first enabling or constituting the second.  Bauer also uses Beauvoir to articulate how we might construct an alternative.

Bauer’s article has given me the first understanding I’ve had of the supposedly Third Wave feminist idea that wearing 4 inch heels is not just allowed by feminism but positively endorsed by it.

Bauer’s essay discusses the Telephone video features Lady Gaga and Beyonce; it is long, but I think anyone with young women in their classes should read Bauer and view the video.  Here’s a shorter series of clips in a behind the  scenes video:

There are in fact other good entries in the series which we haven’t covered, including Nancy Sherman on stoicism and  the military.  The idea, suggested by J.M.  Berstein , that tea partyers are involved in a metaphysical mistake evolves into a teaching gem.  I loved the readers’ reaction to Singer’s remarking that many of  them didn’t understand him – “If we didn’t undertand you, that’s your fault.”

Hiding the camel’s toe

There’s nowt so queer as folk. And there’s nothing quite as strange as the devilish rules of fashion by which us gals must abide. Somewhere, a single sartorial despot, or perhaps a committee of evil fashion geniuses, are scheming hard to devise as contrary a set of norms as possible. And they’ve really outdone themselves with the following little number. Want to look good? In fact, forget looking good – just don’t want to be laughed at? You need to do the following:

  1. Shave, pluck, or wax most of the hair from your groin – hairy pie is out.
  2. Wear the tightest of tight thongs/hot pants/jeans, made from the thinnest material you can find, preferably lycra. (No-one likes a gal in granny knickers.)
  3. BUT – at all costs, avoid the terrible fashion faux pas of showing the contours of your lady parts.

That’s right! Make your front bottom as smooth as a peach, wear tight, figure-skimming clothes, but make sure no-one can see its outline! You’re aiming for a groin like Barbie’s. For those of you not in the know, the dreaded lady-bit outline is known as the ‘camel’s toe’. Sporting such an item will render you the subject of ridicule. But fear not, fashionistas! The solution is simple – stick some padding down your pants, and you’re away! Puff pads can be purchased from the following sites: Camelflage – ‘the original visual privacy garment’ (apparently), and Cuchini – ‘our lips are sealed’. And just in case you’re not feeling ashamed enough yet, there’s a comedy song about camel’s toes on the Cuchini website. Watch it, feel bad about your bits, and buy some pads!!!!

Thanks to J-Bro, who claims he isn’t on a camel toe mailing list.