Take our jobs

Something to pass on to anyone you know who is upset that illegal aliens are taking American jobs. It’s a generous offer by undocumented workers to train American citizens to do the vital jobs the undocumented workers are currently doing. It includes a job description which makes it clear just how cushy and desirable these jobs are:

*Job may include using hand tools such as knives, hoes, shovels, etc. Duties may include tilling the soil, transplanting, weeding, thinning, picking, cutting, sorting & packing of harvested produce. May set up & operate irrigation equip. Work is performed outside in all weather conditions (Summertime 90+ degree weather) & is physically demanding requiring workers to bend, stoop, lift & carry up to 50 lbs on a regular basis.

Thanks, J-Bro!

Hmmm! Good!

Good food cooked simply and easily in a way that preserves flavor and nutrients may not be a feminist issue as much as an everyone’s issue.   Still, I’ve been meaning to mention a terrific series in the NY Times, recipes for health.  This week’s recipes for apricots provided more than enough motivation at least to write about it.

Here’s a list of the recipes so far; each week a particular food is featured.  Do notice the links to the right, which may be useful.

Mind you, some of the recipes are pretty serious, and, judging from my own now fairly distant experience, I can imagine the look of puzzlement and betrayal that some might cause in little faces.  So one has to exercise judgment.

Men and Feminism

There’s a lot that’s good in this article. I like the way that it calls on men do something about gender inequality, rather than just e.g. urging women to support each other through networks, etc. I like the fact that it points to the importance of male involvement in childcare, and the need for policies that encourage it. I really like the suggestion that men, too, will benefit from feminism. Some bits, though, I’m not so thrilled with. This bit below, for example:

In the Western world, motherhood remains the barrier to gender equality. Until they have children, young women now earn nearly the same as men and climb the career ladder at a similar pace. With the babies often come career breaks, part-time work and a rushed two-shift existence that means sacrificing informal networks like the after hours beer-and-bonding experience often crucial at promotion time.

I’d be totally happy with this being singled out as *a* significant problem. But it’s not the only one. Motherhood isn’t the reason that the very same CV gets an interview with a man’s name at the top and not with a woman’s. It’s not the reason for sexual harassment, rape or domestic violence that women still face in very high numbers. (Of course, it can interact with these in various important ways, but it’s not *the reason*.)

And then there’s this:

It took a male prime minister to sell the legislation to the country, and it took male leaders in Sweden and Norway to pass similar laws. It was a man who championed Norway’s boardroom quota obliging companies to fill at least 40 percent of the seats with women.

I’m totally on board with praising these men for what they did, and with encouraging other men to take similar action, rather than just leaving it to the women. But there’s an implicit suggestion that women *can’t* make these sorts of changes and they need the men to step in and do it for them.

As I said, though, mostly the article pleases me. I think the changes we need require both men and women to be feminists, and I’m glad it’s being said in such a prominent place.

Pregnant Women to be Tested for Smoking

The National Institute for Clinical Excellent (NICE) has issued guidance advising that, given the risks, pregnant women ought to be tested for smoking. …Yes. You read that correctly. NICE advise that all pregnant women should be given breath tests that can detect elevated levels of carbon monoxide, which will show the midwife/doctor that the pregnant woman either smokes, or is regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.

And I suppose this makes sense, given most pregnant women lack the capacity for language-use; so it would be terribly difficult to ask them whether they smoke. op! What’s that you say? They don’t? Pregnant women can usually both speak and understand some natural language or other?

Last I checked, smoking is harmful to lots of creatures–not just fetuses. In fact, I’m pretty sure that all mammals are negatively affected by carbon monoxide. Do we need to test *everyone*? No? Why is that? Here are some theories I’ve come up with:

  • Those pesky pregnant women lie more than other patients.
  • The health of other human creatures doesn’t matter as much as the health of fetuses.
  • Pregnant women speak too slowly for information on their smoking status to be acquired in a timely fashion verbally.
  • It’s a known fact that most pregnant women are out to harm their fetuses and need to be blocked from doing so.
  • Health practitioners are barred by law from asking the husbands/partners medical questions about the women, which precludes the possibility of acquiring accurate information about the woman (since, really, the head of the household is the only one in the family who isn’t a silly little thing).
  • Pregnant women have no right to privacy.

Have I missed any? OH wait. Silly me. (see? my husband should be writing this.) I forgot the most obvious one:

  • Pregnant women are simply the devious chunks of flesh wrapped around the real patient.

more from the BBC here.

Internet memes

A lot them I frankly don’t know about. Others I wish I didn’t. But this one makes me very very happy. It all started with this:

And that inspired people to actually go out and do things like this.

Lots of people. To see them, go here.

Thanks, Mr Jender!

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.