Curvy jeans

Built for real women’s curves! Like this:

Still, at least Levis shows some awareness of the fact that women have curves. When I was in a J Crew a few weeks ago, they had trousers in only “toothpick” and “matchstick” fit. (“Can I help you?”, the salesperson asked; “No, I really don’t think you can” I replied. I thought that was pretty polite– I even explained my reasons.)

For more, go here. Thanks, elp!

“Violence and the Remaking of the Self”

The Chronicle of Higher Ed is reproducing its favorite ten essays of the decade.  One summarizes material from a book that was mentioned here recently.  It’s about the author’s experience with rape and violence on one day.  The author is the philosopher, Susan Brison.

I strongly recommend that everyone look at it.  We often hear of rapes like hers.  I think it may be too much of a burden on our empathy to count on ourselves to understand by ourselves what it is really like.

It’s hard to believe the courts in general have much knowledge of how hideous the crime is.

The Philosopher’s Magazine,

and particularly Ophelia Benson, marks its 50th publication with a look at the beginnings of some philosophy blogs.

It is good to see the blogs of philosophers who have come to comment here mentioned.  Check it out.

And I hope I would have mentioned this even if we weren’t mentioned.  It’s about philosophy and the public sphere, after all.  Etc.   And congratulations and thanks to Jender who started a blog that now counts as “prominent”.

The TA experience, though one perspective

The following is an instance of a youtube genre:  the Hitler Parody.  In these clips, scenes from a German film, “Der Untergang,” depicting his downfall, are given English subtitles.  The first one I saw was about peer review; Hitler had had a grant application rejected. 

Unfortunately, the film company asked that they be taken down, and the peer review one, with the wonderful line, “It’s always the third goddamn reviewer,” can no longer be played.  But the company seem to have given up, and there are now more than 5000 entries on youtube answering to “Hitler parody”.

See what you take of this mildly gendered take on being a TA:


Here’s a BBC discussion of the genre or, as they have it, the meme.

APA, pacific division deadline

Do you have a paper close to finished?  Not ready yet for journals, but certainly prepared enough for professional discussion?  Consider sending it off to the APA as a conference paper.

The deadline for a conference paper is Sept first.  This site gives you some useful links, including one to the online submission site. 

There’s only one small problem.  The guidelines for the paper are inaccessible, because the American Philosophical Association web site is not working.  As I say to colleagues in other departments, philosophers do not do efficiency.

I think the maximum length is 3000 words.  If anyone knows for sure, or has other useful information, please let us know.

Back to the Future: Afghanistan in 2050

This discussion originally appeared at Chicago Boyz, who this month held a round table on Afghanistan in 2050: an exploration into what the next forty years might look like. It is reposted here with permission of Feminist Philosophers, with many thanks.

A nurse instructs a group of young mothers on post-natal care.

Two women flip through records in the local shop, asking questions of the gentleman who works there.

Young girls laugh in the sunshine as their Girl Scout leader teaches them a song.

This is Afghanistan in 2050; it looks remarkably like Afghanistan in 1950. Men and women walk the streets without fear of death by stoning; women choose to shop with uncovered heads; education is widespread and equally available for all Afghans.


The differences between Afghanistan pre-Taliban and Afghanistan post-Taliban are challenging to conceive. From 1996 until the invasion of the United States in 2001, the world as Afghanistan knew it changed dramatically, and undeniably for the worse. The lot of women under the Taliban’s harsh regime was devastating. But perhaps the greatest hope for Afghanistan in 2050 is to look into its past.


From the ’50’s to the ’70’s, Afghanistan was a largely stable country under the rule of Mohammed Zahir Shah. The King steered his country slowly into modernization, opening it to the West and allowing his subjects greater political freedom. The culture of the time also liberalized, providing social freedoms for both men and women. Notably, women were allowed into the work force, chose whether to cover or uncover their hair and bodies, and had more substantial agency over their own lives.


This, then, is the challenge Afghanistan should undertake: undo the last sixty years of repression and throw as much weight as possible behind the cause of Afghan women. As Afghanistan pushes, and is pushed, towards control of its own destiny over the next four decades, perhaps the best hope for the country’s future lies with its female citizens.

Social freedoms. By endeavoring to return to the mid-twentieth century’s quality of life, Afghanistan sees a greater level of equality between men and women. Women’s lives are not consolidated in the private sphere but are expanded outward into the public sphere. Women take part in public works and enterprises, seek employment and enrichment outside the realm of the family culture, and express their own agency through their fashion, creative efforts, and social choices. Girls have the same access to education as boys, and a majority of young Afghans can expect a secondary education.

Economic reforms. The use of microloans and other economic projects directs capital to Afghan women, encouraging them to engage in private enterprise that dovetails with the social freedoms allowing women more access to the public sphere. Independent economic vitality pushes against political restrictions, building up the political voice and goals of Afghan women in their national and local governments. Political action affects government economic policy, loosening restrictions on female entrepreneurship and providing mechanisms for further investment in local business, including female-run entities. More local business helps to bolster Afghan’s struggling economy, pushing back against revenue from poppy farming and black market timber sales. Afghanistan invests in itself, spurred by its investment in women.

Religious tolerance. Afghanistan is, and will always be, an Islamic state. But as the combination of social and economic reforms changes the relationship of citizens to state, so too does it change the relationship of state to religion. Not unlike Syria or Jordan, Afghanistan gradually reduces the state-based restrictions on its population, particularly its female citizens, moving religious doctrine from the governmental realm to the private realm. Previously imposed restraints on public and private behaviour are eased and individuals gain more self-selection when it comes to how they choose to express their religion.

What I describe here is not a panacea; these changes, should they come, are gradual and slow-moving in nature. Alleviating the quality of life of women in Afghanistan will not solve the country’s many ills in every sector of its society. But these changes are most assuredly a necessity, to answer in part for twenty years of repression, poverty, and hardship.

From the vantage point of 2010, these changes seem very far away. But rather than view these three aspects of Afghan society–social, economic, religious–as unknown progressive leaps forward, I argue instead that Afghanistan should look into its past for frameworks with which to build upon. At one time, Afghanistan grasped each of these aspect of society, and were headed down a path of greater individual freedoms and reforms for its citizens. To meet its future in 2050, Afghanistan and its people must reclaim its 1950 past. Perhaps in four decades we will again see women walking uncovered past women in niqab and know it to be the result of individual choice and freedom.



Karaka Pend is a philosopher by training and a FP junkie by passion. She blogs at Permissible Arms and has an abiding love for the Misfits. Images respectfully pulled from Foreign Policy and the NYT Lens Blog. Many thanks to Feminist Philosophers for allowing me to contribute this post.

Have you been discriminated against?

Jennifer Martin writes to WMST-L”

I have been contacted by Sharon Leder from the organization Feminists Against Academic Discrimination. Sharon is looking for speakers who are either teaching at institutions where they have been discriminated
against or who teach science and have been discriminated against as

Sharon and her colleague are sponsoring two panels at the National
Women’s Studies Association Conference in Denver, Colorado on the above
subjects and have openings on both panels for one additional speaker.
The panel on women in science is for Friday Nov. 12; the one on teaching
in an institution where you’ve experienced discrimination is for Sunday Nov. 14. The full conference runs from Nov. 11-14, 2010.

The description of the panels can be found here.

If you’re interested, contact Sharon Leder: sharon At