I know I should ignore Palin’s twit, but…

I was recently wondering, around the 90th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the USA, “Who hijacked feminism?”  Was it me?  That would be nifty, but instead, the celebutwitter who has most recently and famously appropriated feminist language is Gov. Sarah Palin.

An increasingly active social networker, Sarah Palin has recently tweeted her support of various candidates, her opposition to the mosque in downtown Manhattan and, on the 90th anniversary of women being allowed to vote, her thoughts on the feminist movement. On the latter point, she wrote yesterday: “Who hijacked term: ‘feminist’? A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue: it’s ironic (& passé).”

You might be thinking, “no, no, prof, she’s criticizing feminists, not hijacking feminism,” and I would agree, except that I also read Jezebel’s coverage:

Sarah Palin is not pleased with EMILY’s List‘s grizzlies parody ad, adding on Facebook, “Lying about a sister while wearing an Ewok outfit is no way to honor our foremothers on the eve of the 90th anniversary of their victory.”

A sister?  Does this make Sarah part of my cackle?  A rad, even?  Please, someone, start the t-shirt sales.

No gay birds, please!

Or at least let’s get rid of the word “gay” in the Kookaburra song, a seemingly clueless principal in an Australian school said.  Apparently, he didn’t want the children to be giggling.  And he explained that it is a rude word.

Right, let’s just make sure that if the kiddies are not bigots already, they at least start to learn how to be.

The AAUP on the two-body problem

The AAUP (American Association of University Professors) has issued a new set of recommendations on dual career couples.  There are lots of familiar ideas; perhaps at this stage it is going to be hard to invent some new solution.  However, the details are often what matter when you are dealing with such a situation, and the report looks at a number of details.

One thing that struck me was the emphasis on contingent faculty:  spousal hires should not be used as excuses for adding to contingent faculty, and lines created for spouses should not take a job away from a contingent faculty member, the guidelines maintain.

Not much attention is given to traditional vs. non-traditional partnerships, and they seem to be thinking of couples who have some legal status.  This seems to me very surprising, since clearly there are large opportunities for unequal treatment, which the AAUP should be concerned about.

Are young women earning more than young men in the US?

You may have heard that they are. Take this headline, for example: “Young women earn more than young men”.

As it turns out, however, the headline is very misleading. You might have thought it meant that young women earn more than young men for the same work. Not true– they still earn less. Or you might have thought the claim was about average income for all young women. Again untrue– it’s actually a claim about young childless single women. As Broadsheet reports, what the study has done is to “isolate the segment where women have caught up with and exceeded men,” and that is young, single, childless women.” Broadsheet continues:

The study found three commonalities among nearly every city where young women clearly out-earn young men. First, there is “a heavy dependence on knowledge-based jobs, which in turn serves as a magnet for well-educated women.” Second, minorities make up the majority of the local population (the researchers note that “Hispanic and African-American women [are] almost twice as likely as their male peers to earn bachelor and graduate degrees”). And, finally, “the community has seen a decimation of the manufacturing employment base, making it more difficult for men without similarly high levels of education to earn solid incomes.”

The truth is complicated, as is so often the case. Sadly but unsurprisingly, it’s not actually time for US feminists to declare victory and go home.

Draft Paper on Women in Philosophy

I’m posting here because I’ve recently drafted a paper on women in philosophy that may be of interest to Feminist Philosophers readers. Here’s the intro:

There is by now a well-established body of research in psychology showing that human beings are strongly influenced by a range of unconscious biases and dispositions related to categories like race, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc. So far, there has been little to no empirical work on whether philosophers are influenced by theses biases. But given that philosophers are human beings, it seems very likely that they are. My goal in this paper is to explore the effects these biases may be having in philosophy with respect to women, and to propose and explore some remedies philosophers could implement. In Part One, I review some of the main findings from the empirical literature. In Part Two, I show how these findings may apply to philosophy. In Part Three, I argue that philosophers should want to do something about this situation. And in Part Four, I explore possible remedies.

The paper can be found by clicking on the link at the lower right hand side of my web page, here.

It’s a draft, so (a) I’ll be very grateful for comments and suggestions; and (b) check with me before citing it. The paper is forthcoming in Jenkins and Hutchison, Women in Philosophy: What Needs to Change?.