The author of this post, a graduate student, has solicited our views. I won’t try to summarise the post– you should go read it– but it seems to me she is worried that men in philosophy may sometimes be mistreated on grounds of their gender, which she takes to be problematic for projects like the What is it Like blog. She mentions, by way of example, the possibility of false harassment charges or false claims of sexism. She worries that feminism may be viewed with hostility for not paying attention to these cases.
So here’s what I think:
(1) If there was a systematic problem of male underrepresentation in philosophy it would be well worth having a blog devoted to the experiences of men in philosophy. But there isn’t.
(2) Claims of false rape charges are vastly overstated– false rape accusations are made at the same rate as false accusations of any crime. It seems likely to me that false sexual harassment charges would be similarly rare, though I haven’t seen statistics on this. If you look through the examples on What is it Like, you certainly won’t be left with the impression that these charges are easy to make and acted on quickly and decisively by the authorities. So, no, I really *don’t* think feminists should spend time talking about false harassment charges. We are still, unfortunately, struggling to get the true ones taken seriously. (And accusations of sexism that does not count as harassment are even less likely to be taken seriously– and at least as likely to impede the career of the accuser.)
(3) Should feminists talk about problems in the formulation of institutional sexual harassment codes? Absolutely. And feminists who work on sexual harassment are doing this. Vicki Schultz’s work is one excellent example.
(4) But (again) there’s no reason to think that there is any particular problem for men in philosophy.
(5) So I don’t think there is any problem for projects like the What is it Like blog.
What do you think? (If you go over to her blog, do observe our “be nice” rule.)