The Invisible War

From Salon.

This is a movie that intends to reform the entire United States military. And it stands a very good chance of succeeding.

Inspired by Helen Benedict’s 2007 Salon story “The Private War of Women Soldiers,” “The Invisible War” is a gut-wrenching condemnation of the way the military has, across the board and in every branch, failed to protect its members from sexual assault – and then failed them again and again afterward. In a series of harrowing personal accounts, victims – mostly women but a sampling of men as well – recount the trauma of their rapes while in uniform and the sickening personal consequences they experienced for reporting them. It’s estimated that over 20 percent of female veterans have been sexually assaulted during their service – and some believe the real figure is even higher. It’s an epidemic….

Though it’s still making its way to theaters – it rolls out across the country slowly throughout the summer — it has already become a bona fide movement unto itself. In April, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saw the film, and two days later he moved the authority to investigate sexual assaults higher in the chain of command, so victims no longer need to report incidents to their commander.

Sexual Abuse by Police in UK

The Guardian’s investigation has uncovered evidence of:

• Vetting failures, including a concern that vetting procedures may have been relaxed post-2001 during a surge in police recruitment.

• Concerns over the recording and monitoring of disciplinary offences as officers progress through their career.

• A tendency for women who complain they have been sexually attacked by a policeman not to be believed.

• A pervasive culture of sexism within the police service, which some claim allows abusive behaviour to go unchecked.

Debaleena Dasgupta, a lawyer who has represented women sexually assaulted and raped by police officers, said: “I don’t think any [victims] are quite as damaged as those who are victims of police officers.

“The damage is far deeper because they trusted the police and … believed that the police were supposed to protect them from harm and help catch and punish those who perpetrate it.

“The breach of that trust has an enormous effect: they feel that if they can’t trust a police officer, who can they trust? They lose their confidence in everyone, even those in authority. It is one of the worst crimes that can be committed and when committed by an officer, becomes one of the greatest abuses of power.”

For more, go here. (Thanks, Mr Jender.)

Obama’s health-care law upheld by Supreme Court

It’s a 5-4 decision with Roberts being the key supporter.  “Ginsburg’s summation seemed to serve as the bottom line: ‘In the end, the Affordable Health Care Act survives largely unscathed.'”

Words cannot express my gratitude, however temporary this may be.  When I moved away from the USA, it broke my heart to think I might never be able to move back as long as getting health insurance would be barred to those of us with pre-existing conditions.

Perhaps the decision even curtails government power, a bit?  It’s too early for me to care; right now my heart is singing happy, hopeful tunes!

UPDATED: Best coverage on SCOTUSblog, naturally.

Al-Saji edits new Feminist section of Philosophy Compass

Philosophy Compass now offers a section on Feminist Philosophy, and its first editor is Alia Al-Saji (McGill),

who is currently commissioning articles to be published in 2013.  In the meantime, the section homepage will feature previously-published Philosophy Compass articles that touch on aspects of feminist philosophy. Welcome aboard, Alia!  [See their whole announcement and Al-Saji’s full bio here.]

This is great news for feminist philosophers, especially since Philosophy Compass aims to be a guide offering a survey of the field with attention to “what is happening right now in philosophy.”  That’s right, Feminist Philosophy is happening! You know it.

While they get the section filled in with new contributions, the section site currently offers a very interesting backlist of previous contributions of interest to feminists.  So if it’s been a while since you read Lori Watson on pornography, Shannon Winnubst on temporality, or Margaret Davies on feminist legal theory, check it out!

Hypatia Diversity Prize

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy introduces the Hypatia Diversity Essay

We invite submissions for the 2013 Hypatia Diversity Essay Prize. This prize is
awarded biennially for the best essay, previously unpublished, written by a
graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, or non-tenured faculty member that
embodies a feminist, intersectional approach in a philosophical analysis
combining categories of identity (e.g., gender, class, disability, ethnicity,
nationality, race, religion, sexuality). In addition to receiving $500, the
winning author(s)’s essay will be published in Hypatia.

The Diversity Essay Prize committee warmly encourages essay submissions! Please
submit essays at the Hypatia Manuscript Central Submission Site.

If you have any questions, please contact Linda Martin Alcoff at:
lmartina AT

Why not vote for some feminist-friendly Lego?

Back when I were a lad, Lego figures were more or less androgynous. About the only indicator of gender was the occasional (removable, transferable) haircut, and the astronauts and racing drivers could have anything under their suits. Since I were a lad, things have moved on somewhat, and Lego figures now have all sorts of gendered elements, not least an impressively extensive and detailed array of facial furniture.

Which is all well and good, but it does raise the possibility that a previously gender-neutral toy might become rather less so, and there are some indications that this is the case; see, for example, the faintly depressing spectacle of Lego’s attempt to create a product range appealing specifically to girls (though it’s only fair to note that one of these apparent simpering stereotypes in fact has a nice sideline in robot design and aspires to be ‘a scientist or an engineer‘).

Anyway, as something of a corrective to this, a reader has come up with a way to propose a rather more feminist-friendly set of figures, via Lego’s new mechanism for public suggestions. You can vote for the idea there, and if it gets lots of attention, there’s a chance that the company will end up producing female engineers, scientists, and so forth. In the meantime, there’s always magic markers.

But in APA land, it’s Friday

Hold off on requests to be nominated for committees, which can only be done in the Member Services section of the APAonline site.  Of course, according to the site, “The Members Only section will be unavailable from Friday, June 29 through Sunday, July 1, 2012.”

It is unavailable today.

It is unavailable starting Friday.

Therefore, today is Friday.

VALID! Hmph.

Hypatia Virtual Issue: Open Access

     From the editors:
Hypatia has just published a new Virtual Issue: an open access, online collection of articles on women in philosophy published by Hypatia over the years, assembled by Hypatia co-editor, Ann Cudd.
This virtual issue features the excellent paper, “Quantifying the Gender Gap,” by Molly Paxton, Carrie Figdor and Valerie Tiberius. It will appear as a Musing in the Fall issue of Hypatia (27.4), and has just been published online, on EarlyView.
Read this article on EarlyView
For Hypatia news and alerts, check out the new mobile app, “Philosophy Spotlight.” It’s sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell and features Hypatia, among a number of other WB Philosophy journals.
It’s available for free download here. 

Who is the ideal academic?

“This debate considers the constitution of the ideal academic in the contemporary university. Is the image of the ideal constant or has it changed to suit the prevailing mores of the 21st century? Is it still gendered or is it now imagined in neutral terms? Hear Professor Margaret Thornton speak on The Mirage of Merit: Constructing the ‘Ideal Academic’, and commentators Professor Ian Young, ANU Vice Chancellor, Professor Allison Booth, ANU College of Business & Economics, Professor Aidan Byrne, Dean, ANU College of Mathematics & Physical Sciences.”

Listen to the podcast from the Australian National University here.