Rape in the US military

Here is a trailer and a producers intervew for The invisible war.

The Ny Times lauds the director, Kirby Dick, for his many films on how power functions in the absence of accountability.

From the Sundance blurb on youtube:

An investigative and powerfully emotional examination of the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military, the institutions that cover up its existence and the profound personal and social consequences that arise from it. Winner: US Documentary Audience Award – 2012 Sundance Film Festival In order for necessary and important changes to happen around military rape (MST), we need to have open, challenging conversations. This is an emotionally charged and difficult subject, and we ask that people keep their comments respectful. http://www.invisiblewarmovie.com http http://www.facebook.com

self-borrowings: yikes!

Suppose you have an argument, one with fairly distinctive premises and a very distinctive conclusion, that bears both on a question in philosophy of mind and on a question in moral philosophy. Imagine next you’ve published a philosophy of mind paper with the argument and now you are writing a paper in moral philosophy. Where is that argument, you ask. Remembering, you go to the earlier manuscript, click on the argument, copy it into the new paper and, voila, you’ve met your day’s word count.

What is wrong with that? What can you do to put it right?

The reason I am asking is I just stumbled on an article in the NY Times about plagiarizing, and it does seem one can plagiarise oneself. They call it recycling work, and it doesn’t sound like a good idea.

Is the difference between right and wrong reuses just one of acknowledgement? Journalism’s rules may be different from ours, so let’s just ask it about academic writing.

Academics talk about access…

This video is just hands-down, no contest, absolutely the best and funniest and most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. Its creator, Melanie Yergeau, calls it  “an example of digital activism, not to mention collective resistance to the repetition that is exclusion.” Go check out Melanie’s blog about it, then watch the video.  It’s captioned, it’s less than seven minutes long, there’s no excuse.


Headless fatties no more

One of my big complaints about the media coverage of obesity is the tendency to include pictures of headless fat people. It’s as if there were no fat people, just fat torsos. It’s as if no fat person would be willing to have their face associated with their body next to an article about fatness. But that’s just not true.

Along comes Stocky Bodies, a great new take (and pun) on stock photography. There’s loads of great images: fat people riding bikes, doing scuba, making crafts, using computers, and even (gasp) eating.

From their website:

The ‘Stocky Bodies’ image library was created in response to the stigmatised representations of overweight and obese people in the media and popular culture.

Such depictions tend to dehumanise by portraying subjects as headless, slovenly or vulnerable and reinforce stereotypes by presenting subjects as engaged in unhealthy eating practices or sedentary conduct.

Our library of stock photos was created to provide positive and diverse representations of the lived experience of fat that begin to break down the typecasting that heightens weight stigma. This is an important objective as research has strongly associated weight prejudice with widespread social and material inequalities, unfair treatment and heightened body esteem issues.

The photographs for the image library are the outcome of an interdisciplinary project between Dr Lauren Gurrieri of the Griffith Business School and Mr Isaac Brown of the Queensland College of Art. The participants are everyday people who are involved in fat-acceptance communities and keen to see change in the representation of fat bodies.

Our images challenge oversimplified and demeaning representations of weight prejudice by showing subjects engaged in everyday activities, such as bike riding, shopping for fashionable clothes and performing their jobs. The documentary imagery to be shown through the library is a non-stigmatising view of what it is to be fat and live an affirmative life.

‘Stocky Bodies’ is a free resource that can be used by the media, health professionals, social marketers, educators and others.

Thanks KR!

Should the US Society for Women in Philosophy change its name?

In a recent talk I gave I mentioned the idea of marked terms. For example, it’s the Tour de France (for men) and the Tour de France Feminin (for women, or it used to be til the other race sued for trademark!) The dominant group doesn’t need to announce itself as a special case but the less powerful or less well known group does.

Consider the case of the Society for Women in Philosophy, or SWIP. Where is SWIP based? In the US, of course. But only in the US would that work as a name. I had the thought that it would be a progressive gesture for SWIP to rename itself the US Society for Women in Philosophy to match the UK Society for Women in Philosophy and the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy. Small things, I know. But increasingly I’m coming to believe that small things do make a difference.

What do you think?

Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

Really interesting article in this month’s Atlantic magazine by Anne-Marie Slaughter. I look forward to hearing our readers’ thoughts. Here’s a quick excerpt:

Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career, because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation. But when many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating “you can have it all” is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk.

I still strongly believe that women can “have it all” (and that men can too). I believe that we can “have it all at the same time.” But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured. My experiences over the past three years have forced me to confront a number of uncomfortable facts that need to be widely acknowledged—and quickly changed.

Sex verification at the Olympics

Bruce Kidd, a former Olympian who is a professor of kinesiology and physical education at the University of Toronto, favors prioritizing athletes’ rights to bodily integrity, privacy and self-identification, and promoting broad inclusiveness. “If the proclaimed human right of self-expression is to mean anything, surely it should protect the right to name one’s own gender,” he says.

We agree. At present, though, because most nations do not offer their citizens the right of self-defining gender, the best bet might be to let all legally recognized women compete. Period.

Apparently, current policy focuses on testosterone levels. But…

Testosterone is one of the most slippery markers that sports authorities have come up with yet. Yes, average testosterone levels are markedly different for men and women. But levels vary widely depending on time of day, time of life, social status and — crucially — one’s history of athletic training. Moreover, cellular responses range so widely that testosterone level alone is meaningless.

Testosterone is not the master molecule of athleticism. One glaring clue is that women whose tissues do not respond to testosterone at all are actually overrepresented among elite athletes.

For more, go here.

Thanks, L!

One-year(+) position, Critical Thinking

Whoa, this is coming up fast, starting mid-August.  Clemson’s advertisement below reminds me that my Critical Thinking course was one of the most feminist and satisfying pedagogical experiences I’ve ever had.  It was downright rewarding. The 4/4 load is heavy, but if you need the job and you enjoy teaching intro logic, then feminists, consider applying. They say they start considering applications by July 16 — but they don’t close the reception of applications:

Lecturer, one year position with the possibility of renewal for up to three years.  Employment to begin August 15, 2012.  AOS and AOC open.  The successful candidate must be able to teach lower level logic/critical thinking courses and other lower level courses.  Teaching load is 4 courses per semester.  Courses for Fall, 2012 will all be Introduction to Logic. Minimum requirement is a MA in philosophy.   Ph.D. prior to appointment preferred.  Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply. Send letter of application detailing qualifications including C.V., evidence of teaching effectiveness and letters of recommendation to Chris Grau, Chair, Search Committee, Department of Philosophy & Religion, 126 D Hardin Hall, Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634-0528.  For full consideration, applications must be received by July 16, 2012.  Review of applications will begin on this day as well and will continue until the position is filled.  We cannot accept materials by fax or as electronic attachments.  Clemson University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any individual or group of individuals on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or genetic information.

The Only Good Abortion Is My Abortion

So, I’ve read (and written) plenty about abortion, and this post by Maggie Koerth-Baker at boingboing might just be the best thing I’ve ever read on the topic. Koerth-Baker, a 31-year-old writer (a really, really good writer, let it be said) wants to have a baby, finds herself seven weeks pregnant with a non-viable fetus and wrestles with the attendant decision with breathtaking candor, courage and smarts. In the process, the reader learns not just about the phenomenology of choosing an abortion, but also a great deal about privilege, and about deliberation when all of the options suck. This post should be mandatory reading for anyone who thinks s/he has a right to weigh in on other people’s abortion rights.


My abortion is not a good abortion. It’s just an abortion. And there’s no reason to treat the decision I have to make any differently than the decisions made by any other woman.

Thanks, DF!

Women should self-nominate!

As a co-contributor follow-up to the post below, I want to add that the APA message that went out specifically notes something which should be of interest to our readers especially:

We have received a good number of nominations to date.  We are, however, in particular need of nominations for most of the diversity committees (Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies, Black Philosophers, Hispanics, Indigenous Philosophers, LGBT People in the Profession, and the Status of Women).  Additionally, we are short on nominations for the committees on Academic Career Opportunities and Placement, International Cooperation, Status and Future of the Profession, Philosophy and Computers, Non-Academic Careers, and Philosophy in Two-Year Colleges.

Please consider nominating either yourself or someone else.

I can see the committee nomination page (when I log on to apaonline, then click the phrase ‘Members Only’ on the upper-right, it takes me to a page with a left-hand column including “Committee Nominations,” the sixth item under Members Only).  So if you need my help, please email me at profbigk [at] gmail [dot] com, and I will gladly nominate you!  I am rotating off of the committee on the Status of Women, and not re-upping because chairing my department in fall requires my attention.  It’s a great committee!  Please think about participating.  You’ll meet awesome people and talk about neat topics like the status of women in philosophy!