No More Page 3

A campaign is calling for The Sun to stop running photos of topless models.

Earlier this summer, Lucy-Anne Holmes was in a hurry, off on a short train journey, when she picked up a copy of The Sun. The country was gripped by Olympic fever, and as Holmes opened the paper, she was glad to see there was no topless woman on page 3, just stories of victorious athletes, such as Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Ennis. She leafed through the sports coverage contentedly, until she reached page 13. There she found “a massive picture of a girl in her pants”, she says. The typical image had just been moved back. “It made me really sad. It was the biggest female image in that issue, and I think pretty much every issue of [The Sun] for 42 years.” At a time when women’s strength was being celebrated with medals, on podiums, this image, in the country’s biggest-selling daily newspaper, seemed starker than ever. Since Page 3 began, in November 1970, the most prominent daily newspaper image of a woman has been smiling, and topless. . . Three weeks ago, Holmes started the campaign No More Page Three. She set up a Twitter account, Facebook page, and a petition on, which has 2,000 signatures and counting.

There’s a really wonderful spoken word performance of a poem written in support of  the campaign by Sabrina Mahfouz:


You can sign the petition, here.

Science: It’s a girl thing

Remember that awful video from the EU commission that was supposed to attract girls to science? There’s now a contest sponsored by the European Science Foundation to come up with something better. You can see the other videos from the campaign on the youtube channel. (If you’re on twitter, look for #sciencegirlthing)

Here’s one video from the campaign (she’s a philosophy student too! And she quotes Hume!):

Badassery Incarnate, pt 1: Glorifying Rich White Men (And Erasing Everybody Else)

While visiting Los Angeles last week, I saw the trailer below during the previews for a movie. As I sat there in the darkened theater, I thought to myself, “Self.  You are writing a blog post about this when you get back to the East Coast.”

I present to you: The Men Who Built America

In the trailer, this tag line appears: “America wasn’t discovered. It was built.” It then flashes between depictions of men like Vanderbilt, JP Morgan, Rockefeller, Ford, Edison (I assume), and Carnegie–all of them rocking suits and  yelling various things which peg them as badass, ruthless, and unaplogetic capitalists.
There’s a lot to talk about here. (after the jump)

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What to do with valuable things when you fly?

Maybe leave them at home?

It doesn’t seem in fact as though ABC showed there’s a widespread problem, but their Facebook blog records claims about a number of cases of theft.

Another type of airport theft is supposedly also common, but one supposes the sums in the following from 1997 are not:

The FBI and Newark Airport cops are investigating the theft of more than $500,000 worth of jewelry from the wife of Houston’s mayor at an airport security checkpoint.
Elyse Lanier reported that her handbag, containing “various pieces of expensive jewelry,” was snatched from an X-ray machine conveyor belt Oct. 7, said Special Agent Ann Todd, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Newark.
Lanier, who was on her way back to Houston with her husband, Bob, after a visit to New York City, told police she was victimized by three people as she put her handbag on the belt.
“She was distracted by a Hispanic male and then bumped into by another Hispanic male and female,” Todd said. “They pointed to an airline ticket jacket on the floor. She picked it up, and when she looked back on the belt, her bag was gone.”
Lanier immediately reported the theft. Sources in Houston put the value of the jewelry at $640,000.

The Onion strikes again

But sadly, this satire likely reflects greater gender equality than reality, as unemployment benefits in the US are calculated by the wages you did earn while employed.

In a historic development for gender parity in the American workplace, recently laid-off consultant Paula Saunders, 32, is at last earning an income identical to that of her unemployed male counterparts. “Right now, I’m earning the same amount of money for the same amount of work as [former coworker] Greg [Lowell], who, just like me, started in 2004 and was laid off last week with no severance package,” a visibly proud Saunders told reporters Monday while sitting on her couch at two in the afternoon. “Finally, after years of trying to achieve equality, it’s nice to know that my gender isn’t a financial strike against me. The glass floor has been shattered.” According to company sources who wished to remain anonymous, it was no coincidence that Saunders’ employment was terminated two months after telling her bosses she was pregnant.

Women still missing in (US) Medicine’s higher ranks

An article in the NY Times raises some interesting issues that women in philosophy might want to think about. First of all, tenure is less prevalent in medical schools. According to a Science blog:

The percentage of new faculty hired on the tenure track at U.S. academic medical centers and medical schools has been falling steadily for almost a quarter of a century, according to a report out this month from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Only a quarter of new clinical faculty hired in 2009 were on the tenure track, as opposed to 46 percent in 1984.

One figure has been virtually unchanged: The number of men in tenure track positions exceeded that of tenure-track women by eight percentage points in 1984 and in 2009. “Future research could assess the personal significance of tenure to women, as tenured positions may become more scarce for this subgroup of faculty,” the report’s authors write.

Nonetheless, women have dismal career prospects, if the figures of actual job distributions are predictors. And some of the reasons are familiar; the difference between men’s and women’s lives may have an impact independent of tenure. On the other hand, I do not remember seeing the sense of inclusion and confidence raised very much in philosophy discussions. There may be good reasons for this; linking poor career advancement to women’s self-confidence can easily turn into blaming the victim. From the NY Times:

This phenomenon is well documented. While women make up about half of all medical students and a third of academic faculty, they are nearly absent in the upper ranks. A recent review in The Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that only 4 percent of full professors are women. Only 12 percent of department chiefs are women. In the survey, men and women were engaged in their work to a similar degree, and both groups had comparable aspirations for leadership roles.

But over all, women did not feel the same sense of inclusion in the medical world as men did. They were not confident about their ability to be promoted, despite their interest in advancement. These findings do not come as a surprise to most women in medicine.

Is it that the medical world remains biased against women, despite the increasing number of women in the ranks? Or is it, as some have postulated, that the culture of the workplace — built around the needs of men for generations — simply remains that way? Despite trends toward more equitable distribution of family responsibilities and more child care services, women still shoulder more of the family burden. For most people, peak career-building years overlap with peak family-building years.

Still, there may be something to the lack of self-confidence and to the inability of some to imagine their getting to the top. So the idea of “possible selves” might be worth exploring. And, as you will see, finally implicit bias is given a place of importance:

There is also the idea of “possible selves.” If you see lots of women who are doctors, a teenager can imagine that for herself as a possible life. But if you never see any women leading a department, it’s much harder for a junior faculty member to envision that job as a possibility.

No one I’ve spoken to feels there is much deliberate bias in medicine these days. But the lingering unconscious bias involving the various waves of newcomers — women, members of racial and ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians — resonates for many.

Yes. Just yes.

Lady Gaga is responding to the media nonsense surrounding her weight gain, first noted here–and her response is pretty awesome. Posting a series of pictures of herself in her bra and underwear on a new “Body Revolution” subsection of her social networking site for fans, she said by way of captions:

Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15.

But today I join the BODY REVOLUTION

To Inspire Bravery

and BREED some m$therf*cking COMPASSION

As the folks at Jezebel note,

The page has only been live for a few hours, but fans have already been posting stories and photographs about recovering from anorexia, living with one and a half legs, having cancer. . . Some other celebrity might sue a publication for calling her fat; Gaga’s fighting back by taking the high road, by showing the world that it’s not okay to critique her body — not because she’s a pop star, but because she is a human being, with feelings and a history of eating disorders and we can, and should, do better. By posting these homemade, raw, here-I-am-with-all-my-flaws (not that we see any) images, she shows that her struggle is the same struggle millions of other men and women have everyday: Learning to love yourself just the way you are, finding and believing you are beautiful when the media is hellbent on making you think you’re fat and ugly (and that fat is the same as ugly).

This whole thing has really hit home with me. I’m an intelligent, otherwise confident woman, a feminist who knows better, and if anything I’m underweight — yet, I still struggle with body shame and the size of my thighs. This obsession with women’s bodies is not fundamentally about being thin, or even about being pretty; it’s about seeing women’s bodies as public property — as objects open to legitimate critique from total strangers.  And it’s total BS.  And so, in the words of Lady Gaga,

Be brave and celebrate with us your “perceived flaws,” as society tells us. May we make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous.