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.

Call for nominations

BJPS Readers’ Nominations for Kuhn SSR Anniversary Virtual Issue

The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science plans to publish a special virtual issue to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The issue will be composed of specially selected papers on the topic of Kuhn’s work that have been published in the journal over the past 50 years, together with a major review essay. The Editors of the journal would like to invite readers to nominate their favourite piece on Kuhn’s ideas for inclusion in the journal.

Nominations (one per person only, please) of papers previously published in the BJPS should go to Beth Hannon at

by 30 September 2012

The Editors’ decision on what papers to include will be final

Women speak less when they’re surrounded by men. (And also: snow is white.)

This just in from the realm of totally unsurprising but still super-interesting science news: a new study in American Political Science Review suggests that women speak less (dramatically less, in many cases) than men when men outnumber women.

But it’s a little more complicated than the headline:

There is an exception to this rule of gender participation, however. The time inequality disappeared when researchers instructed participants to decide by a unanimous vote instead of majority rule.

Results showed that the consensus-building approach was particularly empowering for women who were outnumbered by men in their group. . .

For their experiments, Karpowitz and Mendelberg recruited people to be part of a group and discuss the best way to distribute money they earned together from a hypothetical task. In all, the researchers observed 94 groups of at least five people.

On average, groups deliberated for 25 minutes before settling the matter. Participants voted by secret ballot, but half of the groups followed majority rule while the other half decided only with a unanimous vote.

Notably, the groups arrived at different decisions depending on women’s participation – swinging the group’s stance on the level of generosity given to the lowest member of the group.

“When women participated more, they brought unique and helpful perspectives to the issue under discussion,” Karpowitz said. “We’re not just losing the voice of someone who would say the same things as everybody else in the conversation.”

By way of commentary, the fabulous Lindy West writes:

HA. That is just about the truest shit that I have ever heard. I (and, I suspect, pretty much any woman) can access that feeling really quickly and vividly—when you find yourself in conversation with a circle of men and, against your better judgment and all your feminist impulses, you just turtle up. You retire. You forfeit, because their lungs are bigger, they’re groomed for assertiveness since birth, and you’re groomed to assume that nobody will take you seriously anyway. You wait for a pause in a room of interruptors. Sigh. I do it like crazy, and I am a fucking loudmouth feminist yelling machine.

Can I hear an “amen!”? Against my best wishes and against my better judgement, this is how I feel almost every time I talk philosophy with a bunch of guys. And I’ll hazard a guess that I’m not alone in that feeling.

(Luckily, our profession doesn’t place much weight on being quick and dazzling in conversation. Otherwise women might be at a disadvantage, given their proportional representation. Oh wait. . .)

Stereotypes and the first laptop

An interesting article over at the Atlantic on how gender stereotypes and the keyboard might have made it more difficult for the first laptop to catch on.

‘This is an amazing fact. We had this product. It was designed for business executives. And the biggest obstacle, one of the biggest obstacles, we had for selling the product was the fact — believe it or not — that it had a keyboard. I was in sales and marketing. I saw this first-hand. At that time, 1982, business people, who were in their 40s and 50s, did not have any computer or keyboard in their offices. And it was associated with being part of the secretarial pool or the word processing (remember that industry?) department. And so you’d put this thing in their office and they’d say, “Get that out of here.” It was like getting a demotion. They really were uncomfortable with it.’

Though Hawkins doesn’t quite say it. There is a distinct gendered component to this discomfort. Typing was women’s work and these business people, born in the 1930s and 1940s, didn’t scrap their way up the bureaucracy to be relegated to the very secretarial work they’d been devaluing all along.

Of course, it also cost something like $20,000 in today’s currency–still, this makes me wonder what interesting cases for agnotology we might find in forms of practical knowledge.

Reader Query: Anthology for Feminist Practical Ethics

I am looking for suggestions for an anthology to use in teaching Feminist Practical Ethics next semester. I have in mind beginning the course with an introduction to feminist methodologies, followed by addressing various ethical issues from a Feminist perspective. I am looking for an anthology that addresses some of the more recent issues in Feminism (including, but by no means limited to) transgender issues, women in the military, reproductive issues, the family, and disability issues. I would prefer to address these from a global perspective. I appreciate any suggestions you may have regarding an anthology. Thank you.