With friends like these. . .

Prof. Tom Baldwin, the editor of Mind, was recently asked in a interview about the dearth of women publishing in top journals (including Mind). Prof. Baldwin replied that he didn’t think we should be worried, because:

I think there are plenty of younger women, who’ve entered the profession in the last ten years, who are just as punchy – if I can put it like that – as the young men… I think it’ll change.

That’s right ladies. The reason you haven’t been publishing in top journals is because of a virtue that you lack – “punchiness”! – not because of any entrenched power imbalances or gender-crap within the profession. But don’t worry, ladies! Older women may lack this virtue, the poor dears. But the younger ones have it. They have it just as much as the men do! So these gender issues should sort themselves right out.

Excellent. Glad we got that one figured out.


*Update*: If you don’t want to bother listening to the interview, Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa has provided a link to a transcript of the relevant portion of the interview in the comments. Thanks, Jonathan!

21 thoughts on “With friends like these. . .

  1. While I’m at it, what exactly is “punchiness”? Is it just being combative and dickish in philosophy seminars/philosophy writing?

    If so, I’ll take a pass on punchiness. Even if it means I can’t publish in Mind.

  2. By their metaphors we shall know them.

    I wonder if that is an instance of “mansplaining”? He doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, but, hey, that’s no impediment to his explaining what our problem is.

  3. I think the context makes this look even worse. I was joining magicalersatz in a facepalm; now I’m doing a double-facepalm.

  4. His comments are making me feel very punchy, but perhaps not in a way he’d appreciate.

    If I were forced to be charitable about the dreadful word choice, I would interpret it along the lines of “punching above their weight” rather than “combative” per se. I.e., more junior people who break new ground and thus produce Mind worthy stuff.

    Well…that’s the best I can do.

  5. Looking at JJI’s link, I’m wondering what Jenny Saul thinks of SWIP’s being twitchy about the representation of women.

  6. I thought ‘punchy’ was an attribute of writing style. Forceful, I guess. Is that not what he meant? (It’s fairly cryptic if interpreted the way I interpreted it, still.)

  7. Generally, I take it punchy means something like characterized by vigor, or forceful. But regardless of how he intended the word, the implication that women are just now, in the last ten years, on par with men in the field– what this implies about women who have been in the profession some time– what this implies about why women are underrepresented– it’s an incredibly awful and factually impoverished thing to say.

  8. I was going to once again thank FP for making the audio accessible to deaf and hard of hearing philosophers by providing a transcript (and thanks also to Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa!) but thanks doesn’t seem quite like the right sentiment. Joining the double facepalm brigade…

  9. Perhaps the thing to do is to try to appropriate the word ‘twitchy’ to mean something like “expends great effort on a valuable cause”, Thus, many of us are twitchy about using demeaning language to describe people’s efforts to get a more just recognition for women in philosophy.

  10. Haha! I love the pun. I didn’t even realize it was a pun until Anne said she just got it. Brilliant!

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