Elderly Chinese man becomes star model

… for girls’ clothing.

A 72-year-old Chinese man named Liu Xianping is getting the world’s attention today for his work as a model. A model for his granddaughter’s boutique. Which sells clothes for teenage girls. After his first pictures were posted, Grandpa went viral and Web traffic to the store jumped. Liu says, “Why unacceptable (for someone like me to wear women’s clothes)? Modeling for the store is helping my granddaughter and I have nothing to lose. I’m very old and all that I care about is to be happy.”

Reader query: open posts and gender

A reader has written to me noting that in her department no woman has been appointed to a permanent *open* position in 25 years, though women have been appointed when areas are specified. She’s wondering– and I am too, now– whether this is an isolated phenomenon, and also whether there is any empirical evidence which might speak to the issue. (E.g. an open post might make people look for *the genius*, which is associated with maleness, etc.) Any thoughts?

Male Philosophy and Psychiatry

In a nice bit of irony (or maybe just grim prophecy. . .), all the invited speakers at Oxford’s upcoming conference ‘Philosophy and Psychiatry: The Next Hundred Years’ are male. They are:

Derek Bolton

John Campbell

Thomas Fuchs

Matthew Ratcliffe

Tim Thornton


There’s also a portion of the conference devoted to invited papers, however. See the call for abstracts below. Send your abstracts, ladies!


Abstracts are welcome from philosophers and clinicians, scientists and
others with experience of mental health issues. Though there is no
restriction as to seniority, preference may be given to younger academics,
post-docs and graduate students.

Accepted papers should be suitable for a 20-minute presentation. Please
send abstracts of 300 words to conferences@conted.ox.ac.uk by January 31,
2013. We expect to notify authors of accepted papers by the end of February.

Fuzzy feminist thinking

This is pretty unbelievable. Michael Calleri recounts how his relationship with the Niagra Falls Reporter came to an end when the new editor objected to publishing his movie reviews when the films in question featured strong female characters  (labeling Snow White and the Huntsman as one example of “fuzzy feminist thinking” that he found offensive).  The editor wrote:

If you care to write reviews where men act like good strong men and have a heroic inspiring influence on young people to build up their character (if there are such movies being made) i will be glad to publish these.

i am not interested in supporting the reversing of traditional gender roles.

i don’t want to associate the Niagara Falls Reporter with the trash of Hollywood and their ilk.

it is my opinion that hollywood has robbed america of its manliness and made us a nation of eunuchs who lacking all manliness welcome in the coming police state.

Horrifying, but kudos to Calleri.

One in six live in poverty in USA

The number of people living in poverty in the US is higher than previously thought, and close to 50 million, according to the U.S. Census, using the second annual Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).  As reported on the CNNMoney page, “The alternative measure showed the importance of Social Security and the weight of medical care on the elderly. Without Social Security, some 54.1% of Americans age 65-plus would be in poverty, as opposed to 15.1%. But if they didn’t have to pay out-of-pocket health care costs, their poverty rate would have fallen nearly in half to 8%.”

An Idaho paper lifts out two more findings: “Without refundable tax credits such as the earned income tax credit, child poverty would rise from 18.1 percent to 24.4 percent. Without food stamps, the overall poverty rate would increase from 16.1 percent to 17.6 percent.”

Game on: Marriage Equality in the South

The Campaign for Southern Equality will be visiting seven states in the southern US as part of their WE DO campaign, which

involves LGBT couples in the Southern communities where they live requesting – and being denied – marriage licenses in order to call for full equality under federal law and to resist unjust state laws….

These WE DO actions serve to make the impact of discriminatory laws visible to the general public; they illustrate what it looks like when LGBT people are treated as second-class citizens under the law. Sometimes these actions include non-violent acts of civil disobedience in the form of individuals refusing to leave the public office where the denial of  a license has occured. The purpose of civil disobedience is to resist unjust state laws and to express a belief that LGBT people are fully human and should be treated as equal citizens under our nation’s laws.

To date, 38 couples in 10 cities across North and South Carolina have sought marriage licenses as part of the WE DO campaign.

They’ve put together a great video:


Thanks, JF!

Congratulations to Louise Erdrich and Kather Boo

Who have respectively won the fiction and non-fiction National Book Cub Awards.

Beating out an unusually competitive field, Louise Erdrich won the National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday night for “The Round House,” a novel about a teenage boy’s effort to investigate an attack on his mother on a North Dakota reservation, and his struggle to come to terms with the violence in their culture.

Louise Erdrich won the National Book Award for fiction for her novel “The Round House.”

Ms. Erdrich accepted the award in part in her Native American language. She said she wanted to acknowledge “the grace and endurance of native women.”

She added: “This is a book about a huge case of injustice ongoing on reservations. Thank you for giving it a wider audience.”

The competition for the fiction prize was considered particularly tight this year. Unlike in recent years, when many little-known authors were nominated, the judges produced a high-profile slate of finalists, including the Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz, who was nominated for “This Is How You Lose Her,” and Dave Eggers, nominated for “A Hologram for the King.”

The nonfiction category was every bit as competitive and featured established authors like the biographer Robert Caro and the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony Shadid, who wrote for The Washington Post and The New York Times.

It was won by Katherine Boo for “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.” In her book, Ms. Boo tells of the heart-rending struggles of the dwellers of a slum in the shadow of luxury hotels in India.

“If this prize means anything,” she said in her acceptance speech, “it is that small stories in so-called hidden places matter because they implicate and complicate what we consider to be the larger story, which is the story of people who do have political and economic powers.”

This is not the first time women have recently won prestigious literary awards. We can hope that the idea that books by women are just for women is fading. (https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/national-book-critics-circle-awards/)