Bechdel Test, meet Russo Test

How well does that movie you head out to see on Labour Day depict LGBT characters?  Admittedly the Russo Test is not as snappy as the Bechdel test, but worth perusing: 

1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.
2. That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity. I.E. they are made up of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters from one another.
3. The LGBT character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline. The character should matter.

Paul gets metaphysical at 3:AM Magazine

“L.A. Paul is a deep howdy of metaphysics. She plumbs the depths of why philosophy matters, thinks metaphysical exploration is like scientific exploration in important respects, thinks causation a key puzzle, thinks xphi contributes to the philosophical conversation, thinks fundamental parts of the world are a mix of intrinsic natures, and outlines what you can’t expect when you’re expecting. All in all she’s hardcore. Fabadooza!”

Read the rest of the interview here:

Presumed Incompetent (You Have The Right to Remain Silent…)

I never go anywhere without a book, and my mother, a retired research librarian of mixed Arab and European descent, is always curious about what I’m reading. When I pulled out my copy of Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, my mother scrunched up her face in disgust, “Why would anyone choose that title for a book about women academics?” I responded with, “Because that’s how many people see us!” She countered by inviting me to move to the living room to watch a (closed captioned) television clip about the life of Sonia Sotomayor.


As usual, mom won this match: women, race, class, and disability.


As the title states, Presumed Incompetent, edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González, and Angela P. Harris, focuses on the intersections of race and class of women in the academy. The book is a compilation of narrative essays written by women (there is also an essay on being an ally written by a man) with chapters organized around the following themes: general campus climate, faculty-student relationships, networks of allies, social class in academia, and tenure and promotion.Read More »

Women’s academic work has fewer citations because we don’t cite our own work

According to Barbara Walter, of the University of California, San Diego, female academics don’t engage in as much self promotion as their male colleagues.

“Unlike their male colleagues they do not routinely cite their own previous work when they publish a paper. Since the frequency a paper is cited is an indicator of its importance—and one which, since it can be measured, tends to weigh with appointment committees—a systematic unwillingness by women to self-cite may help tip the balance against them.”

Read more at the Economist:

CFA: SWIP UK Feminism in/and Philosophy

Call for Abstracts

We welcome abstracts (of up to 500 words) for 30-minute presentations on the theme of feminism in/and philosophy. Please email your abstracts to oxfordswip2014 AT by 30 November, 2013. Travel within the UK and accommodation will be covered for speakers.

Conference Announcement

“[W]hen you are a woman and a philosopher,” writes Michèle Le Doeuff in Hipparchia’s choice, “it is useful to be a feminist in order to understand what is happening to you”. Like many productive relationships, the relationship between feminism and philosophy has never been easy. Feminists and philosophers alike have claimed that between the two there can be no real dialogue. Radical feminists argue that the history of philosophy is the history of a patriarchal institution, the values of truth and reason no more than tools of subordination. Many philosophers meanwhile dismiss the very idea of ‘feminist philosophy’ as a category error: a conflation of a political project with an epistemic one.

And yet, we now have a rich tradition of feminist philosophy: a tradition that embraces orthodox philosophical values while drawing on the concerns and interests and methods of feminism. But just what is feminist philosophy, and how is it possible? What is it to be a feminist philosopher, beyond being both a philosopher and a feminist? What is it do philosophy as a feminist? And what is to practice feminism through philosophy? How are we to reconcile the demands of theory and practice, the goals of truth and emancipation, the perspectives of the universal and the particular?

This set of questions will be the starting point for the Feminism in/and Philosophy conference, at All Souls College, Oxford, 27-29 March 2014. Invited speakers are Michèle Le Doeuff, Rae Langton and Jennifer Saul.

For more information, go here.

Racial Segregation Continues

Some stunning maps here, via Wired.

Last year, a pair of researchers from Duke University published a report with a bold title: “The End of the Segregated Century.” U.S. cities, the authors concluded, were less segregated in 2012 than they had been at any point since 1910. But less segregated does not necessarily mean integrated–something this incredible map makes clear in vivd color.

I can’t recall if we’ve linked to these maps before, but as today was the 50th anniversary of King’s famous “I have a dream speech,” I thought it was appropriate to be reminded of his wise words regarding the urgency of justice and equality.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.



Women and Technology course to ‘Storm Wikipedia’ this fall

The Ontario College of Art and Design “is introducing a new course this fall that aims to bring a better gender balance to Wikipedia — not only in its editors but also its content.According to statistics gathered by Wikimedia, the foundation that runs the free online encylopedia, almost 90 per cent of its editors are men.The new university course is Dialogues on Feminism and Technology, a first-of-its-kind collaborative digital course for credit in 16 universities all over the world.The first assignment is called “Storming Wikipedia.” Students in the feminist course will have to write or edit a Wikipedia entry of a prominent woman in science or technology. The idea is to “collaboratively write feminist thinking” into Wikipedia, according to organizers.”

Read more here on the CBC website:

Blurred Lines and Double Standards

This seems apt to me:

Dear Society,

If you think a woman in a tan vinyl bra and underwear, grabbing her crotch and grinding up on a dance partner is raunchy, trashy, and offensive but you don’t think her dance partner is raunchy, trashy, or offensive as he sings a song about “blurred” lines of consent and propagating rape culture, then you may want to reevaluate your acceptance of double standards and your belief in stereotypes about how men vs. women “should” and are “allowed” to behave.


Dr. Jill

For those of you who missed it, Dr. Jill is referring to the reactions to Miley Cyrus’s performance with Robin Thicke at the VMAs.

Goals for Girls: Empowering Girls and Women through Soccer/Football in Argentina

A new documentary shows how girls from impoverished neighborhoods in Argentina are busting stereotypes and expectations and finding their power through soccer.

On their website, the filmmakers say:

Already, Goals for Girls has begun to change the lives of its protagonists, and  it can help change the lives of girls around the world. There are almost no documentaries about female soccer, and few documentaries are aimed at motivating young people to affect positive change. Goals for Girls is the Hoop Dreams of female soccer, but instead of focusing on financial dreams it will show how sport can help girls overcome incredible odds, teaching the value of responsibility and teamwork. Our documentary does not portray young women as victims, but as active participants to change the world around them, one match at a time.

For more about the film and an interview with the author about a further initiative to enable girls and their families to go to the theatre to see the film, go here.

And to give you a sneak preview, here’s the trailer: