‘Classic’ readings by women

A reader sends the following query:

Our department is setting up a proseminar (basically a seminar for first year PhD students to get through some classic material, reinforce some methodology and do some bonding). Of course, there is a danger that ‘classic’ will be read as ‘seminal’ and all the papers taught will be by men. Does anyone have a list of classic papers by women? It might help my cause if I can proactively suggest some.

Suggestions much appreciated!

Sexism in Philosophy in the Guardian

An article by Jo Wolff, here.

I like his analysis of why there were so many good women philosophers in the Anscombe, Foot cohort – fewer men so they got the attention they deserved.

I’m not sure about his description of the bullying nature of philosophy as it is practiced, and its effect on the number of women. It’s a bit too close to the view that states that women are ‘gentler’ or as he says ‘lady-like’ than men, and can’t take the pressure. (He is right, of course, that a more constructive approach to arguing is better, but I’m not sure that has anything to do with women numbers).

You know that medication you spent $50 on to prevent pregnancy? If you weight 11 lbs more than average, it’s completely useless.

Mother Jones reports that an emergency contraception pill in Europe–which is basically the same thing as the only sort of emergency contraception available without a prescription in some places, like the US, is completely ineffective if you weigh more than 80 kg, aka 176 lbs. And it’s less effective for women weighing upward of 165 pounds, so much so that the European labels are gonna suggest you not take it at all.

I’m gonna repeat that.

In certain places (e.g., the United States), Plan B is not really that effective for the average woman, and if you weigh 11 pounds more than average,  You Are Completely Incapable of getting a working form of emergency contraception without a prescription.  (Oh I’m sorry, did you want this $50 medication to also work? Because I thought maybe you just wanted the nice-looking box.)

I’m gonna repeat that yet again, quoting MJ:

“The European manufacturer of an emergency contraceptive pill identical to Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, will warn women that the drug is completely ineffective for women who weigh more than 176 pounds and begins to lose effectiveness in women who weigh more than 165 pounds.”


Now let’s put on our anti-oppressive hierarchy hat, and translate that into societal implications:

A medication that is $50 a pop and is many people’s only reasonably accessible form of emergency contraception, is Completely. Useless. for those of us who are a staggering eleven pounds heavier than average. (I know, it took a lot of burritos, shunning of any physical activity whatsoever, and willful ignorance to get to this point. And then it took even more burritos to make up for all the calories I was burning via unprotected sex. )

Oh hey, and who normally gets the trope stuck to them that they’re stupid and make bad life decisions, like failing to prevent a pregnancy they don’t want and certainly can’t afford?: poor fat women. And guess who can’t use Plan B and probably also can’t afford the alternatives: Poor fat women. So who’s been looking like they’re confirming their own inherent laziness and stupidity when really they weren’t told that a medication marketed to everyone doesn’t work for them: poor fat women.  Thank God at least poor women aren’t more likely to be fat than women of higher socio-economic status. Then we would have a really doozy of a combo on our hands.

Bonus Round Pop Quiz:  How many top athletes also can’t use  one of the most popular forms of emergency contraception without reduced effectiveness?

“Huh?” You say after all that. Don’t worry. I got you covered.


Plan B is useless to you if you weigh more than 176 pounds.

If all this is really true, I’m allowed to set something on fire, right?