Islamophobic ads vs. Ms. Marvel

A while back the Freedom Defense Initiative started taking out Islamophobic ads on buses around San Francisco (the original ads are not pictured; they are offensive enough I didn’t think it was worth it). Turns out, a vigilante (presumably, without super powers) has found a way to improve them — the ads are being defaced with new wording, and images of Kamala Khan, who is both the latest woman in the Marvel universe to take on the title of Ms. Marvel and Marvel’s first Muslim headlining character.  Via Toybox at io9.

Ms. Marvel bus ad

The Hunting Ground

The makers of The Invisible War have come out with a new documentary about sexual assault on American campuses. From Variety: 

Kirby Dick’s “The Hunting Ground,” a buzzed-about documentary about the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday afternoon.

“I want to thank to the hundreds of survivors who interacted with us,” Dick told the packed crowd at the Marc Theatre before the screening. Appearing with four of the victims featured in the film at a Q&A after the screening, which received a standing ovation, he added: “This is a problem at schools all across the country,” Dick said.

The film, which will be released by Radius/TWC in theaters on March 20 and on CNN later this year, persuasively argues that college campuses don’t respond to reports of sexual assault because they don’t want to scare off prospective students and alumni, particularly when it comes to fraternity and student athletes. The film not only talks to students, but administrators, parents and even a former police officer at Notre Dame who offered accounts of how the school turned its back on rape cases.

No More Page 3

Page 3 – a fine British institution! Inciting harassment of girls and women since 1970!

“Working in a small restaurant staffed mainly by 16 year old girls, the manager tells everyone to gather in the back room, he holds up page three and declares that this is our new uniform.”

“Sitting on a bus – middle-aged chap sitting next to me is looking at page 3. I notice that he saw me notice, and blush. He says “What do you think of that?” I mumble “I don’t think I’m the target audience.” He openly looks at my chest. “I wouldn’t worry – with tits like yours, they’re not going to ask you to pose.” I was 14, and wearing my school uniform.”

“I once worked in a company where I was the only female on a floor of men. They would look me up and down, laughing. They would bring in The Sun, put it on my desk open at Page 3 and ask if I looked like the topless woman pictured.”

“Currently studying architecture at uni. Went on a site visit as part of my course. Got asked why I was there by one of the construction workers, when the rest of the group were guys. I simply said that I was there because I, like the rest of the group, were training to be architects. The response I got was “with tits like yours?! Nobody will pay any attention to what you’re saying they’ll be looking down your top. Give up now, you’d be more successful as a page 3 model love”.”

From Dear David… An Open Letter to the Editor of the Sun. The No More Page 3 Campaign continues to put pressure on the Sun.

End of the Independent Living Fund?

Yes, I’m afraid this is yet another blog post about the UK Government’s cuts and alterations to services used by disabled people. This time, it’s the Independent Living Fund that’s under threat. The ILF pays for support for those with very high needs, enabling them to live independently in the community, go to work, and do all the things that enabled folks largely take for granted. The fund has so far been the responsibility of central government, but plans are afoot to transfer it to local authorities in June this year. Importantly, the funding will not be ring-fenced, so there is no guarantee that local authorities will use it for its current purpose. Indeed, as local authorities are short of cash, this sort of change often leads to cuts as the money is used to pay for other things instead. (To give just one example, this happened when the ring-fence around Supporting People funding was removed. You can download a parliamentary briefing about this here.)

I understand the government are proposing to stop the fund completely a year later (presumably the money will be completely reabsorbed into a general budget). There is a bit more detail about the proposed changes here. An Early Day Motion has been filed, and you can ask your MP to support it if you feel so inclined.

New Blog: Discrimination and Disadvantage

This new blog looks like it will be great. Looking forward to reading it when it launches in the next few weeks.

In recent years, philosophers have increasingly reflected on how various kinds of privilege and advantage are at work in the profession with an eye towards improving the lot of the disadvantaged. This blog is a space for philosophical reflection on various kinds of disadvantage (e.g., discrimination based on racism, classism, sexism, hetero-sexism, ableism, and the intersectionality of these and related phenomena) as well as discussion of such disadvantage within the philosophical community.

Why a dearth still of female philosophers? “The problem is not men as such …”

From the Guardian about Mary Midgley:

She was one of an extraordinary group of female philosophers at Oxford during the war that comprised Philippa Foot, Iris Murdoch, Elizabeth Anscombe and Mary Warnock, all of whom went on to work in moral philosophy or ethics. Was that a coincidence, I ask, or was it a female response to the male world of logical positivism that dominated British philosophy at that time?

In a recent letter to the Guardian, explaining why she thought there was a shortfall in women philosophers, she wrote: “The trouble is not, of course, men as such – men have done good enough philosophy in the past. What is wrong is a particular style of philosophising that results from encouraging a lot of clever young men to compete in winning arguments. These people then quickly build up a set of games out of simple oppositions and elaborate them until, in the end, nobody else can see what they are talking about.

It has remained one of Midgley’s principles to write in such a way that the maximum number of people can see what she’s talking about. The philosopher and historian Jonathan Rée says: “She has always written in a language that’s not aimed at the cleverest graduate student. She’s never been interested in the glamour and greasy pole” associated with Oxbridge and London.

What do you think?  Is this a good candidate for inclusion in the explanations for women’s absence?

Consent education in a song

Rachel Lark, daughter of philosophers Louise Antony and Joe Levine, offers a brilliant education in consent– in a single song, which manages to be both powerful and funny. To manage a witty, enjoyable yet educational song on this topic is an amazing feat. I’d love to see her brought in to universities as part of their consent education programmes.

Access to Work Funding Cut

The UK government is quietly cutting the Access to Work funding that pays for things such as computer software and support workers that enable disabled people to gain employment.

Advisers have guidance on what AtW now does and doesn’t cover, but because the changes haven’t been published, all we can put our hands on is that limits have been imposed on the amount of support worker hours that are permitted and major restructuring in how AtW is being delivered has led to delays in people’s money.

Deaf people who need sign language interpreters have been particularly penalised, with the cuts to support workers’ hours. Jenny Sealey, who runs a disabled-led theatre company that employs 80 deaf and disabled people every year, has gone from co-directing the Paralympic 2012 opening ceremony to being left “in fear” for her career after her support was cut by half. It gives some insight into the mindset of those with their hands on the controls that they can promote the need to get disabled people into work while enacting measures that make it impossible.

You can read more here.

Asylum – New Home Office Rules Make Appeals Harder

New Home Office rules mean that from Monday 26th January, asylum seekers whose cases have been turned down will need to travel to Liverpool to submit fresh evidence in support of their claim – no matter where they are in the country. As asylum seekers are some of the poorest people in the UK – many are destitute – this will, in many cases, put justice out of their reach. It’s worth noting that a sizeable number of cases that are initially turned down go through on appeal. (I will try to find figures later.)

An Early Day Motion has been tabled Julian Huppert. If you feel so inclined, you could write and ask your MP to sign it.

CFP: SWIP-I and UCC Aesthetics and the Feminine Conference

University College Cork, Ireland, Friday 17th – Saturday 18th July 2015

“[A]gainst the dispersed, contingent and multiple existences of actual women, mythical thought opposes the Eternal Feminine, unique and changeless. If the definition provided for this concept is contradicted by the behaviour of flesh and blood women, it is the latter who are wrong: we are told Femininity is not a false entity, but that the women concerned are not feminine.” (Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Stacie Friend (Birkbeck College)
Áine Mahon (University College Dublin)
E. L. Putnam (Performance Artist, Dublin)

Conference Organisers:
Mary Edwards (University College Cork)
Áine Mahon (University College Dublin)

Design by Emily Putnam

The ‘Aesthetics and the Feminine’ Summer conference is supported by The Society for Women In Philosophy Ireland (SWIP-I) and the Philosophy Department at University College Cork and aims to provide a supportive, engaging environment for all researchers working on the topic of the feminine in aesthetics, or the thought/work of female aestheticians/artists.

The ‘Aesthetics and the Feminine’ Summer conference is supported by The Society for Women In Philosophy Ireland (SWIP-I) and the Philosophy Department at University College Cork and aims to provide a supportive, engaging environment for all researchers working on the topic of the feminine in aesthetics, or the thought/work of female aestheticians/artists.

Possible topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

· Studies on the work of female artist(s)
· Relevant topics in aesthetics generally and especially the work of female aesthetician(s)
· Representations of women in the visual arts
· Critical analyses of “feminine” characters in literature/film
· Analysis/Application of feminist criticism
· Analysis/Application of feminist psychoanalytic criticism
· The role of art in the creation and perpetuation of Myth of Woman
· “Feminine” beauty
· “Feminine” art
· Androgyny in art/literature/film
· Representations of female sexuality in art/literature/film
· Interpretations of the “feminine” in art as empowering/degrading
· Feminist art/literature/film
· “Masculine” or un-“feminine” females in art/literature/film
· Tragic heroines
· “Feminine” Vs “Masculine” Art
· Écriture féminine
· The femme fatale
· “Chick-flicks” and “chick-lit”: art for females?

Submissions: Abstracts of 200 words  for 20-minute presentations  (a l lo w i n g f o r 1 0 minutes Q&A after ward), in Word document  format should be prepared  for blind review (together with a separate cover sheet detailing institutional information etc.) and emailed to: marylouise.eds@gmail.com.

We welcome proposals from a broad range of disciplines including philosophy, comparative literature, art history, gender studies, cultural studies, the social sciences and other relevant disciplines. Interdisciplinary studies are encouraged as well as proposals for co-presentations and panels. We also invite artists, working on relevant  themes/subjects, to discuss and present their work at this event.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 20th April 2015 and we aim to respond to applicants with the results of our selection processes in early May 2015. Please send any queries to: marylouise.eds@gmail.com.