Online Misogyny in Philosophy

Cassie Herbert has written a piece for the APA Blog about online misogyny in professional philosophy.:

https://blog.apaonline.org/2018/07/04/women-in-philosophy-online-misogyny-and-our-profession/

She makes interesting points about misogyny and its connection to the pragmatics of various online interactions, including the uses of anonymity.

These sorts of interactions variously position women and gender minorities as incompetent epistemic agents, drain their epistemic resources, position them to speak for all other members of the group, and demand their attention in order to ‘prove’ their commitments and credentials. Intentionally or not, the pragmatic upshot is to manipulate the epistemic agency and subject positioning of their targets.

The anonymous philosophy blogs bring together these various levels of misogyny. They utilize both the threat of a media storm and the pragmatic structure of the comments to maintain a system of power within the profession. Sometimes the comments are explicitly misogynist: they denigrate women, non-binary folks, and trans folks. They debase their targets and call for “naming and shaming” philosophers from underrepresented groups who they don’t think have “earned” their successes. In choosing to out me as a survivor, while at the same time calling me a liar and characterizing themselves as my saviors, they multiply positioned me as powerless. All of these strategies draw on a system of power that works to maintain the status of privileged men. They position their targets as incompetent epistemic agents, and by extension incompetent philosophers.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Online Misogyny in Philosophy

  1. I’m so impressed by the way she took her horrendous experience of victimisation both online and off, and turned that into super-interesting philosophy.

  2. Thanks for being so supportive, and for taking the time to read and think about this!

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