It’s Juneteenth

200 years ago:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” —General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865


If you want to work for equality, try Racial Equity Here; it is a national movement to advance racial equity by dismantling structural racism, city by city, town by town.  Click here.

Women’s contributions to philosophy

The following should be read as more like questions than it may seem. Are women’s theories really seen like this? Are these factors really at play? And so on.

And I am doing this in a rush.


In my earliest days in philosophy, as one scanned the history of the subject, there seemed to be a near complete absence of women. This was scary, actually, because one seemed to be proposing that one could be one of the first to do something. And the idea that women couldn’t do philosophy did seem to have some evidence, however puzzling the idea was.

Thanks to many philosophers’ work, it has become clear that this picture of the absence of women in philosophy is simply wrong. But I wonder whether women’s work in general is brought into mainstream thought, despite wonderful efforts by some outstanding people. This does seem to be changing a bit for contemporary women, but much, much less so for historical women.

If it is true that women’s work largely remains footnotes to male philosophy, it is worth asking why. If we understand why, we might be able to mitigate it. I have three remarks to make about this. Then I have one depressing worry that there is an underlying cause that is very powerful.

1. For much of history, women’s entry into philosophy (and music, the arts) was through an advocacy by their fathers that they be let into the otherwise male activity.

2. Women’s work has been appropriated. I just recently saw work that claimed that Babylonian laments – most definitely the project of women – shows up finally in the choruses of male Greek playwrights’ plays.

3. There is in philosophy – at least today when we are evaluating historical texts – quite a lot of hostility to original thoughts. And women’s original thought may be particularly suspect. This leaves women with one alternative: accept as basic the framing of the problems in male philosophy. Otherwise, you are pretty much out on a limb which many will saw off.

If these are causes, then they point to something we can do in working with women’s texts, and that have been done already. One is to try not to introduce the women’s work through describing their fathers’ supports. It is with just about any woman until very recently remarkable that she learned to read and that she had any contact with topics taught in men’s schools. Still, this might not be the place to begin.

Since I am running out of time, let me cut to the chase. From one point of view, the facts I’ve mentioned may pale in comparison to another, which to some extent might be a separate cause and also something holding some of the factors in place.

This overriding cause may be: misogyny. As understood by Mann (Down Girl) one strong facet of misogyny is the deep expectation that women are supposed to serve men. So sure they can comment – maybe very well – on men’s texts, but they aren’t supposed to produce rivals.

In a rush, let me suggest that this would account for the remarkable appropriation of women’s work that occurs. I think nearly every women I know has seen this.

I could swear someone said it’s getting better, but it’s not

As least as far as leadership positions for women in business goes, according to this article. And the reason? Well, it’s complicated, and there is this and that, but basically it’s bias.

The number of women leading the largest companies has always been small. This year, it got 25 percent smaller… evidence shows that the obstacles for female executives aren’t just because of their individual choices. There are larger forces at work, experts say, rooted in biases against women in power, mothers who work or leaders who don’t fit the mold of the people who led before them.

“TERFs” turf

TERFs are defined by many as feminists who argue against allowing trans-women into the category ‘women, supposing there is such a category. I saw a TERF piece getting a lot of praise. Or it might just be depressing. See what you think.

See the comments on the use of the term.

Molestation and the ‘perp’s’ recovery

from a NY Times newsletter:

Quotation of the day

“The feeling at Oregon State right now is that our team is winning, so they’ve moved on. What does that say to the little girl in this case? What does it say to all survivors?”

Brenda Tracy, a victims’ rights activist, on fans who cheer for Luke Heimlich, a star college pitcher who pleaded guilty to sexually molesting his 6-year-old niece when he was 15, but now denies wrongdoing.

The brief note raises a lot of questions.  A fuller article here cannot really answer them.  This is because 6 year olds can too often be got to report just about anything, including grotesque rituals run by their teachers.  And there are good reasons for pleading guilty even when one isn’t.

let me be clear:  I mean to say that readers are NOT given deciding evidence.

Older women and breast cancer in the UK: half a mllion go missing

From today’s Guardian:

how can almost half a million women go missing, and nobody notice? Yet that is what we are told has happened. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, came to parliament on Wednesday to confess that up to 450,000 older women in England may have somehow fallen off the breast cancer screening system, thanks to a computer glitch. Unravelling the real-life consequences of that is a complicated and contested business, but Hunt said it was likely there were people who “would have been alive today if this had not happened”; and that up to 270 lives may have been shortened.

There are now older women who haven’t been screened for nearly a decade during a time when cancer rates are high. It seems an important time to check on your older friends, those over 75.

There is another thing to think about: how this connects to the invisibility of older women. How in the world was the problem not noticed for eight years?