“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?

Men as wholes, women as sums of their parts.

From Electric Literature

Describe Yourself Like a Male Author Would’ Is the Most Savage Twitter Thread in Ages
The challenge is a fierce indictment of what happens when you try to write a character you don’t respect or understand

The injunction to women describe themselves as a man would has received a lot of notice. One interesting fact that is that women apparently found it easy to describe themseves as men do, and everyone seemed to get that it was a matter of focusing on parts. Boobs seem especially prominant. Men are seen holistically, but women are not.

One further interesting and possibly related fact is that we all seem in general to notice women’s parts first. (See references at the end.) I think it is important that vision is implicated in these differences. At the very least, it means that our explanations of non-holistic view of women are constrained. They need to account for the difference in vision.


I expect that readers won’t have any problem understanding “holistic,” but we can just note for illustration the following example. With the house below advertised for sale, a holistic description might go, “Pretty Victorian two bedroom home close to the city center with West facing garden.”

Journal Reference:

Sarah J. Gervais, Theresa K. Vescio, Jens Förster, Anne Maass, Caterina Suitner. Seeing women as objects: The sexual body part recognition bias. European Journal of Social Psychology, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.1890
Cite This Page:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “How our brains see men as people and women as body parts: Both genders process images of men, women differently.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725150215.

Question: if philosophy is male dominated, are women philosophers working on male thoughts/programs? Why or why not?

It should be of little surprise to find that people writing for a feminist blog will be disinclined to agree that women philosophers are all working on men’s thoughts. Nonetheless, there are lots to be said on related topics.

One phenomenon that is of interest is when one or more women develop an alternative to men’s thought in an area. For example, when it seemed that just about everyone was thinking about the necessary and sufficient conditions for “S knows that P” women philosophers started writing about how impoverished that approach to knowledge is. And though Aristotle and Hume are virtue theorists, Foot’s decades long investigation of morality and virtues hardly is merely working out the details of their programs.

Probably less well-known is Kristin Andrews work on animal psychology and its consequent revision of our understanding of folk psychology.

There are many more instances where women in effect propose a transformation of a field. I’d love to see examples our readers might come up with.

Of course, working out the details of others’ thought can also be powerful and important. Perhaps women working in metaphysics or logic come close to doing that.

Do please share examples you might think of!