Sheela-na-gigs

Or: carvings of naked women adorning British churches.

If you look them up on google you’ll see they’ve got a fair amount of recent attention. At the same time, no one seems to know what they mean. perhaps they are fertility goddesses, or maybe they are in effect instructions or reminder for brides.

Not all have gotten accepting reactions. Outrage has diminished their numbers.

Women’s prize for fiction longlist 2019

The Guardian reports.

[Link: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/mar/04/non-binary-trans-author-nominated-for-womens-prize-for-fiction %5D

Lots of wonderful reading.  And a notable ‘first’:
The Women’s prize for fiction has nominated a non-binary transgender author for the first time in its 27-year history, on a 16-book longlist featuring a previous winner, seven debuts and last year’s Booker prize winne

Thirty-one-year-old Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi is nominated for their first novel, Freshwater. Described as “remarkable” in the Guardian’s review, Freshwater is a coming-of-age story following a child, Ada, who is born filled with Igbo spirits as a challenge from a deity to Ada’s Catholic father.

Emezi, who does not identify as male or female and lives in Brooklyn, is one of seven first-time authors up for the £30,000 prize, on a longlist that spans the city streets of Lagos and remote Northumberland, the US-Mexico border and ancient Greece.

“It is a historic moment,” Professor Kate Williams, chair of judges, told the Guardian. “We’re very careful not to Google the authors while judging, so we did not know. But the book found great favour among us, it is wonderful. They are an incredibly talented author and we’re keen to celebrate them

“Show them what crazy can do.”

The title above comes from a video advertisement full of images worth sharing. Is this use of the word “crazy” really permissible? I think it is being used to criticize abelist discourse. I apologize if I am wrong.

On the other hand, as one of the many, many critical comments on the video has it, ‘Its sad that so many people are unware of the political hypocrisies behind ads like this made by multi billion dollar corporations like Nike, that have no soul and prey on instant emotions by virtue signaling, sucha shame they fall for this BS … Especially in this instance where they pretend to stand up for women, yet they run a modern day slave workforce.”

Rise of the ‘strongman’

From the Guardian

More than 30 female world leaders including current and former heads of state have called for a fightback against the erosion of women’s rights, with one former minister singling out countries led by “a macho-type strongman” as part of the problem.

Susana Malcorra, the former Argentinian foreign minister, said in some countries the push for women’s rights was seen as something that harmed men, rather than an opportunity to change gender expectations in a way that helped everyone.

“There is a sense of the established power being threatened by women gaining respect,” she said.

Following the link above will take one to the letter these women have produced.

A reason for going to philosophy graduate school

I used the example of baking a cake in an discussion recently. Later that day I remembered the following vignette:

I, around the age of 15, was absent mindedly putting together things supposedly from a cake mix recipe. At a stage where it became clear that I had been very foregetful and it was doubtful that what I had was cake batter, my father appeared. Having been told what I had been aiming at, he said, “no man is going to want to marry you if you can’t make a cake.”

He was not joking.

Chief Mankiller

“When history fails to preserve stories from our past and present, it’s up to us to correct the record. Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, is omitted from most history books. She was an activist and a champion to a nation – and it’s time the world remembers her name. MANKILLER is a documentary celebrating a leader who defied all odds to make a difference for her people.”

Moreinformation and movie trailer here.

Sexism and trying to get elected

From the NYT:

In the words of her detractors during the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton was abrasive and shrill. She was aloof. She was unlikable.

It’s not a coincidence that some of these adjectives are now bubbling up in discussions of Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris as they campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Few Americans acknowledge they would hesitate to vote for a woman for president — but they don’t have to, according to researchers and experts on politics and women and extensive research on double standards in campaigns. Reluctance to support female candidates is apparent in the language that voters frequently use to describe men and women running for office; in the qualities that voters say they seek; and in the perceived flaws that voters say they are willing or unwilling to overlook in candidates.

Read on for the rest of the story!

And the nuns, of course

This will seem surprising to some, though it surely ought even to be expected. The limitts to spontaneous imagination in matters of morals and action needs investigation.

From the NYT, FEB 5, 2019.

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis said on Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church had a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops, the first time he had publicly acknowledged the issue.

Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week wrote about nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests. But Francis had never mentioned it until he was asked to comment during a news conference aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from his trip to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.

“It’s true,” Francis said. “There are priests and bishops who have done that.”