Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Can one be hugely disappointed but not at all surprised? September 11, 2014

Filed under: academia,academic job market,ageing,aging — annejjacobson @ 7:24 pm

If so, here’s a good case, from CHE

U. of Illinois Board Votes Down Salaita Appointment
The University of Illinois’s Board of Trustees voted on Thursday to deny the appointment of Steven G. Salaita to a professorship on the Urbana-Champaign campus, in the latest chapter of a month-old saga that has inflamed academe.

That Mr. Salaita’s appointment appeared on the list of proposed faculty hires to be voted on by the board came as a surprise. The campus’s chancellor, Phyllis M. Wise, who has been the subject of several no-confidence votes at the college, maintained in recent weeks that she would not send the appointment to the board. Trustees have expressed support for her leadership.

H/t also to Dailynous


Naomi Wolf on Aging: What do you think? August 12, 2014

Filed under: academia,ageing,aging,appearance,beauty,body,gender stereotypes,self-esteem,sex — annejjacobson @ 5:50 pm

Is the following just a description, or in part a recommendation? In any case, it carries a lot of information about values, though just whose may not be clear. In any case, what do you think about it? definitely on the right track? Spending too much on yoga, pilates, organic food and expensive hair stylists? Some big flaws? Just wait untill she gets to 65?

When I am at a social occasion, the showstoppers are no longer the young beauties in their 20s. Rather, those who draw all the light in the room are the women of great accomplishment and personal charisma — and these are usually women in midlife. (Indeed, at events I have attended recently, cadres of conventionally beautiful young women seem now to be treated almost like wallpaper or like the catering staff.)

The change in social norms around the issue of women’s aging is immense. There is now an influential and growing demographic of educated, well-off women whose status, sense of self-esteem and sexual cachet rise rather than fall as they head toward midlife. I do not see younger women looking at accomplished women in their 40s with pity or derision: I see them looking ahead with admiration and even envy...

Because of advances in health and well-being awareness, many women I know are entering midlife feeling as good as (and looking better than) they did in college. But they also have professional success, self-knowledge, sexual magnetism and awareness, and even thriving children, admiring husbands or ardent lovers. These signs of accomplishment merely add to the allure of many midlife women — women who, when asked if they would like to be in their 20s again, think of doing so with a shudder.

So male philosophers who hit on young women in classes or conference are what? Incredibly insecure? Following the pro-creation narrative? Out of touch with the values of the cultural elite?


Having a cocktail is such fun; let’s blame breast cancer deaths on it. April 12, 2013

Filed under: ageing,aging,breast cancer — annejjacobson @ 12:37 am

Goodness knows why alcohol got the blame, but it certainly did. A large study based on nurses’ self-reports was a very significant factor in this story.

Alcohol and Risk of Breast Cancer
Steven A. Narod, MD
JAMA. 2011;306(17):1920-1921. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1589.

In this issue of JAMA, Chen and colleagues1 report findings from the Nurses’ Health Study exploring the relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk. The authors’ principal findings were that the cumulative amount of alcohol a woman consumes during adulthood is the best predictor of her breast cancer risk and that low levels of alcohol consumption (as few as 3 drinks a week) are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Everyone (it seems) at the large, famous and amazingly effective cancer center, MD Anderson, is extremely anti-alcohol.

But that may not be the whole story. From today’s NY Times:

Alcohol consumption is known to increase the risk for breast cancer. But a new study suggests that moderate drinking has little effect on survival after diagnosis, and may reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Researchers, writing online in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, studied 22,890 women with breast cancer, recording information on alcohol intake before diagnosis and, for a subset of 4,881 of them, after diagnosis as well.

After controlling for age, education, stage of cancer, body mass index, smoking and other factors, they found that breast cancer survival was similar in women who drank alcohol after diagnosis and those who did not. But women who drank moderately before diagnosis — three to six drinks a week — were significantly less likely to die of breast cancer and of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease, the authors write, is increasingly being recognized as a mortality cause among breast cancer survivors.

There are a lot of questions left unanswered. One is about the difference between risk and death for people not yet diagnosed at age 50.


Feeling past it? Don’t! February 12, 2013

Filed under: ageing,aging,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 8:55 pm

I haven’t had time to watch the whole thing, but I’d bet it is heteronormative. On the other hand, its portrayal of African American women seems to be non-standard in a good way, though it might be classist. See what you think!


So you found the magic pill… January 2, 2013

Filed under: ageing,aging,appearance,autonomy — annejjacobson @ 7:41 pm

Let’s suppose you were given a prescription for a pill that will mean you lose 2-3 lbs a week, while you eat as much as you want of anything you want.

But it has some side effects.  One is getting seized by itching, which seems to move around your body at random.  (Cortisone cream helps.)  Another is that you can get tense and a bit bad tempered; your partner’s new and strange desire to help with dinner is irritating you a lot.  Digestion is not as simple as before, there may be mild hair loss(temporary), sleep can be disturbed easily and you have quite dry mouth.  And even with insurance, it is $10 a pill, one pill daily.

Of course, you strongly disapprove of the cultural obsession about women’s weight that is all around you.  But then you remember the recent remark on this blog that if you lose 20 lbs, your course evaluations will go up.  So it isn’t that you are endorsing these norms; you are trying to survive them.

Not everyone gets all the side effects.  How much would you tolerate to lose 15 lbs in 5 weeks?  Without ever being hungry, eating what you want, etc.


By the way, there really is such a pill.  Do you know which it is?


Seventeen December 23, 2012

Filed under: ageing,aging,appearance,autonomy,glbt,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 12:22 am

Seventeen is a magazine that tries to cater for late teen tastes.  I used to look at it occasionally when I was a teen, and so when I was trapped waiting for 45 min for a friend, I decided to take a look at its prom issue.  I could divide the comments in my head into two types:

From long ago:  1.  Some of these dresses look like night gowns; do you want to go to the prom in your underwear?

( a bit of a non-sequitur, but you get the idea)

2.  Thank goodness some of them are not strapless.

(the nuns would roam around with muslim muslin and safety pins to cover up an immodest girl.)

And then voices from the present century:

1.  Some of the dresses are sized 2-18 and others go as large as 24.  Fabulous.

2.  Big bottoms are clearly allowed and maybe even enouraged.  Yea!  (When I was buying Seventeen, we – already poorly endowed white women/girls – all wore girdles.)

3.  No more photoshopping of bodies, Seventeen says, and that’s actually likely.   Plus-size models are genuinely plus.  Hooray!

The down side:  the burning questions of today look awfully like those of the 50’s and 60′, which means way too many of them are about how he will react to you/her.   Gay couples don’t have any  problems??  There are no important problems that don’t have to do with sex?

O, Tra-la-la.  Life is deliciously trivial


Would you have expected this? November 22, 2012

Filed under: academia,ageing,aging,altruism — annejjacobson @ 7:26 pm

I was surprised by an incident – involving me – on my campus. I would not have expected this, and in fact I’ve embarrassingly agreed in print with Hume about our having a natural tendency to care about others, at least those in our community who are like us.

I had been at a large and fairly formal lunch. No alcohol, but I was in my best daytime attire. Shortly after I left the hotel on campus where the event was, I stumbled and fell. Fortunately, my left hand and arm got most of the damage; my head didn’t touch the ground and nothing was broken. But I was very shaken up. So I decided not to move for a while.

So picture this: definitely older woman, black silk trousers, quite nice red top, a rope of pearls, sitting on a campus sidewalk, her back against a wall, and her legs straight out onto the pavement. A few possessions scattered by her side. A university name tag still on her top.

I think something like 20-25 students passed me. No one stopped and asked if I needed help.

Of course, I could have asked for help, but decided not to when no one seemed the least bit concerned. But I hardly looked to be just enjoying myself; I hope I would have stopped if it were someone else.


The Sunday cat feels grateful to observant human beings with cameras! July 22, 2012

Filed under: aging,cats,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 2:52 am

another good case of color coordination.


Complete and Beautiful June 13, 2012

Filed under: aging,appearance,beauty,disability,self-esteem,Uncategorized — femphil @ 3:52 pm

Check out Complete and Beautiful, a new website celebrating “every girl and woman, of every shape, size, ability, skin tone, age, and uniqueness.”  Here is a letter of invitation from Jessi Lax, the site’s founder.

To the girls and women of the world,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jessica. I graduated from college in May 2011.  I have a labradoodle service dog, Darby, who means the world to me.   I’m 5’0” on a good day. I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines.  One of my nicknames is Cinderella because my shoes are constantly falling off of my feet.  And, like Ellen DeGeneres, I believe in dance.

I am in the process of starting a beauty campaign: Complete and Beautiful. The mission of Complete and Beautiful is to celebrate all girls and women, inside and out. The beauty campaign is not just about your appearance; it is about how you see yourself as a person, and how other people see you as well. Complete and Beautiful is a website that, I hope, will evolve into something much bigger. But first, let me explain where I’m coming from.

I have a mild case of Cerebral Palsy.  It affects my legs and my left hand. I did not even realize that I was differently-abled until I was ten. I did not begin to deal with my circumstances until my senior year of high school.  My ability status, along with other societal preferences regarding appearance, fueled my troubles with body image.

My body is not representative of the standard ideal. For years I thought I was ugly. For years society has told me directly and indirectly that I am not valuable, not worthy, not desirable, and not complete.  In our society, people, especially girls and women, are inundated by messages that they are unattractive or deficient in some way, making women self-conscious and insecure.  Women worry and fuss, almost constantly, about things like their weight, skin tone, and  age.  All girls and women, even those judged to be classically beautiful, struggle as they try to reach and sustain an impossible perfection. Looking beautiful is unfortunately no guarantee of feeling beautiful. All of these factors and more contribute to possibly one of the most damaging messages of all: “You cannot be loved.”

I was one of those girls. I had that pain; I felt unlovable. But I refuse to keep the cycle going. I’m asking you to help me change lives; perhaps even save them.  I am miles ahead of where I was a few years ago. Admittedly, I still have my share of bad days. However, more often than not, I find myself smiling at my reflection. Why? How? I started to make a concerted effort to believe in and see my own beauty.  It was extremely difficult, and at times it still is, but I did it.

This is for every girl and woman, of every shape, size, ability, skin tone, age, and uniqueness. This is for you–because you are complete and you are beautiful.

Go to:  www.completeandbeautiful.com and share your story today.


Jessica Lax


Alarming health news May 27, 2012

Filed under: ageing,aging,medicine,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 1:55 pm

Studies about diet are always somewhat questionable, an article in the NYTimes says, when they rely on self-reports. Still, the possibility raised by a new report is just scary:

The latest study, published online in the journal Heart, was the largest and most detailed to date on calcium intake and disease, involving more than 24,000 people who were taking part in a large continuing analysis called the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition. The subjects, ages 35 to 64 at the start of the research, were followed for 11 years and questioned about things like their health, their food intake and their supplement use.

In an attempt to rule out or minimize the effects of other factors that contribute to heart disease and could complicate the results, the authors took into account age, physical activity, body mass index, diet, and alcohol and cigarette use …

But looking specifically at supplements presented a more alarming picture. People who got their calcium almost exclusively from supplements were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with those who took no supplements. The researchers speculated that taking calcium in supplement form causes blood levels of the mineral to quickly spike to harmful levels, whereas getting it from food may be less dangerous because the calcium is absorbed in smaller amounts at various points throughout the day.

This is round three on calcium supplements. We’ve also looked at round 1,“no, you almost certainly  don’t need extra calcium, ” and round 2, “yes, you probably do need extra calcium”.



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