Feminist philosopher Alia Al-Saji, in the New Statesman. Just one sample:
These misreadings of Muslim dress are more than misperceptions, since rational argument, counter examples and historic analyses fail to correct them. One grows weary of how often the debates around Muslim women’s “veiling” recommence, with a recalcitrance that repeatedly disregards previous arguments against banning the practice.
Philosophers of racism would call this recalcitrance an active ignorance, a disregard that creates or constitutes the racialised perceptions of “others.” What is more, the reinvention and rephrasing of bans on veiling are part of how anti-Muslim racism endures, taking on a different guise and hiding under the mantel of seemingly consensual social norms in a given society.
Whether it be secularism, transparency, integration, security, or ideals of freedom, justice, and gender equality, these normative frameworks are instrumentalised to justify the exclusion of Muslim women, and the differential treatment and domination of Muslims more generally.
Read the whole thing!
Good news for Army servicewomen: The US Army has lifted its ban on women wearing locks, twists, or braids. Under the old rules, not only were locks banned, but, as Capt. Danielle Roach tells the New York Times: “there was constant scrutiny by higher-ups, she said, adding that black women felt as if they were “walking targets” because the regulations were subject to interpretation.”
A recent study provides evidence that:
among similarly qualified female students — those who are physically attractive earn better grades than others. For male students, there is no significant relationship between attractiveness and grades. And the results hold true whether the faculty member is a man or a woman.
The attractiveness gap disappears in online courses. And would presumably do so in an effective anonymous marking regime as well.
There’s a great piece by Tyler Kingkade on dealing with issues of body image as a man in the Huffington Post. I recommend reading in full but here’s just a preview:
About half of all men don’t like having their picture taken or being seen in swimwear, according to an NBC Today Show/AOL Body Image survey from last year. Research from theUniversity of the West of England found a majority of guys felt part of their body wasn’t muscular enough, and more men than women would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body . . . Contemporary masculinity does not permit a man to admit his physique is less than ideal. But if men could be more open about their own insecurities, without fear of violating the unspoken rules of masculinity, we’d do better at accepting our flaws in our bodies. And maybe then we could get closer to doing what Blashill recommended: “acknowledging there are many ways to be healthy.” . . . At 27, I’m able to admit I don’t like my body. But it shouldn’t have taken me years to get to that point. I spent too long feeling like I had a secret, that I was hiding my weight issues, unable to talk about it, because rules of masculinity forbid it.
There’s also a follow up piece here.
Missouri legislature edition (via HuffPo):
“We need a good, modest, conservative dress code for both the males and females,” state Rep. Nick King (R) said in an email to colleagues. “Removing one more distraction will help everyone keep their focus on legislative matters.”
The state legislature began working on its new intern program policies after Missouri House Speaker John Diehl (R) resigned in May, when the Kansas City Star revealed he sent sexually suggestive text messages to a 19-year-old intern.
Two months later, Sen. Paul LeVota (D) resigned after two interns accused him of sexual harassment. In a statement, he denied any wrongdoing.
But the problem appears to be more widespread. Dozens of women have said they were sexually harassed while working at the state capitol. In that report, a former state senator called the culture in Jefferson City “very anything goes.”
On Monday, state Rep. Kevin Engler (R) sent out a list of proposed changes for the program to his fellow House members. The Kansas City Star reported that that’s when several legislators, initiated by state Rep. Bill Kidd (R), responded by suggesting Engler should add an intern dress code to the list.
Via the facebook page for the Center for Values and Social Policy at the University of Colorado, a story from the Wall Street Journal:
French lawmakers have voted in favor of a measure that would ban excessively thin fashion models from the runway and potentially fine their employers in a move that prompted resistance in the modeling industry.
The country’s National Assembly on Friday approved an amendment that would forbid anyone under a certain level of body mass index, or BMI, from working as a runway model . . .
“The law is to protect models who are getting so thin that they’re in danger,” Mr. Véran said in an interview. “It’s also to protect adolescents. This image of so-called ideal beauty augments the risk of eating disorders.”
Doctors say a healthy BMI, which takes into account the weight and height of a person, is between 18.5 and 24.5. Mr. Véran didn’t suggest an appropriate BMI level for models, saying France’s workplace health authority should determine the number.
France’s move, which follows similar measures put in place in Italy and Spain, could ultimately force top haute couture brands to change the preferred profile of ultrathin models as a showcase for their latest clothes.
What do readers think? I haven’t thought much about this — but I do wonder if there would be a better measure than BMI to target the driving concern behind the proposed law.
An article in the NY Times contains important information on research into implicit bias. It also has a number of useful, though upsetting, examples. Here are some of them:
■ When doctors were shown patient histories and asked to make judgments about heart disease, they were much less likely to recommend cardiac catheterization (a helpful procedure) to black patients — even when their medical files were statistically identical to those of white patients.
■ When whites and blacks were sent to bargain for a used car, blacks were offered initial prices roughly $700 higher, and they received far smaller concessions.
■ Several studies found that sending emails with stereotypically black names in response to apartment-rental ads on Craigslist elicited fewer responses than sending ones with white names. A regularly repeated study by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development sent African-Americans and whites to look at apartments and found that African-Americans were shown fewer apartments to rent and houses for sale.
■ White state legislators were found to be less likely to respond to constituents with African-American names. This was true of legislators in both political parties.
■ Emails sent to faculty members at universities, asking to talk about research opportunities, were more likely to get a reply if a stereotypically white name was used.
■ Even eBay auctions were not immune. When iPods were auctioned on eBay, researchers randomly varied the skin color on the hand holding the iPod. A white hand holding the iPod received 21 percent more offers than a black hand.
■ The criminal justice system — the focus of current debates — is harder to examine this way. One study, though, found a clever method. The pools of people from which jurors are chosen are effectively random. Analyzing this natural experiment revealed that an all-white jury was 16 percentage points more likely to convict a black defendant than a white one, but when a jury had one black member, it convicted both at the same rate.
A number of these can also be used as examples of white privilege.
“Every drop of G.Spirits has been poured over the breasts of a Top Model and is then directly bottled into a specific and personalized glass bottle. “.
As reader N notes, “Clearly, a lot of thought went into the project: for vodka, the poured-over object is a white blonde; [for whiskey] “we decided to go with a darker and warmer type of woman, because it perfectly mirrors the soul of our single-malt”, and “we chose Amina as our model-type because she really has the Mediterranean temperament, just like our rum”
Their very first FAQ is the “official statement to misogyny reproach”:
In the past, we have received various responses in regards to our product and the possible association with discrimination against women. By no means do we support any negative derogatory of women nor any statements supporting the devalue of women and their roles. We disagree with that and would like to clarify. We respect women and love their eroticism through their beauty which is our main drive for our business. We also repudiate from any kind of discrimination regarding gender, background or sexual orientation. On the contrary, we invite all to experience our passion with us. Perhaps we represent a more open-minded and liberal philosophy of sexuality than most other conservative groups. But we stand by this view and endorse what we believe in. We hope you will too.
I’ll leave the feminist critique as an exercise for the reader. I will, however, note that there’s no way I’d pay 139 pounds for a whisky described only as “a unique, 12year old single malt whisky from Scotland (cask strength)”.