Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Masculinity and struggles with body image August 25, 2015

Filed under: appearance,body,masculinity — noetika @ 6:57 pm

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.


How not to address sexual harassment August 19, 2015

Filed under: appearance,gender,gender inequality,politics,sexual harassment — noetika @ 1:11 am

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.


France considers BMI restrictions for runway models April 10, 2015

Filed under: appearance,beauty,gender,health — noetika @ 5:23 am

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.


Dean Adam Scales tackles sexist student evaluations January 29, 2015

Filed under: appearance,bias,teaching — Jender @ 9:17 pm


The school in question is Rutgers Law – Camden, and Vice Dean Adam F. Scales is the man who took his students to task for their chauvinist commentary. He begins his email by mentioning that throughout his years of teaching, his look ranged from “Impoverished Graduate Student” to “British Diplomat,” but noted that no one would ever have known that just by reading his student evaluations for one reason, and one reason only — he’s a man. Scales then gallantly continues his onslaught against sexism:

It has come to my attention that a student submitted an evaluation that explored, in some detail, the fashion stylings of one of your professors. It will surprise no one possessing the slightest familiarity with student evaluations that this professor is a woman. Women are frequently targets of evaluative commentary that, in addition to being wildly inappropriate and adolescent, is almost never directed at men. Believe me, I am about the last person on this faculty for whom the “sexism” label falls readily to hand, but after a lifetime of hearing these stories, I know it when I see it. Anyone who doubts this would find it instructive to stop by and ask any one of our female professors about this and similar dynamics.


Examples of implicit racial bias at work January 4, 2015

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.


Liquor which has been poured over the breasts of a model November 8, 2014

Filed under: appearance,beauty,objectification — Jender @ 3:44 pm

“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)”.


Elisabeth Camp on Pink November 5, 2014

Filed under: appearance,gender,parenting — Jender @ 6:23 pm



Weight discrimination is costly for women October 31, 2014

Filed under: appearance,gender,gender inequality,gender stereotypes — philodaria @ 8:35 pm

From the Guardian:

Being thin, it seems, is an unspoken requirement if you’re after a fatter paycheck. And the thinner you are, the better you fare, financially speaking. If you are deemed to be heavy, on the other hand, you suffer, as a 2011 study made clear. Heavy women earned $9,000 less than their average-weight counterparts; very heavy women earned $19,000 less. Very thin women, on the other hand, earned $22,000 more than those who were merely average. And yes, those results are far more visible on women’s earnings than on those of men.

You may also struggle for promotion. It turns out that about half of male CEOs are overweight, but only 5% of female CEOs carry extra pounds. Add an extra layer to that glass ceiling.


“Women in clothes” October 4, 2014

Filed under: appearance,autonomy,empowering women,objectification — annejjacobson @ 8:11 pm

This is a new book of interviews and illustrations that just might take your mind off the philosophy profession (eck!).

[i mean no disrespect to those who have worked and are working hard to air the profession’s problems and to explore solutions.  Rather, I am thinking of someone on facebook who commented that her mother wondered if she was thinking about the PGR too much.  If you notice the non-philosophers among your family and friends are rolling their eyes when you speak, think of reading “Women in Clothes”.]


Here’s part of the amazon buzz:

Poems, interviews, pieces that read like diary or journal entries-all these responses help the editors fulfill their aims: to liberate readers from the idea that women have to fit a certain image or ideal, to show the connection between dress and “habits of mind,” and to offer readers “a new way of interpreting their outsides.” “What are my values?” one woman asks. “What do I want to express?” Those questions inform the multitude of eclectic responses gathered in this delightfully idiosyncratic book Kirkus
About the Author
SHEILA HETI is the author of five books, including the critically acclaimed How Should a Person Be? and an illustrated book for children, We Need a Horse. She frequently collaborates with other artists and writers.
HEIDI JULAVITS is the author of four novels, most recently The Vanishers, winner of the PEN/New England Fiction Award. She is a founding editor of The Believer and a professor at Columbia University.
LEANNE SHAPTON is a Canadian artist, author, and publisher based in New York City. She is the author of Important Artifacts and Swimming Studies, winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography.

Here a conversation with the editors.  http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/02/women-in-clothes-video-book-sheila-heti-heidi-julavits-leanne-shapton/

The kindle edition has color illustration at least for the ipad app.

three of the four amazon reviews make reading it sound like a transformative experience.


NeuroGenderings III September 1, 2014

Below is a list of podcasts from Neurogenderings III, a conference on the brain and gender, held this year in May. The podcasts are available here.

I heard Jordan-Young at a conference in honor of Anne Fasto-Sterling a week before the conference; I do recommend listening to her. And if you think that sex is purely biological then you will find Anne F-S’s keynote very interesting, I hope. The other speakers are very distinguished scholars.

Dr Cynthia KRAUS, Senior lecturer at the Institute of social sciences of the University of Lausanne. Opening words to NeuroGenderings III: the first international Dissensus** Conference, 8 May 2014, University of Lausanne.

Prof. Franciska KRINGS, Vice-Rector of the University of Lausanne. Welcome words to NeuroGenderings III: the first international Dissensus Conference, 8 May 2014, University of Lausanne.


Rebecca JORDAN-YOUNG, Tow Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College. Sex as Chimera: Tools for (Un)Thinking Difference.

Gillian EINSTEIN, Visiting Professor of Neuroscience and Gender Medicine, Linköping University, Associate Professor of Psychology, Dalla Landa School of Public Health, University of Toronto. When Does a Difference Make a Difference? Exemples from Situated Neuroscience.

Georgina RIPPON, Professor of Cognitive NeuroImaging, Aston University. Functional Neuroimaging (FNI) and Sex/Gender Research: of Differences, Dichotomies and Entanglement.

Anne FAUSTO-STERLING, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies, Brown University. How Your Generic Baby Aquires Gender.

**from your dictionary.com: When a large group of people is very unhappy with a certain policy or event, this collective unhappiness is an example of dissensus.



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