Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

‘Somewhere in America’ January 10, 2015

Filed under: beauty,body,class,education,gender,glbt,politics,race,rape,sexual assault — philodaria @ 5:46 am

Via Bustle, a spoken word performance:

“The trio of teenage girls start the poem ominously: ‘The greatest lessons you will ever teach us, you won’t even remember.’ From there, they jump into fairly controversial, dark topics like rape, race, gun control, socioeconomics, and censorship. Emotions rage so hard in the three-and-a-half-minute piece, occasionally you can spot a small vocal crack in the performance, but that just lends more validation to the truth they kept spouting. ‘Somewhere in America,’ ushers in the hard-to-hear stuff,  ‘Women are killed for rejecting dates, but God forbid I bring my girlfriend to prom.’ Another: ‘The preppy kids go thrifting because they think it sounds fun. But we go ‘cause that’s all we’ve got money for.’ “

 

“Is it Child abuse to make a trans child ‘Change’?” January 9, 2015

Filed under: bias,gender,human rights,parenting,psychology — annejjacobson @ 7:50 pm

This is the topic for a NY Times “room for debate.” It is in response to the very sad suicide of Leelah Alcorn, a trans child whose parents loved almost everything about her, her mother said. Just not her being trans; they took her to conversion therapy to try to change her back to a boy named “Joshua” (her name at birth).

There’s a special feature to this NY Times debate. Everyone thinks it is an exceptionally bad idea to try to make a trans child change. This is the first “room for debate” I’ve seen when the other side has had no representation.

 

What can philosophy learn from the climate in economics? January 7, 2015

Filed under: academia,bias,gender,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 6:06 pm

The journal Quartz recently published the article, “How big is the sexism problem in economics? This article’s co-author is anonymous because of it”.

The article starts off noting:

The Economist’s recent list of the 25 most influential economists did not include a single woman. Many male former central bankers and regional Federal Reserve Bank governors were included on the list, but the Economist gave itself a special rule to exclude active central bankers, which meant that Janet Yellen—arguably the world’s most influential economist—didn’t make the list.

Much of what the article catalogues will be very familiar to women philosophers, and to some other philosophers from underrepresented groups: Seeming constant microagressions and macro ones too. Lower pay, power imbalances, the impermissibility of assertive (=bitchy) behavior for women, having a family, a harder time getting outside offers, and so on.

The article raises another issue which is starting to receive a lot of attention in philosophy: the diversity of methods and content:

One final step that would make economics less forbidding for women is for each economist to become open to a wider range of scientific approaches and topics. Statistically, men and women are not drawn to the same fields within economics. And even within a field, women are drawn to a different balance between immediate real-world relevance and theoretical elegance. It is natural for each economist (and for each academic in general) to construct a narrative for why his or her approach to economics is the best. But since men in senior ranks in economics are more numerous than women, the narratives that men construct for why their individual approaches to economics are better usually win out in hiring and promotion decisions over the narratives that women construct for why their individual approaches are better.

Gosh, sounds like what a lot of us call home.

h/t justin weinberg

 

Women’s abilities in Math: a surprising conservative viewpoint

Filed under: academia,achieving equality,bias,gender — annejjacobson @ 5:18 pm

The authors on the paper from which the quote below comes include Ceci and Williams, with Ceci the corresponding author. Readers may be aware of complaints on this blog about their research, which tends to claim, for example, that there is no discrimination against women in STEM fields. Conservative columnists love them. Their following assessment, which in effect summarizes theses we’ve arrived at over the last 7 and a half years after considerable attention to the literature and help from readers, is happily surprising:

The results of our myriad analyses reveal that early sex differences in spatial and mathematical reasoning need not stem from biological bases, that the gap between average female and male math ability is narrowing (suggesting strong environmental influences), and that sex differences in math ability at the right tail show variation over time and across nationalities, ethnicities, and other factors, indicating that the ratio of males to females at the right tail can and does change. We find that gender differences in attitudes toward and expectations about math careers and ability (controlling for actual ability) are evident by kindergarten and increase thereafter, leading to lower female propensities to major in math-intensive subjects in college but higher female propensities to major in non-math-intensive sciences…

 

Awesome LEGO Set Design December 27, 2014

Filed under: gender,women in academia — noetika @ 8:38 pm

Alatariel (who designed this female scientist mini LEGO set) has another project up for review; Science Adventures, which features two female and one male scientists. If the set gets 10,000 votes LEGO will consider producing it (as they did the previous set). Voting requires setting up a LEGO ID, but it’s quick and easy to do!

(Thanks R!)

Science Adventures LEGO set

 

What I’m thankful for December 26, 2014

It’s been a tough year for the profession in a lot of ways. Lawsuits, lawsuits, and more lawsuits. Public scandals. Fighting over public scandals. Other scandals not public. Online harassment, bullying, and prejudice manifest. One could easily begin to feel despair. I know there are times when I have–and I know there are others who are grappling with how these issues have affected them, and the painful personal and professional costs that have been imposed on them as a result. In the hopes of spreading a bit of cheer amidst the less sanguine, I wanted to take a moment to say a bit about what I’m thankful for (this is not a complete list, of course, just the first few things that came to mind).

I am thankful for those of you who have courageously worked to make the discipline a more welcoming and inclusive place. Whether it’s been through addressing inequity, discrimination, harassment, or assault, working to create a culture where these things are less acceptable, being willing to listen to the voices of those who have been marginalized and oppressed, standing up for yourself, or providing support to others who have been unjustly harmed on account of their social identity.

I am thankful for those of you who are deepening your own understanding of the complexity of disciplinary boundaries and the ways in which they are sometimes used for exclusionary purposes, or pushing those boundaries with your own work.

I am thankful for the exciting and brilliant work that’s being done in feminist philosophy, critical race theory, and philosophy of disability. It’s been a joy to read, and though it is not this work that first spurred my love of philosophy it is the work that reminds me of it, and gives me the greatest hope for our future as a discipline.

I am thankful for my fellow bloggers here at Feminist Philosophers. You have been an inspiration to me.

What are you thankful for?

(Note: Comments in the spirit of this post welcome–i.e., spreading a bit of cheer–comments in another spirit are not, but the internet is a big place and I am sure you can find another platform to host other discussions)

 

Pseudonyms December 25, 2014

Filed under: gender,gender inequality,internet — philodaria @ 12:06 am

Many of us here at Feminist Philosophers blog under pseudonyms. One of my fellow pseudonymous Feminist Philosophers bloggers was outed today, by being named as the author of a particular post, on another philosophy blog. I just wanted to take a moment to say a few words about why I write under a pseudonym for those who might not understand why the privacy afforded by doing so ought to be respected.

Not very long before I was invited to become a blogger here, I had something I wrote under my own name published online (not here) that related to women’s rights. My contact information is available on my department’s website. Naturally, then, in response, I received several emails from people who had read it. Some of them were kind. Some of them were praising. Some of them respectfully expressed disagreement. Some of them just called me names. Some of them said they hoped I would be raped. Some of them said they hoped that I would die. Some of them I interpreted as threats. That wasn’t the first (or  last) time I published something on the internet under my own name, and it wasn’t the first (or last) time I received those kinds of emails in response. It was, however, what I thought about when I decided what name I wanted to blog under here.

I’m not alone. In the words of Amanda Hess, “None of this makes me exceptional. It just makes me a woman with an Internet connection.” She details some of her own experiences in “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet.” If you haven’t read it yet, and especially if you don’t understand why some of us prefer, justifiably, to be pseudonymous and ask that our privacy be respected, I recommend reading it in full.

The examples are too numerous to recount, but like any good journalist, I keep a running file documenting the most deranged cases. There was the local cable viewer who hunted down my email address after a television appearance to tell me I was “the ugliest woman he had ever seen.” And the group of visitors to a “men’s rights” site who pored over photographs of me and a prominent feminist activist, then discussed how they’d “spend the night with” us. (“Put em both in a gimp mask and tied to each other 69 so the bitches can’t talk or move and go round the world, any old port in a storm, any old hole,” one decided.) And the anonymous commenter who weighed in on one of my articles: “Amanda, I’ll fucking rape you. How does that feel?”

Some people who disagree with posts at Feminist Philosophers are kind, respectful, reasonable people (and even though I think it’s true that this extends beyond the circle of bloggers here, I’d say this even if I didn’t, as we often disagree with one another).  But some people are less kind, respectful, and reasonable, and I prefer to avoid misogynistic harassment where I can. Of course, I would prefer we lived in a world where none of this was a concern. But we don’t. So I would ask that everyone please be considerate about revealing the identities of those who are pseudonymous.

(And to those who celebrate, Merry Christmas!)

 

Presidential rejection of toy gendering December 24, 2014

Filed under: gender,gendered products — jennysaul @ 9:12 pm

Merry Christmas!

In a video making the rounds this week, the president joins First Lady Michelle Obama to present gifts to the Marine’s Toys for Tots program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. When it’s time to sort the toys into “boy” boxes and “girl” boxes, President Obama goes against the grain.

“You know what? I just want to make sure some girls play some ball,” he says as he places a basketball in the girls bin.

A few moments later, “T-ball? Girls like T-ball.” And into the girls bin goes the Little Tikes set.

At one point Obama appears to catch flak from the crowd of onlookers for placing a toy tool kit in the girls bin.

“Girls don’t like toys?” he replies.

 

Fantastic new directory of philosophers from underrepresented groups! December 18, 2014

Ruth Chang writes:

It is fully searchable and really neat. If you’re a conference organizer looking for philosophers in your city who work on X, you can search the directory and come up with a list of such philosophers from underrepresented groups that fit the bill. If you’re on a hiring committee, and the usual suspects keep coming to mind but you’d like to do a more thorough search, you can pull up the directory and find all philosophers in the directory who work in a general AOS or even on a specific research topic. If you’re an editor looking for a list of possible candidates to invite to contribute to a volume or to referee a paper, the UPDirectory can help you.

This sounds like a really wonderful tool. Go check it out!

 

RIP: “best books of YYYY” lists based on the idea that women’s books appealed only to women. December 5, 2014

Filed under: achieving equality,bias,gender — annejjacobson @ 8:53 pm

This blog has run for about 7 and a half years; I joined 3 or 4 months after it started. During those years I have counted the number of women in all sorts of lists. Seven years ago it was pretty depressing. This went for conferences, book authors’ list, lists of directors of plays and movies, and so on and so forth for a seemingly endless number of items. I remember vividly an at least very feminist friendly commentator suggesting that maybe women did not have the big ideas for world-class fiction. And though it would seem very wrong to say all those lists were drawn up to inculcate the sense of women as outsiders in cultural production, that certainly was their impact on many.

That, thank goodness, is changing. I’ve been informally counting the number of women in the “best of 2014″ lists that are coming out. Women easily come out at well beyond the earlier 0% to 20%. One of the most enjoyable signs of this is to be found in the following remarks in the NY Times:

In nonfiction, it was a year for young women writers to expand the possibilities of nonfiction: Leslie Jamison’s searching personal essays in “The Empathy Exams”; Olivia Laing’s group portrait of alcoholic writers mixed with memoir in “The Trip to Echo Spring”; Eula Biss’s “On Immunity,” a literary investigation into the anxieties surrounding vaccination; Kerry Howley’s “Thrown,” a tale of mixed martial arts fighters that is mostly true, probably.

The fiction list has its share of veterans — Lorrie Moore, David Mitchell, Haruki Murakami, Marilynne Robinson — but it also has a remarkable number of debut books: 10. Smith Henderson’s “Fourth of July Creek,” about a social worker’s quest to help a boy in off-the-grid Montana, and Yelena Akhtiorskaya’s “Panic in a Suitcase,” the comic tale of a Ukrainian family in Brooklyn, are joined by work from first-timers Boris Fishman, Kathleen Founds, Bret Anthony Johnston, Phil Klay, Eimear McBride, Celeste Ng, Matthew Thomas and Nell Zink.

 

 
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