Trump’s reboots VS Clinton’s flip-flops

More great points from Susan Bordo.

With Trump, the media inhabits the postmodern world of performance and image, in which the relevant question is rarely “is what he’s saying true or false?” but “how is it playing?” In this world, there is no “real” Trump—or more precisely, few people seem to care to distinguish the “real” from the “image.” There are only a series of performances, “reboots,” “resets,” and “pivots” which will be sustainable or not, will do the trick or not, will win the election or not…

For other politicians—Hillary most notably—“complete reversals” are called “flip-flops.” “Showing” is contrasted to “being transparent” or “authentic.” And a pledge such as the one Donald made in his restyled speech—“I promise you this: I will always tell you the truth”—would be met with laughter, derision, and disbelief. (He then went on to tell several lies—or what, in the criteria applied to Hillary, would be described as lies—including reference to her “illegal email server.”)

Christia Mercer on incarcerated women

The United States contains 5% of the world’s women and 33% of its incarcerated women, more per capita, and in absolute terms, than any other country in the world. Though that’s only 7% of the US prisoner population overall, the statistics don’t reflect the uniquely horrible circumstances many incarcerated women faced before their convictions.

They’re girls who were victimized as children, ignored in substandard schools and unprotected by social services. Girls who dropped out of high school, self-medicated with alcohol or illegal drugs and then made mistakes that got them caught up the in the prison industrial complex.

Read on.

Reductress and sexual assault

The link is NSFW as a casual glance can admit of negative interpretations, and since they’re going for bitter levity, I’m providing this content-warning that the site is not for everyone who might suffer. I enjoyed an appreciative laugh at the headline, “I Anonymously Reported My Rape For the Anonymous Attention.” Thanks to Justin Weinberg at Daily Nous for the alert:

The humor site Reductress has currently dedicated its main page to stories about sexual assault. Some excellent work here.

Deliveroo, Casualization, and Feminist Analysis

After a week of protests, UK workers for the takeaway delivery firm Deliveroo have won the right to continue their old contracts rather than being forced onto a new contract. Whereas the old contract guarantees an hourly rate of £7 plus £1 per delivery, the new contract has no hourly rate and only pays per delivery. The Guardian reports that:

Riders, who believe that the new deal could result in them earning less money and remove the certainty that they got from an hourly rate, cautiously welcomed the deal.

This is certainly good news in terms of worker’s rights, and I also think it is interesting from a feminist perspective. This is not for the obvious reason, however: it’s not the case, as far as I know, that workers in this type of job are disproportionately women (in fact I suspect there are more men than women, though I don’t have figures).

But feminists have had some very relevant insights to offer into the ‘gig economy’ – jobs undertaken on a self-employed, casual basis co-ordinated through technology such as apps – into which category Deliveroo riders fall (another big example is Uber). These jobs are presented as offering ‘flexibility’, which in practice means that workers cannot rely on fixed hours and that risks and costs of such work are placed squarely on the workers rather than on the (often large and extremely profitable) companies that co-ordinate the services. For example, Deliveroo riders supply their own bikes or motorbikes and are not eligible for sick pay or holiday pay. This is a pattern of work that was predicted by  Maria Mies in her 1986 monograph, ‘Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale’:

The new strategy of obscuring women’s productive work for capital is propagated under the slogan of ‘flexibilization of labour’. Not only are women pushed out of the formal sector – as happened some time ago to Indian woman – they are reintegrated into capitalist development in a whole range of informal, non-organized, non-protected production relations, ranging from part-time work, through contract work, to homeworking, to unpaid neighbourhood work. Increasingly, the dual model according to which Third World labour has been segmented is re-introduced into the industrialized countries. Thus, we can say that the way in which Third World women are at present integrated into capitalist development is the model also for the reorganization of labour in the centres of capitalism. (126)

Mies links this shift to ‘the growing fear of an increasing number of marginalized people in the rich countries that they might all become as expendable as women in Third World countries’ (127).

In other words, the model of casualized labour presented under the banner of ‘flexibility’ (which Mies terms ‘houswifization’, since it developed from the idea of a housewife earning a little bit of money alongside her unpaid domestic work) proved so effective as a mode of exploiting Third World women that it has spread to other groups. (Nina Power explores a similar idea in her 2009 book One Dimensional Woman.) Another reminder that the relevance of feminist analysis is not restricted to women.

The Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy is Recruiting Mentors and Mentees

We’d like to draw readers’ attention to the following excellent initiative.

The Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy is recruiting both mentors and mentees for the 2016-2017 job market season.

Women who are interested in serving as mentors should fill out this form before September 1, 2016. Mentors should currently hold a permanent academic post and have had job market experience at the junior level in the past seven years.

Women who are interested in being mentored should fill out this form before September 1, 2016. Preference will be given to job candidates who have not participated in this mentoring program before. Job candidates seeking mentorship who do not identify as women are encouraged to participate in the Cocoon Mentoring Project (

Trans experience in philosophy

Philosophy remains one of the least diverse disciplines in the university (although this is improving; thanks to grassroots and recent APA efforts). As such, the mentoring strategies relevant to gender non-conforming people are, by and large, undervalued and under-cultivated. In some cases, ‘gender parity’ initiatives can work against them. And, given the effects of intersectionality, trans women of color are particularly underrepresented in philosophy (and in academia more generally). As a result, philosophy loses some of the wealth of insight and acumen possible with a more diverse body of thinkers.

Read the rest at the APA Blog!

1752 Group: Ending Sexual Exploitation in Higher Education

An important new group.

The 1752 Group draws on expertise from our backgrounds in organisational change, private and public sector consultancy, facilitation, corporate training, grassroots activism, and research. As a lobby group our activities are intended to begin a national conversation leading to action around staff-to-student sexual misconduct and exploitation in higher education. Sexual misconduct by academic staff, and the sexual harassment of students by staff members is under-reported and under-researched. Higher education institutions in the UK are not doing enough to support complaints, address cultures of abuse, and implement policies and procedures to eliminate the sexual misconduct of students by academic and professional services staff.

For more, go here.

Law Professors on the Preponderance Standard in Title IX cases

A group of more than 90 law professors have signed on to a white paper regarding the preponderance of the evidence standard’s use in campus sexual misconduct cases. I recommend reading the entire document, but here’s a snippet:

The consistency of the 2011 DCL with civil rights legal doctrine means that, had the 2011 DCL indicated tolerance for other standards of proof in sexual violence cases, it would have approved treating sexual violence and harassment victims differently from all other victims of all other discrimination prohibited under our nation’s anti-discrimination civil rights laws, and done so without any justification for that differentiation. Because differential treatment by the government without justification is itself a form of discrimination, OCR making such an exception in a specific set of sexual harassment cases, but in no other civil rights matters under its jurisdiction, would have been incompatible with the agency’s mission to secure gender equality in education.