Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

“Benefit sanctions helped me write my CV”, and other despicable lies August 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 1:18 pm

Benefit sanctions – a morally repugnant and empirically flawed system, where claimants have their benefits stopped by jobcentre staff, who are themselves under pressure to meet sanctions targets.

In just another twist to the surreal awfulness, Welfare Weekly has found out that a leaflet produced by the Department for Work and Pensions about the system, contained fictional profiles supposedly about claimants who’d had a positive experience with sanctions. Yes, that’s right. They included profiles that were entirely made up. One profile was of ‘Sarah’, who was really glad her benefits had been stopped because it helped her to rewrite her CV (because having no money to buy food is really good at focusing the mind):

As one twitter user nicely put it:


Dialogues on Disability – Anne (“Doc”) Waters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Monkey @ 11:56 am

The latest installment in Shelley Tremain’s excellent series of interviews with disabled philosophers is out today. This time, she interviews Anne (“Doc”) Waters about disability, indigenous/First Nations philosophy, transforming academia and other things:

Anne has lived with anxiety and depression for most of her life and is disabled in other ways. From her mother, she learned that privilege is something to be respected, never turned down directly, but rather transferred around, to be regenerated among less privileged people. She thinks that this is the most important lesson that she has learned about privilege and regards it as her own Native American principle of fairness. Her work also addresses the development in philosophy of transformative non-binary ontologies. She currently lives in her mother’s hometown of many generations, in the swamps of the Gulf of Mexico at the Tamiami Trail near the Withlacoochee River, where she spends much of her time hiking, writing poetry, and doing horticulture with her husband.

Read more here.


How not to address sexual harassment

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.


Papineau v. Manne on Twitter August 18, 2015

Filed under: academia,gender,women in philosophy — annejjacobson @ 9:24 pm

The snapshot below of the twitter exchange is pretty self explanatory. It might help to know that Papineau is referring to a letter from Manne that the TLS printed, with unfortunately one sentence ommitted that’s unfortunate because the ommitted sentence, as I underrstood it, went into some specifics about how philosophical combat works against women. This missing material is brought up in the exchange.

Part of Manne letter is copied here.

There was quite a bit more to the twitter exchange. I’m putting it up because it vivdly illustrates how a senior philosopher with a great deal of experience of academia, can be quite clueless about a powerful negative feature women face.

And I’d love to hear what you all think.

Unfortunately the links on the snapshot don’t work.



phlosophical babies – a new record?

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 1:47 pm

From the Onion:


“This shatters all previous records,” University of Chicago psychologist Douglas McAllister said Monday. “In all of documented medical history, there is no case of a newborn taking less than four months to develop the mental faculties required to grasp the full extent of this existential nightmare we call life on earth.”

“Considering he already comprehends harsh realities that many people spend their entire fleeting, shallow existences attempting to deny, [6 day old] Baby Nathan is quite the little miracle!” he added.

Though he has not yet developed the capacity for speech, extensive cognitive testing has definitively shown that the shockingly perceptive 6-day-old fully understands and accepts that human beings cannot be trusted, that they remain far too ignorant for their opinions to be reliable, that a lack of self-awareness about their own destructive tendencies pervades the species as a whole, and that most are too ineffectual to successfully pursue even the shallow self-interested agendas that rule their lives.

When giving my 3 day old son a bath in a big training room at the Radcliffe Maternity hospital, I wasn’t even sure he had distinguished himself from the other babies.


Today-ish in the News (multiple links)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stacey Goguen @ 1:20 am

“Stephen Colbert Shares Why He Thinks Women Should Be in Charge of Everything” (Glamour Magazine, Aug 15)

“I’m going to do my best to create a Late Show that not only appeals to women but also celebrates their voices. These days TV would have you believe that being a woman means sensually eating yogurt, looking for ways to feel confident on heavy days, and hunting for houses. But I’m going to make a show that truly respects women, because I know that there’s more than one way to be one.”

“I believe gender is a spectrum, and I fall somewhere between Channing Tatum and Winnie the Pooh.”

“Teenage Girls Are Playing Video Games. You Just Might Not Hear Them.” (Kotaku, Aug 17)

“Only 28 percent of the girls who play video games online use voice chat to talk to other players. (More than 70 percent of the teenage boys who play online talk—a lot, as I can attest after years of ethnographic study.)”

“Racial Wealth Gap Persists Despite Degree, Study Says” (New York Times, Aug 16)

“Economists emphasize that college-educated blacks and Hispanics over all earn significantly more and are in a better position to accumulate wealth than blacks and Hispanics who do not get degrees. […] But while these college grads had more assets, they suffered disproportionately during periods of financial trouble.

“From 1992 to 2013, the median net worth of blacks who finished college dropped nearly 56 percent (adjusted for inflation). By comparison, the median net worth of whites with college degrees rose about 86 percent over the same period, which included three recessions — including the severe downturn of 2007 through 2009, with its devastating effect on home prices in many parts of the country. Asian graduates did even better, gaining nearly 90 percent.”

“Here’s What Happened When Janelle Monáe Brought Up #BlackLivesMatter On the Today Show” (Arts.Mic, Aug 16)

“During a performance on Friday’s episode of NBC’s Today show, black singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe was apparently cut off after she began to dedicate a song to victims of police brutality.”

“‘I Was Almost Another Dead Black Male'” (StoryCorp, featured on The Atlantic, July 23) [Video Auto Plays]

“Alex Landau, who is African American, was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn’t matter. That all changed at 19, when he was pulled over by the Denver police for making an illegal left turn. In this StoryCorps animation, Traffic Stop, Landau recalls how police officers pulled him out of the car, began to hit him in the face, and threatened to shoot him. […] [Landau] and his mother, Patsy, remember that night and how it changed them both forever. “For me it was the point of awakening to how the rest of the world is going to look at you,” Landau says. “I was just another black face in the streets.””

“Traffic Stop will make its national broadcast premiere on PBS’s documentary series POV alongside Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie), a film by Mikaela Shwer, on September 21, 2015.”


Yup, definitely being taken over by women August 16, 2015

Over the last year, we have heard a lot about the feminist/women’s (there are different versions) takeover of philosophy. That line of thought is nicely put in perspective by the various other similar claims discussed here.

The idea of a gender perception gap is borne out by studies in other areas. In one study on gender parity in the workforce, sent my way by colleague Flavia Dzodan, it was found that men “consistently perceive more gender parity” in their workplaces than women do. For example, when asked whether their workplaces recruited the same number of men and women, 72 percent of male managers answered “yes.” Only 42 percent of female managers agreed. And, while there’s a persistent stereotype that women are the more talkative gender, women actually tend to talk less than men in classroom discussions, professional contexts and even romantic relationships; one study found that a mixed-gender group needed to be between 60 and 80 percent female before women and men occupied equal time in the conversation. However, the stereotype would seem to have its roots in that same perception gap: “[In] seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that [women] are getting more than their fair share.”

How do you give men the impression of a female majority? Show them a female minority, and let that minority do some talking. This is how 15 minutes of Fey and Poehler becomes three hours of non-stop “estrogen,” how a Congress that’s less than 19 percent female becomes a “feminized” and male-intolerant political environment, and how one viable female Presidential candidate becomes an unstoppable, man-squashing Godzilla. Men tend to perceive equality when women are vastly outnumbered and underrepresented; it follows that, as we approach actual parity, men (and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, for some reason) will increasingly believe that we are entering an era of female domination.

(Thanks, L!)


Communicating demographics in teaching

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennysaul @ 12:34 pm

[A post by Jenny Saul and Katharine Jenkins]

A reader writes:

“As I often do, I am going to be teaching an introductory level class with lots of work by authors who identify as members of groups who are underrepresented in philosophy. While students are very likely to notice the name of some and thus assume their belonging to such groups because of the name, others of these authors are underrepresented for reasons that are not visible and some might be visible but are not pictured on the dust-jacket. I am wondering how others mention/bring up and to what extent they highlight the identities/group membership of the authors in class and how they do so. It is not at all unusual, where I teach, that students will assume hetero, white, male authorship (regularly referring to authors as “he” throughout, unless corrected… and sometimes even when corrected). I am wondering if this might be something that could be brought up for discussion on Feminist Philosophers.”

This is a good question. It’s something that we are writing about, in a paper we’ve been working on. Our view is that this problem can only be solved by explicitly introducing the idea that philosophy is problematically white, male, straight, non-disabled and so on, and explaining that in order to help change this, you will be informing them when philosophers you are studying are members of under-represented groups. Then, you just give them whatever information about the philosopher you want them to have when you reach that point on the course. (Naturally, it is important only to share information that you are absolutely confident is in the public domain.)

We think that trying to draw students’ attention to this information via indirect methods such as including pictures in course slides or other materials will not only be difficult to carry out with relation to non-visible identities, but may actually backfire. If students notice that you are publicizing this information, they may well be inclined to wonder why you are doing so. Given background circumstances of sexism, racism, heterosexism, and so on, the motives they attribute are likely to be problematic ones. For example, they may think that you are choosing to tell them that a certain author is Black because you find it surprising (hence comment-worthy) that a Black person is successful in philosophy, or because you are trying to establish your own non-racist credentials, or more generally to show that we live in a post-racial era. By stating your motive explicitly, you block these problematic assumptions.

Bringing up the problems of racism, sexism and so on in philosophy could also provide a good opportunity for engaging students on these topics and pointing them towards further useful resources.

What do others think?


Another Title IX lawsuit against Northwestern is proceeding August 15, 2015

Filed under: academia,gender inequality,law,sexual harassment — noetika @ 11:03 pm

This time, from a student in the School of Medicine.

A Feinberg School of Medicine student is suing Northwestern under Title IX saying the school responded with “deliberate indifference” after he reported he was sexually harassed by a professor.

A federal judge ruled last week that the student can move forward with his Title IX lawsuit against the University. His lawyer confirmed Friday that he will do so.

Judge Sara L. Ellis ruled Aug. 6 that the medical student can make his case that the University retaliated against him and did not respond as rapidly or as strongly to his grievances as it has to similar complaints filed by female students. Ellis dismissed the student’s allegation that the University responded inadequately to his sexual harassment complaint.

The student says a Feinberg microbiology and pathology professor sexually harassed him and later retaliated against him after the student rejected his advances by assigning him poor grades, opposing his application to a fellowship and directing others to discontinue a promised scholarship, according to the suit.


Kiran Gandhi: Menstrual blood and the London Marathon

Filed under: academia,gender,politics — annejjacobson @ 5:58 pm


The picture to the left is of Kiran Gandhi, a drummer for M.I.A., who ran the recent London Marathon after having started her period. She did not use a tampon. One result is the stain between her legs. Another is a lot of outrage and accusations. Her account of her motives is on her blog.

There are a lot of issues that surround menstruation. One set of issues she wants addressed more widely is the shame many women feel about menstruating. Another is the fact that many women in the world do not have access to products that can in some way contain the blood. She also thought she would be compromising her health choices in order to make people more comfortable, which doesn’t sound like a great idea.

So what do you think? For my own sake I have the uneasy feeling as I put this post up that the sky might come crashing down on my head.



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