Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Is Ali khamenei right? March 12, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 6:06 pm

Have we hit a new low in the disregard for the President’s authority?  Is the disregard fueled by racism?  Is that the moral decay from within that Khamenei chargers the US has?

From today’s NYTimes:  TEHRAN — Iran’s highest leader issued a sharp response Thursday to a letter to the country’s leadership by Republican lawmakers, deriding it as an indication that Washington is “disintegrating” from within.

<blockquote> Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said the letter warning that any nuclear deal could be scrapped by a new president was “a sign of a decline in political ethics and the destruction of the American establishment from within.” The statement was posted on his website.

Mr. Khamenei, who will have the final say in Iran over a nuclear deal, characterized the open letter written by 47 Republican senators on Monday as a reflection of Washington’s decadence.<<

“All countries, according to the international norms, remain faithful to their commitments even after their governments change, but the American senators are officially announcing that at the end of the term of their current government, their commitments will be considered null and void,” Mr. Khamenei wrote. He said the letter was a “sign of declining political ethics.”

Sent from my imperfect iPhone

 

Maternity Policy As Talent Retention Strategy

Filed under: Uncategorized — phrynefisher @ 4:49 pm
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According to this Washington Post article, Vodafone has announced a new policy for working mothers: 16 weeks paid maternity leave, then an option to work 30 hours a week on their full-time salary for the six months following their return.

From what is said in the article, it appears that Vodafone is adopting the policy to address issues of talent retention (as opposed to thinking of it in terms of compliance with legal obligations).

 

Progressive Rhetoric For Regressive Ends (2)

Filed under: Canada,intersectionality,politics — lanternerouge @ 10:14 am
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An earlier post reviewed an example of progressive rhetoric in the service of non-progressive ends. Perhaps the most striking cases of this strategy are those in which the rhetoric of women’s rights is invoked to justify precisely actions taken against women themselves. In 2011 (with Jason Kenney as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), Canada banned the wearing of the niqab during the citizenship oath-swearing ceremony. (“Frankly, I found it bizarre that the rules allowed people to take the oath with a veil on,” Kenney explained.) When a federal court overturned that law last month, ruling that new Canadian Zunera Ishaq had the right to wear her otherwise perfectly legal religious garments during her swearing-in, the Prime Minister of Canada himself weighed in to impugn her choice. “That is not the way we do things,” Stephen Harper pronounced.

In Harper’s case the argument was initially couched in terms of an appeal to fear of secretive foreigners: “This is a society that is transparent, open and where people are equal, and I think we find that offensive. I believe, and I think most Canadians believe that it is — it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family.” But the appeal to equality surfaced in there too, and sure enough, now even Harper’s What are you hiding? remarks are being spun as defenses of gender equality.

The optics of a group of powerful men, lawmakers and representatives, telling a woman how she may dress for a public event are already awful. They take on a jaw-slackening character when those men go on to preen for having burnished their feminist credentials so wonderfully. How could legislation forcing women of some religions or ethnicities to partially disrobe in public ceremonies, against their explicit wishes, be depicted as a blow struck for women’s rights? One answer is that respect for women’s choices has practically nothing to do with the rationale for such a law. A likelier aim is just to blow the dogwhistles harder, while hoping to confound those critics sensitive to the genuinely fraught intersectionality of practices for which considerations of culture, religion, gender, and individual choice may pull in different directions.

This is not mere conjecture; the Conservative government is convicted by its own supporting rhetoric. Current Immigration Minister Chris Alexander recently tweeted in response to the Zunera Ishaq case that the hijab – a headscarf not typically understood as covering the face – also ought not be permitted during oath-taking. Remarks like these indicate that the purpose of such a law and such rhetoric is based neither on “transparency” nor on equality, but on simple negativity towards anything identifiably Islamic. The citizenship oath becomes a ritual of compulsory renunciation and humiliation for people of different languages, cultures, religions and practices. In the way of dogwhistles more generally, dropped hints like Alexander’s are kept rare enough to avoid alienating somewhat moderate voters, but are nevertheless fodder to energize the more extremist base without whose votes, money and voluntarism the Party would be disadvantaged. Again the appeal to gender equality functions as a preemptive defense against criticisms of such calculated religious and ethnic bigotry.

 

Progressive Rhetoric For Regressive Ends (1)

Filed under: Canada,intersectionality,politics — lanternerouge @ 9:34 am
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International Women’s Day 2015 saw many professions of support for women’s rights from politicians worldwide. One of them was a tweet from Canadian politician Jason Kenney, a long-time Conservative MP, Cabinet fixture and new Defense Minister for Canada. “On #IWD2015,” wrote Kenney, “thank-you to the @CanadianForces for joining the fight against #ISIL’s campaign to enslave women & girls.” Accompanying this message was a collection of three photos: two showing women in niqabs wearing chains, and one showing a smiling middle-aged bearded man with his arm around a crying young girl – the implication plainly being one of child-marriage.

The evidence is pretty compelling that the Islamic State treats women with horrifying brutality, though Kenney has a relationship with the truth that left it no great surprise when all the images in his tweet were fake or misinformed at more than one level. The trope of particular interest in his tweet, however, is the use of progressive rhetoric in the service of non-progressive ends. In this case those ends include some combination of self-congratulation for a politically divisive military campaign launched by Kenney’s government, and anti-Islamic pandering that excites a range of emotional reactions to terrorism, Islam, and foreigners, in the run-up to a Canadian federal election.

The political strategy is reasonably clear. The use of cherry-picked examples, dogwhistles and selective emphasis to smear a target group invites charges of bigotry. These charges might be forestalled, though, if one can turn the focus to misogynistic or patriarchal aspects among (sub-groups of) the targeted population. Some people who would otherwise push back against both misogyny and racist or religious bigotry are horrified by media reports of the treatment of women under the Islamic State, and this may leave them conflicted or less motivated to criticize the anti-Islamism being played for votes here. Even if critics are not deflected, progressive noises in defense of this same-old-pandering will at least confound listless mainstream media analysis that relies on different sides to distinguish themselves through the language they choose. And it will inoculate one’s voting base against the force of the criticisms. What do you mean, the Conservatives have dismantled or slashed funding to all manner of women’s programs, and refuse even to discuss a formal inquiry into the epidemic of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada? Why, they’re the ones fighting the real misogynists in this world!

Some of the most effective propaganda and media management currently on display in the Canadian context, and no doubt more widely, aims at colonizing the language of progressive causes, or at least destroying its power to differentiate between political actors.

 

Questions about Title IX processes and conflicts of interest raised at Brown

Filed under: sexual assault — noetika @ 3:58 am

From a letter written by undergraduate representatives to Brown University’s Task Force on Sexual Assault:

Through our work on the task force, we have seen first hand the difficulties in creating change in a bureaucratic system and understand that this process can be lengthy and frustrating. But the issues that the cases discussed over the past week have raised are not mere procedural hiccups. They are clear examples of the impact of bias, power and influence on this process. We strongly believe that policies protecting students who have experienced sexual violence must be implemented consistently and fairly, regardless of the power dynamics at play.

From our personal experiences of the process, we know that hearings are held when it has been determined that an incident could plausibly have occurred. As The Herald outlined in a March 4 article, Brown dropped chargesagainst the student accused of serving a drink with GHB. This alleged perpetrator has a father who sits on the Corporation’s Board of Trustees. The decision surprised both women involved, with one writing to an administrator that she thought the University would hold a hearing given the witness testimony provided.

This was our understanding of the hearing process, and we find it highly unusual that these women were not even allowed to present their case in a hearing. The University decided that the testimony of these survivors was not credible enough to be heard . . . 

It is imperative that University policies and procedures are carried out equitably and consistently, regardless of connections, power, money or other extenuating factors. Definitions of consent need to be clear and consistent in policy and implementation and incorporate an understanding of the ways that date-rape drugs impact an individual’s ability to consent.

In order to regain the trust of the student body, the University needs to take seriously its obligation to protect all students, create a safe learning environment and take a stronger stance against external influence on the adjudication and sanctioning processes for sexual violence. It is our hope that the task force’s substantial efforts will not be undermined by unfair and inconsistent implementation.

And more from the Huffington Post:

Brown University is already under federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Education into how it handles sexual violence on campus. Both men and women have come forward to accuse the school in Providence, Rhode Island, of failing to adequately punish offenders. And now, the messy handling of the drugging investigation has left alleged victims angry they were denied a hearing, while the fraternity is accusing the school of unjustly punishing it . . .

The women reported the alleged drugging and assault to the university on Oct. 18. Brown opened an investigation, collecting hair and urine samples from the women to be sent to two labs to be tested for date rape drugs, such as gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). Carlson Company was contracted to conduct a hair test on the female student with the allergies, and Lifespan Laboratories to conduct a urine analysis on her friend who had reported being sexually assaulted. By the end of November, both tests had come back concluding GHB was present in the women, according to toxicology reports reviewed by The Huffington Post.

But the results were put in doubt in December after the student accused of drugging the women had his own expert review the toxicology reports, according to university documents and emails. That student obtained a court injunction on the hearing that month; the school then dropped the charges in February, school records show.

At issue, multiple experts who reviewed the toxicology reports questioned whether Brown had received tests that showed endogenous, or naturally occurring, levels of GHB, or exogenous levels, which would suggest a drugging. The toxicologist hired by Brown said the positive results suggested naturally occurring levels, but noted it’s rare to catch evidence of a GHB drugging in these tests.

Upon further review from independent experts, the school decided in February the toxicology results were “inconclusive” because the labs had not followed proper testing protocols. It cut in half the four-year suspension in it had given Phi Psi in January, when it deemed the fraternity had “facilitated” conditions leading to sexual violence.

On Feb. 23, Phi Psi started distributing on campus and to media outlets a statement that raised doubts about the results of one GHB test and said the second came back “conclusively negative.” This language is disputed, but members did not respond to request for comment on the discrepancy.

The women question Brown’s decision to drop conduct charges, since they say the university told them their testimony was credible enough to at least hold a hearing. Other students who have been involved in the student conduct process say hearings are often held based on complainant and witness testimony, and questioned whether the investigation was derailed by a conflict of interest.

 

CFP: Pleasure and Danger: Sexual Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First Century

Filed under: CFP — noetika @ 2:11 am

Call for Papers: Pleasure and Danger: Sexual Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First Century

Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society invites submissions for a special issue titled “Pleasure and Danger:  Sexual Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First Century,” slated for publication in the Autumn 2016 issue. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2015.

At the heart of the feminist project is a persistent concern with thinking through the “powers of desire” (Snitow, Stansell, and Thompson 1983) and expanding the potential for sexual and gender freedom and self-determination at the same time that we combat sadly persistent forms of sexual danger and violence.  Exemplified in the US context by Carole Vance’s landmark collection, Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality, feminist debates over sex, gender, and society have been incendiary.  First published in 1984, as proceedings of the infamous “Scholar and the Feminist” conference at Barnard, which initiated the equally infamous “sex wars,” this volume reproduced intense dialogue while also contributing to a much broader investigation of the politics (and pleasures, and dangers) of sexuality within feminist theory and culture. Articles that threw down gauntlets were subsequently canonized and celebrated.  Much has changed since that explosive conference and book. Even the subtitle – “exploring female sexuality” – would now be more deeply interrogated (biologically female? presumptively heterosexual?) and certainly pluralized.  But however reframed, the paradoxical joining that is “pleasure and danger” remains poignantly relevant.

For this special issue, we invite transdisciplinary and transnational submissions that address questions and debates provoked by the “pleasure and danger” couplet.  Submissions may engage with the historical (how different is our moment from that formative “sex wars” era? have the sex wars moved to new terrain such as trafficking and slut-shaming?); the representational (how does the digital era transform our sexual lives? what does “livestreaming” sexual assault do to/for feminist organizing? what possibilities are there for feminist and queer imagery in an era of prolific porn, commodified otherness, and everyday inclusion?); the structural (how do race, ethnicity, religion, and national cultures enable and constrain sexual freedoms? how do carceral and governance feminisms frame and perhaps contain earlier liberatory impulses?); and/or the intersectional (how do we analyze the mutually constituting relations of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, class, nationality, ability, age, and so on?). There are local and global questions to be asked and strategic arguments to be resolved.  And the very terms are themselves constantly debated (whose pleasure are we speaking of and for?  who is the “we” doing that speaking? who is imagined to be “in danger?” how does “gender” signify differently in that couplet from “sexuality?”).

We particularly encourage analyses from all regions of the globe that address pressing concerns and that do so in a way that is accessible and, well, passionate!  We encourage bold and big thinking that seeks to reckon with the conundrum still signaled by the pleasure/danger frame.  We especially seek submissions that attend to the couplet itself, to the centrality of pleasure/danger within the project of making feminism matter and resonate in ways both intimate and structural, deeply sensual and liberatory, simultaneously championing multiplicities of pleasures and a lasting freedom from violence and abuse.

Manuscripts may be submitted electronically through Signs Editorial Manager system at http://signs.edmgr.com.  Please choose the article type “Pleasure and Danger – Special Issue Article.” Guidelines for submission are available here. This Call for Papers is also available as a PDF. Please email the journal office with any questions.

 

Chinese Feminists: don’t let them disappear! March 11, 2015

Filed under: gender,human rights,politics — annejjacobson @ 8:01 pm

From the NYTimes

BEIJING — China detained at least 10 women’s rights activists over the weekend to forestall a nationwide campaign against sexual harassment on public transportation that was to overlap with International Women’s Day, according to human rights advocates and associates of those detained.

At least five of the detained were still being held on Sunday evening, while the others had been released after being interrogated. All were women.

There is a sign-up link below for feminists all over the world to use to support them and urge the government to release them as soon as possible.

http://goo.gl/forms/v7m4L8tYdB

Please sign up and circulate the link as much as you can. Our goal is to collect support from 1000 feminists’ support from 50 countries within a week.

File Mar 11, 2 07 35 PM

 

Benevolent Sexism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Prof Manners @ 6:17 pm
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A new study reports that:

Men who open doors for women are as guilty of sexism as those who are rude to them… Psychologists found that a friendly or chivalrous attitude can mask chauvinistic and patronizing views because the men see females as weak creatures in need of their protection.

For more, see here.  And for philosophical analysis that anticipates these results, see Linda Bell’s “Gallantry” (1984).

 

Reflections on trying to organise a panel with more women March 10, 2015

Recently, we—Elisa Freschi and Malcolm Keating—set about organizing a panel for the upcoming ATINER panel. We aimed for a panel which would include significant numbers of women, using suggestions from the Gendered Conference Campaign (GCC) published on the Feminist Philosophers website to achieve this goal. Not only is the result an exciting combination of global philosophical interests which can push back against stereotypes of philosophy as a Western activity, its gender ratio can push back against stereotypes of philosophy as a male activity. Our hope is that the more panels and conferences which work to include women, the more women’s names will come to mind as experts in these topics. Further, hopefully younger generations of women will find it easier to find a path in academic philosophy. And finally, including more women who might otherwise be ignored due to implicit bias means better philosophy will be done.

Click here to read their reflections.

 

IAPh in Australia in 2016. See you there!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sam B @ 7:48 pm

Women and Philosophy: History, Values, Knowledge

A conference to be held at Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Melbourne, Australia

7-10 July 2016

Invited speakers: Moira Gatens (Sydney, Australia), Ruth Hagengruber (Paderborn, Germany), Sally Haslanger (MIT, US), Lisa Shapiro (Simon Fraser, Canada)

Founded in 1976, the International Association of Women Philosophers (IAPh) is an organisation committed to promoting discussion, interaction, and cooperation among women in philosophy worldwide.

In honour of the IAPh’s 40th anniversary, this symposium proposes to celebrate women’s diverse historical and contemporary contributions to philosophy, and to highlight the work of female philosophers in all branches of philosophical and feminist inquiry.

We particularly invite papers that reflect on the history of women’s engagement with philosophy and feminism in Europe, the Americas, Australasia, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere, during the past forty years, and back to the earliest periods.

The conference themes of history, values, and knowledge reflect the broad scope of contemporary research on historical women philosophers, on feminist ethics and politics, and on questions of feminist epistemology.

Submissions in other areas of philosophy and feminist theory are also welcome.

The main conference organisers are Karen Green (Melbourne) and Jacqueline Broad (Monash).

To contact us, please email: iaph-symposium@monash.edu

http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/iaph2016/

 

 
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