Friday, October 31, 2014

Good Reads: Feminism, Sexuality, Relationships

You may already have seen the post on HuffPo on which this is based, since it went viral. This is her husband's side of the story. It's about honesty and feelings and love and woundedness, and it is very much worth reading.
  • "My Wife Told Me She Wants To Cheat: Here's How I Feel" (Nige Atkinson, Good Men Project)
I had no idea that it's completely legal to fire people for what they do privately in their sex lives. But apparently it is:
  • "Can You Really Be Fired For Being Kinky? Absolutely." (Jillian Keenan, Slate Outward)
Probably seen this one:
  • "The Problem With That Catcalling Video" (Hanna Rosin, Slate XX
(No, I won't link to the video itself.) But maybe not this one:
  • "What My Wife Taught Me About Street Harrassment" (Damon Young, Good Men Project)
There's other good discussion about that out there, but I forgot to keep the links!
 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ta-Nehisi Coates on White Supremacy and a Life of Struggle

We shouldn't just focus on folks like Frederick Douglass who actually did live to see the end of [slavery]. Many, many more people did not live to see the end of slavery. And yet they resisted and they fought, and they struggled. And so my responsibility, regardless of what my conclusions are, or regardless of what I think is going to happen tomorrow, my responsibility is to resist and is to struggle and is to keep on going. And it doesn’t require, as far as I’m concerned, [me] to believe in ultimate victory. It just requires some amount of loyalty and fealty, frankly, to my ancestors. To people who came before me and struggled.

It would be absolutely just, like, the highest sort of wrong, a moral betrayal, to retreat to a corner and curl up in a fetal position. Even if I believed there was no hope at all. Resistance, in and of itself—struggle, in and of itself—is rewarding. So that really is it. It just—it opened me up to other possibilities, and I think it just made me fuller as a human being.
At The Root.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Women on the Internet, Part 2

Bunch more articles on this sad story.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Two Reflections on PGR from Mitchell Aboulafia

Over at Up@Night:
  • "Leiter Posts Response to Criticism of Rankings—A Response to the Response" (here)
  • "The Dog Ate My (Philosophical Gourmet) Report" (here)
  • "Ten Excuses For Not Filling Out the PGR Survey" (here, and just humor)
I personally hope lots of people will simply decline to fill out the report, whether they signed the September Statement or not. That is the best way to delegitimize what has become an embarrassment to the profession.

Also, Leigh M. Johnson has produced a nice timeline of recent events here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Wonderful, Sad Story About the Shame of Masturbation

From Julia Boriss, at XOJane:
When I was eight years old, I stacked two layers of pillows across my bed to keep myself from masturbating. I figured that sleeping atop a pillow fortress would force me to sleep on my back, which would keep my fingers from wandering to my nether regions, which would prevent the soul-crushing shame that befell me every time I gave myself an orgasm.
I suspect (as she more or less goes on to say) that this affects women more than men. But, having been raised Catholic and in a very sex-negative household, I remember those feelings, too.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Threats Against Anita Sarkeesian Expose The Darkest Aspects Of Online Misogyny

That's the title of an interesting reflection on the latest threats against Anita Sarkeesian, by Maureen Ryan over at HuffPo. (Via Feminist Philosophes.)

Also:
  • "Gamergate Trolls Aren't Ethics Crusaders: They're a Hate Group" (Jennifer Allaway, Jezebel
  • "This Is Mysoginist Terrorism" (Melissa McEwan, Shakesville)
  • "The 'Good Name' of Gamergate" (Carolyn Vanseltine, Sibyl Moon Games)
  • "We Must Dissent" (Katherine Cross, Feministing
  • "We Will Force Gaming To Be Free" (Katherine Cross, First Person Scholar)
  • "Gamergate's vicious right-wing swell means there can be no neutral stance" (Jon Stone, The Guardian)
  • "The threats that shut down Anita Sarkeesian’s talk come from someone who seems to be deeply steeped in the misogynstic Men’s Rights subculture" (David Futrelle, We Hunted the Mammoth)
  • "The Top Four Men's Rightsiest things said about the recent threats against Anita Sarkeesian" (David Futrelle, We Hunted the Mammoth)
"Because", as McEwan put it, "threats of violence against uppity women [are] just to be expected". And that last one because it's good to remind ourselves just how ridiculous these people are.

But what's most terrifying about this is that it looks like a glimpse of the future:
  • "The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It's Gamergate" (Kyle Wagner, Deadspin
If you read nothing else, read that.

"In Defense of Formal Relationism" Published

I am pleased to report that my paper "In Defense of Formal Relationism" has been published in the latest issue of Thought. Here's the abstract:
In his paper “Flaws of Formal Relationism”, Mahrad Almotahari argues against the sort of response to Frege's Puzzle I have defended elsewhere, which he dubs ‘Formal Relationism’. Almotahari argues that, because of its specifically formal character, this view is vulnerable to objections that cannot be raised against the otherwise similar Semantic Relationism due to Kit Fine. I argue in response that Formal Relationism has neither of the flaws Almotahari claims to identify.
Links: PhilPapers, Thought, Pre-publication PDF.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Some Truth About Abortion

A new book by Katha Pollitt, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, is getting a lot of attention in the left-wing press. What Pollitt most wants, it seems, is for us "to talk about ending a pregnancy as a common, even normal, event in the reproductive lives of women". These articles are a start:
  • "Abortion: Not Easy, Not Sorry" (Laurie Abraham, Elle, from Feministe)
  • "Abortion is Great" (Hanna Rosin, Slate Double X
  • "Abortion Without Apology: A Prescription for Getting the Pro-Choice Groove Back" (Lindsay Beyerstein, American Prospect)
You might also check out:
  • Not Alone, a website where women tell their own stories about their experience with abortion
  • Emily's Abortion Video (yes, it's old, but if you haven't seen it, it's new to you)

Support Brittany Maynard


Brittany did an interview with People, and there's a beautiful video of her and her family discussing her illness and her decision.

There's a nice story about her on the Daily Beast as well.

Women on the Internet

The harassment of women online reached truly a staggering level yesterday when a lecture that Anita Sarkeesian was to give at Utah State University had to be cancelled due to a threat to commit "the deadliest school shooting in American history" if it was not. As Amy Roth said at Skepchik, this is "organized, dedicated, on-going, online harassment is terrorism directed at women in an attempt to silence them".

If you haven't followed this, there are a lot of articles out there. I'll just mention one:
  • "No skin thick enough: The daily harassment of women in the game industry" (Brianna Wu, Polygon)
  • UPDATE: "IT HAPPENED TO ME: I've Been Forced Out Of My Home And Am Living In Constant Fear Because Of Relentless Death Threats From Gamergate" (Brianna Wu, XOJane)
Wu is a developer herself, and she was forced to leave her house (as Sarkeesian had been earlier) due to threats made against her.

What's happening with gaming is particularly awful, but it's no treat being an outspoken woman on the internet anyway, as these articles show:
  • "Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet" (Amanda Hess, Pacific Standard)
  • "For Women on the Internet, It Doesn't Get Better" (Samantha Allen, Daily Dot)
  • "But WHAT CAN BE DONE: Dos and Don'ts To Combat Online Sexism" (Leigh Alexander
  • "'Unspeakable Things': The Predictable Sexist Troll Backlash" (Laurie Penny)
  • "Why I Don't Just Go To the Cops" (Rebecca Watson, Skepchick)
All of this speaks in interesting ways to some of the issues with which we've been dealing around here lately. Pay special attention to the way these women are told to "get over it", that it's "not so bad", that it happens to everyone, etc, etc, etc.

      Tuesday, October 14, 2014

      Good Reads: Sexuality, Gender, and Feminism

      Jessica Valenti celebrates Jennifer Lawrence's public response to the theft of her photos, and a couple more articles on the same topic:
      • "Jennifer Lawrence's Outraged Response to Nude Photo Leak Marks an End to the Era of the 'Shamed Starlet'" (The Guardian, via AlterNet)
      • "Jennifer Lawrence Says Don’t Look At The Pictures" (Thomas MacAulay Millar, Yes Means Yes)
      • "Jennifer Lawrence Does Not Owe Us" (Thomas MacAulay Millar, Yes Means Yes)
      An interesting article on how people respond when their other-sex spouses come out as gay:
      • "How Straight Spouses Cope When Their Partners Come Out" (Christine Grimaldi, Slate Outward)
      More articles on affirmative consent:
      • "Yes Means Yes Culture of Consent Catches On" (Tanya Serisier, Good Men Project)
      • "No, California’s new affirmative consent law will not redefine most sex as rape" (Maya, Feministing
      For people who don't understand what male privilege is:
      • "Why I Refuse To Be One Of `The Good Guys'" (Charlie Glickman, Role Reboot)

        Thursday, October 9, 2014

        Good Reads: Sex, Gender, and Feminism

        Interesting piece on gender identity:
        • "Appearance, Gender and Why I’m Not 'Cis'" (Ms Naughty)
        A piece about how differently men and women's sexual functioning is treated by doctors, and then a more personal account of Beismer's journey of recovery:
        • "On Women Having Sex After Surgery" (Lynn Beismer, Role Reboot)
        • "How I Learned To Love My Frankengina: Recovering sexual functioning after surgery" (Lynn Beismer)
        Interesting article on the first amendment issues surrounding "revenge porn":
        • "Should Revenge Porn Be a Crime?" (Michelle Goldberg, The Nation, via AlterNet)
        Amusing video:
        Finally, we have a wonderful article connecting the marriage equality movement to the overthrow of older ideas about marriage as ownership:
        • "When 'Redefining Marriage' Meant That Women Had To Be Treated Like Human Beings" (Ian Millhiser, Think Progress)
        The article begins with the following quotation from Sir William Blackstone, in 1765:
        The very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband; under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs everything.
        Indeed, until passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act in 1974, a married woman could not get a credit card in her own name in some states without her husband's permission. Etc, etc, etc.

        Wednesday, October 8, 2014

        Bharath Vallabha on "The Function of the Philosophical Gourmet Report"

        In a discussion over at Feminist Philosophers, Bharath Vallabha made an interesting set of comments about the role that the Philosophical Gourmet Report plays in philosophy. It turns out that there is a longer version, "The Function of the Philosophical Gourmet Report", which Bharath has given me permission to share. Obviously, you should click the link to download it.

        Tuesday, October 7, 2014

        Good Reads: Politics, Sports, General News

        Some good recent articles on politics, sports, and general news.
        • "Stewart, Colbert Save the Day: Bill O’Reilly and Fox News’ ISIS Insanity Makes Them More Essential than Ever" (Sophia McClennan, Salon via AlterNet)
        • "People In England Are Harnessing The ‘Power Locked In Poo’ To Fuel Their Homes" (Emily Atkin, Think Progress)
        • "The NFL’s Concussion Problem Just Got A Lot Worse" (Michael Kasdan, Good Men Project
        • "76 of 79 Deceased NFL Players Found to Have Brain Disease" (PBS Frontline
        I'll post collections of such articles periodically, when I've got a few saved up.

          Friday, October 3, 2014

          Good Reads: Sex, Gender, and Feminism

          Some good recent articles on sex, gender, and feminism:
          • "Frat Brothers Rape 300% More" (Jessica Valenti, AlterNet)
          • "Why It Matters That Lena Dunham Wrote About Being Raped In College" (Tara Culp-Ressler, Think Progress)
          • "The Smartest Constitutional Argument for Marriage Equality That No One Is Making" (Susannah W. Pollvogt and Catherine E. Smith, Slate Outward)
          • "Ladies Come First: Why Every Secondary School Needs a Lesson on the Clitoris" (Alice Holloway, Vagenda)
          • "What Do We Really Mean When We Say Women Are Sexually 'Fluid'?" (Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart, Slate Double X)
          • "St Louis Study Confirms That  IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates" (Amanda Marcotte, Slate XX)
          • "Please Stop Saying That Trans Women Were 'Born Boys'" (Mari Brighe, Autostraddle)
          I'll be posting these sorts of lists periodically, once I've collected enough articles.

          Can You Sign the September Statement If You Object to PGR in Principle?


          I have had several people write me now to explain that they can't sign the "September Statement" because doing so would be implicitly to endorse PGR. This is the weirdest flipside ever of Leiter's insistence that the true agenda of the authors of the September Statement is to destroy PGR.

          Wednesday, October 1, 2014

          Two Great Pieces on California's New Affirmative Consent Law

          A couple days ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law in California establishing "yes means yes" as the standard by which sexual consent must be judged by colleges in California, rather than "no means no". Feminists, and other decent people, too, have been pushing for this sort of change for years, and it is important. Symbolically, it recognizes in the law that women are sexual agents and subjects of desire, not just passive objects of male sexual desire whose only choice point is to say "NO!!"