Archive | September, 2013
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The Price You Pay [Medium]

27 Sep

The Price You Pay [Medium]

To this day it is impossible to imagine a female living artist selling anything for what Johns received twenty-five years ago ($33 million adjusted for inflation.) And it is not for lack of talent as the list of artists in the Guerilla Girls poster shows. Women struggle for visibility, while opportunities come less frequently and their work is dismissed as inferior. . . .

When I hear about male “thought leaders” in the tech industry with speaking fees of as much as $45,000, I am reminded of that poster. That sum of money reveals the years and layers of decisions made that favor white men in their careers. For the price of one keynote address, you might schedule a week of talks by some of the brilliant women in the world.

via the Ann Friedman newsletter.

 

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Slouching Toward Feminism

27 Sep

I want my girls to be aware, and I want them to feel that they are…enough. I grew up surrounded by women who felt inadequate. I grew up with women who gave away their power and essential parts of themselves to men, women who settled for unworthy men rather than sleeping alone. In the world of my childhood, good men seemed to be in short supply. So a woman’s social and financial independence and self-determination wasn’t something to fight or protest for; it was a given, a cross to bear. And it was lamentable and lonely. I learned this lesson early. So I dated a very good man throughout my four years of college, and I married him a year after graduation.

In college, I did not cultivate deep, lasting friendships with other women students; my social life centered mostly around my boyfriend. I have found in the 20 years since college that as my relationships with women, online and offline, have deepened, so has my embrace and understanding of feminist principles and practices.

But I wouldn’t make an unqualified statement that I subscribe to feminism, because it depends on whose feminism we’re talking about.

Squeezed Between Feminisms

By Guest Contributor Deesha Philyaw

Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida in the ‘70s and ‘80s, I was raised to see the world in Black and White.

This manifests itself as an ingrained wariness of White folks, built in for the purposes of self-protection when I was bused from my working-class-on-the-decline neighborhood to the suburbs, beginning in first grade. My handful of White school friends notwithstanding, this was an us-versus-them kind of black and white. No one else–religious minorities, other racial and ethnic minorities, and people in other marginalized groups–was really on my radar in any meaningful way until high school. Even then, I heard friends and relatives use slurs against Asians (the least offensive reference was “Orientals”), “foreigners” (everyone who wasn’t identifiable as Black, White, or Asian), “sissies,” and “bulldaggers.” But I never used those words myself. Even as ignorant as I was, maybe I had a gut feeling about…

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This passes for lucky

27 Sep

What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?

I’ve been relatively lucky, in that I never found myself in a dangerous or exceedingly difficult situation in all my years as a graduate students. That’s the saddest thing, perhaps: that the little vexations, inappropriate comments and other unpleasant situations are not even considered worthy of attention. Professors get to make female students uncomfortable through all kinds of inappropriate comments they would never dare make to a male student, and we just have to deal with it.

During my years as a graduate student, I got treated to a number of remarks from my supervisor, like “Ok, I’m staring at your chest right now, but that’s because I’m wondering what’s written on your pendant” (couldn’t he just ASK, instead of staring AND pointing out to the fact that he was staring?), or “Did you manage to speak to X? So, was he sensitive to your charms?”, or on one occasion…

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Don’t be that dude: Handy tips for the male academic

26 Sep

Tenure, She Wrote

There is a plethora of research on the causes of hostile environments for women in academia, and on why we have an underrepresentation of women in many fields. There are support groups for women, societies entirely devoted to women academics (broadly and field-specific), workshops for women in academia, and countless articles and blogs devoted to the topic.

These initiatives are important, but here’s the thing: gender equality has to be a collaborative venture. If men make up the majority of many departments, editorial boards, search committees, labs and conferences, then men have to be allies in the broader cause of equality, simply because they have more boots on the ground. And, as much as I wish it weren’t so, guys often tend to listen more readily to their fellow guys when it comes to issues like sexism. I’ve also found that there are a lot of guys out there…

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LadyMentoring?

23 Sep

Tenure, She Wrote

Acknowledgment: Thanks to everyone who talked to me about this both on twitter and in person. Please join in the discussion – I’d love to hear thoughts on this.

We think a lot about mentoring here. About who we want to be, what we need, how to GTFO of a toxic situation (and help others in similar boat). I’ve been thinking about the role of my female mentors, and about my role in mentoring students and trainees.

There is a question I get asked with some regularity, it is “Why did you do your PhD and post-doc with women mentors? Was that on purpose?” The answer to the first question is “because they were doing the science I wanted to do” and to the second “yes, it was very much on purpose that I worked with people who were doing the science I wanted to do”. I usually…

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On Learning Animal-ness [Only Human]

19 Sep

On Learning Animal-ness [Only Human]

Babies apparently find it odd to see an animal that’s hollow.

Science writer Virginia Hughes (the only female contributor to National Geographic’s “Phenomena” blogs) on some of the developmental psychology research of Drs. Renee Baillargeon and Rochel Gelman.

 

“Solving” the Two-Body Problem

18 Sep

The two-body problem is a classical mechanics one, in which the motion of two interacting particles must be determined. I’m not a physicist, so I don’t know how hard it is to solve. In career terms, the two-body problem involves two partners, both with professional aspirations, trying to end up in close geographical proximity…so that they can live together, support each other, and maybe even raise a family. The career two-body problem is atrociously hard to solve exactly, but I’m convinced that approximations do exist. Unfortunately, those solutions may be somewhat unique to each set of particles, errrr, people. . . .

But first, the solution is NOT to discourage women from going to graduate school, apply to academic jobs, or have children. It is also NOT to give students unsolicited advice not to couple with other graduate students.

 

Tenure, She Wrote

The two-body problem is a classical mechanics one, in which the motion of two interacting particles must be determined. I’m not a physicist, so I don’t know how hard it is to solve. In career terms, the two-body problem involves two partners, both with professional aspirations, trying to end up in close geographical proximity…so that they can live together, support each other, and maybe even raise a family. The career two-body problem is atrociously hard to solve exactly, but I’m convinced that approximations do exist. Unfortunately, those solutions may be somewhat unique to each set of particles, errrr, people.

I believe that the two body problem is in no way unique to academia, but is pervasive for all sorts of couples where both have advanced training, skills, or licensures that limit them geographically. A boat captain coupled with an architect might have to eliminate the inland US from their…

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Finding Satisfaction in Second Best [NY Times]

17 Sep

Finding Satisfaction in Second Best [NY Times]

An interview with Debora Spar, president of Barnard College.

I use the term warily. You don’t want to go out there and say that women should settle for second best. But sometimes second best is really good, and second best is much better than fourth best or worse. Women in particular feel if I didn’t become the top C.E.O. or perfect mother, I’ve somehow blown it. . . . 

It’s horrible! Most people don’t know how to change the world by the time they’re 18. You see it particularly in this city, where most of the schools require community service. There’s something deeply oxymoronic about required volunteering. They have to have community service, they have to have sports, they have to have been president of a club. It’s just too much. I think women internalize it perhaps more than men.

 

Via Ann Friedman.

The Sunday Assembly

17 Sep

Nonreligion and Secularity

In our second blog post Katie Aston discusses her experience of attending the Sunday Assembly in London, and reflects on the broader issues of nonreligious community, ritual action and meaning.

In February and March 2013 I attended the Sunday Assembly ‘sessions’ (or ‘atheist church’ as it has been labelled) held at The Nave, a deconsecrated church in North London. As the daughter of a vicar, a non believer and a researcher into the question of non-religious and secular practice in the UK, there were more than a number of reasons for my being curious. As this is a research blog and the internet is littered with appraisals of the Assembly; the good – ‘it fulfils a human need for community’ -and the bad – ‘how can an atheist call it a church, when there is no god or worship?’ – I will instead focus on a number of interesting…

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Inaction

16 Sep

What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?

This autumn I have had the privilege of teaching an introductory ethics class, one of my favorites at the undergraduate level. A student recently revealed to me (in a very blase manner, no less) that she had attended a fraternity party on campus with several friends, male and female, and that they were all drugged with a muscle relaxer in vodka drinks. Luckily, they realized what had happened to them, and quickly returned home, so nothing worse than merely attempted rape effectively occurred. However, this is not an isolated incident. The student also informed me that it is common knowledge among the Greeks on campus that this particular fraternity is well-known for drugging their party attendees.

The student didn’t want to really push the issue, she was mostly just telling me about her weekend and this ‘weird’ thing that happened to her, and we both had other classes to go…

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