I am thrilled to report an upcoming assembly of our various chapterhouses and missions at Villanova University. Behold the press release:
2014 Call for Papers -19th Annual Philosophy Conference at Villanova University Sponsored by PGSU
Feminism: Body, Image, Power
Friday, March 21 – Saturday, March 22, 2014
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lisa Guenther (Vanderbilt)
“The personal is political,” the well-known slogan of the Women’s Liberation Movement, continues to demand that we explore the ways in which our most intimate embodied practices, experiences, and images can be the site of politics, and alternately, how politics are carried out and enacted in the desires, affects, self-consciousness, and relationships of personal and interpersonal life. Focusing on the highly productive concepts of body, image, and power, this conference aims to engage in discussion of a number of philosophical themes, topics, and approaches that are feminist in method or that deal with the topic of feminism. How does the body stand at the juncture of the public and the private? How do our private and collective images conceal or reveal the intersections of imagination and representation? How does power operate as the conjunction of identity, knowledge, and praxis? Feminist philosophy and feminism more broadly has much to tell us about the nature of our embodiment, our imaginaries, and the power relations that structure our lived experience, and this conference welcomes papers and artwork that deal with these topics, broadly construed. While all papers addressing feminism and feminist issues, works, authors, etc. are welcome, we especially encourage papers that take on these perennial issues of feminism in a contemporary context.
Possible topics of discussion include, but are not limited to:
- Public and private spaces of embodied experience
- Biopolitics and new technologies
- Reproductive rights, natality, and motherhood
- Autonomy, dependency, and vulnerability
- Feminism and affect theory, body image, and imagination in cultural productions (e.g. film and media)
- Intersections of gender, class, race, sexuality, and ability
- The relationship between critical phenomenology, feminist philosophy, and political activism
- Reciprocity of feminist theory with queer theory, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, globalization, and environmental ethics
- Feminism and psychoanalysis
- Postfeminism and postmodern feminisms
How delightful! It will be busy around here while we prepare for the conference!
I find so much encouragement in reading the press. Watching our labors in the world come to fruition pleasures me greatly. Usually, though, I find only a few delightful indicators in an article. However, today’s “Is Your Child’s Halloween Costume Sending the Wrong Message?” in Yahoo Shine makes for a veritable feast to refreshen the spirit. There is so much to enjoy therein.
A Marvel Spider-Girl costume — consisting of a silver mask and a pink polyester dress with a spider on its chest — is just the latest gender-stereotyped girls’ getup to hit shelves for Halloween. . . .
While some kids, of course, might really want a pink Spider-Girl dress, the problem, experts tell Yahoo Shine, is that this costume and countless others like it — including the pink Batgirl tutu, the police girl uniform that’s skirted, an inexplicable Joker dress for girls, and this other bizarre version of the pink Spider-Girl — send reckless, disempowering messages to both girls and boys.
“I think it says to girls that everything they do has to fit in one small box—because even if they don’t want to be a princess, the Spider Man costume looks like a princess,” developmental psychologist Christia Spears Brown, author of the forthcoming book “Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue,” tells Yahoo Shine. “It says, ‘Your gender is more important than the costume,’ and ‘Being a girl is the most important thing about you.’”
The real Spider-Girl is fierce (Marvel/Wikipedia). “To boys,” she adds, “it says that girls can never be equivalent, which is a message that’s just as dangerous when we want to have boys and girls be friends and interact with one another. But with this, they learn that even if both are interested in Spiderman, it just can’t be the same.”
When boys see these costumes, New York child psychologist Jennifer Harstein, author of “Princess Recovery,” tells Yahoo Shine, “it makes it challenging for them to see girls as equals.” The costumes also contribute to the overall pretty-obsessed ideal for girls, she adds.
“This is another example as to how girls are encouraged to focus on appearance, rather than on what they might want,” Harstein says. “When they are not given options, it makes things that much more challenging.”
A Mighty Girl, a blog and online girl-empowerment marketplace, has heard over and over again this season from parents who are frustrated by the lack of “princessized” costumes and who can’t necessarily deal with building a costume from scratch. “The concern we have with the trend is that costumes have become very one-dimensional: They have to have either an accepted feminization element, or they are sexualized,” . . .
“Parents have to be OK buying the regular Spider-Man costume [for their daughters],” notes Spears Brown. “Sometimes they’re afraid to cross the gender aisle in Toys R Us, but marketers aren’t going to do it for us.” As she tells her 9-year-old daughter about hypersexualized tween costumes, “Just because that’s what others may be wearing, and just because it’s being sold and marketed as an appropriate girls’ costume, doesn’t make it OK,” she says. “I think parents have to be comfortable exerting that control.”
Finally, Harstein notes, “children are children, and toys are toys. Creating such a separation is damaging to both genders, and leads to challenges as they grow and develop.”
Whenever lassitude begins to affect our souls, we should consider such uplifting stories that unequivocally testify to our recent success. It is devilishly motivating.
The Women’s Ordination Conference has posted a music video to advance their cause: “Ordain a Lady.”
Therein one sees the creative genius that one would expect from such laborers in the enemy’s fields. At least, we respect their essay of narcissism. They are a true testament to the most prevalent qualities of their sex.
Lindsey Lewis, a young lass wise in the ways of the world, counsels women to focus upon themselves and their wants even more than they typically do in “7 Reasons Why Being Selfish Is Good for the World”:
There’s too much dogma out there telling us that we have to sacrifice ourselves in order to be good people. There’s too much messaging telling us that the more we give, the more we take a back seat, the more we’ll come first—in other people’s eyes and in helping the world. We see it in the yoga community. Seva (service), anyone? It’s all gotten a bit muddled. Yes, we want to be good people. Yes, we want to do good in the world.
How can we possibly do this without taking care of ourselves? How can we possibly take care of other people’s health and happiness if our own health and happiness is shot? . . .
Your body knows. It feels free and at ease when you’re making choices that honour your health and happiness. The tension starts to melt. Your stomach, chest, jaw and throat soften. Your breath comes easier and deeper. You begin to show up in the world more authentically, bringing your higher Self, your best Self, and your light is no longer hidden behind tension, resentment and frustration.
You begin to be of service simply by being you. What if it doesn’t matter what picture frame we put on our gifts to the world? What if being a fortune-making corporate copyright lawyer is your true path? What if you are simply here to bring your shining, vibrant self wherever you go? What if that’s enough?
Maybe, you’d be being selfish, or maybe you’d be fulfilling your destiny. And by doing that, by serving yourself, you begin to serve your Self—to the world.
It is delightful when, despite millennia of being subjected to guilt laden sermons, fear inducing fables, and endless superstition, human beings finally get the causal directions right about happiness. Worship yourself, and then you will be in a proper place to do good things in the world. Why you might want to do such things once you have attained the highest good—being happy in, with, and by youself—well, that is up to you. Everything is up to you.
“Oscar’s Wishful Thinking” by Hank Stuever in The Washington Post:
Thing is, the academy is still very much living in that past. The tiniest rain cloud had already passed over Oscar’s skies last week, when the Los Angeles Times, after considerable research, gave its readers statistical proof of something true Oscar watchers have sensed all along: Academy membership is far too male (77 percent), long in tooth (86 percent are older than 50) and much, much too white (94 percent!) to exert as much influence over American popular culture as it does.
As we are concerned whether the composition of Hollywood’s creative class proportionally represents the wonderful diversity of the American mosaic, Mr. Stuever might ask if the Academy has an overrepresentation of Jews, folks with an intelligence quotient over 125, or subscribers to The Advocate.
“What’s Race Got to Do with It?” by Lee Siegel in The New York Times:
Contrast that with Mr. Romney’s meticulously cultivated whiteness. He is nearly always in immaculate white shirt sleeves. He is implacably polite, tossing off phrases like “oh gosh” with Stepford bonhomie. He has mastered Benjamin Franklin’s honesty as the “best policy”: a practiced insincerity, an instant sunniness that, though evidently inauthentic, provides a bland bass note that keeps everyone calm. This is the bygone world of Babbitt, of small-town Rotarians.
Mr. Romney does not merely use the past as an inspirational reference point, as the other candidates often do. He conjures it as a total social, cultural and political experience that must be resurrected and reinhabited. He speaks of the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence as phases of national creativity that we are destined to live through again. He frequently accompanies his recitative with verses from “America the Beautiful.”
Mr. Romney ought to take some time off to meditate upon the extent of his abundant white male privilege. He should withdraw his candidacy in order to enroll in “The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie” at Occidental College for the next term.
Charming Planned Parenthood workers jiggle their sari shrouded ovaries:
by Curried Sanger