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Is it possible to make a legally meaningful distinction between porn which is

Is it possible to make a legally meaningful distinction between porn which is abusive and porn which is very rough? I think this question is very relevant for our time.

Some people think that all pornography is, in some sense, abusive. Maybe that's even analytic, if one distinguishes "pornography" from "erotica", as many people do. For what it's worth, I doubt there's any very clean way to make that distinction (these look like what Bernard Williams called "thick" concepts, if ever there were any), so let me just talk about "sexually explicit media". I don't myself see any reason to think that sexually explicit media, as such, has to be abusive or degrading or necessarily bad in some other way, even if most sexually explicit media is in fact bad in some way, such as presenting abusive sex as unobjectionable or even normal.

That said, some people like their sex rough, at least some of the time, and some people even like to roleplay situations in which one of the partners is abusive towards the other. None of that is very surprising. Human sexuality is varied and complex, just like humans.

Rough sex, in that sense, is not abusive. It is (or at least can be) fully consensual. So it seems clear that there's a distinction between sex that is abusive and sex that is rough. But if so, then there is equally a distinction between sexually explicit media that is abusive and sexually explicit media that is rough, by which I take the questioner to mean: sexually explicit media that presents a sexual encounter that is abusive and sexually explicit media that presents a sexual encounter that is rough. Indeed, a quick Internet search led me to the Rough Sex series of videos created by Tristan Taormino that, apparently, feature interviews with performers who discuss their interest in rough sex before presenting them engaged in that sort of practice. Certainly Taormino, who is a well-known author, sex educator, and self-described feminist, would not regard these videos as abusive, and they seem to be carried by at least two online "toy stores" that were founded by women and that have very high standards for what sorts of videos they sell.

So, yes, I think it's clear that it is possible to distinguish porn that is abusive from porn that is rough. But I'm not sure what's meant by "very" rough, and I'm no lawyer, so I'll not try to answer the question whether there's a "legally meaningful" such distinction.

Some people think that all pornography is, in some sense, abusive. Maybe that's even analytic, if one distinguishes "pornography" from "erotica", as many people do. For what it's worth, I doubt there's any very clean way to make that distinction (these look like what Bernard Williams called "thick" concepts, if ever there were any), so let me just talk about "sexually explicit media". I don't myself see any reason to think that sexually explicit media, as such, has to be abusive or degrading or necessarily bad in some other way, even if most sexually explicit media is in fact bad in some way, such as presenting abusive sex as unobjectionable or even normal. That said, some people like their sex rough, at least some of the time, and some people even like to roleplay situations in which one of the partners is abusive towards the other. None of that is very surprising. Human sexuality is varied and complex, just like humans. Rough sex, in that sense, is not abusive. It is (or at least can be)...

Only rarely is there a movie that comes out where there is a main female

Only rarely is there a movie that comes out where there is a main female character who is involved is some kind of plot that doesn't involve romantic entanglements with men. If the movie looks good then I will go see it, but it occurs to me that one of the reasons that there aren't many movies like that is because women aren't as interested in them. Could it be that feminism has it wrong when it tries to place it sole focus on blaming men for being chauvinistic pigs rather than working to encourage a vision of womanhood that is more expansive? Obviously feminism does try to do that but at the same time I don't think its directly men's fault if woman don't respond to that message.

I guess the obvious question is whether there is any actual evidence that women aren't interested in movies that in which the main female character isn't romantically involved with some man. I'd rather suspect the opposite: That it's men who won't be interested, if the woman isn't presented as a sex object.

Not only have feminists been "working to encourage a version of womanhood that is more expansive", they have had a great deal of success. Try reading Betty Friedan's famous book The Feminist Mystique, or talking to some older female relatives, if you want to know what things were like for women just half a century ago.

Since we've just passed the anniversary of Title IX: Did you know that several attempts were made to exclude funding for sports from Title IX, on the ground that women just weren't interested in sports? Fortunately for all of us, those attempts failed, and the rates at which girls and women how do participate has put the lie to that particular assumption.

I guess the obvious question is whether there is any actual evidence that women aren't interested in movies that in which the main female character isn't romantically involved with some man. I'd rather suspect the opposite: That it's men who won't be interested, if the woman isn't presented as a sex object. Not only have feminists been "working to encourage a version of womanhood that is more expansive", they have had a great deal of success. Try reading Betty Friedan's famous book The Feminist Mystique , or talking to some older female relatives, if you want to know what things were like for women just half a century ago. Since we've just passed the anniversary of Title IX: Did you know that several attempts were made to exclude funding for sports from Title IX, on the ground that women just weren't interested in sports? Fortunately for all of us, those attempts failed, and the rates at which girls and women how do participate has put the lie to that particular assumption.

A website I came across reads: "Can I Kiss You?" Ask any woman and she will tell

A website I came across reads: "Can I Kiss You?" Ask any woman and she will tell you – a man should NEVER "ask" for a kiss. Asking for a kiss goes against EVERYTHING a woman is looking for in a man… you may as well just tell her right there that you are a BOY. Her answer might be "yes" if she is being polite… but her attraction meter on the inside will read a firm, "No!" Now assuming this is true--------Aren't women essentially demanding that men are supposed to risk a violation of their boundaries during the courtship ritual? According to academically sanctioned feminists (most of whom are ironically put in place by the predominantly male controllers of the universities) "unwanted sexual attention" is always a problem that men impose on women unfairly. People who advocate for men's rights (who are actually trying to help women realize their true powers) say that actually women's courtship demands often require that men take a risk that might be unwanted and that the expectation that men always read...

I guess I'm wondering why we should assume any such thing is true. Frankly, the website where I found that advice sounds like it's trying to explain precisely how to manipulate women. So the rest of the questions just don't seem to arise.

And why believe there is any such thing as "women's courtship demands"? Is there some kind of secret society that decides what those are? Are they passed by majority vote? or is the decision imposed by an unelected dictator?

I guess I'm wondering why we should assume any such thing is true. Frankly, the website where I found that advice sounds like it's trying to explain precisely how to manipulate women. So the rest of the questions just don't seem to arise. And why believe there is any such thing as "women's courtship demands"? Is there some kind of secret society that decides what those are? Are they passed by majority vote? or is the decision imposed by an unelected dictator?

Suppose a very well to do doctor was married to a very bright man who happened

Suppose a very well to do doctor was married to a very bright man who happened to be a house husband. They had no children but he worked very hard maintaining their household. One day however the wife loses her job unexpectedly and asks her husband to help pitch in and get a job. He says, "well I don't want to do that." and in reply she says, "well then maybe we should get a divorce. And he says "Well, yes you can divorce me but I am entitled to half of your earnings for during the time we were married." I don't know this for sure but my gut tells me that most women would find something very wrong with that situation. It would seem wrong because it would seem like the man is responsible for his own livelihood after the relationship terminates. In most situations however the man is the bread winner and the women is the housewife and I think most people don't have a problem with a man paying half his earned income to his divorced wife. Am I wrong in my assumption that women (and men) would balk at the idea...

Certainly nowadays the law would require the woman to pay alimony in this situation, and I am sure there have been many such cases.

I find it hard to see how anyone who wasn't just flatly sexist might think it should be otherwise. Perhaps vestiges of sexist thinking with which we have all been saddled by our society would make our gut reaction a little different, but fortunately we have brains and do not have to be ruled by our guts.

Certainly nowadays the law would require the woman to pay alimony in this situation, and I am sure there have been many such cases. I find it hard to see how anyone who wasn't just flatly sexist might think it should be otherwise. Perhaps vestiges of sexist thinking with which we have all been saddled by our society would make our gut reaction a little different, but fortunately we have brains and do not have to be ruled by our guts.

Why does it seem that everything that I read in philosophy always uses "she" or

Why does it seem that everything that I read in philosophy always uses "she" or "her" instead of "his" or "he"?

Hurray for singular "they". Apparently good writers have long used it--

This is not a new problem, or a new solution. 'A person can't helptheir birth', wrote Thackeray in Vanity Fair (1848), and evenShakespeare produced the line 'Every one to rest themselves betake' (inLucrece), which pedants would reject as logically ungrammatical.

Quote (and more on the subject) is here.

This is the effect of a successful political movement, one that sought to replace the use of "he" and "his", as "gender-neutral" pronouns, with the use of something else. The reason was that people thought that the use of "he" and "his", at least in certain contexts, made readers liable to assume that the pronoun referred to a person of the male persuasion, when it need not. One option is to use something that is truly gender-neutral, such as "he or she", but that is rather verbose. Some people therefore use "s/he", but that is ugly. I've taken to using "s'he", but I'm lonely. And there is a case to be made for "she" and "her", unaltered, as well, namely that it makes one conscious of something of which one might not otherwise have been conscious.

I'm a female philosophy student, and I had an argument with my sister about the

I'm a female philosophy student, and I had an argument with my sister about the lack of female philosophers taught in college classes. She claimed that this was because of current sexism in the field of philosophy -- the mostly male philosophy professors disregard many great female philosophers and don't teach them. I thought that it was just a product of past sexism -- there historically haven't been many women in the field of philosophy, and therefore very few great female philosophers. Who's right? And if there aren't great female philosophers, should texts by women be taught anyway, as a kind of affirmative action?

I doubt that philosophy has ever harbored more sexism than any other academic discipline, now or in its history. But sexism has nonetheless played a role in keeping women from doing philosophy, and from being taken seriously when they tried. And this is still true, to a discouraging extent.

I work in the philosophy of mind, and in epistemology, sub-fields where women are less well represented than in ethics or history. The main thing I do to combat sexism -- including my own -- is to work hard at "microenvironmental" issues that are known to have a negative effect on women's participation in intellectual activities. I take care to notice if women have their hands up, to acknowledge and follow up on their comments, to attribute their good points to them by name, and to see that they have as much time to develop their points in discussion as men do. I try to get women, in other words, to see philosophy as belonging to them as much as it does to men.

As for readings: they are still mostly works by men, but there are, as Richard Heck points out, lots of important works in my field by women, so I needn't go out of my way to get women represented in the syllabus.

And I just let it go when students refer to Hilary Putnam as "she."

It is, first of all, worth saying that the work of female philosophers is widely taught in philosophy courses. For the most part, this would be in courses on contemporary issues. As I mentioned in responding to a different question, question 1202 , there are a lot of very highly regarded women in philosophy nowadays. I would be very surprised indeed, perhaps even suspicious, if asignificant amount of work by women were not included in, say, anundergraduate introductory ethics course. In the more technical parts of philosophy, that might not be so. My own introductory philosophy of language courses usually don't include work by women on the main reading list, though there are usually papers by women mentioned as optional or additional readings, and arguments from these papers will get mentioned in lecture. When I teach more advanced courses in philosophy of language, I certainly do include work by women such as Ruth Barcan Marcus, Marga Reimer, or Delia Graff. I take this to reflect the fact that,...

I have a problem with Hegel's theory which said: the difference between men and

I have a problem with Hegel's theory which said: the difference between men and women are like the difference between animals and plants, men are like animals and women are like plants because women are more sensitive than men and they are dependent on their feelings so they cannot make a good decision as a government member. I know this theory is for Hegel's period but why a famous philosopher like him said some thing nonsense, why did not he worth for women? Why most of the philosophers are man??

If you think that's bad, you should try reading Hume, particularly, "On Modesty". Hume there explains why it's morally required for women but not men to have but one sexual partner!

Hegel, Hume, and the rest were human beings, and their opinions are just as likely to be infected by prejudice, ignorance, and self-interest as are those of any of us mortals. (One might say the same kind of thing, by the way, about Saint Paul and the other authors of scripture, all of whom were also numbered among us mortals.) Of course, it's part of being a reflective person to struggle to uncover such sources of bias. Hegel and Hume failed in this particular instance. I expect that says more about how deeply rooted sexism was in their cultures than it does about them personally. And, of course, their cultures were the antecedents of our own, so there's something to be learned here about our own culture, too.

As for the question why most philosophers are men, I'm sure you can guess the answer to that question. Although the field is much more diverse now than it was, philosophy, like most academic disciplines, was utterly dominated by men until not very long ago. It will take some time until the imbalance is corrected, and for lots of different reasons. Some of these involve continuing bias within the profession. (I've certainly known colleagues in my time who were essentially incapable of working with women.) There are also larger societal issues that are relevant, and I strongly suspect that the kinds of choices people make about what they want to do with their lives play a role, as well.

But, as I said, things are much better than they once were. At the moment, women in philosophy are concentrated in moral philosophy and history of philosophy, and many of the leading young people in these areas are women. I don't know what the numbers are in these sub-fields—someone's probably got them—but I suspect a very large percentage of recent graduates are women, and I wouldn't be shocked to hear that we were approaching something close to parity. Women are less numerous in metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of language and mind, philosophy of science and mathematics, and so on. Not that there aren't good women in these areas: There are (and some of them are even on our panel). But women are less numerous in these areas, by and large, and one would have to work harder to identify women who were, say, under forty and regarded as likely to be leaders of their generation of philosophers of mind, say, than one would to identify such women in history of modern or ethics. Why that is is itself a nice question. Whatever the answer, it's presumably not too different from the answer to the question why the hard sciences themselves continue to be dominated by men.

If you think that's bad, you should try reading Hume, particularly, "On Modesty". Hume there explains why it's morally required for women but not men to have but one sexual partner! Hegel, Hume, and the rest were human beings, and their opinions are just as likely to be infected by prejudice, ignorance, and self-interest as are those of any of us mortals. (One might say the same kind of thing, by the way, about Saint Paul and the other authors of scripture, all of whom were also numbered among us mortals.) Of course, it's part of being a reflective person to struggle to uncover such sources of bias. Hegel and Hume failed in this particular instance. I expect that says more about how deeply rooted sexism was in their cultures than it does about them personally. And, of course, their cultures were the antecedents of our own, so there's something to be learned here about our own culture, too. As for the question why most philosophers are men, I'm sure you can guess the answer to that question....