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With regard to opening doors many women assert that men who do so are being

With regard to opening doors many women assert that men who do so are being "gentleman" and those who don't are ungentlemanly. Likewise some feminists assert that men are sexist if they open a door for them. I've tried to research this issue very thoroughly so I know what I am talking about but among the many many websites I've read about this none have ever said that it was wrong to assume why a person is or isn't opening a door for you, until ironically while I was writing this I came across this one video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coi1Sc5ss_s where a self-described feminist does in fact acknowledge that "[I] do recognize most people do it just to be polite." In fact all of the websites other than that Youtube video I read come down under two opposed factions- those who say that men who open doors for women are sexist and those that say that men who don't open doors for women are impolite- with no nuanced opinion standing in between. On the one hand I don't like to be thought of as...

I fear you may take my answer to be flippant, but I assure you that it is not. My own practice is to open any door for anyone who might need the door opened. I open doors for people who are going to ride in my car; I open the door to my own office when I am about to go in and have a chat with a student; I open the door for people I have never met when I get to the door first. This plainly has nothing to dowith sexism, since I take the politness of such gestures to apply to any and all, regardless of gender or circumstance.

So it looks to me that practicing this minor bit of politesse is your answer: just be polite and open doors for anyone whenever it is feasible (without making a scene, of course!) to do so.

I fear you may take my answer to be flippant, but I assure you that it is not. My own practice is to open any door for anyone who might need the door opened. I open doors for people who are going to ride in my car; I open the door to my own office when I am about to go in and have a chat with a student; I open the door for people I have never met when I get to the door first. This plainly has nothing to dowith sexism, since I take the politness of such gestures to apply to any and all, regardless of gender or circumstance. So it looks to me that practicing this minor bit of politesse is your answer: just be polite and open doors for anyone whenever it is feasible (without making a scene, of course!) to do so.

It is generally acknowledged, especially by feminists, that men in general have

It is generally acknowledged, especially by feminists, that men in general have behaviors and traits that are not good. Could a feminist name any general behaviors and traits that women have that are not good and that are also not the fault of men?

First a disclaimer--I don't speak for feminists in this response.

But something in the question piqued me a bit, but then there is also something I wanted to pursue a bit. I think that talk about "men in general" and "women in general" is already likely to deal in the sorts of stereotypes that philosophers should try to avoid. I don't disagree that there are "behaviors and traits" worthy of criticism or blame, but the generality that these may be associated with "men in general" strikes me as prejudice--or at least a likely source of such. It is simply too easy to go from "men in general" to the presumption that the next man I might meet may be assumed to be guilty before I have any evidence of such guilt. This is how prejudice works.

To pursue another line, however, I would recommend the work of feminist philosopher Claudia Card to the questioner. Much of Card's work has been focused on the nature and effects of victimization. It is to her (in modern times) that we owe the notion of the "moral damage" that can be done to victims of oppression and injustice, by which she means that it can be an effect of oppression that the victim is subsequently unable to achieve or sustain virtue or other morally desirable qualities or actions. Indeed, one of the most powerful (and devastating) consequences of Card's work is that it highlights the extent to which we can actually expect "moral damage" to be done to victims, in which case, we might expect certain kinds of the relevant deficits from those who have had to deal with systematic injustices done to them. Would these, in the case of oppressed women, not be the "fault of men"? The answer, plainly, would depend on whether it was men who had been the oppressors.

If Card is right--and I think she is--the target of blame for some bad behavior may not always be the direct agent who behaves in that way. I see no reason to think that this is restricted to issues of gender only, nor did Card ever suggest that it was.

Finally, I would also point out that the idea that the effect of injustice might be "moral damage" to the victim is one that can also be found in the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato. In several places in his dialogues, Plato has his main character, Socrates, talk about how injustice is not only damaging to the agent of the injustice, but also to the victim (for example, see Plato's Republic Book I., 335b-c).

First a disclaimer--I don't speak for feminists in this response. But something in the question piqued me a bit, but then there is also something I wanted to pursue a bit. I think that talk about "men in general" and "women in general" is already likely to deal in the sorts of stereotypes that philosophers should try to avoid. I don't disagree that there are "behaviors and traits" worthy of criticism or blame, but the generality that these may be associated with "men in general" strikes me as prejudice--or at least a likely source of such. It is simply too easy to go from "men in general" to the presumption that the next man I might meet may be assumed to be guilty before I have any evidence of such guilt. This is how prejudice works. To pursue another line, however, I would recommend the work of feminist philosopher Claudia Card to the questioner. Much of Card's work has been focused on the nature and effects of victimization. It is to her (in modern times) that we owe the notion of the...

Is there such thing as a male feminist philosopher?

Is there such thing as a male feminist philosopher?

I think it depends on what precisely you mean by "feminist," but by most understandings of this term, I think there are a number of male feminist philosophers, and certainly an even greater number of male philosophers who are generally very sympathetic to and agree with feminist philosophy, even if they do not count feminist philosophy as one of their research specialties.

From an armchair sociological perspective, I'm inclined to think that actually most male philosophers agree with much of feminism--including some who are nonetheless still capable of very un-feminist behaviors at times. Alas, it is one thing to recognize the value of a certain philosophical point of view, and quite another to live up to the demands of that point of view!

I think it depends on what precisely you mean by "feminist," but by most understandings of this term, I think there are a number of male feminist philosophers, and certainly an even greater number of male philosophers who are generally very sympathetic to and agree with feminist philosophy, even if they do not count feminist philosophy as one of their research specialties. From an armchair sociological perspective, I'm inclined to think that actually most male philosophers agree with much of feminism--including some who are nonetheless still capable of very un-feminist behaviors at times. Alas, it is one thing to recognize the value of a certain philosophical point of view, and quite another to live up to the demands of that point of view!

Sexual harassment is often defined as "unwanted sexual attention." Isn't the

Sexual harassment is often defined as "unwanted sexual attention." Isn't the idea that all sexual attention must be "wanted" by a women for it to be okay simply a perpetuation of the idea that women have no independent existence outside of the wants and needs of men? Don't women have the right to be indifferent to sexual attention? And don't women have the right to interpret unwanted sexual attention in other ways other than thinking of it as harassment? Basically I find it incredibly ironic that one of the the pillars of modern feminism has such a weirdly sexist underpinning.

I just answered a question very like this one. It isn't sexual harassment to express interest in a woman in a social circumstance, at least in the first instance. There are lots of ways of doing this that are rude, crude, and stupid, of course. But it is only "harassment" if it continues after a clear expression of non-interest has been conveyed by her. If I go up to a woman in a bar and express sexual interest, it is not harassment, even if I am clumsy about it. That would make me a loser, maybe, but nothing in feminism (or in the legal concept of harassment) makes it harassment in the first instance. If I continue after she has told me to take a long walk off a short pier, well, then, it starts at that point to become harassment, and yes, women (and men) have a right not to be pestered and...well, harassed!

I just answered a question very like this one. It isn't sexual harassment to express interest in a woman in a social circumstance, at least in the first instance. There are lots of ways of doing this that are rude, crude, and stupid, of course. But it is only "harassment" if it continues after a clear expression of non-interest has been conveyed by her. If I go up to a woman in a bar and express sexual interest, it is not harassment, even if I am clumsy about it. That would make me a loser, maybe, but nothing in feminism (or in the legal concept of harassment) makes it harassment in the first instance. If I continue after she has told me to take a long walk off a short pier, well, then, it starts at that point to become harassment, and yes, women (and men) have a right not to be pestered and...well, harassed!

The law currently defines sexual harassment as "unwanted sexual attention. There

The law currently defines sexual harassment as "unwanted sexual attention. There is more to the definition but in my own workplace the policy specifically defines sexual harassment as "any unwanted sexual attention". However I recently went out on a date with a girl that I wasn't interested in having "casual sex" with. She however proposed that we do just that. I therefor received "unwanted" sexual attention from her. However, I don't believe that I was harassed one bit. I have seen numerous website that declare dogmatically that women have a "right" to not experience "unwanted" sexual attention. I can't help but to think to myself that that is sheer lunacy. In my mind nobody has a right to not experience "unwanted" sexual attention and that "unwanted" sexual attention is not even a big deal. The term "unwanted" is a fairly neutral term and many things which are neither unpleasant nor pleasant can fit into that category. So how can such a obviously poorly defined definition of sexual harassment continue...

As I understand it, the issue at stake here is that people (and not just women) want to be able to regard their workplace as just that--a workplace. The minute someone in that place begins to give sexual attention to someone else in that workplace, the environment is changed--and changed in a way that makes the workplace no longer an entirely comfortable place to work.

There are obviously degrees of sexual harassment, and I frankly don't think that giving unwanted sexual attention (that is in no way coersive) on a date could count--either ethically or legally--as harassment. But it is different in a workplace. If you find someone's sexual interest or expressions thereof unwanted on a date, you can always refuse to go out on another date with that person. But if you have to deal with this at a workplace, your only option is to try to find another job--which these days can be a major problem, and which a good worked should not have to feel that he or she has to do, to avoid someone acting in a way that is inappropriate for a workplace. So this is not simply a "freedom of speech" issue. It has to do with making the environment of a workplace no longer comfortable for some other worker working in that place. Please respect this!

As I understand it, the issue at stake here is that people (and not just women) want to be able to regard their workplace as just that--a workplace. The minute someone in that place begins to give sexual attention to someone else in that workplace, the environment is changed--and changed in a way that makes the workplace no longer an entirely comfortable place to work. There are obviously degrees of sexual harassment, and I frankly don't think that giving unwanted sexual attention (that is in no way coersive) on a date could count--either ethically or legally--as harassment. But it is different in a workplace. If you find someone's sexual interest or expressions thereof unwanted on a date, you can always refuse to go out on another date with that person. But if you have to deal with this at a workplace, your only option is to try to find another job--which these days can be a major problem, and which a good worked should not have to feel that he or she has to do, to avoid someone acting in...

In the UK there are the 'Page 3' models (in case you are unfamiliar with them,

In the UK there are the 'Page 3' models (in case you are unfamiliar with them, they are topless models that appear everyday in The Sun , usually with snippets of text about how young they are, and suggestive speech bubbles). Because The Sun is such a widely read publication and because that particular page is so popular, Page 3 is readily accessible on the bus, in the tube, on the kitchen table, in the newsagents, etc., etc. A while ago the politician Clare Short tried to get Page 3 outlawed because she said that it promoted sexism. She quickly got shouted down by other politicans and by the public who mocked her for being unattractive and whining. It seems to me that Clare Short had a point. If people, especially young kids, see this type of woman everywhere they go they might believe that woman are there to be eternally young and up for it, so to speak, and that it is okay to see them purely as sexual objects. Equality between men and women could be suffering from this, surely? Or is that...

Surely anything that promotes sexism is, to the degree and for that reason, a bad thing. Truth is, the popular media and advertising reinforce all kinds of biases and prejudices (against older people, against people who do not fit social standards of beauty or attractiveness, against poor people, against people of color--by inadequate representation, and so on and so on). The media make money from doing so, because people have the interests they have--and these interests are often sexist and biased in all of the relevant ways.

So you want to ban all of the ways in which the media promote or reinforce such wrongs? Well...you will have a lot of censorship to do!

On the other hand, as Pogge suggests, surely there are more important concerns (in regard to sexism specifically, and in regard to making the world a better place more generally) than becoming overly concerned that Page 3 shows the breasts of young women. Before you get too far gone in moral indignation about this issue, it might be wise to consider whether there is anything else more important in the world going on--for which some effort from you would make a difference. Spending lots of moral capital on relatively minor evils, and thus ignoring more important ones, seems to me to be a significant lack of moral judgment in itself.

I'm not saying that sexism isn't bad--it is bad. I am saying that you probably have more important things to attend to than the Page 3 issue... If you are looking for trouble in the world, it isn't hard to find. Use your best judgment as to which of the endless troubles you find are most worth your concern.

Surely anything that promotes sexism is, to the degree and for that reason, a bad thing. Truth is, the popular media and advertising reinforce all kinds of biases and prejudices (against older people, against people who do not fit social standards of beauty or attractiveness, against poor people, against people of color--by inadequate representation, and so on and so on). The media make money from doing so, because people have the interests they have--and these interests are often sexist and biased in all of the relevant ways. So you want to ban all of the ways in which the media promote or reinforce such wrongs? Well...you will have a lot of censorship to do! On the other hand, as Pogge suggests, surely there are more important concerns (in regard to sexism specifically, and in regard to making the world a better place more generally) than becoming overly concerned that Page 3 shows the breasts of young women. Before you get too far gone in moral indignation about this issue, it...