Implicit, systemic issues

Posted: July 4, 2017 by jennysaul in Uncategorized

Our department seems relatively better than other departments, but we still have several issues made worse by the fact none of these have clear-cut solutions. For instance, I have experienced explicit sexism and this is relatively easier to handle–but most of the issues my department has experienced are implicit and systemic. These experiences are usually not properly understood, and they have really affected how I feel in the department as an underrepresented and underprivileged person in philosophy. Presumably straight, white men seem to have a knack for choosing topics that are about the status of women in philosophy or oppression. It is good that they are aware of the complexities surrounding these issues, but the way these discussions are handled is inappropriate. When you have a club that stands for anything but diversity, with a very small number of people who express themselves as religious, or are women or ethnic minorities, you cannot possibly understand these issues in even an intellectual manner. Many of these people like saying they are “feminist” but their actions tell a different story. They have to wonder why women continue to leave the department, and less than 25% of most departments are women.
There are so many issues with these departments, and the only way we can solve them is by encouraging future generations. This is, however, not possible if philosophy continues to believe it is okay for men (with no fair representation of women)to discuss whether women are oppressed, and to hold discussions that further alienate and marginalize members of minorities. In essence, the sum of these experiences (this is only the tip of the iceberg) continue to further remove women from philosophy–I have seen this firsthand. Women do not feel comfortable in philosophy; my friends are switching career paths although philosophy is their #1 passion. Unfortunately, I have felt the same and it is a short matter of time before I, too, leave.

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