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Bordo, Susan, , . Anorexia Nervosa: Psychopathology as the Crystallization of Culture
1993, In her Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Diversifying Syllabi: Bordo claims that the recent increase in women with Anorexia is a symptom of the “central ills” of our culture. Bordo discusses three sources of this “cultural illness” which leads to anorexia: the dualist axis, the control axis, and the gender/power axis. She spends the bulk of the paper discussing each “axis” or problematic component of society which is reflected back to us in the increasing diagnosis of anorexia. These “psychopathogolgies” are expressions of the culture, she claims.

Comment: This text is most readily applicable in teaching feminist theory and social philosophy. However, it is also very useful in at least three other contexts: (1) as a critical approach to mind-body dualism, especially when teaching on Descartes or Plato’s Phaedo; (2) in teaching on the ethics of mental illness and the anti-psychiatry movement, as an example of socially constructed disorders; and (3) more broadly in teaching on personal and collective moral responsibility.

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Hanson, Karen, , . Dressing down Dressing up – The Philosophic Fear of Fashion
1990, Hypatia 5 (2):107 – 121.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: There is, to all appearances, a philosophic hostility to fashionable dress. Studying this contempt, this paper examines likely sources in philosophy’s suspicion of change; anxiety about surfaces and the inessential; failures in the face of death; and the philosophic disdain for, denial of, the human body and human passivity. If there are feminist concerns about fashion, they should be radically different from those of traditional philosophy. Whatever our ineluctable worries about desire and death, whatever our appropriate anger and impatience with the merely superficial, whatever our genuine need to mark off the serious from the trivial, feminism may be a corrective therapy for philosophy’s bad humor and self-deception, as these manifest themselves when the subject turns to beautiful clothes.

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Lloyd, Elisabeth A., , . The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution
2007, Hypatia 22 (3):218-222.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Carl Hoefer

Abstract: Why women evolved to have orgasms – when most of their primate relatives don’t – is a persistent mystery among evolutionary biologists. In pursuing this mystery, Elisabeth Lloyd arrives at another: How could anything as inadequate as the evolutionary explanations of the female orgasm have passed muster as science? A judicious and revealing look at all twenty evolutionary accounts of the trait of human female orgasm, Lloyd’s book is at the same time a case study of how certain biases steer science astray.
Over the past fifteen years, the effect of sexist or male-centered approaches to science has been hotly debated. Drawing especially on data from nonhuman primates and human sexology over eighty years, Lloyd shows what damage such bias does in the study of female orgasm. She also exposes a second pernicious form of bias that permeates the literature on female orgasms: a bias toward adaptationism. Here Lloyd’s critique comes alive, demonstrating how most of the evolutionary accounts either are in conflict with, or lack, certain types of evidence necessary to make their cases – how they simply assume that female orgasm must exist because it helped females in the past reproduce. As she weighs the evidence, Lloyd takes on nearly everyone who has written on the subject: evolutionists, animal behaviorists, and feminists alike. Her clearly and cogently written book is at once a convincing case study of bias in science and a sweeping summary and analysis of what is known about the evolution of the intriguing trait of female orgasm.

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Young, Iris Marion, , . Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment, Motility and Spatiality
1980, Human Studies 3 (2): 137-156
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Added by: Harry Lewendon-Evans, Contributed by:

Summary: This paper seeks to begin to fill a gap that exists both in existential phenomenology and feminist theory. It traces in a provisional way some of the basic modalities of feminine body comportment, manner of moving, and relation in space. It brings intelligibility and significance to certain observable and rather ordinary ways in which women in our society typically comport themselves and move differently from the ways that men do. In accordance with the existentialist concern with the situatedness of human experience, [Young] make[s] no claim to the universality of this typicality of the body comportment of women and the phenomenological description based on it. The account developed here claims only to describe the modalities of feminine bodily existence for women situated in contemporary advanced industrial, urban, and commercial society.

Comment: This paper provides a clear and useful introduction to the notion of gendered bodily experience. It would be a useful introductory piece for any course that studies the role of the body more generally, such as courses on phenomenology, philosophy of race/gender, or issues in cognitive science.

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