Monday, June 29, 2009

Wed Feb 18--Tapping Philosophy: Womanhood

Hi Tapping,
Thanks to everyone who came out last week for culture. I thought we had a great discussion. Christina is responsible for this week's topic on womanhood, in response to manhood. I said that she should've called it manhood pt II but she didn't like that. We'll be meeting at 7:30 for rides in Connelly and at 8:00 at Yeat's Pub in Ardmore. Hope to see you there!

Love and Peace,

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Christina Bernardo
Date: Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 5:29 PM
Subject: Is Philosophy a Boys Club?
To: ""

"Philosophy is a boy's club" Frank Prior

"For a long time I have hesistated to write a book on woman. The subject is irritating, especially to women; and it is not new" Simone DeBeauvoir in the Introduction to the Second Sex

"The offspring produced by a female are sometimes female, sometimes male, because the female is as it were a deformed male."

"The rule of the soul over the body is natural, [which makes] the male by nature superior and the female inferior; the one rules and the other is ruled. The courage of man is shown in commanding, of a woman in obeying."
Aristotle On the Generation of Animals

Last semester, as many of you probably remember, we had a topic on manhood. I think its about time we have a tapping on 'the second sex'. To be a woman has meant a number of different things throughout history. Some of the great canonical philosophers have spoken of the role of women as a natural inherent trait rather than a conventional post. Aristotle claimed women lacked the ability to deliberate while Rousseau claimed that Sophie, the ideal woman was best suited for household work, such as cooking, cleaning, and tending to the children. Rousseau suggested that women should be educated in conversation and socialability rather than philosophy or science. Kant claimed that a woman who studies the Greeks might as well grow a beard.

Where are we, as people, currently standing on this issue? Has our society outgrown the petty expectations derived from supposed natural ability, or not? Or am I jumping the gun, perhaps women are, by nature, more apt to certain roles rather than others- but how do we make this distinction? And how much of these characteristics (weak, submissive, body oriented, emotional, etc.) shape the roles women play as mothers, professionals, students, etc. Are women still in the position of 'the second sex' ? Are these societal roles chosen, encouraged, or expected? Do women have a naturally submissive role in social relations? Is this reflective of the society we live in? Are women a minority in number of voices (as we see in philosophy) though not in actual number of people? And why is it frustrating to talk about the conventional standards of womanhood?


"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
-Jacques Anatole Fran├žois Thibault
(from The Red Lily, 1894)

Francis Prior
Villanova Philosophy Club Website
Villanova Phi Sigma Tau Minutes:
Villanova Phi Sigma Tau Conference Website:

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