Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘DoubleX’

Experts and Political Life

I was listening to the DoubleX podcast this morning because I promised awhile ago to blog my reflections on it more often.  They were talking about the “tampon tax” and how there’s a new “period feminism” about owning your period, and wow, isn’t it weird how menstruation seems to somehow capture men’s fears about women?  I was annoyed.  And I realized, I was annoyed for the same reasons from the last time I blogged about this podcast–they aren’t experts on a subject that does in fact have experts.  There are people (like my new fave, Helen King) who work in gender theory who talk about how menstruation going back to the ancient Greeks captures something of the male anxiety about women’s reproductive capacities and death–you know, the whole shedding of blood bit.

I haven’t been blogging much this month because I haven’t felt like I was an expert on the various issues and ideas that I’ve considered in the last month or so (though, I gotta tell you, once I thought about how I really should blog, all of a sudden, I could think of four different posts I had to write, so I think thinking-towards-the-blog is itself productive of thinking).  The political moment we live in seems to be one of a general disparagement of those who claim to be experts, and mocking the experts is something of an American pastime (consider the glee directed at Nate Silver’s fails).  I might be chagrined that Trump has benefited from the decline of respect for expert knowledge, but I share this skepticism of the rising class of technocrats.  When economists say we are the experts, we can fix the economy, and only we can figure it out because it is so complicated, I start to worry.  Whenever anyone says, this is just a matter of the right knowledge, and the one with the right knowledge, that is the person who gets to rule, their claim is more of a political one than an epistemological one. Read more

Between a Rock and a Power Pose: Neoliberal Empowering of Women

I was just listening to the latest edition of Slate’s DoubleX podcast, which I’ve decided to start blogging about more because at least once in every episode, I’m listening as I run, and I start actually talking out loud about why whatever they are saying is just so wrong-headed.  I’m the chair of the Gender Studies Minor at Wabash, and so I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about how to encourage students to take more courses in gender studies and to minor.  Listening to three women whose jobs are to think and write about gender but who often have underdeveloped or undertheorized accounts of the roots of gender inequality or the assumptions that support their analysis of gender inequality and possible recourses convinces me that students who have just some gender studies under their belt are both needed and highly marketable.  I hate to sell things in terms of marketability, but sometimes I do. Read more