If you do philosophy and haven’t yet read Rebecca Schuman’s wild attack job on the discipline in Slate, please read it through first. It gets worse as it goes on: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/02/sexual_harassment_in_philosophy_departments_university_of_colorado_boulder.html
Slate has millions of readers, and those readers have tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of friends. How many of them will now mentally associate philosophy with a ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ environment of open ass-slapping and utterly shameless sexual harassment, overt racism and homophobia, and old boys sitting around talking about the good old days before the ‘ethnics’ arrived?
I’m not exaggerating: all these things are stated in Schuman’s editorial.
What sort of effect will this have on university graduates with ‘BA in Philosophy’ on their resumes?
More narrowly, will this article lead to more, or fewer, women entering philosophy?
For years now, the unquestioned wisdom has been that the best way to attract and retain more women in philosophy is to accept without question the worst portrayals of sexism in the profession and to then to repeat and broadcast those portrayals — however weakly some may be substantiated, and however unclear the details — as widely as possible to raise awareness. Perhaps, at some point soonish, we should pause for a moment to carefully consider the wisdom of that approach before we dig ourselves in any deeper. At the very least, isn’t this something we should discuss?