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Sexism and Obituaries

[ 7 ] March 15, 2012 |

As someone who is marginally obsessive about reading the New York Times obituaries, and not only to track my Death List, I found this discussion of sexism within the NYT obituary column interesting. Focusing on the case of philosopher Ruth Barcan Marcus, it seems that a lot of far more obscure male philosophers have received obituaries where she has not. The NYT obituary editor simply claims the preponderance of men is because these people grew up at a time when men had more opportunities for public prominence. While that may be true, it can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Comments (7)

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  1. mark f says:

    If women want respect on the obit pages, why don’t they EARN it the way men do: by DYING!

  2. joejoejoe says:

    This (““…the majority of people who are dying these days – that is, older people – grew up at a time when achievement and fame were far more accessible to men than to women.”) is called catapulting the bullshit forward.

    • commie atheist says:

      Yes, there have been no women of achievement and/or fame in the entire world since Eleanor Roosevelt, at least. And she had to marry some dude to get that.

  3. dr_eats_babies says:

    Can’t we just posit that Kripke’s eventual NYT obit will be a rigid designator for a RBM obit?

  4. somethingblue says:

    Well, at least we don’t have to wade through any more of her stupid columns. If it weren’t for David Ignatius’s devastating take on neo-Hegelian ethics I’d have stopped reading the Post long ago.

  5. Saffi says:

    “The NYT obituary editor simply claims the preponderance of men is because these people grew up at a time when men had more opportunities for public prominence. While that may be true, it can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

    It also doesn’t answer the question of why a woman who does achieve prominence still doesn’t get the same recognition as men.

  6. [...] Obscure male philosophers make the New York TImes obit page, but prominent women philosophers sometimes get left off. [...]

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