I for one welcome our new Lesbian Overlords

Did you know that there is a “Lesbian Apocalypse” coming? No? I didn’t either, but apparently there is one. From Wipedia:

Catherine “Cathy” Brennan is an attorney in the state of Maryland and a prominent supporter of “trans-critical” radical feminism. Her main accomplishment in this regard is coauthoring a letter to the United Nations, insisting that trans people’s gender identity should not be legally recognized and protected. She is also a frequent columnist for Baltimore OUTloud’s LGBTQ blog section, which she uses to warn of the coming “lesbian annihilation” at the hands of “the queers” and trans people and stridently argue against legislation protecting gender identity.

I received a note from Secular Women linking to a petition to the Southern Poverty Law Center asking for the SPLC to treat Brennan’s organization as a hate group. Having never heard of trans-critical radical feminism, I worried at first that this was one of those awful breakdowns among allies (in this case, feminists) over how some issue or another is being handled, which had escalated to the extreme outcome of labeling a group with different views but within the same movement as a hate group. This didn’t seem like something Secular Women would do. So, I followed the links and read up on it a bit, and apparently this is a thing. Here’s the letter I got from Secular Women:

Southern Poverty Law Center:
Monitor “Gender Identity Watch”
as a Hate Group

As a feminist organization, Secular Woman promotes gender equality. We stand against and combat sexism, hate, intolerance, and misogyny.

Transgender women are women.

Cisgender women are women.

We do not, in any way, view the existence of transgender women, genderqueer individuals or transgender men as a threat to the safety of women, female identity, or the goals of feminism.

As intersectional feminists we acknowledge the privilege that cisgender people experience. We aim to dismantle the axis of oppression that this represents.
Unfortunately, not all who claim the label “feminist” agree with us. They do not represent us and we reject their actions and views as unethical and devoid of reason.
We stand in opposition.

Members of our community have been targeted by trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs). Personal information such as former names, current legal names, and photographs have been compiled and displayed on the website “Name the Problem”. Several of the entries are self-attributed to “Pegasus” (“PegasusBug” is a pseudonym of Cathy Brennan, the head of Gender Identity Watch). This information was presented alongside reports describing rapists and batterers of women.

Countless others, including members of transgender advocacy groups have reported similar treatment, as well as other alarming behavior, such as Cathy Brennan contacting employers, schools and medical doctors of transgender women, girls and young men.

This is unacceptable.

It is anathema to our vision of a future in which women have the opportunities and resources they need to participate openly and confidently in every aspect of society.
Cathy Brennan’s tactics, as described, are reprehensible, reckless, and irresponsible as they have the potential to embolden violence and harassment of those she targets and to result in job loss and other discrimination informed by the open knowledge of the target’s transgender status.

Refusal to afford transgender women inclusion, safety, and civil rights is a form of misogyny that is antithetical to feminism.

We invite fellow feminists and secularists, as well as others concerned, to proactively affirm the inclusion of all women as women. Condemn the toxic ideologies used to rationalize hate, fear, and discrimination based on gender.

Stand with us in petitioning the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to track the activities of Cathy Brennan’s Gender Identity Watch as a hate group in accordance with SPLC’s stated mission.

Signed in Solidarity,

Secular Woman
Stop Abuse Online
Skepchick

Trinity Aodh, Melody Hensley, M. A. Melby, Veronica K. Berglyd Olsen, Kim Rippere, Mary Ellen Sikes, Dana Lane Taylor

Please sign the petition here!

Click through to follow the documenting links. Sign the petition.

DJ Grothe vs. Tony Stark

I think the DJ Grothe thing has run its course. DJ issued a lengthy apology to Rebecca Watson on Skepchick. The apology has some good things in it, DJ has said some of the proper, need-to-be-said things. But as has been pointed out by both Rebecca and Stephanie (see also this) with added commentary by Jason, DJ’s comment…what it said, how it was said, what wasn’t said, to whom it was said, and to whom it was not said, among other things…underscored rather than diffused the problem. Now, he should be prepared to take the next needed steps.

Dr Phil tells us that there comes a time in many relationships for one person to be a hero. It is now time for DJ Grothe to be the hero. Pursuant to this, I give you … DJ Grothe, Joining The Avengers for a Trial Period: (more…)

Perhaps it is time that DJ Grothe resign as the President of the JREF

DJ Grothe has done some great things and he’s taken the James Randi Educational Foundation a long way; he’s made an important mark and we should all appreciate him and his prior efforts. Hell, we should create an award named after him and give it to people every year. Thank you DJ Grothe for all you’ve done for the skeptic movement. (more…)

Pope: American Nuns are Radical Feminists

When I first heard this, I heard “none” instead of “nun” and thought “well, yeah!”

Then I realized that it was “nun” … and actually, I have the same reaction.

I come from a long line of nuns and priests, and I’m sure my nun-ancestors are not exactly radical feminists, but a lot of other nuns I know are. In fact its been a long time since I’ve met a nun who was not. That probably says more about who I hang out with than it does about nuns in general.

The point of this news, however, is seen in the papal comment that “radical feminism” will “risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father who sent his Son for the salvation of the world.”

So, there you have it. Officially, the main form of Christianity world wide is explicitly anti-feminist, which makes it anti women.

Soon after releasing the report, the pope had his feet washed by a prostitute.

Oklahoma Senator Tries Out Reductio Curse

Constance Johnson is a member of the Oklahoma Senate, where there is currently debate over a personhood bill, and she is also a Wizard. You can imagine what the personhood bill is all about. The Senate bill 1433 would legally define a person as a single egg cell fertilized by a sperm, and of course, the two cells that divides into would also be a person. And the four cells that divides into as well, and so on and so forth. You can see the flaw, of course; What happens when the dividing cells become twins? Does that make the twins one person? Can they split their tax liability evenly down the middle? Can they marry separate individuals later in life or not? Have they even thought of these things?

Ruductio!

Reductio!

Anyway, Constance Johnson understands this bill better than the people who introduced it, and applying the fierce logic of reductio ad absurdum (which is a spell learned in Wizard school) to add the amendment to the bill depicted in the photograph provided here.

It inserts the phrase “provided, however, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

Obviously this is a first draft of the amendment because it is impossible for a man to deposit one sperm at a time. The amendment must be rewritten to read: “provided, however, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against a whole bunch of unborn children.”

This is not the first time we’ve seen the Reductio Curse used against a Republican bill (something similar happened recently in Indiana with a Creationist bill). And I hope it is not the last.

Senator Johnson writes up her experience here.

The More Than Men Project

The More than Men Project is an effort initiated by the Women Thinking Free Foundation to develop a space where men, often white and/or straight and/or Of Priv, could spend a little time and energy telling their fellow Hetero-occidentaloid-Y-chromosomists something useful or interesting about diversity, and to encourage the promotion of said diversity.

When I was asked to contribute to this project (which was being cooked up last July) I had some concerns. I wasn’t sure if I needed a space to do this, since I have a widely read blog in which I am constantly telling my fellow Hetero-occidentaloid-Y-chromosomists how to behave, and they pretty much do whatever I tell them to do. Hetero-occidentaloid-Y-chromosomists are so compliant and all. Since then, I’ve gotten Yet Another Blog where I can do even more of this behavioral mentoring, so, I thought, why should I bother with another effort like this. Just let the other guys have a space.

But then I decided to take advantage of the offer to try something entirely different. The project is self explanatory, but since you may need some encouragement to pay attention to it, here are the opening sentences in the first of three videos I made for More than Men:

The More Than Men Project is a campaign by the Women Thinking Free Foundation. This is for white men (usually straight , often privileged, etc.) to take an active role in diversity advocacy. This is my chance to tell my fellow white guys what I think about what they should be thinking.

But I get to do that all the time. So, I thought I’d ignore the instructions and try something a little different.

A short memo …. with attachments. It is the attachments that matter.

Dear Straight White Male with Privilege:

This is not hard.

You just need to pay attention to the voices in your head. You supply the head. Attached, please find the voices, in three parts, which I call Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Part I: Sheril Kirshenbaum, Desiree Schell, and Jafsica.

Part II: Asha.

Part III: C. Anderson, Stephanie Zvan, Natalie Wagner, Serena

I would appreciate it if you’all would consider self censoring your comments, and trying to put encouraging or positive comments on the More than Men site posts, the YouTube videos, or my Scienceblogs copy of this post, and if you have criticisms or can’t stop yourself from being a dick, put those comments below, on this version of this post. Thank you in advance for that.

Females Are Not welcome in the Atheist Community

Females, especially younger women and girls, are not as welcome in the Atheist Community as are men. There are indeed many women who are atheists, and many of those are quite active. But to be a woman active in the atheist community, two things are almost always, I think, true: 1) You are not allowed to forget that you’re a woman before you’re an atheist, and not in a good way but in a stereotyped, sexualized, objectified and exploited way; and 2) one of your main jobs as an activist, blogger, writer, or speaker, may very well be dealing with sexism not only generally but in your particular field of interest as well.

——–
Clarification

I would not have thought this necessary but I was wrong. A “Community” is like a neighborhood. Pertinent to the present discussion, no matter how many female-welcoming (or even indifferent) people live there, and no how many non sexist, non misogynist, pro-feminist, female-friendly places, subgroups, places to go or places to be or things to do there may be in that neighborhood, if many of the street corners and parks and other public spaces are habitually occupied by groups of dick-headed immature women hating misogynists who harass and bother and abuse any women that show up in that neighborhood, then the neighborhood is not welcoming to women. A community is like a neighborhood, and our community (of atheists or skeptics) is a lot like that neighborhood I just described.
——–

And what I’m saying here applies as well to the Skeptical Community, quite possibly because the Atheist and Skeptics communities have quite a bit of overlap.

I have proof of that last point: That female atheists address issues related to sex and sexism more than men. I looked at the last three substantive (i.e., not a random YouTube clip) posts of all the male bloggers at FTB.com and the last six of all the female bloggers (there are so many more male bloggers that I was worried about sample size) and categorized them. Here’s the chart I came up with:

female bloggers blog more about sex, sexism, and glbta issues

Bloggers by type vs. topics blogged, FTB.com, recently


(more…)

The Damage Richard Dawkins Did

And now, the final installment in this series of posts (the previous installment is here).

Picture of Richard Dawkins Scowling

This is Richard Dawkins. There are about 27,000,000 atheists and other sorts of non-believes in the United States.

Richard Dawkins didn’t do any damage to himself. Most of the people who were going to buy his books will still buy his books, he’ll continue to pack lecture halls as he travels around giving talks, and he’ll continue to have the kind of influence that he has had for several years now, which is by and large a very positive one, on the way society approaches things like religion, atheism, and skepticism.

But he has probably lost some colleagues. His treatment of both the issues surrounding Elevator Gate and his treatment of his colleague Rebecca Watson was appalling. And yes, Rebecca and Richard were colleagues. The two of them have traveled similar circuits, sat on panels together, and so on. Despite what star struck fans may think, Richard Dawkins does not actually live in an utterly different world than the rest of us. He still puts his pants on one leg at a time, and he is still part of a community of people doing similar, and overlapping things. (more…)

We’ve Talked About This Enough, We Can Shut Up Now (Or, Don’t Feed the Trolls)

Continuing from the previous conversation

I’ve written about this before (Shut up about everything all the time unless what you have to say is HITLER!!!!) and it relates to the previously discussed topic, as Godwin-Scaping is a way to tell someone to stop talking. Richard Dawkins told Rebecca Watson that her comments were not about the repression of women by Islam, therefore she should shut up. Numerous Nuclear Power Apologists have told Ana Miller and me to Shut Up about Fukushima because more people die in automobile accidents world wide every day than were killed by radiation at that power plant. Recently, Rebecca Watson wrote about how being told to “not feed the trolls” might sound like friendly and helpful advice (and may even be meant that way sometimes) but it is actually just another way to tell people to shut up. (more…)

Calibrating and Recalibrating Sex Positiveness

Continuing our discussion (see Making sense of our fights on the Internet, Power and Presence on the Internet and Elsewhere, and A Spectrum as a Slippery Slope and OMG Hitler is a Nazi!!!!) …

I was at a local event recently where a group of sex-positive third-wave feminist women had traditionally used a certain amount of overt sexuality to raise some money. They had been doing it for a few years and had gained a certain reputation and a certain following. A friend of mine who knew of their work but did not know them personally joined in during this most recent event and volunteered to work the door, as it were, to help to relieve some of the visitors and participants of a little cash (this was a fundraiser). I was not present for that part of the event but some of the people involved, who had been involved for several years, later said to me that they felt my friend had gone a bit over the top in her performance. I asked for a description of what concerned them, and when I heard it I had to laugh a little. You see, over the years, these women have changed their own act from a more to a less sexy parody version of themselves, toning it down and calibrating, for a number of different reasons. The young woman who joined them this year had calibrated her own approach to their reputation and not to their current approach. She was a blast, as it were, from the past, and that was a little shocking. (more…)

Making sense of our fights on the Internet

After the Big Bang, more or less evenly distributed stuff and energy somehow became slightly unevenly distributed, which caused a kind of Universal Angular Momentum to set in which gave early heterogeneity and structure to everything that existed. The lightest elements formed more or less spontaneously, but in order for heavier elements to form matter had to get sufficiently clumped in stars that massive gravitational forces changed light elements into heavy ones. Perhaps if the initial clumping and spinning of stuff in the very early universe was a little bit different, the whole universe would have come out differently, in detail if not in other more profound ways. Or at least, I’d be wearing a blue tee shirt instead of a black one right now and I’d be using vim instead of emacs to type this blog post.

When Elevatorgate happened, the ensuing Universe Known as Rebeccapocalypse was shaped and determined by a number of early events that have caused the final result … well, not the “final” result, but the result that we are stuck with as of this writing … but had those first few days of Internet activity been a little different things might have come out a different way.

Here I would like to do two things. (more…)

Saudi Arabia Takes An Important Step Towards the 20th Century

The Medieval Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a relatively progressive King, apparently. He decided that women would be allowed to vote. This is a good thing, but it does remind us of how backwards a nation can be. And makes us wonder if a country like Saudi Arabia should have ever been allowed in the UN to begin with.

From the wp:

Saudi King Abdullah announced Sunday that the nation’s women will gain the right to vote and run as candidates in local elections to be held in 2015 in a major advancement for the rights of women in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.

In an annual speech before his advisory assembly, or Shura Council, the Saudi monarch said he ordered the step after consulting with the nation’s top religious clerics, whose advice carries great weight in the kingdom.

Abdullah said the changes announced Sunday would also allow women to be appointed to the Shura Council, the advisory body selected by the king that is currently all-male.

Note that only local elections were mentioned. Women in Saudi Arabia still can’t drive, and are liable to be sentenced to death if they are raped, etc. etc. But this is an important step in the right direction.

Too Pretty for Homework and Allergic to Algebra

As you know, JC Penny recently offered a shirt that said “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” My solution was to offer an alternative tee shirt that said “Testosterone killed my brain” or words to that effect, but the Skepchicks went after JC Penny more directly and got the shirt shelved. Or should I say unshelved.

Now, Forever 21, which is apparently some sort of retailer, has an Allergic to Algebra shirt, also for girls.

This really pisses me off. I know smart young women who could have easily killed math but were culturally derailed by a combination of this sort of destructive iconography, teachers who shared this sexist and incorrect view with the evile marketing mavens at JC Penny and Forever 21, and other related factors. This sort of thing causes damage. This has nothing to do with free speech. It has everything to do with causing real social damage to make a buck.

JC Pennys and Forever 21 have a right to do this asinine thing. And the rest of us have a right to complain loudly, not shop there, and do other things that they may not like.

Make me a promise: If you are in a family that exchanges gifts for the holidays, including gift cards, and there is any chance that someone might shop at either of these stores, please put the word around that you would strongly prefer that you and members of your family not receive anything from those establishments this year, and of course, don’t go there yourself. I’m not talking about a boycott here (though that would be fine). I’m just talking about letting your friends and relatives know that you have a conscience and that they should check in on theirs as well, and send a little business in a somewhat different direction.