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…)

Conferences are Workplaces for Many: that does not mean they are not fun

The Workplace (photo: deVos)

To me, a conference or convention has always been a workplace. And, to some extent the Internet is too. I’ve sat on enough committees, had enough diversity training, and been involved with enough academic (mostly) disputes (hey, I was part of the Most Dysfunctional Department in the Universe for a few years!) that I tend to see human interactions gone bad in the light of mediation, HR rules and potential intervention, policy, and so on. This is why I am not real sanguine on the idea of working out how young men can go to conferences and a) not act like idiots and at the same time b) get laid anyway. (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…)

Let’s treat women badly, destroy resources to help them, and help the Republicans take over everything state by state

Sexism and Atheism: mutually exclusive, surely?

A single woman went to an atheist conference in a country she was not familiar with. While there, she spoke at this conference, about how she does not like to be sexualised out of context. Basically, her talk was about how to avoid making women feel uncomfortable, so as to create a more welcoming atmosphere and get more women to enter the atheist community…..

…and then…

Women’s Center In New Orleans Destroyed By Arson, Third Incident in the South

Thanks to the fast response of all of our supporters across the country, many of you have already heard that our office was broken into last night and set on fire. The worst damage was concentrated in our community organizing and outreach office where we store all of the resources we use to educate our community. We lost everything…

…and then...

Sex and the Keynote

Then, at the very end, when everyone was preparing to leave, and I was packing up the Hug Me table, answering questions, and generally socializing with other speakers and attendees, thinking about how fat my check is going to be from Big Pharma when one man and his wife, whom I’ve become vaguely acquainted with on Facebook in the last week, approached my table.

…and then…
Dirty Tricks In Wisconsin: Secret Group Shuts Down Phones Of Scott Walker’s Democratic Challenger With Spam Texts

One week before Wisconsinites vote on whether or not to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), a conservative group is engaged in dirty tricks that have shut down the Democratic challenger’s campaign phones.
According to multiple reports, independently verified by ThinkProgress, the following spam text message is being blasted out to many Wisconsin cell phones:

…and then…

How To Make Diversity Happen

There are several very basic misunderstandings of how things work when it come to engendering and encouraging diversity, and I’d like to make a few comments with the aim of clearing them up, at least partially. One example of a misunderstanding came up a while back when some of us were complaining about the number of Y-chromosomes represented in Richard Dawkins’ otherwise excellent science anthology, and I have been reminded of it more recently by the inexplicable blogarrhea coming from the general direction of the former John Loftus, who can’t stop complaining about (… oh never mind, it does not matter). In the end, it is all about how we make selections, which are samples of a larger population, and we make selections quite often.
(more…)

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.

Women in Elevators and Black Guys Sneaking Up Behind You

As you may know, I wrote a post, Women in Elevators: A Man To Man Talk For The Menz, in which I wrote:

I am not afraid of dogs, and most women are probably not “afraid of men.”

Except I’m actually afraid of dogs and most women are justifiably afraid of men. If you get what I’m saying so far, go away and do something useful because this post is not written for you. If you are puzzled, especially about the idea of women being afraid of men at all, then sit down, shut up, and allow me to slap you across the chops a couple of times with a little reality because that is what you need. Assuming you are a sentient adult and still have no clue.

Several people got really really mad at me because of that post … I literally lost a few friends … and they got even madder when I pointed out that getting mad at me for that post increased in my mind the chance that you are likely to be abusive to women. Holy crap. Anyway, it all relates to the whole Schrödinger’s Rapist thing. (See this recent post at Camels with Hammers for more on that)

Anyway, one of the responses to that post (and other conversations going on at the time) was to point out that a man saying that he recognized that women could be justifiably nervous about running across an unknown male on a lonely street at night was equivalent to saying that all black people are criminals. Or something like that.

Well, my bloggy friend Ian Cromwell who it turns out is a big scary black guy has addressed that issue, skillfully and engagingly, in a post called “Shuffling feet: a black man’s view on Schroedinger’s Rapist.” Go have a look.

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


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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…)

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…)

Question: When is Rebecca Watson going to learn to shut up?

This is what Kurt Metzger wants Rebecca Watson to look like. Misogyny? Fetish? Hard to say.

Answer: When her burka comes back from the dry cleaners!

De-dum dum…..

Now THAT was funny. Unlike Kurt Metzger. Kurt has suggested that women can avoid feeling sexualized by sticking to purdah. That’s when a woman covers herself from head to toe, inclusively, with cloth. It is a practice of patrarchical, misogynist societies in which women are totally controlled by men, often subject to brutal violence, and even killed for not knowing when to shut up or breaking barbaric and absurd rules. Kurt Metzger is a comedian, so what he said can be taken as a joke. Whether or not it can be taken as funny is an otter matter.

(more…)