Tag Archives: Sexism

Safety Pins

OK, lets start out with the assumption that it does not matter who you or anyone else supported in the last election or what your politics are. If it happens, hypothetically, to be the case that a vulnerable person feels threatened by some sort of bully, wouldn’t you like that vulnerable person to know that you are an upstanding citizen of good character who is willing to stand up for that person? This is especially true if you are a teacher, or you work in a retail business, or any place where there might be bullies and victims.

One way to convey your willingness to stand up against bullies is to were some kind of button or pin or label or something that says something like “safety” on it. And when you think about it for a second, why not just wear a safety pin???

Most of the safety pins we had around the house are tiny and nobody would see them if I wore won. So I found some larger ones on line.

The really big ones start to look a bit less like regular safety pins. May be it is a good idea to wear two. I don’t know.

Anyway, here is what I found:

screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-9-15-35-amThis is a 3 inch steel safety pin, shiny, pretty obvious, large, and comes in a package of 122.

It is listed as: 12pcs Silvery Extra-large 3″ Steel Safety Pins – Blankets, Skirts, Kilts, Crafts

Something that big might have the downside of damaging the clothes it is attached to. On the other hand, it is so large you can probably sew it onto something, like a hat. Or attach it to your car. Let me know if you have ideas.

Here are some even larger ones, but they look even less like safety pins.

screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-9-19-05-amThen there are these, which look like normal safety pins, but they are not as large. Listed as: Set of 100 Extra-Large 1-3/4″ Safety Pins.

This might be ideal for a teacher, who might wear it as a lapel pin or small broach. It won’t be noticed from across the room at any particular instant, but the teacher’s students will by and by see it and know that this teacher is on their side in case of any bullying, regardless of what the nature of that bullying might happen to be.

By the way, the wearing of safety pins to signal opposition to racist abuses started in the UK after Brexit, according to this.

vintage-safety-pin-oversize-4-brass-tone-metal-horse-blanket-kilt-laundry-3934cba6cb537a05a15cae4fbc1d71a1

Dear Republican, time to make the change, because this is now you.

My current model (subject to change) puts Arizona in the Clinton Column. This is the prediction that has resulted in the most head scratching from those observing this, but it turns out that the Clinton Campaign seems to agree. Clinton surrogates, including Chelsea, Michele Obama, and Bernie Sanders will be in the state over the next few days.

Frankly, I worry about good people going to Arizona stumping for a Liberal Democrat. Perhaps that is because of my own experience living there for several weeks. During that time a local desperado was arrested and made a court appearance, and his family showed up, heavily armed, shot the judge, the DA, others, and took off with the accused to begin a days long chase ended by a shootout in the desert somewhere.

That visit was several years ago, a very short time after mobsters assassinated Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles because he was getting too close to something.

Some of my best friends are Arizonans. But among Arizonans are the usual deplorables who have no compunction against threatening to shoot children, blowing up reporters, and who knows what else. But, perhaps, the Arizonan version of this particular monster is somewhat better armed, has more ammo, or perhaps, a hair trigger.

Today, Arizona Republicans are threatening children, flashing guns at them, because those children have a vague (and, really, non existent) association with Clinton. And more.

Here, watch this:

Republicans need to realize that this is what they have become.

Individuals who still call themselves Republicans can no longer do the old “I’m one of the good ones” or “I’m a principled economic conservative but social bla bla bla” or “I’ve been a Republican since the old days when herp a derp a derp” and “Yadda yadda yadda my brains just melted through my sinuses and got all over my shirt because I’m so fucking stupid.” That sort of thing.

What Republicans need to realize now is that they are the people that threaten the children selling magazine subscriptions by flashing guns at them, they are the people that show up at opposing candidate’s rallies to harass the candidate for money, they are the people who cheer when the Republican candidate calls for the death of his opponent, and they are the people who condone sexual assault and racism.

It is not, dear Republicans true that YOUR PARTY does this, and you do not go along. Too much time has gone by without reform, without taking responsibility. You do this. This is you. You are this.

You are deplorable, even if you’ve not personally taken part.

You are the guy standing there in the locker room “going along” with the misogynist talk, maybe in a different context later that day, “going along” with the sexual assault itself. You are the guy out with his friends “going along” with racist talk. Maybe you are the guy who, later that night, watches silently when your friends carry out a hate crime. You are the guy “going along” when your candidate calls for the jailing or killing of his opponents, and you say nothing. Maybe later this week you will be the guy who says nothing as his political party produce and encourages the assassins who attack Chelsea Clinton, or Michelle Obama, or Bernie Sanders. If something like that happens this week in Arizona, that will be you, Republican. You.

Hopefully that won’t happen. But enough has happened already, and there is no way we can not expect more.

Threats were made against the staff of the Arizona Republic for asking their readers to vote for the most qualified candidate to ever run for the office of President of the United States. Threats are being made against the kids who sell that newspaper’s subscription door to door, or in grocery stores, and against others. The video above covers this, but there is more than mentioned there. The following is an extended excerpt from the comments of Mi Ai Parrish, president of the media company that owns The Arizona Republic:

What is the correct response to any of the vile threats against me? What is the correct response to the more disturbing actions and words directed against so many others?

I’ve thought about those responses a lot. Today, I offer you a few.

To the anonymous caller who invoked the name of Don Bolles … and threatened that more of our reporters would be blown up because of the endorsement, I give you Kimberly. She is the young woman who answered the phone when you called. She sat in my office and calmly told three Phoenix police detectives what you had said. She told them that later, she walked to church and prayed for you. Prayed for patience, for forgiveness. Kimberly knows free speech requires compassion.

To those who said we should be shut down, burned down, who said they hoped we would cease to exist under a new presidential administration, I give you Nicole. She is our editor who directs the news staff, independent of our endorsements. After your threats, Nicole put on her press badge and walked with her reporters and photographers into the latest Donald Trump rally in Prescott Valley, Ariz. She stood as Trump encouraged his followers to heckle and boo and bully journalists. Then she came back to the newsroom to ensure our coverage was fair. Nicole knows free speech requires an open debate.

To those of you who have said that someone who disagrees with you deserves to be punished, I give you Phil. Our editorial page editor is a lifelong Republican, a conservative and a patriot. He was an early voice of reason, arguing calmly that Donald Trump didn’t represent the values of the party he loves. Phil understands that free speech sometimes requires bravery.

To those of you who have spit on, threatened with violence, screamed at and bullied the young people going door-to-door selling subscriptions, I give you those dozens of young men and women themselves. Many sell subscriptions to work their way through school. Most were too frightened to share even their first names here. But they are still on the job. They know that free speech is part of a society that values hard work and equal opportunity.

To those of you who have called us hacks and losers with no purpose, and that we are un-American, I give you Dennis. He is the investigative reporter who first revealed the despicable mistreatment of our veterans at the VA hospital. His work triggered comprehensive debate and, one hopes, lasting change. He and others on his team have been hailed as heroes by veterans’ families across the country. Dennis knows that free speech is sometimes the only way to hold the powerful accountable.

To those of you who have invoked the name of longtime publisher Gene Pulliam, saying he is spinning in his grave, I give you his wife, Nina. After reporter Don Bolles was targeted by a bomber for doing his job, Nina Pulliam wept at his hospital bed. He died there slowly over 12 days. The Pulliams understood that free speech, and a free press, come at a cost.

Then, of course, there are the threats against the publisher today.

To those of you who have said Jesus will judge me, that you hope I burn in hell, that non-Christians should be kept out of our country, I give you my pastor grandfather. He was imprisoned and tortured for being a Christian, and suffered the murder of his best friend for also refusing to deny Christ. He taught all that freedom of religion is a fragile and precious thing.

Much as my grandfather taught, I also know there are a lot of things worth standing up for.

To those of you who said we should go live with the immigrants we love so much, and who threatened violence against people who look or speak a different way, I give you Jobe Couch.

He was the Army cultural attache and Alabama professor who sponsored my aunts and my mother when they arrived in America from Korea after World War II. There are dozens of descendants of his kindness. Citizens with college degrees, a dentist, lawyers, engineers, pastors, teachers, business owners, a Marine, a publisher and more. Uncle Jobe stood for the power of America as a melting pot. He taught me that one kind man can make a difference.

Dear Republican, this is you. Oh, and you are going to lose Arizona.

Women and Physics by Laura McCullough

Women and Physics by Laura McCulloch is a concise addition to the IOP Science Concise Physics series.

McCullough is an award winning Professor of Physics at UW Stout, and served for several years as the chair of that university’s Chemistry and Physics Department. Her research focuses on physics education, and gender and science. By both chance and design, I know a lot of people in this area, and I’m pretty sure IOP Science could not have had a better choice in authors for this important book.

How do you make a physicist? Well, you start with a child, and poke at it for 25 year or so until it become something, and maybe it will become a physicist. Meanwhile, the growing and developing individual passes through several stages. If the child is a male, those stages are called opportunities. If the child is a female, they are called filters.

McCullough writes,

When I walked into my physics graduate school on day one and there were twenty-four men and me, I knew that we had a problem. A problem begging for a solution, and because I am a scientist and what I do is solve problems, that moment was the beginning of what has been twenty years of research on gender issues in science for me. I don’t know all the answers, and I doubt the problem will be solved in my lifetime, but I know more than I knew then, and sharing that is part of the solution. Hence this book.

McCullough surveys and describes the filters, and the stages. She looks at how women are challenged at every stage. She describes what the field of Physics has done so far to remove gender biased barriers to women’s progress, and what needs to be done in the future.

I should probably mention that the sciences in general, the physical sciences in particular, and super-duper-especially physics (in its various forms) have a) not allowed women to progress fairly at any stage, ever, and b) still manage to have been shaped and influenced by the important work of a number of women. I’m sure you already knew that, but just in case, there it is.

This isn’t just about institutions. It is also about how individuals interact, about social and cultural stereotypes and biases, and individual decisions.

Here is how McCullough underscores the filtering process:

A little girl waits patiently at a science exhibit for another child to finish. Her brother butts in when he comes over to see it and she never gets her turn.

A young woman in high school physics is always relegated to be the record keeper and never gets a chance to play with the equipment.

A woman walks into her first day of physics graduate school and sees twenty four men and no other women.

A physics professor is called ‘Mrs’ by her students instead of ‘Dr’.

An assistant professor is placed on every departmental committee in order to
have female representation.

A woman makes a suggestion at her weekly research group meeting. Her idea is ignored. Three minutes later, a man makes the same suggestion and is applauded.

How many physicists are women? What does the process of filtering, which in some ways applies to all would-be physicists of any gender, do differently with women? How are these trends changing?

Two of McCullough’s core chapters are titled “What helps, what hurts: family and education” and “What helps, what hurts: family and career.”

These social and professional spaces are where the rubber meets the road. This is where, to use a physics metaphor for a social problem affecting physics, kinetic energy (desire and motivation) and friction (the status quo, power structures, the patriarchy) come into play.

Is there a “masculinist” and a “feminist” nature of science? This is the sort of question that can cause spit to come flying out of the heads of the most mild mannered seemingly non-sexist male scientists, especially in physics (many biological scientists know there are gendered features of science, at multiple levels). I suspect that in physics, this is mostly surficial gendering, which has profound impacts on women’s careers. In other sciences, human genders interact with other human genders, and non-human genders, in all sorts of ways. My own biological science with respect to humans had to be fully gender bound, as my field studies could only be done with male subjects. My female colleagues could only work with female subjects. I’m not sure if physicists have the same issues. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky (maybe) that in the naming of quantum-level aspects of matter-energy, male-female gender was never employed (as opposed to color, orientation, strength, etc.) Imagine what cold have been…

But I digress. McCullough writes about this aspect of gendering in the physical sciences as well, as ingress to the topic of covert discrimination.

I regard this book as something of a manual for women in physics, and for men who may be, should be, mentors. It is for teachers of physical science (or, really, all science) in high schools and colleges. These are all people who a) already feel they know what is going on with gender discrimination, but b) often mistakingly ignore that this is a separate subfield of study and no, they don’t. Parents of kids (boys and girls) who are leaning into the sciences would benefit too, but they are probably not that likely to read an academic book like this. Note to self: Suggest to Laura that she write a version of this for the families.

Women and Physics is available now, go read it.

What does sexism and harassment feel like to you?

I’m a guy who “gets” nasty threats from haters. I receive anti-atheist threats and icky comments, I receive a LOT of nasty stuff from climate science denialists (and that often comes along with bogus threats of law suits), I receive nasty emails and tweets from the sexist and racist SlymePitters and those folks seem to spend more time than is healthy for them making Greg-hating memes and videos and comments on web sites I would not normally visit.

So, I receive nasty horrid verbal attacks from people who hate me and what I stand for, but do I get these nasty horrid verbal attacks in the way that, for example, Rebecca Watson or Amy Roth or Jen McRight get them? Continue reading What does sexism and harassment feel like to you?

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: Continue reading DJ Grothe vs. Tony Stark

How many countries have ever had a woman leader?

First, a little Benazir Bhutto story, since we are on the subject of women leaders.

A friend of mine was to be on the podium of Harvard’s graduation the year Benazir Bhutto was to give the keynote, and heard this conversation. John Galbraith, the economists who was also a professor at Harvard, Bhutto’s former undergraduate advisor, and her friend, was also to be on the stage, and all the famous people who were to be on that stage were to walk out in procession. The Secret Service, who were protecting Bhutto who at the time was Head of State, arranged the people so that two or three guys, including Galbraith, were to walk out first, Bhutto in the middle, then a string of people afterwards. The idea was to put the person they were protecting in the middle.

Bhutto was fairly diminutive of stature, so she would have been hard to see and while this would enhance her safety, it would also have lessened the impact of hear appearance at this event, a former undergrad returning as a Prime Minister of a whole country. Galbraith, her friend and mentor, would have nothing of it. He insisted that he be in the front of the line. When the Secret Service agents, tough, numerous, steely eyed and, well, convincing as they tend to be, told him that this would be impossible, and that security concerns trumped appearances and that she would be walking out onto the stage in the middle of the procession, Galbraith, whom you may remember as having been a very tall and imposing figure with deep booming voice, turned to the head of the security detail and simply said, “Sir, I overrule you,” at which time the detail backed off, Bhutto, grinning, walked to the front of the line, and the procession began.

Apropos the question that has come up in recent years as to the meaning of, say, a “black” or a female president of the United States … as to whether we are “ready” or whether such a thing would advance civil rights in the US or whether such a thing would lead to polarizing opposition from racists or misogynous, we can look at what has happened with the presidency of Barack Obama (and see that all of the above are true) and also look at the place in the world of the United States. Many other nations have had women prime ministers, presidents, queens, or whatever. Is the United States in the majority yet, are we one of the few countries (or one of the few “Western” countries, or one of the few “democracies” or whatever) who has not had a female in charge?

Pursuant to this question I made a list (made = copied from the internet) of countries and put a star next to those which I think have had a woman leader. I’m sure I missed some. Have a look. Tell me which countries I should move from one list to another (or if I’ve left out some countries). There are complexities. Continue reading How many countries have ever had a woman leader?

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

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…