Dear Men: We Need to Talk About How Y’all Talk About Women

And we definitely need to talk about how you’re talking to men.

Ah-ah-ah – I see you sidling towards the door, thinking that you don’t need to read this because you’d never talk about women like whatever I’m about to say. Stay put, Mister. Because I do mean you.

Yes, you. Yes, Mr. I-Respect-Women. Mr. I-Would-Never-Say-Harmful-Shit. Mr. I-Would-Never-Ever-Be-Like-Trump. I’m not just talking to the men who say misogynistic shit today. I’m talking to you. Take a seat. We’ve got some hard things to discuss.

Content note for: Sexual assault, misogyny, sexism, denial, rape culture

First off, let’s address this I-would-never thing you’ve got going on. Because chances are, you would. Chances are, you do. It may be hard to hear, but listen to what happened to Erin Branscombe not too long ago. Continue reading “Dear Men: We Need to Talk About How Y’all Talk About Women”

Dear Men: We Need to Talk About How Y’all Talk About Women

All Cis Men Need To Read This, Right Now

This is important. I want all of the cis men who clicked on this post to read this exchange. Start with this photo and click all the way through to the end. (Source:  my excellent Facebook friend Anna Jobsis).

Content note for sexual assault, victim-blaming bullshit, rape culture apologia.

If you think Carlos is making really good points and sounds really reasonable, you need to start educating yourself on what rape culture is. Now. Before you open your mouth to advise a woman on what she should or shouldn’t do. Before you nod along with your fellow dudes while they’re explaining this shit at women. Before you ever say one more fucking word, shut up and do some learning.

And keep in the forefront of your mind that what I’m saying applies to trans women, genderfluid, and nonbinary people just as much. Cis and trans women, along with people coded or read as women or femme, but who don’t identify as women, all have to deal with all this shit. And it’s constant. Carlos is just one vivid example in an endless septic ocean of them. Carlos is just one guy among millions who thinks he’s a nice dude and helping women out, but who is actually throwing toxic sludge all over them.

And you, dear reader, may also be a Carlos. I know you don’t mean to be. But you’ve been socialized that way, and most of you haven’t spent much time rethinking your assumptions. I know this because I was once a Carlita. I absorbed those same toxic rape culture messages and passed them on. Yes, women can perpetuate this shit, too, but it’s mostly men doing it, and we need you to stop. It can be done. If I can learn it, anyone can.

Image is the boss from Office Space. Caption says, "Yeah, if you could stop promoting rape culture, that'd be great."

So let’s go back through Carlos’s lecture. As you’re reading, ask yourself some questions: Continue reading “All Cis Men Need To Read This, Right Now”

All Cis Men Need To Read This, Right Now

Catch me on Atheists Talk Radio Tomorrow Morning!

Holy schinoozles, people, it’s official! I’m gonna be on Atheists Talk in the ay-em! It’s tomorrow! You should totally listen!

Dana Hunter is a science blogger at Scientific American and a blogger at The Orbit network. On her Rosetta Stones blog she is known for her writing about Mount St. Helens, her travel blogs about her geological adventures, women in science, and other gneiss schist. At her blog En Tequila es Verdad she writes about atheism, religious extremism, the implicationas and effects of religion on women, and many topics relating to social justice.

Dana joins us this Sunday to discuss her recently published book, Really Terrible Bible Stories – Volume 3: Leviticus….

Join us this Sunday as we discuss God’s instructions for BBQs, holy laundry, nutritional dictates, slavery and other instances of horrifying divine micromanagement.

It’s going to be awesome. And you don’t even have to get up early on a Sunday morning to do it! Instructions for getting the podcast or listening online are here.

Talk to you soon!

Image is Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 3: Leviticus cover. The background is black. Really Terrible is in slasher-style red font, Bible Stories in a white gothic script beneath. The painting beneath it is Tissot's "The Dead Bodies Carried Away," which shows two men in white robes carrying bodies over their shoulders out of the Israelite camp. Below is vol. 3: Leviticus in the same gothic script.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 3: Leviticus is now available worldwide at Amazon:

United States  ♦  Canada  ♦  Mexico  ♦  Brazil  ♦  United Kingdom  ♦  Germany  ♦  France  ♦  Spain ♦  Italy  ♦  Netherlands  ♦  India  ♦  Japan  ♦  Australia

Pick up your copies today!

Catch me on Atheists Talk Radio Tomorrow Morning!

“Let Us Not be a Community Who Says, ‘We got ours so fuck you.'”

Gregory Gadow gave me his kind permission to repost his very incisive Facebook post here. This is so important.

A friend of mine made a very good point. Thanks, Calvin Hipps!

Dan White murdered San Francisco mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978. Charged with two counts of first degree murder, he was eventually convicted on two counts of “voluntary manslaughter,” the lightest possible sentence given the evidence. It was later shown that the jury gave him that sentence because A) White had been a SF police officer, and thus jurors presumed that he was acting against evil-doers, and B) because Supervisor Milk was an openly gay man.

When the verdict was handed down on the afternoon of May 21, 1979, the gay community went ballistic. San Francisco’s gay community had long been a target of SFPD’s bigotry, and many saw this verdict as police literally getting away with murdering community members. What originally started as an angry but peaceful protest quickly changed when the police tried to stop the demonstration. Police were attacked, and damage was done to SF government buildings. After several hours, the rioting subsided.

Black and white image shows a ghostly building with high windows and balconies in the background. There is a line of skinny trees whose trunks end in a puff of branches. Below the trees is a line of silhouetted figures standing in a line. The scene is lit by a streetlamp whose light seems to be diffused by smoke or mist.
Rioters outside San Francisco City Hall the evening of May 21, 1979, reacting to the voluntary manslaughter verdict for Dan White, that ensured White would serve only five years for the double murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. Image and caption courtesy Daniel Nicoletta (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Then the police staged a massive round of retaliatory raids in the Castro District. Cops in riot gear swarmed into gay bars and assaulted patrons, without even a pretext of claiming the mantle of law.

Sound like anything in recent events? Continue reading ““Let Us Not be a Community Who Says, ‘We got ours so fuck you.’””

“Let Us Not be a Community Who Says, ‘We got ours so fuck you.'”

What We Must Do

It’s been a horrific week for police violence. Alton Sterling was murdered for the “crime” of selling CDs. Philando Castile was murdered for the “crime” of exercising his Second Amendment rights and driving while black. Castile’s slaughter was so egregious that even many of the white folk who typically find some infinitesimal fault on the part of the black man that excuses his extrajudicial execution have to admit this one was pure, undeserved slaughter. Not that they haven’t tried. They always try. It can never be the police who are to blame.

And as protestors peacefully gathered, a sniper in Dallas shot down cops and protestors alike, in a city that was trying to get it right. This will be all the excuse some people need to declare war upon people of color in this country. Not that a clandestine war wasn’t already being waged. Black folk in this country might as well be living in a war zone, see. They’re certainly dying as if they are.

And you may be feeling helpless right now. You may have no idea what to do with your rage and sorrow and pain. If, like me, you’re white, you may not know what do to with the power invested in you by the color of your skin.

Are you ready to listen? Because people of color are telling us what they need. This is what we must do. Continue reading “What We Must Do”

What We Must Do

The Orlando Shooting: How You Can Help

A single man with an assault rifle and a handgun walked into a queer nightclub in Orlando, FL and killed at least 50 people and wounded at least 53 more. He deliberately targeted people for their sexuality: the fact that he struck on a night celebrating Latinx queerness means his victims were overwhelmingly people of color.

My Facebook feed is filled with pain and fear and sorrow and despair. But it’s also filled with wisdom. If you’re a hetero cis person, there are things you and I should be doing right now. Continue reading “The Orlando Shooting: How You Can Help”

The Orlando Shooting: How You Can Help

Indiana Is Poised to Strip Away Abortion Rights – And Make You Pay For Fetal Funerals

Before we begin, I have a confession to make: I was born in Indiana. I don’t like to talk about it. We moved away when I was three, and I’ve always been grateful for the choices my parents made. I’m sure some people love the state, but while there are tiny bits in my memory that stand out as fun or pleasant, most of it is a foreboding, empty gray abyss, and it’s full of cornfields. When my mom moved back there and tried to get me to follow her, I laughed bitterly. I loved her, but there was no way I’d ever be able to live there.

I’ve never been more happy about that decision than now. See, I’m a uterus-bearing American of reproductive age who doesn’t want to bear children under any circumstances, ever. In Indiana, they have decided to take that decision away from people like me. They’ve decided to take it away from people who want a kid someday, but not this soon. They’ve decided to take the choice away from people who are in a dangerous relationship and will be trapped by a child. They’ve decided to take it away from people who are already unable to feed the children they have, much less a new mouth. But they’ll generously allow people who became pregnant through rape or incest to abort, and they’ll even allow people to have an abortion if the pregnancy is putting their life at risk, but even if you fall into one of those categories, you’ll still be forced to listen to the fetal heartbeat first, and wait 18 hours, and other assorted things meant to strong-arm you into changing your mind.

And then, if you’ve stayed the course and cleared all the hurdles put in your way by the patronizing assholes of the Indiana legislature, you’ll be forced to have a funeral.

CONTENT NOTE: medical images of human fetuses below the jump.

Continue reading “Indiana Is Poised to Strip Away Abortion Rights – And Make You Pay For Fetal Funerals”

Indiana Is Poised to Strip Away Abortion Rights – And Make You Pay For Fetal Funerals

We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere

I came across this remarkable way to challenge racism in our public spaces, and now I want this to be a thing in Seattle.

The Yarn Mission seeks to “use yarn to promote action and change to eradicate racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression”. The group, founded by CheyOnna Sewell, a PhD student in criminology, seeks to spark conversation about race and police brutality by engaging with curious passersby as they knit, all while providing a comforting activity for beleaguered activists.

“As a black woman, you’re invisible,” says Taylor Payne, a member of the group. “But knitting makes people stop and have a conversation with you. If someone asks me what I’m doing, I say, ‘I’m knitting for black liberation.’ Sometimes they respond and sometimes I just get ‘Oh, my grandma knits,’ like the person didn’t hear me. But at least it opens the door to talking about my experiences.”

Continue reading “We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere”

We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere

Seattle-Area Fundraiser for Fire Relief

It’s been a vicious year for fires in the northwestern United States. It seems like everything east of the Cascades is on fire up here, and we just lost three firefighters and had another few wounded when the blaze they were battling took an unexpected turn. We’re getting our asses kicked, and no mistake.

Many of us may feel helpless in the face of these infernos, but there are things we can do even if we’re not able to personally fight the fires.

If you’re in the Seattle area, Red Onion Burgers is having a fundraiser on Thursday:

Eat at Red Onion Burgers on Thursday, August 27th between 11am and 8pm and help raise money to aid those impacted by the Chelan Reach Complex / Wolverine / Black Canyon Fires.

Red Onion Burgers will be donating 100% of the cash tips, 50% of the credit card tips and 50% of the total sales. In addition, local firefighters will be present at the Albertson’s to help raise funds and collect food donations.

Money raised will go to the Community Foundation of North Central Washington whose relief fund benefits local families impacted by the fires in and around the Chelan Valley.

And there are other ways to help fire victims listed here.

I know most of the west is on fire, and likely some other countries, too, so if there are local fundraisers going on for your state/province/etc., please do let me know and I’ll add them.

Image shot at night shows a fire truck stopped with its lights on near a burning field. The red brake lights and the glowing orange flames in the darkness, illuminating roiling smoke, is eerie.
Fire crews work through the night at the Blue Creek Fire. The Blue Creek Fire located east of Walla Walla, WA began on Jul. 20, 2015 and has consumed an estimated 6,004 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Image and caption courtesy USFS.
Seattle-Area Fundraiser for Fire Relief

“I Am Too Busy Scratching the Ribcage of a Monster That May Never Set Me Free”

I’d like you to take two minutes to listen to this poem by Ashlee Haze. Just two minutes.

There’s a rough transcript at the bottom of this post if you’re unable to watch videos, but please do watch if you can: no typed words can capture the intensity of her voice. Continue reading ““I Am Too Busy Scratching the Ribcage of a Monster That May Never Set Me Free””

“I Am Too Busy Scratching the Ribcage of a Monster That May Never Set Me Free”