Clothing is an endlessly fascinating topic. It’s a non-verbal language that can convey information about mood, attitudes, preferences, and most obviously sexuality. Its numerous parts, from the endless permutations of shoes to the variety of decorations a military officer can earn, offer a far deeper vocabulary and far more potent social commentary than many people realize. It’s a language where women have many more sentences they can form and words they can use than men do, and which is often dismissed as a frivolous, ultimately unimportant area of human experience…not at all coincidentally.
Women in Secularism 2 was an amazing event, and one whose various liveblogs I encourage people to read. The talks and panels were fantastic, despite being bookended by obnoxiously wrongheaded attacks on the conference’s very premise. Short review: would do again. And not just because fellow attendees and bloggers Kate Donovan, Jason Thibeault, Miri Mogilevsky, PZ Myers, and Ashley Miller kept the atmosphere awesome throughout.
Some things that were said, in particular by CFI-Transnational Director for Outreach Debbie Goddard, got me thinking. It’s no secret these days that organized atheism’s roots in predominantly white, male, well-educated circles has often made it tone-deaf to the different experiences, priorities, and demands of people outside those groups. It’s also no secret that some of these “outsiders” have far more to gain from abandoning religion than Western atheism’s white, male, well-educated old guard ever did or hopefully ever will.
Continue reading “Hispanic, Atheist, American, Me”
Africa looks to us as one continent, with perhaps the most recognizable shape of the lot and only the smallest land connection to Asia. But for all its geographic continuity, Africa contains a continental divide as profound as any ocean, and becomes a very different place on either side. Rather like Asia. And the north side had five wars last year. But what’s going on there?
The Sahara Desert separates North Africa from the rest of Africa, and its edge, the subtropical Sahel, translates as the “coastline of trees,” demarcating the ocean of sand. Where the region south of the Sahel mostly evaded foreign conquest until Rome’s successor empires found it, the north spent much longer under foreign heels. The ocean of sand proved a much more formidable barrier than the Mediterranean Sea.