The Great Face-Paint Debate

Recently, the Internet (especially its feminist and feminist-flavored corners) has exploded over the topic of makeup. For many, the personal became political and vice versa. The aspect of the debate that seemed to have been missed by many in both the pro- and anti- makeup crowds is the variation in perceived cultural pressure regarding feminine conformity, including makeup.

In other words, that some women don’t feel forced to wear makeup doesn’t mean that others can’t feel that way.

Continue reading “The Great Face-Paint Debate”

The Great Face-Paint Debate
{advertisement}

On Brave and Paradigm-Enforcing Women

Warning: Very mild spoilers ahead. I promise I won’t discuss anything that you couldn’t discern from the trailer, or, at the very least, to not ruin the movie.

At long last, Pixar has put out a film featuring a female lead, and one with fantastic hair to boot. While other Pixar movies have involved female characters in important roles, this is the first to sport one as a protagonist. While it was panned by some critics for being not as good of a story as Pixar tends to produce, I would argue that it is a different kind of film rather than an inherently inferior one.

The conflict that Brave‘s protagonist, Merida, faces, is the not-uncommon one of being in rebellion against gender norms. Brave also features another common lady trope: Merida’s mother, Elinor, seems far more invested in enforcing said gender norms than Merida’s father, Fergus, does. Continue reading “On Brave and Paradigm-Enforcing Women”

On Brave and Paradigm-Enforcing Women

Let’s Stop the Abuse of Beer Terms

Ah, beer. Many a skeptical event centers around this lovely beverage. The world’s oldest recipe is for it. Some people claim, in a perhaps tongue-in-cheek fashion, that it saved civilization. People who we used to think were slaves were actually workers who were paid in it. It’s safer than water to drink, meaning that it was once a traveling must-have item.

The popularity and proliferation of American home, micro, and craft brewing has brought about something of a Silver Age for this ancient form of drinkable bread. There is a precise process and science to brewing, and related to them is a specific set of terms. It’s high time, then, that we stop saying completely silly and utterly useless things when we talk about it. Continue reading “Let’s Stop the Abuse of Beer Terms”

Let’s Stop the Abuse of Beer Terms

Sex and the Newbie

Our very own El Mofo laid the smackdown yesterday on how the overt sexualization of speakers is unprofessional, uncouth, and just plain unproductive in building a better skeptical community. Recently, the blogosphere has been abuzz with the issues that sexual harassment by speakers raise, such as disclosure and what can be done to improve the situation. I’ve written in the past about the type of sexual harassment that cannot be blamed on so-called “clumsy Romeos.”

Anytime the word “sexism” comes up in the skeptical and atheist community, someone will usually cite the Morgan Freeman Principle: we need to ignore it by not talking about it so that it will go away. Misogyny is clearly a pimple, so let us not inflame it further, yes? Ostriching (or not) is obviously a poor course of action to prescribe if the community ever hopes to be as better than mainstream society as many of its members consider themselves be.

The chilling effect goes further than just on improving the community as a whole, or ensuring that it is welcoming for prospective members: it can kill the spark of activism that exists in women. Continue reading “Sex and the Newbie”

Sex and the Newbie

Religion and Social Justice in America: A Secular Alternative?

This piece is adapted from my research and notes for the speech I gave this past Sunday, May 20th, at the Orange County Freethought Alliance Conference. The talk was entitled “Push and Pull: The Role of Religion in Social Justice.” The titles of the previous two pieces, as well as this one, have been altered thanks to the very apt observation by Pseudonym on the US-centric nature of my writing.

Progress on LGBT rights within religion aside, why has religion generally not been great for women’s and LGBT rights as opposed to those of African-Americans? Continue reading “Religion and Social Justice in America: A Secular Alternative?”

Religion and Social Justice in America: A Secular Alternative?

Religion and Social Justice in America: The Pull

This piece is adapted from my research and notes for the speech I gave this past Sunday, May 20th, at the Orange County Freethought Alliance Conference. The talk was entitled “Push and Pull: The Role of Religion in Social Justice.” The follow-up to this piece will address the present-day role of religion in social justice and whether there is a secular alternative.

There is no doubt that religion has hindered social justice movements and continues to do so. I am not saying that said movements were dependent on religion, that their achievements could not have been accomplished without religion, that religion didn’t have its place in hurting the efforts of the movements, or even that religion didn’t necessitate them in the first place. At the same time, to deny religion’s role in certain aspects of specific social justice movements is to ignore an incredibly important aspect of American history, especially for certain minority communities. Continue reading “Religion and Social Justice in America: The Pull”

Religion and Social Justice in America: The Pull

Is Cousin Marriage Incest?

If there were ever mixed news on the same-sex marriage front, there was yesterday: while North Carolina hasn’t legalized same-sex marriage, President Obama has come out in favor it.

While the most recent news stories are far from the only ones to have spawned the trend, comparing same-sex marriage to cousin marriage seems to be a common thing to do. Usually, the post is accompanied by commentary or leads to comments along the lines of “so marrying family members of the opposite sex and making mutated babies is cool, but marrying someone of the same sex isn’t?” Continue reading “Is Cousin Marriage Incest?”

Is Cousin Marriage Incest?

A Murder By Any Other Name?

Whenever I write about the realities of Islam in the United States, someone generally comes along and asks why I do not address the more contentious issues. While it is something of a Darfur vs. blowjobs, so to speak, there are, of course, issues that concern Muslims. One of the most talked-about is violence against women, specifically the crimes that are referred to as honor killings.

Continue reading “A Murder By Any Other Name?”

A Murder By Any Other Name?

The Troubling Case of Alexander Aan

Recently, a petition has been circulating in support of Alexander Aan, an atheist who is currently on trial in Indonesia for having spoken out in favor of atheism and against Islam. A Facebook page has also cropped up. Maryam Namazie has been covering the case from the beginning and has posted an interview with Aan. Additionally, Atheist Alliance International is collecting donations for his legal fund.

Continue reading “The Troubling Case of Alexander Aan”

The Troubling Case of Alexander Aan

For Instant Outrage, Just Add Sex

As a recession-era college grad who was a drop-out for financial reasons for an entire academic year, I have done all kinds of things in my quest to remain financially independent. A lot of the work I did was not exactly anything that I, as a college graduate from an upper middle class background, expected to ever do. Some of it was interesting and world-view expanding, while much of it exposed to me just how pettily, irrationally, and inefficiently the world is run.

I was able to finish my degree and move back in with my parents to bide my time. Those workers without such resources  have it bad. It is really depressing that in all the fuss that is made about the "degrading" nature of certain types of work, all other degredations present in other forms of work go largely ignored. Continue reading “For Instant Outrage, Just Add Sex”

For Instant Outrage, Just Add Sex