Playboy opens old skeptical community wounds with a terrible ad

Thought Axe had the market cornered on odiously sexist ads with their shower gel suggesting that the only thing keeping women from physically ravaging you against even their own will is how you smell?

Something tells me the ad writers haven’t thought through all the possible ramifications of cold-propositioning strangers in elevators. Just waiting now for someone to seriously suggest that she would totally sneeze hot dogs if the guy propositioning her was an alpha instead of a lowly geek beta.

See also everything in my Problem with Privilege series.

Playboy opens old skeptical community wounds with a terrible ad

So let’s hear you out then, John Greg.

Over on my post about the UK rape survivor campaign, John Greg threadjacked the entire comments thread to be about the ongoing so-called Great Rift between various factions in the skeptic and atheist blogosphere over Rebecca Watson’s trip to Ireland and into the “right to flirt” rabbithole, which I’ve covered extensively in the past. Part of this fight is about feminism, about the inclusion of feminist ideals in the skeptical and atheist communities, and about splash damage that some ostensible supporters of these ideals are taking during fights with various trolls.

I sympathize that good people might be getting hurt by the pushback against misogyny in our community when they point out that some folks are being emotional rather than rational, but I empathize (which is significantly stronger than sympathy) with the people who are getting emotional because I get emotional when I see my friends and allies getting shit on over nonsense, and other friends and allies not even lifting a finger to rebut.

So this stuff needs to be talked about. Yet again. And yet again, at the explicit demand of the people who claim that we’re the ones stirring the pot.

However, it was cluttering up a perfectly good thread about helping rape victims get the help they need, so I’ve moved it here.
Continue reading “So let’s hear you out then, John Greg.”

So let’s hear you out then, John Greg.

More ^Than Men: The Problem With Privilege

I’ve submitted a post to the More ^Than Men project, run by Sasha Pixlee for the Women Thinking Free Foundation. A teaser:

I am engaged actively in a number of struggles with which even some of my more adversarial readers at my blog, Lousy Canuck, must sympathize. I cater specifically to a few niche audiences by virtue of who I am — I am an atheist, and feel that public policy should be made only with regard to real science rather than personal beliefs. I am a skeptic, and feel that people who sell anti-scientific nonsense should be chastised for stealing money from the underprivileged who fall for their chicanery. I am a feminist, and part of my feminist leanings involves understanding that all women are fully human, and that almost all objections to reproductive rights stem from religious or pseudoscientific beliefs and are in direct contradiction with the scientific facts at hand. I am a humanist, where I believe each human being has the same net inherent worth and their caste in society matters less than the merit of their opinions. I am a science-booster, in that I believe wholeheartedly that empirical, testable, reproducible studies of how this universe actually works is the only way to model our decisions, and that any view that is held in contradiction with the established facts that come from said study should be excised from the public discourse. The running theme here is that if you can’t prove it, you shouldn’t make any decisions by it.

I am also a white male. That’s right, I’m swinging pale pipe.

This means I have at least two major positions of privilege over many of my compatriots in all of these various fights, and that my privilege causes my words to be amplified while others’ meritorious positions are muted. In addition, I am cisgender, where my societally-expected gender comports with the physical sex I was born with; and my heterosexuality is likewise considered “the norm” in society, and I am therefore privileged by virtue of happening to be part of a majority where the minorities are often silenced, excluded or ignored, whether purposefully or not. I often don’t realize I have these privileges — the fact slides neatly into the shadows behind my thoughts, and it’s simply forgotten. As a result, sometimes in trying to help on one front, I’m unintentionally doing damage on another.

Continue reading.

More ^Than Men: The Problem With Privilege

The Problem with Privilege (or: Predatory Behaviour)

Post 9 in an ongoing series. See the Master Post for previous entries in The Problem with Privilege.

From Buy one today! (If you're privileged.)

In the last post in this series, comments diverged from the topic of overzealous application of skepticism to the idea of whether it’s right and rational for women to assume that all men are potential rapists. I made the following analogy, as regarding a comparison to assuming all Muslims are terrorists:

I also suspect you’re suggesting that there is a visual difference between Arabs and Caucasians, but you substituted “Muslim” for it. Muslims don’t necessarily have to look like brown people in turbans, you realize.

And as for assuming all of them are terrorists, there are just as many non-Muslim terrorists in recent history to suggest that what you mean is that you’re justified in thinking that anyone who is overzealous about some particular dogma is a potential terrorist. Meaning animal rights activists, Christians, men’s rights activists, anti-abortionists, et cetera. The problem with that is, you can’t visually distinguish that someone is an adherent to a dogma unless they do something to self-identify, like wearing some distinctive symbol. And even then, your fear responses shouldn’t automatically trigger or you get incidents like where clerics are arrested for praying in an airport.

Continue reading “The Problem with Privilege (or: Predatory Behaviour)”

The Problem with Privilege (or: Predatory Behaviour)