[Blogathon] Say Hi to Ally Fogg!

So this is a cheater post because I’m on a bus with spotty wifi at best, no place to put my laptop, and an overactive heater.


You should go check out Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men, written by the lovely brilliant Ally Fogg. He’s our latest arrival to FtB, and would probably like some shiny new commenters.

Go say hi!

[And in the mean time, keep an eye on my co-blogathonners, Mike, Chana, and Miri]

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[Blogathon] Wildly Inappropriate Things to Say to People With Eating Disorders

1. But you’re not skinny!

I swear to god, you’d think daring to have an eating disorder while not being rail skinny was the equivalent of wandering around yelling “I WAS MURDERED” while still breathing. No. Staaaahp.

2. But if you don’t think you’re thin enough, what does that make me?!

Bad at understanding mental illness? Lucky to not have an eating disorder?

When someone reveals their mental illness to you, this is not the time to excise your demons.

3. No wonder you’re so tiny!

I wasn’t on the receiving end of this one, but I heard it happen and fled the conversation. Just no. If you do this, you are BAD and you should feel BAD.

4. All you have to do is eat healthily!

In other news, depression can be cured by changing your brain chemistry, and calculus can be understood by using numbers.

It’s a nice effort, but at best you’ve said a word somewhat related to the consumption of food: “healthy” and decided that it’s as simple as just doing that!

5. Here, eat this!

Weird, but common. People will often immediately hand me food. It feels very uncomfortable to turn them down, but a lot of the time, I’m just not hungry right then either. Please don’t use me to assuage your feelings about my disorder.

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[Blogathon] Your Jerkbrain is a Puppy & Coping With Anxiety

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I’m posting every hour on the hour until 6pm for SSAWeek! This post was suggested by William Brinkman. Have something you want me to write about? Donate $20 or more to the Secular Student Alliance and tweet me!

An Exercise in Imperfect Analogies

Treat your jerkbrain like a puppy. Do you scream when your fuzzy pup pees a little on the carpet?

You just patiently take it back outside.

And it doesn’t work the first time–the damage is done, of course, and you might have to clean the carpet. But if every time he seems to be even remotely interested in the outdoors, every time he’s eaten, every time it seems he might be searching for a choice squatting spot on the shag rug, you take him outside, soon that puppy is going to be housetrained.

Look at this face. Would you yell at this face?

And that’s nice analogy for what I’d like more people to do with their uncooperative brains–treat them like puppies. Tug them back in the right direction when they loop into how everything is TERRIBLE and EVERYONE HATES YOU and ALL OF THE STRESS. (My brain at least, is an ALL CAPS WARRIOR when it comes to telling me bad things). Smile ruefully when they’re uncooperative and nudge them in the right direction over and over again.
It’s not foolproof, and it’s not easy, of course. Scare a well-trained puppy enough, and he’ll pee on the carpet, no matter how many hours of training he has.
But getting angry at yourself is self-defeating and exhausting and overwhelming. In short, everything that lowers your defenses for the next episode of Brains Being Sucky…and that’s no fun.
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[Blogathon] Bimodal Personalities and the Myers-Briggs

[Part 1 of a topic suggested by @mmace134]

The Myers-Briggs Personality Test is very, very popular. It’s used as a predictor of career paths, of relationship styles, of leadership ability. Basically, you take the test and answer a bunch of questions like “Do you enjoy having a wide circle of acquaintances?” (To which you can only respond “Yes” or “No”. Based upon tens of answers, you’re given a four letter code, like INTJ or ENFP. Each letter codes for a specific trait, with two possibilities for each.

I/E: Extraverted/Introverted

S/I: Sensing/Intuitive

T/F: Thinking/Feeling

J/P: Judging/Perceiving

This all seems fairly reasonable–we can all agree that some people are more extraverted and some are more introverted. Some people make decisions based on feelings and some people don’t.  The problem is, the test is based on the idea that people are one or the other–that is, that most people are overwhelmingly extraverted or overwhelmingly introverted. If that was the case, we would expect a graph of scores of introversion and introversion to look like this:



That’s a bimodal graph–one with two peaks. Those should represent the extraverts and the introverts (or the Thinking people and the Feeling people, or the Sensing and the Intuitive people).

The problem is, what we actually get is this:


…a unimodal graph. A bell curve. A normal distribution.

Most people fall near the center of  the Introversion/Extraversion, Thinking/Feeling, Sensing/Intuitive, and Judging/Perceiving spectrums.  Of course, there are people scoring very highly for one or the other–but they’re not the norm. This wouldn’t be terribly problematic if the Myers-Briggs didn’t insist on divvying people up into one or the other, which they do by splitting the responses down the middle.

That means if I’m just slightly to the left of center, because I’m pretty extraverted, but I don’t enjoy having a huge group of friends, I’m in the Introverted category, along with everyone who thinks gatherings of more than three people are hell. But aren’t I closer in type to people who are just to the left of center? Yep.

And nearly half of the research on the Myers-Briggs is done by institutions that benefit or publish the test in the first place. [*makes skeptical face*]

Want a validated personality test? Try the Big Five Personality Inventory

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