Guess who got posted about on ChimpOut again?

This might be my favorite ChimpOut thread I’ve been featured on because it’s so juvenile. I mean, it’s still racist and ignorant, but it’s also almost quaint in it’s schoolyard level antics.

For example, they said I was secretly a man by posting a link to Austin Powers:

They also seem to be under the misapprehension that I want to be martyred and decided to make fun of my self-descriptors by repeating them and laughing at them, which is so boring.  At least actually come up with something to say.  I swear even “Activists are lame” would be better than this nonsense.  And of course, wishing for my death.

Uh oh! Look out! We have a “polemicist, activist, nerd” after us! I’m quaking in my shoes. I’m sure she is hoping for “martyrdom” so that, one day, there will be an “Ashley F. Miller Day” holiday like MLK Day.

Guess what? No one gives a shit about you, your lousy blog or your views. You’re preaching to an empty auditorium. Your blog has MSNBC-level ratings and your views are a distinct minority in your city, your state and the country as a whole.

Please go choke on a negro dick and die.

I wish my blog got MSNBC level ratings, that’d be like a million people a day.  Guess it’s time to cancel Lawrence O’Donnell’s guest blog.

I also learned that they were technically not supposed to talk about “Coal Burning” on the site, which is fascinating as the entire goal of the site appears to be to say the nastiest, most racist shit they can invent.  But they have rules.

Which include looking forward to my death by beating.  I will say that the only time I’ve ever been hit by a man, it was by a white man.

Who gives a fuck? Really. She will be beaten to deff like all the rest.:

Sent from my non obama phone

inevitable statistic.

no loss.

I don’t know what an Obama phone is, but if these guys hate it, i want one.

Then they got in an argument about whether I was black because I have Sub-Saharan African DNA.  Sophisticated genetic understanding from these guys.  Also more about my imagined beatings.

she isn’t a coalburner she has african dna to begin with. Was just hiding, blacks in the past did alot of passing and pretended to be white.

It’s too ginger to be a nig, I think we can still classify it as a burner.

Still, it has the dead soulless eyes of an ugly girl who’s received one too many beatings from their pet nigger.

-Agreed. There’s definately a “looks at me” gene in her. Classic nigger DNA traits.

I find this denial of humanity and gender to be fascinating.  Like the guy who called me a man, it seems to be that to qualify for femaleness in their world you have to only have sex with white men, preferably just your husband.

I find this one interesting because it shows a deep lack of reading comprehension.  I was not given an ultimatum, there was no us or him, there was no warning, nothing like that.  So I didn’t really have a choice.  I’m no longer dating the guy, but my Dad’s still not talking to me, so I’m pretty sure it really didn’t matter what I “chose” after being alerted to my Dad’s racism.

How these dopes choose nigger over family is a mystery to me.

May her STD’s be fast and furious.

If having Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel develop in my nether regions is an STD… I’m really fine with that as long as they make out.  Spoiler Alert: They’re both half black.  And super gay (in my dreams).

fast_five_movie_image_vin_diesel_dwayne_johnson_01

But some of these guys do have a sophisticated understand of what I think about them:

Oh she’s an idiot. She think’s we are all YT; typical libtard stereotype of racists, she thinks we are all religious; another typical libtard stereotype of racists. Libtards don’t even have brains in their heads. They just pull out their script and regurgitate the same old tripe.

 

Fortunately, he doesn’t resort to any stereotyping in his descriptions of others.  What a charmer.

My main takeaway is that I am clearly a drag queen who will get to have a threesome with Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.  Not literally everything I want in life, but I can’t complain.

bringing willam makeup RAYLness

To Summarize: These assholes can suck my (admittedly imaginary) dick

I Get Racist and Sexist Hate Mail

donald sterlingIn case anyone thought that the amount of racist hate I was getting had died down since my last post about this, I am afraid I must dispel that notion.

For those catching up, Thanksgiving of 2012 my dad ceased contact with me because he found out I was dating a black guy.  Just under a year ago, I got DNA results from 23andme that said I was part Sub-Saharan African, which meant that my dad either was part black or had married my mother and she was part black, making his disowning of me more perfectly awful.  In February and March of 2014, my blog was linked to by a white supremacist website, so I shared that.

Here, then, are the kinds of messages I’ve been dealing with in response to old blog posts.  Some day, when I have free time, I think I’m going to analyze how many of these messages focus on me as a broodmare or sexual object.  I particularly like the one that accuses me of starting Atheism+, which I didn’t have anything to do with, and the one that suggests I got moist at discovering my Sub-Saharan DNA — is that meant to be a sexual comment?

 

This women ashley. Is now only good for someone to scoot their balls over her puckered lips. She is lost. No one will marry this worthless c*nt.

 

Ashley, your dad is right. You are a race-traitor. You’re gonna get beat up by your black boyfriend someday !

 

You disgust me. Your father cries his eyes out every day and you do not even understand why.

 

Your no hero, your an animal. Your father is a good man. My heart bleeds for him that he had such a worthless cu$t of a daughter.

 

Your hateful spiteful c*nt. Your shitting on thousands of years of your white ancestors.

 

He disowned her out of love. And he put himself at risk, and the outed him.

She is pure evil. Hateful and worthless POS. Set about destroying civilisation right down to her own ex familys DNA.

 

 Have all the sex with black men you want – nobody really cares. But if you think one nutcase Stormfront guy is a reason to start the ridiculous Stasi-esque organization that is Atheism+ then you’re a real quality fascist. All decent liberals hate fascists. You’re “damaged goods” because you’re a fascist, not because you had sex with a black man.

 

interracial mixers are the lowest of the low… you are a self loathing DEGENERATE… the HATE is all yours.

for anyone to suggest the only way to not be racist…is to condone or be willing to mix interracially IS HATE.

you dont want to be WHO you are, so you use racism to deflect from yourself. there is nothing more disgusting than a person with the kind of sense of worthlessness you must have in order to mix interracially. you couldnt denigrate yourself more if you tried.

 

you are the lowest a person can be.

 

this author is lowlife garbage… she absolutely is completely repulsive to the overwhelming majority of white men she will ever meet in her life. anyone…but any man or woman that does play into her mental illeness,

 

So why did your dad disown you? Because you completely messed up his genetic legacy. You put his genes at an evolutionary disadvantage by investing his genes in someone with low genetic stock value.

 

Black men and white women have the highest divorce rate in the country. Black men have the highest rate of HIV and STDs in the country. Black men are infamous for bailing on the woman after she gets pregnant. If he does that to you, and you’re a single mother with a black child, you will have zero value in the dating market. Good luck finding a decent man who will spend his hard-earned cash raising some other man’s black bastard child.

 

its not your belief systems…. its YOU. there is nothing more disgusting than you.

your “belief systems” simply point to the source of your own self hatred and willingness to have degraded yourself. now its just a matter of your living in denial, of just how truly disgusting you are.

its you.

 

Avoid this hideous turds blog site. Just an uber attention whore.

With emphasis on the word whore.

Right look, the reason i find it detestable what she is doing with her pet knee grow. Is this. Not only if she has offspring will she destroy her own family forever.

But also they will contaminate other White people.

 

When you have certain blue-eyed, blond haired types get all moist at the idea that they “are not 100% white” there is something deliciously ironic about racialists snapping back with celebrations of ‘white culture’.

My flannel-clad boyfriend responds to 23 fashion trends men hate

PiplipPresented for your Friday entertainment.

Dustin was surfing around on Facebook and saw this video Top 8 Beauty Trends Men Hate! and asked me why he was seeing it everywhere.  I then had to explain to him this horrifically sexist Huffington Post article that had been getting a lot of flak.  I decided to record this man’s response to the things he supposedly hates.  He, by the way, is not OK with Huffington Post speaking for his taste.

You shouldn’t in any way care what any guy’s taste in clothing is, obviously, this is more a hilarious demonstration of how the article tries to paint men as terrible, fashion-savvy assholes.

EDIT: Some have found this difficult to navigate, so, once the list starts, the article is in block quotes, he’s normal text, I’m italic.

 

1. Peplums:

Like the Pokemon?

AFM: … ?

Oh no, that’s Piplup.  Yeah, I don’t know what that is

AFM: Remember the dress that Jaci was wearing at the party?

No, I don’t.  Let me stop you at “remember that dress,” I never will.  Wait the party where we first met her?

AFM: No, the one on Tuesday

Ohhhh.  No I don’t remember three days ago either.

 

2. Beanies:

I hate how girls wear those knit hats on the top of their heads

Where the fuck else are they going to wear them? That’s what hats are for!

 

3. Wedge Sneakers:

“I hate Isabel Marant sneakers…”

Who the fuck is Isabel Marant?

 

4. Floppy Hats:

“There’s this look I would call ‘the bourgeoise bohemian’”

hahaha wtf I don’t even know what those mean

 

5. Open-side shirts:

I like sides. I like bras. I don’t see what we’re complaining about.

 

6. Bright lipstick:

“because gross you’re going to get that on me.”

PLEASE GET THAT ON ME. … Is that Amy Pond?

 

7. Heavy Eye Makeup:

I literally have not noticed

 

8. Bandeau Bikinis:

unh. Why is less clothing bad?

 

9. Pointy Shoes:

I… pointy shoes are the norm aren’t they?

 

10. “Fake” nails

 

11. High waisted jeans:

“High-waisted mom jeans, especially the blotchy light and dark ones (acid wash?).”

What does acid wash mean? It’s not what I’d wear, but I also don’t want moose knuckle.  I mean fuck, whatever.

 

12. High waisted shorts:

“High-waisted shorts that basically reveal butt cheek. Too much.”
“Shorts so short that the pockets are visible. Why?”
“The return of our moms’ high-waisted shorts is the most unattractive recycled trend going on nowadays.”

I’m entirely OK with butt cheeks, one.  Two, the pockets are fake anyway, there’s a legitimate criticism.  Everyone knows that girl pockets aren’t so deep as to be useful.  I don’t remember mom wearing these, and if she did, again… I don’t remember.

13. High waisted skirts:

“I think the high-waisted skirt thing should probably be over. It’s one of those things where you’re trying too hard, it lacks a certain degree of subtlety.”

Nnnkay

 

14. Fold over ankle boots:

I honestly am not convinced that I’ve ever seen those in my life.  The editors may have invented them.

 

15. Ultra-high heels:

“Guys won’t be looking at your shapely physique if your ankles keep buckling and you walk like a toddler with a diaper full of poop and/or a drunk giraffe.”

Anti-catcalling strategy right there.  If you don’t want a guy to notice if you’re attractive, unattractive, or even exist, wear those and they’ll just say there’s a drunk giraffe.  But not really because I don’t think anyone is going to notice your shoes?  Or maybe they will?  I don’t know, I don’t shoes.

 

16. Pantsuits:

“Men’s business suits…you’re a woman, not a man.”

FUCK YOU I like it when women wear traditionally male clothing or whatever.

 

17. Drop crotch pants:

I don’t know what those are.  They do, however, look odd I guess.

 

18. Hair bows:

They’re hairbows what is the…  I don’t… what’s the problem?

 

19. Bangles:

“A gigantic number of bangles, which just gets super annoying when they’re clanging around all the time.

I’ve literally never heard a bangle.  I have no idea what bangles sound like.

 

20. Oversized sweaters:

Looks warm

 

21. Mullet dresses:

“where’s the fucking party??? You are covering the back!”

Yeah, yeah, this.  We WERE JUST COMPLAINING in number 12 that we could see butt cheeks and that seeing butt cheeks is a bad thing.  NOW WE’RE COMPLAINING THAT WE CAN’T SEE BUTT CHEEKS!?  But, I actually know what these are, I remember seeing them.  So that’s exciting.

 

22. Leggings:

“Once in a while is fine, but as a standard pant option, it’s boring and predictable. Florals spice it up a bit but they’re also a little gimmicky.”

I don’t know what a gimmick is with regard to leg covering choices. Also, again, why are we complaining about getting to see butts and legs?

 

23. Shoulder Pads:

I don’t think I’ve ever noticed anybody in shoulder pads since the 80s

News Flash: Sexism still a huge problem

The following is a screencap of a Facebook conversation happening right now.  It is a lesson in how not to be welcoming to women in the movement.  And I would like to point out that the person who is recievng this abuse is a woman in a position of power.  I cannot imagine what a girl who is not already a member of their group would think when looking at that.  Hey, would you like to join our group, I promise to tell you if you’re hot or not.

Zack Fowler, ladies and gentlemen:

For those who cannot see images, the conversation goes as follows:

Kelley Freeman: Hi SSA at EKU! I’m Kelley and I’m the Volunteer Network Coordinator for SECAA (Southeastern Collegiate Atheist Alliance) and a leader of the SSA affiliate at USC (formerly Pastafarians, now SSAUSC). I’m sort of in charge of helping to facilitate networking between groups within the region and such. I also operate as something of a ‘second’ for Gordon Let me know if you have any questions. SSA at EKU leaders are more than welcome to add me especially. :D

Zack Fowler: 10/10 would bang.

Kelley Freeman: Cool story, bro.

Zack Fowler: Figured you would need a pretty blunt greeting. We’re rowdy and crude and hungry for babies. You’re welcome to stick around and get nasty.

Kelley Freeman: Good to see this group is so welcoming to women.

Katherine Leonard: We’ve had a few feminism discussions now and then :p *thwacks Zack upside the head*

Zack Fowler: What makes me not welcoming to women?

Kelley Freeman: Dunno. Generally when I’m introducing myself with some professionalism, I don’t expect people to comment on my gender or looks.

Kelley is the very awesome president of my university’s SSA affiliate and someone who spends an unbelievable amount of time and energy working for the secular movement.  And this is the shit she takes from people who are on her side when she is trying to reach out to do her job… her job that she does as a volunteer.

This is what the problem looks like.  Can we please all agree that there is a problem and that we should be fixing it?

Feminism, Privilege, and Learning About Humility

This is a guest post from Patrick Mitchell, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Ashley F. Miller

One year ago, after one of the most agonizing struggles of my life, I finally shook off the chains of fundamentalist Christianity, leaving me free to explore ideas in a way I never dreamt possible: in color.  You see, in Fundyland™, everything is black and white: You are for me or against me, men are the head, women serve. Sex outside marriage is evil, sex inside marriage is required.

Drinking “gender role” tripe for 10 years from fundamentalist Bible passages and pastors, alongside the idea that feminism is the devil, served to create a large barrier for me understanding feminism in a meaningful way much longer than it took me to understand homosexuality wasn’t a sin, or that enjoying sex is natural.

Also, I’m male.

I have been wanting to distill my thoughts about feminism in the context of my atheism for some time, and on the year anniversary of my freedom, I figured it would be a good occasion.  This is an expansion of the thoughts I had on my own blog, and Ashley (who has strongly influenced my own feminism in positive ways) was gracious enough to allow me the opportunity for this platform.

Misogyny Is Everywhere

“Grow a pair,” “Man Up,” “Pansy,” are phrases that misogynist and Fundyland™ culture uses to denigrate the feminine and elevate the masculine.  Phrases I used to use without a moment’s thought that state unabashedly “Men are strong, women are weak.” And yet this could not be further from the truth.  I have seen women with more strength of character and resolve than dozens of men: these claims are demonstrably false.

Anita Sarkeesian’s series on Tropes vs. Women served to help me realize just how much misogyny has infected our culture, such that it is nearly hidden from view.  Traditional gender roles, defined by the apostle Paul and ignorantly parroted across the world today, are inherently sexist and entirely stupid. There is absolutely no reason why “Men are the head of the household” should be taken for granted.  In fundamentalism, everything is black and white.  In reality, there is color.

Women have the right to function in a relationship as they desire to define themselves. I have no right, no recompense, nor stature with which to demand (or even suggest) the way in which two genders interact with one another.  When one realizes that sexuality and gender itself is fluid, the archaic notion of ‘roles’ should promptly be defenstrated from any rational person’s mind.

And thus, I must continue to fight against my own past, the small-mindedness of my fundamentalist background, to see the opposite sex as a full human, lacking in nothing, whose values and expertise must and should be evaluated on her terms, not on mine.

I Am Privileged

The thing about the word privilege, is that its one of those things that is nearly impossible to understand until you’ve experienced life without it.  When I lost my faith, but more specifically when I became public about it, I learned what its like to be in the minority of wordview, to have people hate and judge me based on something fundamentally outside my control.

It’s not the same, but it knocked me down enough notches to recognize I was too stupid, too arrogant, and too blind to really know how well I had it.  This is the fundamental idea of privilege, be it white, male, cis, or rich (all of which I am).  Therefore I have an uphill battle to recognize it in myself.

The first time my own privilege reared its head was when I first read about Watsongate (in an uninformed rant on /r/atheism).  I thought it was the most infantile reaction, and was behind Dawkins for calling out what was clearly a childish plea for attention.

Then I read about Watsongate from Ashley’s perspective.  Thanks to the SSA here in our meager town of Columbia, SC, I knew Ashley personally and was more likely to respect what she had to say. She isn’t the type of person that gets behind idiots with bad ideas, so I read.  And I learned about Schrodinger’s rapist, and started to realize I’ve never felt fearful for my sexual identity being violated, and very rarely have I been objectified in a way that made me uncomfortable.  Then I learned about the statistics, numbers that run through feminists’ minds, that had never crossed my own.

And then it hit me: I didn’t know, and couldn’t know, what it feels like to be threatened.

So in the face of this fact, I did what any good skeptic should: withhold judgement, assess the facts, and change my mind if the facts deem it so.  And thus, I did.

The Skeptic Community Needs Feminism

First, let me say that I don’t use the word “need” to say that feminists need me, or anyone, to achieve their goals, in any way that denigrates their role or prior achievements.  Nor am I at all mature in this movement, so my commentary must come with a grain of salt.

But in this past year, after reading about the Rebecca Watson incident, after what The Amazing Atheist said, and the current debacle over TAM’s reporting policy, it is clear that there is a need for the voices of those who are actually aware and affected by the issues to speak up, and to have the attention of everyone when they say something.  On blogs, posts, walls, reddit threads, everywhere in the skeptic movement it is clear that there is a man-child level of misogyny that rivals our fundamentalist foes: women are routinely denigrated, slut-shamed, and recognized for their ability to reproduce rather than the quality and content of their discourse.  Ashley has obliged before on this issue.

This is a problem. A hill that the community faces, that will bring it to a grinding halt if we don’t take a step back and address the issues.  I would prefer that we all just became aware that calling people ‘cunt,’ ‘bitch,’ ‘slut,’ etc. is bigoted and stupid, but at the very least we should continue fighting to enact policies that protect the speech of sexual harassment whistleblowers.

The sad thing is, we look more like the religious than than skeptics and freethinkers when we treat one another this way.

The US Needs Feminism

The recent string of back-woods Bible-fueled insanity in this country highlight the need for us to shape the discourse of our nation towards recognizing misogyny and feminist-sensitive issues.  The uptick across several states in invasive and psychologically damaging procedures to dissuade (and disparage) women who seek abortions from having them in incredibly humiliating ways.

The Catholic Leagues attempt to take away women’s health rights by masking legalized suffering in religious terms means that atheist feminists are uniquely qualified to answer both questions: It is not alright to force women to suffer, and especially not because of a 2000-year-old delusional fairy tale.

Across this country, there are senators and Congressmen who have been elected who are so steeped in their own privilege as to render them incapable of representing 51% of the voting muscle of the nation.  This is a problem, and should be recognized and addressed by those of us with minds and eyes enough to see the problem.

Seeing in Color

After this year, I can recognize the beauty that is feminism, and the demon of my own ingorance that I need to continually stab until it rears its ugly head no more.  In my small way, I seek to educate others about the journey I’ve had and what it’s taught me.  To be sure, there are irrational sexists out there who would masquerade under the title of feminism, but their rantings do not make the issues any less important or real.  I have to check my privilege at the door to continue this conversation, and thanks to people like Ashley, Greta Christina, Sikivu Hutchenson, the Godless Bitches, and many others, I’m learning.

And I want to continue this conversation, for a long, long time.

About The Author


Patrick Mitchell is a 27-year old Electrical Engineering Ph.D. Student at University of South Carolina.  He became a Christian at age 16 and studied theology and apologetics, was president of USC’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and served as a lay minister and worship leader in multiple congregations.  His interests include History, Theology, Philosophy, Music, Engineering, and Psychology.  He blogs at his personal website, the Coffee Shop Atheist, writes for his School Newspaper, and is an officer of The Pastafarians @ USC, a SSA affiliate group.

DJ Fact Correction

I generally don’t take the time to fact correct every random person who misrepresents what I say, because it’s a herculean task, but I’m surprised to find, after all the positive back and forth between us, that DJ went and said this:

All we knew about was that someone was removed from the speaker reception because he wasn’t permitted to be there, and was apparently drunk. In her blog post and in further comments, Ashley says she didn’t feel like the harassment was worth reporting to JREF staff or hotel staff at the time, nor did she nor anyone else mention it in one of the TAM attendee surveys.

No, absolutely not true, and an abhorrent misrepresentation of what happened.

From the man who reported the incident:

…he was rude and talking to several ladies with inappropriate language. I told you [DJ] about him and you took immediate action and talked to the gentleman and you took him from the room.

At that time, DJ only knew what I told him and he acted immediately and did the right thing. There is a chance that DJ does not remember this because he only knew that the guy was rude, drunk and needed to leave. DJ did not stop to think about it – he just took action.

I had been told it was already reported, because it was reported and dealt with by DJ, I didn’t know a second report was necessary. Had DJ himself not been the one who handled the issue initially, if I had thought that he’d totally forget, if I thought he would think that being alerted to a man bothering women translated to just a guy who wasn’t invited, or if I knew that he had not gotten complete information, I would have immediately made an additional report.

Because the issue was very much worth reporting to the JREF staff — which is why it was, it just turned out that the report was incomplete.

To say that I did not think it was worth reporting is a lie and an egregious one at that.

Furthermore, I did not think that DJ would ever be going around saying that no harassment was ever documented at TAM. I didn’t think DJ would be saying that the low attendance problems at TAM were from women talking about sexism they experience. I didn’t think that DJ would ever be saying that the only problem that TAM needs to correct is that victims just don’t officially report enough.

I am extremely lucky that there were other witnesses, I hate to think what other women who’ve been harassed are thinking right now. What would people be saying about me right now if I hadn’t had half a dozen other people there? I mean, considering what they’re already saying.

I hate posting about this stuff. I absolutely despise it, because it’s hard to deal with the comments and it’s hard to relive all the harassment — and not just that one incident, but the lifetime of cultural shame and guilt and horror and anger that comes with every incident. I think what some people are missing is how much that can hurt and how difficult it is to expose yourself like that. Should women report it?  Absolutely, but it’s really difficult to do so because it is painful and when people act the way DJ is acting right now, it makes it even harder.

Harassment at TAM9

EDIT: More information in a follow-up post

So, Greg Laden has a post on FtB about DJ Grothe making some kind of horrible comments about how women who complain about harassment are making women afraid to come to conferences.  And that, as far as he knows, he is unaware of any reports of harassment.  Which is weird because I was sexually harassed by a guy last year at the TAM9 speaker’s reception, as were some other women, and the guy was kicked out for it. And I was told that it was DJ himself who made him leave.

From my recap last year:

That evening I went to a presenter’s reception, and got to spend some time hanging out with a lot of awesome people who were going to be speaking, including Debbie Goddard who I had not previously spent much time with.  But there was a drunk british guy from Shrewsbury who would not leave me alone.  I hate wine breath.  And I was not nice to him, but he kept following me.  He was so annoying that every time I tried to escape and enter a new conversation, everyone who was in that conversation would leave and leave me stranded.

He also kept touching me, which I found very disconcerting.  Fortunately, I was eventually rescued, and he was asked to leave, but it was pretty gross.

I guess it didn’t mean much to him at the time, or he forgot, or didn’t realize that it wasn’t just that the guy was annoying, it was that he was inappropriately touching me and backing me into corners and asking me to have sex with him after I told him to stop, or that DJ wasn’t who kicked him out and it was someone else on the TAM staff.  In fact, I was impressed with TAM so much for ultimately intervening that I didn’t want to go into explicit detail of exactly how gross the guy had been to me, for fear of making TAM look bad.

In any event, someone was harassing me and someone from TAM made it stop.  I’m sure part of it was that I was really upset, but I was touched that they’d fixed the problem so quickly and proud of them for doing so.  And, probably because it was very upsetting at the time, I am currently upset that apparently no one at TAM remembers or took note of it — like somehow it didn’t count because it happened to me?  Because I and the other woman harassed were speakers?  Or I didn’t write something down?  Like I should have written up a report?

But if that didn’t count as a report of harassment, I’m not sure what to think of DJ’s claims that there’s never been one, other than he’s playing with semantics.  Here’s his comment from FB (bolding is mine):

It is true that harassment issues are much discussed in some quarters of the skeptics and atheist and other allied movements (all generally for the better, to the extent the emotionally charged issues are tempered with evidence) but to my knowledge there has never been a report filed of sexual harassment at TAM and there have been zero reports of harassment at the TAMs we’ve put on while I’ve been at JREF.

Of course that doesn’t mean such didn’t happen, but of 800+ responses to our attendee survey last year, only three people said they were made to feel unwelcome by someone at the event: one, a man who didn’t like all the magic; two, a woman who was ridiculed for her veganism; and three, a conservative who didn’t feel welcome because of what he saw as an undue emphasis by speakers and attendees on progressive and leftist ideals. (One woman at the event did, however, complain to staff that she felt she may be harassed by someone in the future, and felt uncomfortable about the man, and while we are concerned about such concerns, she didn’t complain of any actual activity that had happened that the hotel or security or law enforcement or others could take action on.)

I believe I understand the impulse to protect people from harm (this is a strong motivation for skeptics, after all) but telling newbies that they need to be on guard against so-called sexual predators at our events, or that the movement or movements are “unsafe for women,” may be a sure-fire way of making some women feel unwelcome who otherwise would feel and be safe and welcomed. As for policies, I think Ben is on the right track. We are all against harassment or bullying of any kind, sexual or otherwise. Any incident of harassment or assault should immediately be reported to security and law enforcement, and JREF staff and the hotel staff stand ready to assist should any regrettable incident ever occur, God forbid. But again, no such incident has ever occurred at TAM to my knowledge, and I believe that bears mentioning in current discussions about how prevalent are the unnamed “sexual predators” at various atheist and skeptical events.

Last year we had 40% women attendees, something I’m really happy about. But this year only about 18% of TAM registrants so far are women, a significant and alarming decrease, and judging from dozens of emails we have received from women on our lists, this may be due to the messaging that some women receive from various quarters that going to TAM or other similar conferences means they will be accosted or harassed. (This is misinformation. Again, there’ve been on reports of such harassment the last two TAMs while I’ve been at the JREF, nor any reports filed with authorities at any other TAMs of which I’m aware.) We have gotten emails over the last few months from women vowing never to attend TAM because they heard that JREF is purported to condone child-sex-trafficking, and emails in response to various blog posts about JREF or me that seem to suggest I or others at the JREF promote the objectification of women, or that we condone violence or threats of violence against women, or that they believe that women would be unsafe because we feature this or that man on the program. I think this misinformation results from irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe, and I find that unfortunate.

Ron Paul: Best of Comments as Interpreted by a Hippo

You may recall my post about why I think Ron Paul is a bad choice for secular voters and the horrific responses I got.  So did this hippo.  I could set it up more than that, but why?  Everyone should watch this.  It’s amazing.

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Promotes Sexual Slavery?

I want you to go read the most absurd thing I’ve ever read in my life.  Here’s a brief glimpse:

So why is Disneyland still asking us to laugh at an overt depiction of sexual slavery in its popular Pirates of the Caribbean ride?

Disney has unparalleled power to shape young hearts and minds. If the Pirates of the Caribbean ride normalizes sexual slavery with humor, it can desensitize viewers to this heinous and very real gendered crime.

When will Disney learn that sexual slavery is no laughing matter?

I’m just going to back you up here a minute, because the PotC ride is supposed to be a scary ride with a bunch of villains doing awful things.  It’s not like, hey here are the moral pillars of our society, it’s more like, these people were really terrible people, look at all the horrible things they did — like sell weeping young women into sexual slavery.

If we’re going to yell at Disney for promoting sexual slavery, I think we also have to yell at them for promoting looting, pillaging, plundering, robbing, ravaging, drinking way too much, kidnapping, marauding, pyromania, extortion, property damage, generalized debauchery, being scary skeletons and really bad eggs.

AND there are still actually pirates in the world doing horrible things — and real pirates did horrible things, how dare they make entertainment out of real people who did horrible things?  When will Disney learn that piracy is no laughing matter?

I find this completely embarrassing, honestly.  It makes me want to run around screaming at people.  Has any young person ever come away from this ride going, gosh, I think it’s a really good idea to set my house on fire, steal my parents money, and buy myself a sexual slave?

Some people obviously never evolved beyond It’s a Small World.