Irrational reactions to clothes shopping

I hate clothes shopping. When it comes to my list of Failures at Being a Woman, this probably ranks at number one. I loathe shopping for clothes so much that I will literally put it off for a year or more, continuously coming up with new excuses not to go. Even when I’ve mustered up the strength to go to the mall, I usually only last an hour or so before giving up and leaving.

Why the hatred? To me it’s just one big trip into poor body image land. Even when I was younger I hated it. I was 5’9″ at age 11, and let me tell you, no pants fit freakishly tall girls. Even “long” juniors pants were too short, and grown-up jeans looked like clown pants on my hips since I hadn’t filled out yet – a 11 year old girl look more like a ruler than an hour glass. Thankfully I’ve since developed a womanly figure, and finding pants isn’t such a problem.

But if it’s not one thing, it’s another: now I have boobs. I know, I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right? But finding clothes as a D cup is a pain the ass. One, it happened fairly suddenly so I had to get a new wardrobe – five years as a B, then wham! D cup. Old shirts don’t fit, at least not comfortably. And you’d think in a country where the average cup size is a C that I wouldn’t have such issues, but I feel like Goldilocks. Mediums are too small, with it fitting around my abdomen but my boobs feeling like they’re going to explode out ala Superman or the Hulk (or literally doing so if it’s a button up shirt)*. Larges fit my chest, but are like a tent around the rest of my body. Is it so much to ask for clothing for curvy girls? You’d think that in a society which is obsessed with big boobs, we’d give them a little more respect.

Even though these seem like fairly practical gripes, I’ll admit most of my aversion is irrational. Not being able to find clothes that fit makes me feel inadequate. I can look in the mirror and feel attractive, I can have others tell me I’m attractive**, but the moment I’m in that changing room, society’s opinion is weighing in. I know it’s stupid to care about the standards of the fashion industry or just society in general, but it’s hard when you’re immersed in it. I’m below the average weight and pant size of an American woman, yet if you use models and actresses (women we constantly see) as a standard I look like a freaking elephant.

The worst part is that if something seems fashionable, trendy, or cute, I feel like I’m not allowed to wear it. I feel self conscious wearing nice things because it seems totally out of character for me, like I’m only supposed to wear boring things that will just make me blend into the background. I’m not sure if I can even explain the feeling other than “You’re not one of those pretty girly girls, so just throw on a t shirt and jeans.” The idea of getting dolled up for a night out – doing something other than just brushing my hair, putting on any makeup, donning a cute little dress – is just absolutely alien to me. I’m not judging women who do do that – I just feel like I missed out on the Woman Card that gave me clearance to do such things.

Are there others who feel this way, or am unique in my insanity? I hate being so irrational about my appearance mainly because I know it’s irrational. That’s the hard part about being a skeptic. It’s one thing to believe stupid things, but it really stings to know you’re being stupid.

*And the fanboys chant, “Go with the mediums!”
**The point of this post is not to get pity compliments. Please do not regale me with “Well I think you’re hot”s to make me feel better. Just pondering this line of thinking.

Blag Hag: A Year in Review

It’s December, which means every blog is somewhat required to pump out Top Ten lists looking back at the past year. I feel a bit haughty doing one about myself, seeing as this blog didn’t even exist for all of 2009 – but a couple of you guys requested it, so here you go. This also may be a nice little review for some of my newer readers who haven’t dug through all of my archived posts (I don’t blame you!). Here are my top 10 posts, determined by an unscientific mash up of my personal opinion and Google Analytics.

10. Comic (amazed this didn’t get me lynched)

9. Oh noes, atheists are taking over teh internets!!11!one!!

8. Darwin finds the best evidence against his theory (comic)

7. Purdue professor: Gays wasting our money on AIDS research

6. Natural Sexuality

5. Creation Museum Review: Start at part 1

4. Book Review: The Professor and the Dominatrix

3. You know what else is an abomination, Maine? Lobster

2. Anti-porn event – emotional appeals and dangerous information

1. What atheists wish would happen at the Creation Museum

Is there a favorite post of yours thank you think belongs in the top ten?

The joys of parents learning science

We’re always hearing stories about kids making skeptical insights or getting interested in science. They’re exciting because these kids are our future, and maybe we see a bit of our nerdy selves in them. I don’t have kids, but I still get excited about something similar – parents learning science.

My parents have always been very pro-science. They always encouraged me in my science classes and Science Olympiad, and were elated when I decided to major in genetics. However, they’re not particularly science oriented. My dad was a history and special ed teacher, and my mom was an art teacher. My dad is into politics and sports, and my mom is obsessed with decorating and traveling. They treat science how rational people should – scientists are experts in a certain area, and even though my parents don’t personally understand the topics, they put their faith in scientists. It’s no different than putting faith in a mechanic or a pilot – everyone has their specialty, and we can’t know everything. They don’t believe that evolution and global warming are just giant conspiracies precisely orchestrated by hundreds and hundreds of evil scientists. Just because they personally don’t have the background to interpret the data doesn’t render it false (if only creationists could understand this simple concept).

We’re all intelligent, but in different areas – and sometimes that causes problems. The more I study biology, the less in common we have to talk about when I come home. Usually conversations consist of my dad rambling about some history book he’s reading and me trying to keep my eyes from glazing over. But this time I had a plan. I brought home Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne (who also has an excellent blog). My dad will read science books if given them (he loved Guns, Germs, and Steel and Hot, Flat, and Crowded), and I figured this time I can kill two birds with one stone: Get my dad to learn more about my interests, and get him to ramble about something I’m actually interested in.

Success!

It’s only been a day and he’s halfway done. He says he loves it and that it does a great job of explaining concepts to a non-scientist. He’s keeping a little notepad nearby so he can write down especially awesome facts to share with me, or questions to ask me so I can clarify. There’s just something really cool about my dad running up and ranting, suddenly realizing the frustrating creationist logic I have to constantly deal with.

Dad: How do people deal with the fact that 99% of all species that have existed are extinct? Why would God design things to all die? That doesn’t seem very intelligent to me.
Me: God works in mysterious ways *wink*

Dad: We have fossils! What more proof do they need?
Me: Satan buried them there to test your faith. That or the scientists made it all up.

Dad: Now he’s talking about examples of unintelligent design. Did you know women have painful childbirth because we evolved from four legged ancestors?
Me: I thought it was because God was punishing Eve.

Playing the devil’s advocate is fun. My dad knows I’m an atheist, and he’s not religious at all either, so it’s all for laughs. But it’s great seeing him react to all the religious “arguments” that I have heard people seriously make. Not only that, but it mirrors how my dad instilled good skeptical thinking in me. I’d often ask questions (How did they get the squirrels to talk in that commercial? It has to be a computer) and he would reply with a ridiculous answer (Squirrels just talk when you’re not looking). I would then go about explaining why that was silly, and logical thinking was developed!

I look forward to his future comments and questions as he finishes the book. Then my mom is going to take a crack at it! Soon the whole family will be well-read evolutionists, mwahaha!

Chicago Atheist Meetup!

Are you in the Chicagoland area? Do you want to have an awesome time eating, drinking*, and being merry with some pretty cool freethinkers? Look no further:

Date: Saturday, January 2
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Palos Hills Village Club
9750 S Roberts Rd
Palos Hills, IL 60465-1470
http://www.palosvillagepub.com/
Featuring: Hemant of Friendly Atheist, GodlessGirl, and Jen of Blag Hag!

What do you have to do to partake in such activities? Why, just show up! And, well, pay for your own food and drinks – sorry, we’re not rich, people. Just look for one of our smiling faces in the pub and come grab a seat.

If you’re fairly certain you’re coming, please RSVP in the comments. It’s not required, but it would be nice just to give us and the pub a head’s up. Thanks!

*Jen drinking will probably not occur lest her liver explode from complications with mono. However, feel free to indulge around me. I won’t be too jealous.

Indiana Governor displays his total ignorance on atheism

Oh, Mitch Daniels. I generally don’t have many good things to say about you, but now you’ve made it particularly difficult for me. Take it away, Mitch:

People who reject the idea of a God -who think that we’re just accidental protoplasm- have always been with us. What bothers me is the implications -which not all such folks have thought through- because really, if we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power.

And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists -Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth- because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.

Everyone’s certainly entitled in our country to equal treatment regardless of their opinion. But yes, I think that folks who believe they’ve come to that opinion ought to think very carefully, first of all, about how different it is from the American tradition; how it leads to a very different set of outcomes in the real world.

You know what? It’s late and I’m exhausted from today’s festivities, so let’s play a game. Instead of me going through and refuting everything he said, I’m leaving if up to you guys. How many misconceptions, stereotypes, blatant lies, and logical fallacies can you find?

At quick glance I see 11. Can you find all the ones I did? Can you find more? Good luck, boys and girls!

(Via Freethought Fort Wayne)

An eerie resemblance

Brought to you by the same relatives who produced the best blasphemous birthday gifts, I now show you my new awesome Christmas gift:Look familiar? I’ll help you out:Yep. Chris and Erin got me the same awesome, soft, cuddly, adorable octopus plushie from the PZ photo. And it wasn’t a coincidence – they got it because they know I love PZ’s blog and would know the photo.

The funny part is when I walked in and saw an octopus plushie under the tree I exclaimed, “Man, I want that!” thinking it was for my nephews (since 99% of the presents were for them, naturally). At the time I didn’t recognize exactly which exact plushie it was, since it was upside down and half buried by the twins’ toys. Later on I was telling Erin how awesome it was, and she went “Well good, because it’s for you!” Yaaaay!

Nothing makes a better pillow than a cephalopod. Well, maybe a kangaroo rat…

Merry Christmas! Excuse my hives

Merry Christmas, all of my fellow atheists! I hope your holiday is filled with fun, family, good food, and gifts, and lacking annoying music, icy roads, and cantankerous religious relatives.

Apparently my Christmas present this year is a nasty full body rash. Hooray for mononucleosis combined with antibiotics! The effect is super common – it happens more often than not – but it still makes me cranky. You know how your skin looks when you accidentally fall asleep on textured fabric? My entire body (and face) looks that way, but in hasn’t gone away. Absolutely lovely for the many family photographs that will likely ensue today. And top of making me look like a leper, it’s just started to itch like hell.

I’m convinced God hates me. Every Christmas something seems to be wrong with me. I’ve had a broken foot, chicken pox, bad colds, and now mono on Christmas.

Mark: It’s because dirty little heathens shouldn’t enjoy Christmas like the people who worship the lord and savior of mankind, Jesus Christ Blessed Be His Name.
Me: But most of those things occurred when I was little D:
Mark: God knows AAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL! He was pre-punishing you.

Bah humbug!

How to Meet Atheist Men

You gave advise to guys seeking atheist girls, how about advise for girls seeking atheist guys? You have a boyfriend, right? So you’re a credible source of information.

Exist.

Okay, okay, you know I’m joking. It’s the first thing that popped into my head, but I think it does illustrate a misconception many (but not all) women have about relationships. A lot of us expect guys to make the first move. We may flirt back, but we’re not going to do anything obvious like explicitly stating interest or – heaven forbid – asking the guy out on a date. They need to come to us and figure out vague hints to prove their worth, like some sort of sadistic test all women have agreed upon.

Ladies? Stop it.

I’ve had my fair share of relationships, from serious long term relationships to not so serious nookie. Out of ten guys, only one made the first move (my current boyfriend). Every other time I asked the guy out, went in for the kiss, etc. If I would have waited for a guy to make the first move, I could have had nothing until age 22. Or, more likely, I would have had a relationship earlier, but it would have been prefaced by months of bullshit and waffling.

I know being the aggressive one isn’t for everyone. But I tend to be attracted to shy (or at least socially awkward) guys, so I figured out pretty quickly what I had to do. Are all men going to be happy with the woman being more aggressive? Probably not, but it’s always worked for me. Are some men going to be elated to have women cut through the bullshit? Definitely.

This is more general advice that anything specifically for atheists. I’m not sure what more I can add to my previous post on men finding atheist women, since the same general tips apply. But I have found that in my atheist circles atheist men tend to be more intellectual/nerdy/introverted/socially awkward than guys and general. Obviously this is a generality that is not going to apply to all atheist men (maybe Purdue just fosters uber geeks) – but if that’s the type of guy you go for, just make a move.

If you insist on being cryptic or fear rejection, I’ve found bitching about being single works. It’s waves the giant “Hey fellas, I’m single and hate it, actually receptive to flirting right now!” flag. Some guys won’t make a move if they’re afraid you’re not interested, or already have a boyfriend – so sometimes getting it out there helps. But don’t constantly whine about it, or you’ll start being annoying.

Guys, am I totally off base about this? Gals, am I the only women out here making all the moves?

Welcome home; have some religious pareidolia

I’m back home for the holidays – home being Northwest Indiana, which is effectively part of Chicago. This area is way more liberal than West Lafayette, so it’s always a bit of a relief…but that doesn’t mean it’s completely void of religious wackiness. For example, here are two short articles in our local newspaper, both titled “Christmas miracles?”:

JUDY FIDKOWSKI | THE TIMES Jason Amaya, 19, of Lake Station, holds a Cheeto that, to him, resembles Our Lady of Guadalupe, a celebrated Catholic image of the Virgin Mary.


JEFF BURTON | THE TIMES Last month, Renee Sperka noticed a unique spot on the wood paneling in the basement of her Hammond home. She and many of her friends believe it resembles the image of Jesus Christ.

Come on, wood paneling and a cheeto? Those have totally already been done before. You think the lord would be able to come up with more creative ways to reveal himself.

Christmas miracles? …I think the answer to that is “No.”

Update: Google’s religious “censorship” spreads?

About a week ago I made a post about Google’s apparent concealment of suggestions for search terms about certain popular religions. A couple of people who work for Google (but not on Google’s suggest feature) postulated that it may merely be an odd artifact the coding, some software bug, an algorithm error, etc. The last commenter said he spread the word around Google to get some answers…and now look at this new development:I hate to jump to conclusions, but it seems mighty suspicious that “Buddhists are” and “atheists are,” the two terms I pointed out did have suggestions, now no longer do. Coincidence of another bug? Or has someone at Google been reading my blog post?

Would someone at Google like to explain what’s going on? If Google is choosing to hide these search suggestions, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. They’re not censoring the search results themselves, and as a private company they can do whatever they wish. I’m more curious behind Google’s rationale on deciding what doesn’t return a suggestion. Or if this does turn out to be some odd bug, why the heck is it acting so suspiciously?

EDIT: A reader makes an interesting comment that searching for many nationalities also fails to return suggestions. Try “Italians are” or “Mexicans are.” Seems this may by a wider attempt not to offend. Though “Greeks are” does return stuff; blatant discrimination against me!!!*

*Joking. Obviously.