A dangerous contempt

Taslima has a great post showing sexist advertising in the airline industry, with picture after picture of gorgeous pouty women falling out of their tiny shreds of underwear. Great stuff for selling sex, but peculiar for selling a way to get from A to B in a hurry.

Taslima quotes an official on the subject:

Civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho says, “I don’t want to give this airline the free publicity that its rather grubby little ad was designed to attract, but this kind of thing matters. Cabin crew are there to save your life, not to offer sex. Portraying them as flying centrefolds undermines their ability to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for passengers – and can make their working lives unbearable. It can breed a dangerous contempt that undervalues them as individuals and also as the people who have to get you out in an emergency or deal with abusive passengers in air rage incidents…The portrayal of cabin crew-members as sex objects undermines their key safety role and diminishes the level of respect passengers are likely to have for their professionalism and competence. This applies regardless of the gender of the individuals involved. For this reason, the federation believes the decision to promote such images to have been irresponsible and reckless. This kind of initiative does not foster a positive aviation safety and security culture – instead it damages safety.”

That’s an important point, and it doesn’t get discussed enough. It’s not that sexy pictures of gorgeous pouty women falling out of their tiny shreds of underwear are bad in themselves, certainly, and it’s not that it’s bad to enjoy looking at such pictures or to use them as inspiration when a real woman isn’t available. It’s that using them to sell airline travel translates women doing jobs into sex toys. That can breed a dangerous contempt that undervalues them as individuals. It’s tits or GTFO – it’s you’re either here to turn me on or you’re in my fucking way. It diminishes the level of respect passengers are likely to have for their professionalism and competence.

Falsehood in advertising

An Irish anti-abortion group, Youth Defence, has stuck up hundreds of posters all over Dublin announcing that abortions tear women’s lives apart.

abortion woman

That’s crap. Sometimes abortions are very emotionally painful, but not always. It’s certainly not true that there’s always a better answer – that’s why the right to get an abortion is worth having.

Hello Secular Woman

Press release:

First National Organization for Atheist Women Mobilizes

Leadership Development Drives Mission

Atlanta, Georgia – June 28, 2012. Secular Woman, Inc. makes its debut today as the first national membership organization dedicated exclusively to advancing the interests of atheist, humanist and other non-religious women. The organization’s stated vision is “a future in which women without supernatural beliefs have the opportunities and resources they need to participate openly and confidently as respected voices of leadership in the secular community and every aspect of American society.”

Secular identity organizations often struggle to attract and retain female members, lending weight to surveys which typically characterize women as more spiritual than men. Secular Woman will offer its members conference travel grants, profiles of secular women, achievement awards and other programming designed to add gender diversity to secular events and bring more nonbelieving women out of the closet and into roles of leadership.

Through strategic partnerships, Secular Woman will also advocate for equal pay, reproductive choice, and marriage equality, addressing political trends the group sees as ideologically-motivated threats to its members’ freedom of conscience. “The ‘War on Women’ dovetailing with the rise of secular activism showed us the time had come for secular women to form our own distinct organization to support our vision of the future,” said Kim Rippere, a Secular Woman founder and the organization’s first president. “Secular women have always been at front and center of the feminist quest for equality and autonomy.”

Rippere is joined on the group’s first Board of Directors by co-founders Brandi Braschler, Vice President of Programs; Bridget Gaudette, Vice President of Outreach; and Mary Ellen Sikes, Vice President of Operations. The four women bring a combined total of more than forty years’ activism in secular and women’s issues to Secular Woman.

“With this organization we plan to focus on promoting the secular female voice, but anyone who supports our mission can join,” said Gaudette. “All are vital to the success of Secular Woman and to the overall secular movement.”

 

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Secular Woman is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. For more information about Secular Woman visit: www.SecularWoman.org.

Marry the nice rapist, dear

Oh, human beings, sometimes I despair of you. The arrangements you come up with! Do you just get shit-faced drunk one night and decide all the rules, or what?

There’s this idea that letting a rapist avoid jail by “marrying” the young girl he repeatedly raped, for instance – that’s a real dud. I’ll tell you why. You forgot the girl!! It’s about the man who did the raping, and the men who own the girl. This means a shit life for the girl! Did you just not notice that, or what? Pay attention, ffs.

In April, the unidentified girl was shopping in the northern city of Zarqa when a 19-year-old man kidnapped her, took her to the desert where he had a pitched a tent and raped her for three consecutive days, judicial sources said.

She’s 14. [Read more...]

Since 2007

One hopeful sign:

The good news for nonbelievers is that, for the first time ever, more than half the American population would vote for a qualified, open atheist for president.  A recent Gallup poll shows that 54 percent of Americans would not consider a candidate’s atheism to be a disqualification for holding the nation’s highest office.

This shows remarkable progress, a nine-point increase from 2007

From 2007. Really. What’s been going on between 2007 and now? Hmm. [Read more...]

Why women can’t have nice things

The gaming article linked to Helen Lewis in The New Statesman: Dear The Internet, This Is Why You Can’t Have Anything Nice.

A Californian blogger, Anita Sarkeesian, launched a Kickstarter project to make a web video series about “tropes vs women in videogames”. Following on from her similar series on films, it aimed to look at women as background decoration, Damsels in Distress, the Sexy Sidekick and so on.

What a good subject. Women in the media – it’s such a mess these days, there can’t be enough work done on this. Hooray for Anita Sarkeesian. [Read more...]

Enough to drive some of my friends from the game

It’s not just the atheists and skeptics. It’s not just the US. It’s not just bloggers. It’s everywhere. It’s (notoriously) in gaming; it’s in Australia (gee, really?!).

I’d talk to fellow players who’d moved servers, convinced that Thaurissan (an Oceanic server, with a high volume of Australian players) was suffering from the same rot as Australian society in general. Alas, as it turned out, there was sexism in pretty much every server and realm, enough to drive some of my friends from the game.

Thus making it even more sexist, thus driving even more women from the game; repeat. Cf recent events. Women murmur about sexism; man rebukes women for murmuring about sexism; explosion of sexism takes place; women go elsewhere. [Read more...]

American Atheists Announces Harassment Policy

In a press release.

American Atheists’ President Dave Silverman announced today that the organization was implementing a comprehensive Code of Conduct for all sponsored and hosted regional conferences and the annual American Atheists’ National Convention.

Dave Silverman said, “The Code of Conduct will allow all conference attendees to know that American Atheists’ events are safe, fun and informative. We want people to enjoy themselves but know there will be consequences for harmful behaviors.”

The Code of Conduct addresses conference attendees’ behavior during speaker’s sessions, access to sessions for ability-challenged attendees, respect for families who attend, as well as sexual and other types of harassment.

The Code of Conduct also provides direction for American Atheists’ staff and volunteers who will take reports of harassment and inappropriate conduct.

Silverman continued, “We are training our staff and volunteers to be able to take information from our attendees who have been harassed. These reports will be given directly to one designated senior staff member at each event to be assessed and to determine what action should and needs to be taken.”

“The Code of Conduct is a living document. We will adapt it as we learn from what works and what needs improvement. But the overall goal is to create fun, enjoyable, and safe conventions and conferences for everyone,” Silverman added.

The Code of Conduct will go into effect immediately and be used first at American Atheists’ regional conference in Minnesota, August 10-11.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a non-profit 501(c)3 national organization that defends civil rights of Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church-mosque-temple and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.

You can read the whole thing.