Monday Miscellany »« Burning Out

More on the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Chris, at the Godless Perverts blog, wrote an expansion on my post about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or really, about the stripper factories in the FSM parody:

The problem about the stripper factory isn’t so much the sexism of it, but the way it plays along with the idea that sex workers have no desires, no thoughts, and no worth of their own. The strippers in Pastafarian Hell have STI’s, and that’s not bad because of what it does to the strippers; it’s bad because it punishes the people who want to fuck the strippers. The lives and health of the strippers themselves are irrelevant, except in how well they serve others.

[...]

The beauty of atheism is that we are free to explore and move ahead. We don’t have to defend old ideas just because they were valuable to us ten years ago, or a hundred, or a thousand. What matters to us is the reality of how ideas work in the world today, and whether they benefit the people living here and now. If they don’t, then we should discard them and move on.

It’s several thousand words longer than mine–and really explores concepts I’d missed, including the treatment of sex workers. You can read it all here.

Then, Sophie Hirschfeld added her voice:

The FSM came out around the same time that I launched my career in the adult industry. Initially, I didn’t really have a problem with it, but at that point, I was only taking phone calls and sending “naughty” texts. Later, though, as I became more active in the adult industry, I realized how uncomfortable that people referencing the FSM made me, especially when they mentioned the stripper factories. Because, suddenly, they were talking about a factory of my peers. Suddenly, they were reinforcing the biases that my peers and I had to deal with all of the time. While the lore of the FSM had perfectly good intentions as it was created for an analogy, the dehumanization of a portion of society made me uncomfortable. And, I admit (and am ashamed that), it wasn’t until I was a part of that portion of society that I even noticed.

More here.

Comments

  1. says

    People actually take pastafarianism seriously? I had *assumed* that people only referred to it in the satirical smoked mirror to reflect religions back at people in a language they understand.
    I’m disappointed that people are dehumanizing sex workers.

  2. Francisco Bacopa says

    It’s really strange that the FSM thing has become serious enough that we even need to worry about its sexism. At first I wasn’t really worried. Of course the stripper factory is sexist. it’s a parody of sexist religions. I really had no issue with it at the time because it was clearly at that time a harmless joke, a direct spoof of Islam’s 72 virgins.

    I think my original interpretation of Pastafarianism’s sexism as harmless was correct at that time, but as FSM has gone through its iterations I see some reason for concern. I have bookmarked the linked article for further reading.

  3. blf says

    As far as I can recall it is not said which sexes are manufactured in the stripper factories, or indeed that they are live creatures, or, perhaps more disturbingly, how old the factory-made strippers appear to be. Nonetheless, I also suspect most people (including myself) assume the products are humanoid female of legal age.

    So, sexist?

    Well, with those added assumptions, Yes. But like other commentators, I’ve always seen that assumed-sexism as a parody of the very real and extremely disgusting sexism in religions. There is a difference here: Religions are sexist without making assumptions, but you need to add a few assumptions before even a pale version of sexism can be plausibly claimed for FSM (as far as I know).

  4. smrnda says

    I think this also points to a problem where a person might want to parody sexism (or racism or homophobia or whatever other type of prejudice) but depending on context the joke can end up having the opposite of the intended effect.

  5. kevinalexander says

    Bobby clearly misread the plates then compounded the problem by putting them in the dishwasher so that FSM’s tomatoey message was erased.
    Just change the gospel then deny that you changed it. Everyone else does it.

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