“It’s sad I can’t take my kid”

Someone sent me an email with regard to the timeline I had put together of harassment reports in the secular / skeptical / atheist communities, and it came at a very good moment for me. Just when I was feeling the strain of the sisyphean task of combatting harassment in a community that would rather we have a “big tent” that includes the harassers, this email came to bolster my spirits.

I got permission to republish excerpts in hopes that it helps you too.

I wanted to say thank you for the work you’re doing, because no matter what I say, I will never be taken seriously when I talk about sexual harassment in geek space- because I’m a woman. It’s doubly hard for me now, because my daughter is old enough to start being interested in going to various conventions in geek culture.

The second I say anything, no matter how mild, I’m instantly going to be viciously attacked. I’m moderately used to the nastyness, but I’m completely unwilling to subject my 13 year old child to that sort of crap.

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Hackbright Academy trains women to be pro developers in ten weeks

This is, frankly, a shocking pace — taking you from complete newbie to a capable professional programmer in just ten weeks is nothing short of breakneck. And the best part about this initiative? It’s for women, to give them a place to learn without stereotype threat or brogrammer culture stifling them.

Amidst all the arguments about “brogrammer” culture and the presence of women in Silicon Valley, here’s a company that’s actively working to change things, albeit on a small scale (for now) — Hackbright Academy, which describes itself as “a 10 week training program designed to help women become awesome programmers.”

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Dad wears skirt to make dress-loving son more comfortable

Via Gawker, apparently people can come to the conclusion that traditional gender roles are inherently harmful completely unbidden.

“I didn’t want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts,” Pickert tells the German feminist magazine EMMA. “He didn’t make friends in doing that in Berlin already and after a lot of contemplation I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself.”

At first, Pickert’s son was reluctant to wear a dress in public, fearing he would be laughed at, particularly by other kids at his preschool. But that all changed one “skirt and dress day” when he and his dad made a resident of the town stare so hard she slammed into street light face first.

“My son was roaring with laughter,” says Pickert. “And the next day he fished out a dress from the depth of his wardrobe. At first only for the weekend. Later also for nursery-school.”

This is a really nice story. Dad wants his little guy to feel more comfortable doing things that he likes doing, so he decides to do those things too. That inspires the confidence in his son to challenge those gender roles himself and wear dresses to preschool, defying the bullies and telling them that THEIR dads aren’t brave enough to wear dresses like HIS dad.

It’s like “my dad can beat up your dad”, only more like “my dad sticks up for me and the things I enjoy; yours attacks you and enforces conformity.”

The picture at the original article is very much a “d’awwwww”-inducing shot.

Rigid gender roles hurt men in the workplace

Surprise surprise.

A report by the Families and Work Institute has clued into the fact that men are still pressured by society’s rigid gender roles to be the primary breadwinner even while being primary caregiver.

Even though many women work and contribute to the family income, the report says that “men have retained the ‘traditional Male Mystique’–the pressure to be the primary financial providers for their families.” At the same time, they don’t want to be the distant dads of the 1950s.

“Men today view the ‘ideal’ man as someone who is not only successful as a financial provider, but is also involved as a father, husband-partner and son. Yet flat earnings, long hours, increasing job demands, blurred boundaries between work and home life and declining job security all contribute to the pressures men face to succeed at work and at home and thus to work-family conflict,” said the report.

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Prominent CFI member advocates castration

By which I mean, Ronald A. Lindsay advocates losing the use of the word “balls” to mean “courage” in everyday conversation. And I couldn’t agree more.

Many people, including many skeptics, atheists, and humanists, use the term “balls” or its myriad equivalents as a metaphor for courage, determination, resolve or similar attributes. I suggest we should stop using such terms, for a pretty obvious reason: one doesn’t need testicles to be courageous, determined, or resolute.

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Fischer: Women can make more difference in the world by staying home

I have to stop following this guy’s nonsense. It’s just not good for my blood pressure.

Hear that ladies? Barefoot and pregnant and pouring the word of God in your kids’ ears is how you’ll change this world. Forget about all that participating in society, working, voting or having dreams or aspirations of your own, get back in the kitchen and bake something for your family instead. And hurry up about it, it’s almost bible study time. Also, stop trying to go find a job — you can’t be working in your delicate (e.g. pregnant) condition.

Kid tries to prove his masculinity by shooting himself in the head on live video

See, it’s bullshit like this that motivates me to destroy gender roles, not just for feminism’s sake, but for men as well. This child did not, obviously, think things through before he tried to prove how “manly” he was to his friends on video chat. He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, not realizing that the gun was loaded.

About 1:15 a.m., the teen was video-chatting — police believe it was either over Skype or another video-chat service called ooVoo — with an as-yet-unidentified person while his brothers were asleep in the room in their Kensington house.

Sometime during the video chat, things went horribly wrong.

“His manhood or his ego was challenged and he said something along the lines of, ‘I’ll show you,'” Gallagher said. “He thought he was clowning around, trying to shock the other party on the Internet site.”

That’s when the teen picked up his older brother’s gun and, believing it was unloaded, put it to his head and pulled the trigger, police said.

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DC announces a prominent superhero will come out of the closet

Bleeding Cool reports:

One question asked at the DC panel today at the Kapow comic convention in London, was about DC co-publisher Dan DiDio’s interview with The Advocate. Specifically over the decision not to change any character’s sexual orientation when relaunching the DC Universe. At the time Dan stated they would introduce new LGBT characters rather than switch orientation, but the question asked why DC would switch race, size, age, all sorts of identifying features, but not orientation.

Surprisingly, Dan stated that they had changed DC’s policy in this regard. And they ae about to reintroduce a previously existing DC character who was previously straight and now will be “one of our most prominent gay characters.”

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Pastor claims he was just joking about child abuse! Sort of.

The pastor from yesterday’s post who advocated hitting male children who “act effeminately”, or female kids who “act butch”, has notpologized.

Via Good As You, via FayObserver.com:

A Fayetteville pastor says he was joking when he told parents in a sermon Sunday to hit children who show signs of being gay.

Sean Harris, pastor of Berean Baptist Church on Glensford Drive, said he does not advocate hitting children and wishes he could take back a remark encouraging fathers to punch boys who act effeminately.

But he defended his belief in the need to reinforce traditional gender roles in children.

“If I had to say it again, I would say it differently, no doubt,” Harris said Tuesday. “Those weren’t planned words, but what I do stand by is that the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I’m not going to compromise on that.”

So if he had to say it again, he’d lose all the “beat the tar out of your kids” but not the “punish them for not conforming with traditional gender roles” bullshit. As though that’s anything approximating contrition for such a terrible sentiment — it’s apologizing for the violent rhetoric, but not for the complete douche move of demanding that males be “masculine” and females be “feminine” on penalty of punishment of some sort or another. Even if that punishment is of the imaginary sort, like “don’t do that or you’ll be sent to hell after you die”, that’s still applying societal pressure against whole swathes of people who just want to be themselves. So I guess that “special dispensation” to “man up” when your kids have been so sinful as to like things has been revoked, huh?

You are an insufferable, judgmental, sanctimonious asshole, Sean. And you claim to be a moral authority. Only religion could build into you such an immunity to empathy.

Baptist preacher: Beat gender roles into your kids. Literally.

This literally made me sick to my stomach. No hyperbole, I physically choked on my bile over this.

Can we end this gender role shit now, please?! Seriously, here’s a guy who pretends to have better morality than the rest of us, advocating hitting kids for not acting like their societally prescribed gender roles. As though these kids are somehow evil for liking different things. As though liking wearing a dress means the boy is de facto gay, when this kid could be completely heterosexual otherwise. As though being gay is a bad thing to begin with.

This is just fractally wrong.

Update:
The preacher in question is Sean Harris, Senior Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC. What say we express our outrage via Twitter?

Hat tip Joe.My.God.