“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.

[Read more…]

Carrie Poppy and the Nay-Sayers

In observing the way the skeptical and secular communities have melted down lately over the merest hint that some of its top members might have occasionally behaved in manners that are not beyond reproach, I’ve come to the realization that certain members of our community think that all this “rage blogging” about “drama” is about trying to steal power from other people; that the communities upper echelons are populated entirely by people who think they’re reliving a secular Game of Thrones. The political machinations, the people who are willing to sell out their principles, the people who have no such principles to begin with who rise to power, and all the toadies… toadies everywhere… who will swarm on anyone who dares scandalize someone’s scandalous behaviour. It’s all very tiresome to watch, especially when some players are willing to excuse every bad behaviour even while they’re admitting that behaviour actually happened as stated.

Carrie Poppy has been extraordinarily well-placed in some of the bigger scandals regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault recently, in having been employed as communications director for JREF and having resigned after six months due to, let’s say, philosophical differences with DJ Grothe, president of the organization. Well, if you can classify her stating her reasons for leaving as mere philosophy, being his “constant duplicity, dishonesty, and manipulation”.

So people rushed then to attack Carrie Poppy, to destroy her as an irrational harpy with a bone to grind and an axe to pick against Grothe. So when she recently decided to suggest that women should generally stay away from TAM because the JREF was unlikely to treat any incidents with any level of seriousness, people naturally resorted to the same trope — that she was trying to destroy TAM and JREF.

Only the strange thing is, the corroboration of her claims came from those very people that you’d least expect. The ones who have been trying to naysay the whole thing all along.

[Read more…]

The Petition to Ask Freethought Blogs and Skepchick to “Return to Critical Thinking”

I’m not going to pretend that this petition by Rocko 2246 from Australia is going to succeed, but it merits discussion at least. In fact, unless we have a crowdsourced effort by people at this blog and others on “our side” of the great rift, I seriously doubt they could get 100 unique signatures per their current goal, which is at 21 signatures (at time of writing).

If any part of this petition were unequivocally true, I would throw my full weight behind it because the picture it paints of our community… oh, it is dire. It is evidently a response to Adam Lee’s petition to the leaders of our communities, asking them to not fall for Thunderfoot’s framings on certain issues — given that the Foot has apparently spread a few of these videos around to the leaders of our communities asking them to “shun” the feminists “pouring poison” in the ears of said communities. This petition is apparently the third motion in a back-and-forth that started by Thunderfoot.

Stephanie alerted us to this petition’s existence, otherwise I’d never have known it was created. It is vitally important that we know, though. Considering we’re the subject matter, and if they succeed in getting a hundred signatures FtB will be the recipient of an email that reads as follows, I figure I should make sure everyone’s absolutely aware what 21 people (at time of writing) want us to do:

Skepchick.org, FreeThoughtBlogs
Return to critical thinking and respectful free exchange of ideas
[Your name]

So, if this petition fails in its goal, I want to make absolutely certain that it does not fail as a result of being underpublicized. Basically, I want to make sure it doesn’t fail on account of me. And I will consider it, in its entirety, on its merits. Because that is what one does with the respectful free exchange of ideas: thinking critically about them.
[Read more…]

Catherine Dunphy, Acting Executive Director of The Clergy Project

Going to play catch-up on some things that need amplification on my tabs for the weekend. Apologies for being so absent lately, and for being so late on a few extremely newsworthy items. It couldn’t be helped.

First up, allow me to extend hearty and heartfelt congratulations to Catherine Dunphy, the first graduate of The Clergy Project and an absolutely lovely human being through and through, on her recent appointment as Acting Executive Director for the project. The press release, which I’ve nicked from RDF

Washington DC, Thursday July 26, 2012 – The Board of Directors of the Clergy Project would like toannounce the appointment of a new acting Executive Director.

As we move forward with our organizational goals, Catherine Dunphy former Chaplain and Board Secretary has been appointed by the Board of Directors to the role of acting Executive Director of the Clergy Project. Catherine has been a member of the Clergy Project since its inception in March 2011.

[Read more…]

The FtB Conversation about TAM: Transcript Pt. 1

Here’s the first half hour of the transcript for the big FtB Conversation from yesterday, done once again by the indefatiguable Kate Donovan. She’s the poor soul who did the transcript for the “PenisGate Debate”, who volunteered for this as I guess a sort of palate-cleanser.

If you’re just joining in, read these two posts first:

In Medias Res: how to find the plot if you’re just tuning in
The harassment policy campaign timeline

Transcript below the fold. Part two as soon as she’s done.
[Read more…]

FtB and Rebecca Watson want TAM to succeed

A Google+ Hangout with ten of us uppity feminists whose irresponsible messaging have been destroying the secular movement. The takeaway is that we want TAM and the secular movement to improve. We want us all to be better.

I’ll tell you the truth, I was nervous the entire time. If I’m chattery or stupid, I’m sorry.

The harassment policy campaign timeline
In Medias Res: how to find the plot if you’re just tuning in

Same video on Pharyngula.

SSA Blogathon – Some video game nonsense to wrap up (9 of 9)

blogathon ssa week logo

Okay, so I’m basically out of real content at the moment, so have some ramblings for my last post of the night. I had originally scheduled a four hour shift because I wasn’t sure if I’d end up having to work tonight, but luckily, I don’t. I say luckily because I’m actually pretty close to spent now. I do not envy those fools brave souls who did a full 24 hour stint.

You might remember that I was trying to get a PS3 controller working under Windows and Linux so I could play some video games. Well, I got it working under both, but under neither one of them did ZSNES, a Super Nintendo emulator, operate properly. No matter what I did — and I hacked at it for a week — I couldn’t get it to read the keys properly, as the drivers under both Windows and Linux read the accelerometer as being “triggered” at all times, so every button when I went to configure it got set to that accelerometer. It was maddening as hell because I had gotten it to work fine with an NES emulator and with The Binding of Isaac.

Jodi and I went out to Future Shop to pick up a Logitech USB controller but couldn’t find any (their computers said they had two in stock but the staffers were at a loss as to where). So we went to Staples on a hunch (Jodi’s hunch, not mine), and found the exact model we were looking for, only for five bucks cheaper, in a bargain bin. At the same time we got her a faster SD card for her camera so it could take video properly — her old one was too slow on the write side.

Brought home the controller, unboxed it, and it worked flawlessly under Linux without any configuration. So I picked up a ROM for a game I hadn’t played before, because it was never released in North America — Mystery Dungeon 2: Shiren The Wanderer.

It didn’t take me very long to realize what I was playing. A rogue-like game. A true rogue-like game. On the SNES. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve got a thing for rogue-likes.

So I’m jonesing to go play this now. That’s what I’ll be doing if I can’t find anything else to blog tomorrow. Apparently this game’s since been remade for Wii, probably owing to the success of the remake of Chocobo’s Dungeon, which is itself evidently a Final Fantasy-branded Mystery Dungeon franchise licensee. The Pokemon franchise also licensed this engine, apparently. Evidently in Japan, there’s a whole slew of these games, and they all kinda play similarly. Turn-based moves, randomly-generated dungeons, permadeath. I don’t know why I like the idea so much now, when I have such a strong preference for never losing progress in games. I fondly remember cheating with saved games in ADOM once upon a summer at my father’s.

Before moving onto FtB, I had built the Konami Code into my old blog that would launch a Java-based version of the original Rogue. I kinda miss having that available.

Oh, before I close out, I’m now mentioning Veritas Knight, who asked that I mention him. He’s apparently already blown his SSA donation budget so he can’t ask any special questions. AliasAlpha didn’t donate as far as I know, but asked: “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”

Uh, I think so AliasAlpha, but where would we get the DeLorean and the AMC Gremlin, not to mention the rocket engines?

You might want to check out a pair of trolls who airdropped onto post 6 if you’re looking for some entertainment while I hit the hay.

Anyway, go donate! And g’night all!

This is post 9 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 598 with $83,999 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – ‘The many kinds of girl’ (7 of 9)

blogathon ssa week logo

I’ve previously spoken about how media portrays women and how the general messaging leads women to believe they aren’t “pretty enough”. Comics are especially guilty of this, with women being generally identical only with anatomical impossibilities intended to facilitate the male gaze.

Some folks are trying to counter that message, though. And thank goodness. DeviantArtiste vonnie-seiyuki-chan has built a lovely image pastiche of what “beautiful women” might look like. Now comic book artists have no excuse in thinking that every woman is built like a porn star with a swivel spine!

Girls be proud of your shapes! Use them to your advantage, you’d be surprised how great you feel when you find the style that goes with your figure.

My favourite is the cute little black girl in the middle. She so adorables.

1. Tall Column (Thin with little variance in hips waist and bust)
2. Round shape (Waist is larger than hips and bust)
3. Bottom heavy 1 (Waist and bust are smaller than hips)
4. Short column.
5. Top Heavy (Large bust with hips and waist roughly the same size)
6. Square shape (Wider than column, little variance in waist, hips and bust)
7. Bottom Heavy 2 (Hips larger than waist, waist larger than bust)
8. Classic hourglass (Usually quite tall, large hips and bust small waist)
9. Cutey Hourglass (Slightly larger than the classic, often average height)
10. Itty hourglass (A very small hourglass, large breasts and hips comparative to size)
11. Apple Shape (Breast and waist larger than hips and legs) Somebody mentioned this shape so I added it, thank you, I didn’t know this shape before :3
12. Well toned (Usually small waist, small breasts, varying hip sizes. Well toned and slightly muscled) 2 people mentioned this, it’s the kind of shape common in swimmers and marathon runners.
13. Tall Round (A taller, larger version of round shape) Loosely based on Mellissa McCarthy.

The last two shapes I had wanted to add to the original picture in the first place but didn’t because 1. I’m lazy. 2. I’m not very good at drawing muscles or larger women. But I gotta practice.

If there’s any particularly different shape I’m missing you’d like me to add tell me and I might.

This is a grand effort. I can think of a few missing shapes, but it’s a start. Also, if you’re naturally “classic hourglass” (e.g. you’re what the media portrays as the only adequate body shape), your beauty rests on a razor’s edge, understand that you could lose your position of privilege at any moment — but your body type is fine too, it just doesn’t qualify you for the privilege you enjoy, and you should take especial care as a person of privilege not to mistreat others with different body types. And most of all, learn to love who you are, however you are. Especially if it changes for whatever reason.

The SSA protects you from religious bigotry. It also tries to protect you from other sorts of bigotry, like appearance. You should support them.

This is post 7 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 593 with $83,134 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – #misandryinvideogames: a response to misogynist trolls (6 of 9)

blogathon ssa week logo

In the wake of the blatantly misogynistic attack Feminist Frequency has endured over the Tropes vs Women In Video Games video kickstarter, wherein trolls claimed that video games showed significant levels of misandry as well, Twitter launched a counter-offensive. The #misandryinvideogames hashtag has Twitter users describing all the instances of misandry they could find in video games. Some absolutely hilarious stuff in there, like:


#MisandryInVideoGames in tetris a lot of the blocks you destroy look like weiners and balls


#MisandryInVideoGames Waluigi creates an unrealistic standard of beauty for men


#misandryinvideogames Zelda keeps friend zoning me


Why you always gotta save a princess? Why never a prince? #MisandryInVideoGames

birdie sanchez@k4di2

GTA’s protagonist is always a man with criminal tendencies #MisandryInVideoGames


#MisandryInVideogames Sometimes women neither Tits nor GTFO, even when I ask nicely.


Also: “Mega” Man? Any man who’s stocky is “Mega” now? Stop promoting bulimia in pre-teen boys, Capcom. #MisandryInVideoGames



This is post 6 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 592 with $83,119 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – Glenn Beck opens fire at a new target in his war on sanity (5 of 9)

blogathon ssa week logo

Glenn Beck launches his newest front on the war on sanity: a war against Glee.

Seriously, what gets this guy so hot under the collar about this show? I’m going out on a limb and saying all of the content where homosexuality is treated maturely and with respect. Or where atheism is mentioned without the atheist character being particularly evil.

Or where people are singing in key rather than barking madly at the TV.

Know which high schoolers probably won’t be watching his proffered “conservative Glee”? I’ll bet SSA members won’t because they’re smart and cool and tolerant, none of which adjectives describe Beck!

This is post 5 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 588 with $83,024 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!