Blag Hag 2011 Census Results Pt. 1

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the Blag Hag 2011 Census – a whopping 2167 readers filled out the survey! That’s almost 5 times as much as last year, and means the data will be even more robust. But remember – this data doesn’t necessarily represent atheists as a whole, but rather people who like reading this particular blog and taking surveys.

Like last year, here’s how I indicated statistical significance on graphs:
* P-value less than 0.05
** P-value less than 0.01
*** P-value less than 0.001
**** P-value less than 0.0001

Part 1 will focus on demographics. As always, click the image for a bigger version:The following is the break down of how people identified:

  • 1309 Male
  • 822 Female
  • 9 Transgender
  • 8 Transgender Male
  • 10 Transgender Female
  • 2 Transgender Male & Female
  • 7 Female & Male

I was planning on having an “Other” option, but totally forgot to click the box allowing that – my apologies to everyone who felt pigeonholed into any of these options.

While my readership is still significantly male biased, there has been a huge improvement since last year (72% Male and 27% Female).

Last year I pondered why a blog by a woman that frequently talks about feminism would still be male biased. Did male atheists really outnumber women? Were the ladies just not into blogs? Had they not found mine yet since it was so new? Was I still doing better than other atheist blogs? I’m not sure if I can narrow it down yet, but I did see some interesting gender differences in my other questions, so maybe those will help guide us to an answer.The overall age distribution is very similar to last year, with the most common age group being the one I fall into (I’m 23). Though a new interesting trend emerged this year – there is a 1:1 ratio of men to women in all the age groups under 30. In the other age groups, men significantly outnumber women.

What does this mean? There are a couple potential explanations:

  • Older women don’t like my blog, for whatever reason
  • Older men really like my blog (I should check if they’re the same ones who asked for more photos in the comment section…)
  • Younger atheists and skeptics are doing a much better job at being inclusive toward women

I personally hope the last one is true. It’s certainly supported by my personal experience. Student groups seem to be much more diverse than older organizations. Maybe this is more evidence for a trend in the right direction?Again, sexual orientation is almost identical to last year, and not surprising. Women tend to have more bisexual tendencies, which holds for the general public. I’m disappointed, though. My readership hasn’t become any gayer than last year! I’m failing at spreading Teh Gay as per the Evil Homosexual Agenda. Sigh.

Well, maybe. When you break age down by sexual orientation, you get this nifty graph:
It’s busy, but the take away point is that the younger you are, the more likely you are to use gayer labels. This is obviously because of Goal 1 of the Gay Agenda: Corrupt the youth. Not because of cultural differences in the acceptance of various terminology. I mean, just look at the under 15 age bracket. They’re certainly not trying to figure out their sexualities still – no, they just haven’t been completely brainwashed yet. Onward, gay minions!

But honestly, the number one thing these responses confirmed? It’s really hard to squeeze sexuality into neat little categories, even if it makes the stats easier. Many people listed themselves as pansexuals, biromantics, and questioning individuals.

Favorite open responses:

  • “try” sexual
  • Probably hetero, but as I’m extra virgin olive oil I don’t think I can make a definitive statement
  • Pansexual, leaning more towards hetero for companionship and homo for OOHBOOBIES


Last bit of demographic information: Education level.Wow, my readers are really well educated compared to the general public. I know not all of my readers are from the US, but just for a general comparison:

Education: General Public , Blag Hag Readers
High school grad: 86.68% , 98.06%
Some college: 55.60% , 93.17%
Assoc’s and/or Bachelor’s: 38.54% , 66.82%
Some grad school: ??? , 14.26%
Master’s degree: 7.62% , 10.80%
Doctorate or prof degree: 2.94% , 5.81%

Now I know why I’m constantly corrected for my typos and poor survey making procedures, haha.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will actually look at blog related questions. Feel free to discuss these interesting trends in the comments!

Another quarter has started

Which means I’ll be geeking away with new classes!

Proteomics – This will be interesting, mainly because I know nothing about it. Well, I mean, I know what proteins are, but I’m not familiar studying them in a large-scale way. We’ll see how it goes.

Introduction to Statistical Genomics – Just an introductory statistics course, so it shouldn’t be too bad. I heard it’s pretty similar to what I took in undergrad, so it’ll mostly help me actually remember what I once learned.

Science Communication – I’m really excited about this class! It’s about communicating science to the general public through science journalism, blogging, and public speaking – could I have found a better class for me? I’m taking it as an elective since it’s offered through the Communication Department instead of Genome Sciences. It should be a blast, and hopefully improve my science blogging abilities!

I also have our “Journal Club” training class – basically prepares us to give a less sucky presentation to the department later in the quarter. I’m not too worried since I’m a sick, twisted person who does public speaking for fun, so it should be alright.

This is what an atheist looks like

This week was “A Week” on Facebook – a campaign for atheists to make their profile picture an A to show that we do, in fact, exist. Except that…well, no one except atheists know what the “A” symbol means – heck, many atheists don’t even know what it is.

The UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers have a much better idea, in my opinion:

No one outside of our movement knows what the “A” means. Yes, some people will look up what’s going on. Most won’t.

Want to actually help help with the movement? Grab a sheet of paper, write that you’re an atheist, and make that your profile picture. Hell, give us a link to it. Lets put these pictures around campus! Lets make a video! Lets actually out ourselves and show this campus how many atheists they know. A symbol is nice. A face is better.

Why is this so important? A recent study showed that anti-atheist prejudice decreases not only when our numbers go up, but also when our perceived numbers go up. Coming out is good for all atheists. And linking a smiling face to “atheist” is much more helpful than a cryptic scarlet A.

I have an awesome new shirt

My speaking event with the University of Minnesota Morris Freethinkers was part of their Pride Week programming. It was great to be a part of that, and being part of the schedule brought in a good amount of new people to the meeting – and over half of the audience were women. If you want to increase the diversity of your atheist group, always consider partnering with other minority organizations.

There’s some overlap between the officers of the Freethinkers and their GLBT group, so they gave me their awesome shirt as a gift:Definitely fine by me! Thanks, UMM Freethinkers – and good luck with your godless homosexual takeover of the student government.

This makes me happy

As anyone who’s gone on a road trip with me knows, I have a penchant for Disney music. Which is why this video makes me all sorts of happy, and I command you to watch it:

That guy has talent.

I’m Richard Dawkin’s #1 female fan

Because I’m his only female fan, at least according to our favorite Jen-hater, Jill at I Blame the Patriarchy:

Liberal dudes (and that boobquake chick) just love celebrity biologist Richard Dawkins. Even some Internet feminists may be said not to vomit blood at the mention of his name.

This premise is based on the fact that Dawkins happened to leave a single positive comment about a video promoting some potentially anti-feminists ideas.

Meanwhile, upon reading the Sommers speech, Dawkins was moved to comment: “Thank you for this. I have now read the lecture you recommend, and it is indeed excellent.”

The anointed one has spoken.

One passing comment is enough to damn The Anointed One – er, I mean, Dawkins – even though she spends the rest of her post addressing the video in question. And by addressing, I mean calling “funfeminists” who don’t necessarily agree with her particular view of feminists brainwashed.


I certainly don’t agree with many of the things in the speech in question – and I even think Jill makes some halfway decent counter arguments. But calling Dawkins a “intellectual Western motherfucker who is enamored of the glorious myth that he and his ilk, in their educated and progressive magnanimity, have liberated their women” for that single comment? Or worse, thinking people who enjoy and respect Dawkins must slavishly agree with him lest they be kicked out of the atheist hivemind?

You know, enjoying Dawkins doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything he says. Despite claims of my brainwashing, I can think for myself and have my own opinions – Jill is the one who seems to think the opposite. While I highly respect Dawkins in regards to atheism and biology, I wouldn’t be shocked to disagree with a 70 year old white British academic on the details of feminist theory.

But you know what’s really demeaning to women? Starting off a post reducing me to my boobs, and disregarding other women of the atheist movement. Abbie Smith at ERV has already torn this to pieces:

Um, ‘that boobquake chick’ is Jen McCreight. Shes a graduate student in biology. ‘Boobquake‘ was a really cool counter-attack to Muslims attack on womens personal rights and freedoms.

Jen, who brought attention to that very serious topic in a lighthearted, non-intimidating way, is just ‘that boobquake chick’.

A ‘feminist’ thinks its appropriate to dismiss (thus discourage) the positive actions of a young, intelligent activist female, with decades of activism ahead of her.

Of course, at least Jen gets to exist, even if she is unworthy of a name (or a link, very bad blog manners, ‘feminist’).

This ‘feminist’ is also a supporter of the sexist notion that religion is gender appropriate for females, while atheism is gender appropriate for males. Dawkins millions of female fans don’t exist– his fans are a bunch of ‘liberal dudes (and that boobquake chick)’. This ‘feminist’ might have marginalized Jens actions, but they marginalized the very existence of other women (or if they do exist, they must be indistinguishable from ‘dudes’, degrading their ‘femaleness’ by taking it away. When they’re religious like good girls they can have their gender back?).

The irony doesn’t escape me that I just spent the last week speaking to student groups about the convergence of atheism and feminism, why women should leave religion, and diversity within the atheist movement. Or that these talks went overwhelmingly well. Or that I was invited to speak about women in atheism at many national conferences over the next couple months. Or that the Executive Director, Trustee, and Store manager of the Richard Dawkins Foundation are strong, outspoken women. None of that matters, because Overlord Dawkins hath spoken (though not really), and thus the atheist movement is sexist.

Yep. Sound logic.

Off my ASS for …myself – Week 12

Starting weight: 186.4 lbs
Last week’s weight: 170.8 lbs
Current weight: 170.6
Weight loss this week: 0.2 lbs
Total weight loss: 15.8 lbs

How in the world did my weight basically stay the same while traveling? I eat horrible food when I’m on an adventure! Fast food in the airports, bar food after the talks, free meals, free alcohol… I think the only healthy choice I made all week was getting brown rice instead of white when PZ and I got Chinese food. I guess all the running around and stressing about my talk balanced it out.

The new quarter starts Monday, and oddly that will make me get back on track. Only being able to eat what you bring to work and eating it on a strict schedule is oddly helpful for weight loss.

Two weeks until AHA in Boston… and I will be in the 160s!

I survived Minnesota! …barely

Man, do those Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists know how to party. My talk went really well and had around 80-90 people show up – and about 30 of those joined us for the pub. Then, proving that CASH knows their guest speaker very well, we headed to The Gay 90s in downtown Minneapolis for a drag show and dancing.

The upside of being the guest speaker is that alcohol continuously appears in front of you out of nowhere. Unfortunately, that’s also the downside. Sweet Jesus, I haven’t had that much to drink since my 21st birthday. I also haven’t been that sick since my 21st birthday. Augh, my liver. Why did someone bring me tequila shots? Why?!?

Even though the night didn’t end well for me, it still was a good time. I got to meet a bunch of my “internet friends” (Hi, Biodork, Ruby Leigh, and Jafsica!) and hang out with student leaders I hadn’t seen since the last SSA conference. Oh, and throw dollar bills at CASH officers as they pole danced.

…Again, they know how to party.

Oh, and JT? I am so not getting drunk with you at AHA in a couple of weeks. …At least that’s what I’m saying right now, while I’m still in “I’m never drinking again” mode. Give me a couple of days. Though after you speak there next week, you may be feeling the same way.

Alright, time to go be comatose for a while.

The perfect opening act for my talk

This was the room schedule from my talk in St. Cloud. Anyone who accidentally stuck around likely would have been very, very confused.

Of course, prior to my talk I received the most convincing argument for the existence of God, so many I would have been a little more gentle than usual.

I mean, what are the odds of getting a tract about the banana being an atheist’s worst nightmare while I was eating a banana?!? I’m convinced. Cancel the rest of my visit.

…I’m just kidding, of course. I hear CASH and UM is looking forward to destroying my liver. Will convert after that.