A large list of awesome female atheists

In a perfect world, we shouldn’t have to have a separate list for female atheist activists. Some commenters even said such a list was “patronizing” by insinuating that women couldn’t play with the big boys. But when other polls, lists, and posts seem to forget our existence, every little bit of awareness helps. We have just as insightful things to say, but we need people to listen. Once more people realize this, you’ll start seeing more females listed amongst the likes of Dawkins, Hitchins, Harris, Dennett, Myers, etc…

So, without further ado, here is a list of some great female atheists who you should check out if you haven’t already done so:







If you know someone who’s missing and you think deserves a shout out, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them. Or if I listed someone but didn’t link to their blog or a more relevant site, let me know. Consider this a growing reference!

To clarify, this list is for living women who are known for their vocal support of atheism, skepticism, and/or scientific thinking – or, likewise, speaking out against religion and supernatural beliefs. There are plenty of women who simply happen to be atheists but never ever speak about it – this isn’t intended for them.

A little backstory:

My previous post asked readers who they thought was the most influential female atheist of 2009 – and it has become very popular. All of the comments have reinforced one major theme: Too many incredible female atheist voices are unknown.

When I started to make a list of influential females, I asked around for names. Half of them I hadn’t even heard of, and some of them I was only vaguely familiar with. I did some Wikipediaing and Googling to try to figure out who should make it to the list. I didn’t want to exclude people just because I wasn’t personally familiar with them, but I didn’t want a list of 30 choices either. I tried to focus on active voices of 2009: those who had written new books, been consistently blogging, appeared on the news, etc.

Of course, I’m not perfect. Some excellent ladies didn’t make my poll because of inadequate research, my own obliviousness, or most likely a combination of both. Apparently the list was also very US-centric, which I promise was not intentional, but again a result of my own biases. And for every atheist woman I missed, there was someone on my list a reader hadn’t heard of. I think this lack of awareness speaks strongly. If a fellow godless lady who trumpets the importance of female voices in atheism doesn’t know so many of these people, how will everyone else?

My best solution at the moment is to make a giant list. I can’t make people click the links, follow the blogs, or even care – but I think it will help. In all the comments here and at other sites, I’ve seen a curiosity – a “Why haven’t I heard of these people before? Time to check them out!” So hopefully people will click the unfamiliar names on this list and find a new favorite blogger, author, activist, or whatever.

Who was the most influential female atheist of 2009?

I’ve seen various end of the year polls floating around concerning atheism, but they seem to miss a huge part of the atheist movement: the ladies! So here’s a poll focusing just on the female voices of atheism. Who do you think was the most influential female atheist of 2009? Here’s some super short bios, in case you aren’t familiar with some of them (this is a great way to learn about new awesome atheist women, too!)

I could go on and on listing awesome godless women, but I tried to focus on those who were active with their book writing/blogging/podcasting/various activities throughout 2009. That being said, my opinion could be flawed, and your favorite skeptic in 2009 may be missing from my list. That’s why I’ve included an “Other” choice in the poll – feel free to comment with your write-in response!

So, what do you think?

Who was the most influential female atheist of 2009?(survey software)

*People using Google Reader or other RSS feed aggregators may not be able to see the poll. Please visit the original post to voice your opinion!

EDIT: For those of you asking where other awesome female atheists are, I’ve created a longer reference list.

Don’t be sexy, or guys have the right to randomly ejaculate on you

Feminist rage in 3…2…1…

No one disputes that an on-duty Irvine police officer got an erection and ejaculated on a motorist during an early-morning traffic stop in Laguna Beach. The female driver reported it, DNA testing confirmed it and officer David Alex Park finally admitted it.

When the case went to trial, however, defense attorney Al Stokke argued that Park wasn’t responsible for making sticky all over the woman’s sweater. He insisted that she made the married patrolman make the mess–after all, she was on her way home from work as a dancer at Captain Cream Cabaret.

“She got what she wanted,” said Stokke. “She’s an overtly sexual person.”

A jury of one woman and 11 men—many white and in their 50s or 60s—agreed with Stokke. On Feb. 2, after a half-day of deliberations, they found Park not guilty of three felony charges that he’d used his badge to win sexual favors during the December 2004 traffic stop.

And apparently since you decided to show us all that you’re flaming asshole, you want me to punch you in the face. You’re obviously just asking for it.

Not only is this a disgusting case of slut shaming and victim blaming, but the police officer was actually stalking the stripper. He knew her profession would make her an easy target, as her “sexiness” was his only defense. The only sensible person at the trial was apparently the prosecutor:

In his closing argument, Stokke pounced. He called Lucy one of those “girls who have learned the art of the tease, getting what they want . . . they’ve learned to separate men from their money.”

Kamiabipour wasn’t amused. “Dancer or not, sexually promiscuous nor not, she had the right not to consent,” she told jurors. “[Park] doesn’t get a freebie just because of who she is . . . He used her like an object.”

There is no excuse for rape or sexual assault. It doesn’t matter if they’re wearing revealing clothing, a stripper, walking around alone at night, or drunk. The blame lies with the man who is sexually assaulting and raping others. The fact that some people still can’t get this through their tiny brain mildly terrifies me.

(Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Military abortion ban and the horrific story of a female soldier

Folks, it takes a lot to trigger me; not just to make me mad – we all know how easily I can rant about something. But this story literally had my mouth gaping and left me feeling sick. Kathryn Joyce, who you may remember as the author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, has written an article on the US military’s abortion ban. I didn’t even know such a ban existed, but the horrifying part comes when you realize how this actual affects women.

Sorry for the huge quote, but it’s a must read (with bold emphasis mine). Article is fairly long, so click the link above for the full thing. Also, warning that this contains some graphic imagery.

For military women, who lack all rights to medical privacy, facing an unplanned pregnancy is a daunting obstacle. Thanks to anti-abortion forces in Congress, military hospitals are banned from providing abortion services, except in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest (and for the latter two, only if the patient pays for the service herself). Amy says her options were “like being given a choice between swimming in a pond full of crocodiles or piranhas.”

“I have long been aware of the stigma surrounding this circumstance and knew my career would likely be over, though I have received exceptional performance reviews in the past,” Amy explains. Although Fallujah has a surgical unit, and abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures, Amy knew that if her pregnancy were discovered, she would be sent back to her home base at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, where she would then have to seek a private abortion off-base, or she could request leave in Iraq and try her luck at a local hospital. She also knew she could face reprimands from her commanding officers for having had sex in Iraq (part of a broader prohibition on sex in war zones), and that she might not be promoted as a result: a potentially career-ending situation in the Marines, where failure to obtain regular promotions results in being discharged. Moreover, as a woman in the military, accustomed to proving herself to her male peers over her six-year career, Amy was wary of appearing a “weak female.”

“If you get sent home for something like that, everyone will know about it,” says Amy. “That’s a really bad stigma in the military. I thought, that’s not me, I’ve worked harder and I could outrun all the guys. So I chose to stay, and that was just as bad.”

From a remove of two years, Amy now sees the sex that resulted in her pregnancy as rape: something that may have qualified her for an on-base (though self-funded) abortion. However, at the time, because the rape wasn’t brutally violent, and because she had seen fellow servicewomen be ostracized for “crying rape” in the past, she imagined nothing but trouble would come of making a complaint.

Instead, using herbal abortifacient supplements ordered online, Amy self-aborted. Unable to find a coat hanger she used her sanitized rifle cleaning rod and a laundry pin to manually dislodge the fetus while lying on a towel on the bathroom floor. It was a procedure she attempted twice, each time hemorrhaging profusely. Amy lost so much blood on the first attempt that her skin blanched and her ears rang. She continued working for five weeks, despite increasing sickness, until she realized she was still pregnant.

The morning after her second attempt, she awoke in great pain, and finally told a female supervisor, who told Amy to take an emergency leave to fly back to the United States where a private abortion clinic could finish the procedure. However, Amy was afraid that she would miscarry on the 15-hour plane ride and have no medical escort to help her. She went to the military hospital instead and told the doctor everything. Shortly thereafter, her company first sergeant and other officers were notified of Amy’s condition. The first sergeant came to her hospital room to announce that Amy would be punished under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which addresses violations of general regulations, for having had sex in a war zone.

That night, Amy miscarried alone in her shower. Fearful of the advice of a sympathetic female officer who suggested that Amy might be charged for the abortion as well (she wasn’t), she flushed the fetus down the toilet. “I don’t believe there was ever a life or a soul there,” Amy says, “but I feel undignified for doing that.” When her nonjudicial punishment (a plea sentence for a misdemeanor-like offense) went through, Amy was fined $500 and given a suspended rank reduction.

Master Sergeant Keith Milks, a public affairs officer in Amy’s former unit, the II Marine Expeditionary Force, says he can’t comment specifically on Amy’s case, as the administration action of the punishment and Amy’s personnel details are covered by privacy provisions. However, he says, her sentence is in keeping with the options for disciplining soldiers for breaking the prohibition on sex in a war zone.

At Amy’s request, she was sent home from Iraq, after a military psychiatrist determined that she was “too psychologically unstable” to remain, and diagnosed her with acute anxiety, PTSD, and depression. “They convinced themselves that anyone who would do a self-abortion is crazy,” Amy says. “It’s not a crazy thing. It’s something that rational, thinking women do when they have no options.”

What. The. Fuck.

I really don’t know if I can comment on this issue without becoming too emotional, but I’ll try my best. No, I’ve never had an abortion, but the idea of being put through this situation terrifies me. To know that a clump of unconscious, parasitic cells is more important to some people than the life of an adult woman – than my life – nauseates me. And a life is what’s at stake when you ban abortions. Women will chose abortion when it’s the right option for them, and they will do it by any means possible. The only only thing banning abortion does is increase the death of women.

To think that these women are fighting for our rights, yet don’t even get to exercise theirs… That they’re labeled as crazy because they want to terminate their pregnancy… That all of their options include stigma and career trouble…

Goddamnit. And people call me a feminazi because I point out women and men are not yet equal. If you can still say that after reading that piece, you’re heartless.

Female skeptics get shout out in USA Today

USA Today ran a great piece on friendly atheism today. While it contained the typical “What’s better: Aggressive, mocking tactics, or peaceful, accomidationist tactics?” false dichotomy, there’s a new spin. Women, they claim, are bringing a softer side to the movement, and we should embrace their efforts.

Now, I don’t think this is automatically stereotyping and saying that all female skeptics are passive and afraid to offend. Ariane Sherine is behind the controversial atheist bus campaign, and female bloggers can have some piss and vinegar in their posts (of course, I would never do such things *halo*).

But the article does have a point. Much of the work done by female skeptics (check out the list at the end of the article) has a positive spin, which can be easier for the general public to digest than stuff by Dawkins or Hitchens. Don’t get me wrong – I think “aggressive atheism” is just as important – but that a good cop/bad cop sort of technique will work the best.

Should female skeptics forever be the diplomats? No, but it’s an open niche we can fill for now. If this is the best way to start getting more integrated into the atheist movement, the ultimate goal being a 50/50 sex ratio and females whose names are as well known as Dawkins and Hitchens, I’ll take it. Appreciation will continue to grow.

So congrats, ladies! Let’s keep up the atheist girl power. (And Hemant. You go…guy?)

And no, I didn’t make their list of awesome female atheists ;) Not yet, at least! Maybe the project I have planned for winter break will launch me out of the blogosphere (and yes, I included that vague hint because I’m evil).

Secret Diary of a Poor PhD Student…wait, Call Girl?

Some of you may be familiar with the blog Diary of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour. The stories of a professional woman’s secret life as a high class prostitute won the Guardian’s Blog of the Year in 2003 and has spawned multiple books and a Showtime series, Secret Diary of a Call Girl. The author had been working behind a pseudonym, but has now outed herself as Dr. Brooke Magnanti.

Until last week, even her agent was unaware of her name. But now Magnanti, a respected specialist in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology in a hospital research group in Bristol, has spoken of the time six years ago she worked as a £300 an hour prostitute working through a London escort agency. Magnanti turned to the agency in the final stages of her PhD thesis when she ran out of money. She was already an experienced science blogger and began writing about her experiences in a web diary later adapted into books and a television drama starring Billie Piper.

Magnanti said she was working on a doctoral study for the department of forensic pathology of Sheffield University in 2003 when she began her secret life. “I was getting ready to submit my thesis. I saved up a bit of money. I thought, I’ll just move to London, because that’s where the jobs are, and I’ll see what happens.

“I couldn’t find a professional job in my chosen field because I didn’t have my PhD yet. I didn’t have a lot of spare time on my hands because I was still making corrections and preparing for the viva and I got through my savings a lot faster than I thought I would.”

This fascinates me for a number of reasons. My initial reaction was how sadly underpaid PhD students can be, which I’m sure I’ll be experiencing first hand fairly soon. Not only is it hard to find a job during and after getting your doctorate, but the only decent paying job you can get is prostitution.

But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s not a job I’d want, but I’m not going to judge those who choose that path. Magnanti stressed that she greatly enjoyed her job, though she was lucky in that she was a high class escort with a generally safer pool of customers. I’m personally in the camp that thinks prostitution should be legalized and regulated (background checks, STD testing, etc). We shouldn’t punish people for being naturally sexual beings (and really, is prostitution that much different than buying someone dinner or jewelry with the hopes of sex?), but we should try to protect sex workers from potentially dangerous situations.

While that’s my opinion, I know many disagree with me. I’m afraid what sort of bad press this may get for female scientists. I don’t think it deserves bad press – more power to her for enjoying what she did – but I know the slut-shamers are going to come out of the woodwork. Women in science already have to deal with being in the minority and dealing with all sorts of biases and stereotypes. I’m just waiting for someone to go, “See, brains don’t matter because she still had to resort to being a whore.”

What do you guys think?

(Via BoingBoing)

Skepchicamp Speakers!

What the heck is Skepchicamp? I’ll leave that to my friend Don:

My name is Don Riefler, and I’m the speaker coordinator for Skechicamp Chicago 2010, a grassroots skeptical conference organized on the Skepticamp model. That basically means it’s run from the ground up, and all of our speakers are people who simply want to throw their hats into the ring and say something. It’s my job to find and coordinate those people.

The subject of the conference is science, skepticism, and critical thinking (with a feminist bent), and we’re specifically looking for women to help fill out the roster. If you think you might have something to say, and you can be in Chicago on Saturday March 6, please consider being a speaker. We’d love to have you.

If you’re interested, please contact me directly at don@skepchicamp.com as soon as possible. If you want to talk but aren’t sure what about, that’s fine. Most of us are in the same boat at this point.

Thanks for your time!

Don Riefler
Supreme Speaker Conjurer, Skepchicamp Chicago 2010

A skeptical conference powered by freethinking feminists?! I don’t think it can get any better than that! But wait…the Skepchicks will be there? Hemant will be there? I’ll be there!?! Oh my FSM, best conference ever!

Now you totally need to come. And ladies, please think about signing up to be a speaker! We’re still outnumbered by males. Come on, can’t we make a good showing for a skepchick-y conference?

Speaking of speakers…I still haven’t decided what my talk is going to be about yet. They’re supposed to be 10 to 15 minutes long, so my Creation Museum lecture isn’t exactly going to cut it. Any topics you really like hearing me ramble and rant about?

Science, Boobies, and Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer awareness month. There are all sorts of days and weeks and months designated to promoting awareness of worthy causes, but breast cancer is especially important to me since my mother is a survivor. She was diagnosed the summer before my senior year of high school, which would be a little over four years ago. My mom was very lucky in that she caught the cancer early because of her persistent self examination. She felt a lump, but the doctors didn’t believe her – she nagged them and had more than one mammogram before they realized she did, in fact, have breast cancer. If she hadn’t been checking herself and been so diligent, I’m afraid to think what would have happened to her.

I have to admit, at the time I wasn’t really too worried. It was probably a combination of me being young and naive, and knowing that she had caught it early enough that her prognosis was good. My general mantra for dealing with bad things in life is don’t worry about what may happen, just do your best to avoid it and fret when it actually does happen. To me, we just had to be level headed, get treatment, and hope for the best. If her status worsened, then I could start freaking out. Not only do I have an oddly unemotional approach to life, but my mom was a fighter. She tried not to let it show how sick the chemotherapy made her, or how sad she was about losing her hair. Instead she would buy trendy hats or talk about how maybe she’d be more stylish by keeping her hair short after her treatment.

She even said the cancer didn’t upset her – the thing she feared the most is that she wouldn’t be able to watch my senior golf season because she would be too weak (I was the captain of my team and one of the best players in the region). My mom scheduled her chemo and radiation around my golf schedule, so she would be sick on my practices and well enough to walk with my Dad and follow me during my matches and tournaments.

She would brag to the nurses how her daughter was going to go study genetics and maybe solve all of these problems. While I’m not in cancer research and there’s not going to be some magical “cure” that works for every type of cancer, she still recognizes the roll that science plays in saving lives. I’ve said before that my mom is sort of a deist, but I don’t remember a single time her asking for people to pray for her, or referencing religion in any way. What I do remember is discussing treatments, what certain chemicals do, how radiation actually works… How I was learning about cancer in human genetics, and she would ask me how exactly cancer starts, how likely you are to get it, if her cancer means I’ll get breast cancer, if certain genetic tests were worth while… We talked about science.

Science saves lives, and it can only get better at saving lives if they have money and support. Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation for information or to donate. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a good review on breast self exams, for those of you with boobies (or with girlfriends whose boobies you like to prod). For those of you in the twitterverse, you can participate in #boobiewednesday to show your support for breast cancer research by tweeting about it and changing your avatar to a photo of your chest (yet more incentive to follow me on twitter*)!

I know there are some feminists who hate boob campaigns, like selling shirts that say “I Love Boobies”, because they say it reduces woman to their breasts. To an extent, I understand. Breast cancer research isn’t about saving boobs, it’s about saving women. If a woman has lost her breasts, that doesn’t make her any less human. But I don’t think these movements mean any harm. They’re just exploiting people’s infantile humor (omg boobies lol) in order to raise money for a good cause. It would be lovely if people would just donate money out of the goodness of their heart, but they don’t…so the way I see it, let’s milk boobie humor (haha, get it?) for all it’s worth. In the end, it’s saving lives.

*No, you don’t get a bigger version of that pic. You’ll have to live with 48 pixels.

Anti-Porn event – emotional appeals and dangerous misinformation

*I apologize for this post being so long. If you want to read the most humorous parts, scroll down until you get to the quotes from the former porn actress, Shelly. They’re the “highlight” of the show.

As many of you know, last night I attended Porn and Popcorn, a Christian anti-pornography event hosted by the Stewart Cooperative, the Purdue Student Union Board, and other various Christian organizations and local businesses (Chick-Fil-A was one, nothing too surprising there). Oddly enough, about 25 other members of the non-theists joined me. At least I had an excuse of “this will make a good blog post,” but I think they’re all just a bit masochistic. Or in it for the free pop and popcorn, which we received without bursting into flames or being struck with lightening.

Proof I wasted my time going to this thing

We settled down on Slayter Hill, a big open air amphitheater on campus where you just sit on the grass to watch the stage. There were about 600 – 1000 people there (wide range, I know, I’m not good at guestimating crowds). The band was already playing (not well, but playing), and I was amazed that they weren’t playing Christian rock. Actually, the fact that they were singing songs I enjoy unnerved me a bit, because I suddenly heard the lyrics from a different perspective (Wait, this is about God and not his girlfriend?!). They even had about 10 female groupies in front of the stage jumping around with their hands in the air. Eventually they had 20 people holding hands and skipping around in a circle, at which point the giggling began.

As we were waiting for the real show to start, they had PowerPoint slides cycling through with what would be the only “scientific” facts of the entire show:

  1. “90% of kids age 8 – 16 have seen porn.” What a wide age range. I’d love to see the distribution of that, because I’m sure the vast majority of those numbers come from the older kids. When you have a skew like that, you can’t just keep including a lower age for shock tactics.
  2. “True or False: 18-24 year olds are the highest porn users – False. 12-17 use porn the most.” Wow, shocking. Maybe that’s because 18-24 year olds are actually having sex and are less curious about human sexuality because they’ve already learned about it? Oh wait, no, we’re supposed to be in shock that middle and high schoolers are looking at sexual things. Sorry.
  3. “Women are more likely to act out their sexual urges, like casual sex, multiple partners, or affairs.” Um, no. Buss 2006 summarizes the many studies that show men desire casual sex more than women, and both sides would engage in the same amount since they need to be doing it with someone, assuming heterosexual sex. Men and women would on average have the same number of partners, but men desire more. Laumann et al 1994 found that 25% of married men and 15% of married women had an extramarital affair at some point in their marriage. Nice try with the lies to slander women.

The show opened with a nicely produced video set to some hip hop music (dude, they get us) about how horrible sex and porn is. They had some skeevy looking guy taking of advantage of what I have to think was a thirteen year old girl, especially since they had toys and children’s drawings everywhere. Afterward the pastor* comes out and tells us this is a reality (*Side note: I just want to make it clear that these are the “good” Christians who say Jesus loves everyone, only God judges, love the sinner hate the sin, yadda yadda). Yeah, sexual abuse of children is a reality, but it has nothing to do with pornography and should not be used as an emotional tool. But that’s the only tool they have. The entire two hour presentation contained nothing but emotional arguments and personal stories – those “facts” I listed above were as close as you get to “science.” To illustrate my point, here are some of the scare tactics they used at the beginning (bold is their arguments):

  • Senior citizens are the highest porn users. Doesn’t that make you want to throw up? Wow, way to marginalize an entire group of people for being sexual. Oh wait, that’s the whole point of this presentation.
  • A mother called us saying her 8 year old son stumbled upon a porn site. Yeah, he “accidentally” found it. Rigggghttt.
  • Porn destroys the economy because you’re wasting your money on it. This said right after they tell us how porn is a multi-billion dollar institution. Doesn’t that mean it would be stimulating the economy? (EDIT: Apparently even Gingrich agrees with me)
  • When this anti-porn Christian group went to a porn convention, everyone their loved and accepted them. Therefor they’re doing the right thing. Could you imagine a Christian convention accepting a porn group? Or maybe people at porn conventions are more liberal and open minded, and accepting of people who are different than them?
  • Men feel terrified and guilty that they have to hide porn from their wife. Maybe you shouldn’t marry someone who’s so uptight and anti-sex that she’s not cool with you watching porn. Some great communication you have in your marriage there.
  • Porn is a gateway drug to child porn. What. No.

They then brought out a former porn producer to talk about how he saw the light, quit the porn industry, and became a Good Christian. Every story he told didn’t shed any light on the evils of porn – it just showed that he was a giant douche bag. He cheated on his wife multiple times before even getting started in porn. He secretly was a porn producer for 3 years without his wife’s knowledge, and then when she found out, she left him. It’s not porn that ruined your marriage – it’s that you’re a lying dick who was duping your wife. He then went on and on about how he ruined all of these women’s lives and tricked them into porn, how in between shoots they would curl up in the fetal position and suck their thumb, how they needed surgery to correct the sexual things he made them do. I’m going to call Bull Shit on all of this, but even if it was true, that just further reflects on the guy’s character, not porn – he’s a giant insensitive ass.

Pastor: What did you think of our group when you first saw it?
Porn Producer: I thought you were a porn site making fun of Christians, and I thought it was a great idea!
Us: *laugh* …*realize we’re the only people laughing, go quiet*

He then went on to tell the story of all his inner turmoil because of porn (no, because you’re a jerk) and how he used to be a troll at Christian forums. But they were all so nice and even though they banned him they kept telling him over and over again that they would pray for him. And eventually he prayed that God would give him sign.

Pastor: At some point you need to give up.
Us: …

His car broke down and while the mechanic told him it was something wrong with the spark plug, he knew it was God. And that’s when he stopped being an atheist and accepted Jesus. …Yeah, buddy, if you’re asking God for signs and you’re willing to believe events with rational explanations are signs, I’m inclined to believe you weren’t an atheist. Stop trying to make us look bad. He then went on to say how he was at peace, which including crying and puking… uh, okay, sounds real peaceful to me.

Porn Producer: There are bad Christians, but not a bad God.
Josh: Because there’s no God
Me: *high five*

These sort of emotional, personal stories went on all night: they never presented any scientific studies or even included possible credentials they have (anyone have a degree in Psychology? no?). It even included a video of Pornmobile Confessions where people talk about their porn problems while riding in the backseat of a Mini Cooper at night. Their main argument is that they get people writing them all the time about how porn has ruined their lives. Um, have you heard of sampling bias? You only see the people who have been negatively affected by porn because those are the only people who are contacting you. The vast majority of people have had a neutral or positive experience, but you don’t see them because you’re not seeking them out. I’m sure some people really have had negative experiences with porn, but they’re blowing it way out of proportion.

And with the people who did have bad experiences with porn, those were all caused BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGION. People feel guilty/scared and hide porn from loved ones, and it ruins their marriage because of bad communication. People feel guilty for being sexual beings or need to turn to porn for their sexual curiosity. You know where this guilt comes from? RELIGION. If conservative Christians didn’t beat over your head that sex was so evil to begin with, people wouldn’t be having these problems. We’d have comprehensive sex education and open dialog about human sexuality so little kids wouldn’t have to turn to the internet for information. We wouldn’t feel guilty for engaging in normal sexual activity. We’d be able to talk about sex with our loved ones before marrying them and finding out they have incompatible viewpoints.

It’s like Christians have fabricated the problem of sex so they can come down and fix it. And that’s the only solution or “reasoning” they give: Jesus. All they repeated is that you need to follow God’s plan and be a pure person. “Jesus died and can help you,” but they don’t say how. They never give a single other reason other than God. What about people who aren’t Christians? What’s their incentive to stop watching porn? I guess they either forget us non-Christians even exist, they figure we’re a lost cause, or they see this as a good method to get us to convert to Christianity. The Religiosity Level was through the roof at this point as they told people to give themselves up to Jesus, and I really expected them to ask people to come up on the spot, but they didn’t.

And as an important side note, this whole beginning piece came off as very demeaning towards women. All women were painted as fragile children who couldn’t make their own decisions and were duped into porn. I never heard the pastor or the porn producer refer to females as women or ladies – they always called them “girls.” Whether you were a helper in their movement, a porn actress, or the producer’s wife – you were “Girl.” Way to show some respect to adult women.

Then the night took drove right past Religiousville and took a right into Bizarroland. They brought out Shelly, a former porn actress who talked so nonsensically that the whole audience (not just us) was murmuring in confusion and convinced that she was either high or that her brain was permanently warped from years of drug abuse (which she later admitted to). Her talk was not only rambling, but incredibly sexist and racist, which was even more ironic coming from a black female. It was so rambling that I can’t form coherent paragraphs about what she was saying, so here, have some lovely statements:

  • “Women were created as helpers. Isn’t it lovely how Christianity can brainwash you into subordination? Why do women take this shit?
  • “Chosen virginity” Apparently those times you lose your virginity when you were a confused heathen don’t count. You get to start over when you’re Christian again!
  • “Once you start having sex, God’s plan doesn’t want you to stop.” Or maybe you don’t want to stop because you realize how nice sex is. What does that have to do with God’s plan? If he doesn’t want you to have premarital sex, why would he keep you going unless his plan is flawed?
  • “If he can’t pay for the movie, he can’t pay for the rent! You don’t want him!” What the fuck? So that’s all women want in a man – support? I rarely have had guys pay for dinner because we usually split, but if he does, I’ll usually pay for dinner sometimes to. I can’t imagine the idea of a boyfriend paying my rent. My parents raised me to be able to take care of myself without a man, thank you very much.
  • She was introduced to masturbation by her African Studies Professor, who said it was the best way to have an orgasm. She also supposed he was sleeping with half of the students. First of all, what is the purpose of pointing out he was an African Studies Professor? Second of all, since when is it okay to make wild libelous claims that you give absolutely no proof of?
  • “Think of a clean glass of water. Now imagine greasy finger prints all over it, like I was just eating fried chicken. That’s what masturbation is.” …I don’t know what’s more disturbing here, the fried chicken comment, or the fact that masturbation is considered dirty.
  • Many women like masturbation more than sex, and that ruins their sex life. Therefore masturbation is bad. Or maybe their lack of communication ruins their sex life because they’re too ashamed to tell their partner what they enjoy.
  • “Women were created to receive.” …Feminist rage in 3…2…
  • God created sex so you could be one with your partner. Every time you have sex, you’re creating oneness with that n

    ew person, so you’re fracturing your soul into pieces. OMG SEX CREATES HORCRUXES. That’s really how Voldemort was doing it, but Rowling had to keep the book rated PG-13. Man, so does that mean when I reach 7 sex partners I’ll become all powerful? Sign me up!

  • Do any of you watch soap operas? *looks at audience* A DUDE watches soap operas? Man, we’re going to need to have a talk. Yes, because you’re not conforming to your gender stereotypes! Oh, she then went on to say soap operas were evil, which I guess I’ll agree with to an extent.
  • “Non-married sex is fake, it’s counterfeit. The devil came up with it.” …Yeah, around this point she started invoking the devil. I have to admit this made me really uncomfortable. I mean, I’ve heard a lot of ridiculous religious things before, but just something about someone going on about the devil’s influences and truly believing he exists unnerves me. It’s such a convenient excuse for all the bad things you do that it absolutely absolves you of personal responsibility or control.
  • I had four abortions because my friend told me they were an option. Yes, blame your friend for your irresponsibility. Four, really? I mean, I’m pro-choice, but at a certain point you have to learn to be responsible. Maybe if she had proper sex education she would have known how to properly use contraception.
  • I had such bad self esteem that I would sleep with any guy who complimented me to thank him. Yeah, how is this porn’s fault and not some serious issues you have? Go see a Psychologist, not Jesus.
  • I was sleeping with this gangsta guy who was had seven girlfriends at once. Again, what does this have to do with porn? This just shows that you made really poor life choices and have bad self control when it comes to sex.
  • I was a wedding planner for my best friend, and I slept with the groom. Okay, what are all of these stories illustrating other than you’re uneducated about sex, out of control, have severe psychological problems, and are a horrible friend? Oh, that’s right, they’re setting you up to be incredibly hypocritical:
  • To connect with an unbeliever is to connect with the devil. and “If he can’t be a faithful to God, he can’t be faithful to you.” Yep, can’t go a whole Christian event without bashing the atheists. This quote made me fume. I just listened to a bunch of Christians go on about how they cheated, had promiscuous sex, kept giant secrets from their spouses, got STDs, did drugs, had abortions, etc etc – but that’s all okay because they found Jesus. But those atheists? They have no morals, so they’re all going to cheat on you. What a bunch of fucking shit. Our whole group was sitting their in awe of how morally bankrupt these people were, because we’re actually good, honest people, and then they go and say we’re the cheaters. Or as my agnostic friend said, “My current girlfriend (atheist) is the first one to not cheat on me, compared to all the Christians I dated.” PSUB is going to get quite a few unhappy emails about how they’re sponsoring events that slander non-believers with unfounded lies. I yet again had the wonderful feeling of being an outcast; that if I introduced myself to random people at Purdue and they found out I was an atheist, the vast majority would instantly not like me. But if you can believe it, that wasn’t the quote that upset me the most that night:
  • “Protective sex is a joke.” Wow. I can’t think of a more horrible thing to be telling a crowd of 18-25 year olds. This is just plain irresponsible and dangerous. Again, I can’t believe PSUB would sponsor an event that could have a severe detrimental affect on the health of students at Purdue. I…I’m really left without words.

After they basically had to kick Shelly off the stage because she ran over her time and refused to stop talking, they went right back into the Christian rock band. That’s right, no time for questions. But you know what, it doesn’t really surprise me. This type of religion isn’t about asking questions or thinking for yourself. The event was to give you a biased view (no one pro-porn there) and to tell you what to do and how to think or else God will be very disappointed in you. I guess I was naive to assume they would encourage any intellectual discussion.

We then left and went to Qdoba to eat food and rant, and I’m sure some of the arguments we came up there were far more intelligent than the things I have just said. But I’m getting to the point where thinking about this depresses me, so I’m going to leave the rest of the insightful comments to you guys, and give you some funny highlights from the event:

Pastor: What better truth than the Bible?!
Non-Theists: *giggle*

Pastor: God wants to come inside you!
Friend: Woah, kinky

Shelly: *first comment* Sex outside of God’s intention is desicration.
Me: … *feeling insane at this point, lays down, covers face with notebook, and has a stifled tear-producing giggle fit, which in turn makes all the other members giggle inappropriately*
Friend: Jen’s down! Jen’s down! Monya [Treasurer], you’re our first in command now!

Shelly: How many of you are virgins?
Audience: *some people put hands up*
Shelly: I mean a real virgin. Oral sex and anal sex and masturbation count.
Audience: *everyone puts hands down*

Shelly: What’s that one guy’s name with the long flowing hair?
Me: (from all the way in the back) FABIO!
Shelly: Yeah, Fabio! He’s used as a sex symbol –
Non-theist females: Ewwwww Fabio

Shelly: Any of you ever want to admit to having a roach in your apartment?
Me: *only person in audience who raises hand*
Shelly: Yeah, you live it up, girl!
Me: …Wait…IS SHE TALKING ABOUT MARIJUANA? I MEAN THE INSECT! *horrified, lays down in grass dying laughing along with all the other Non-Theists*
Minutes later
Friend: Jen! Now she’s talking about bugs! Either she was always talking about cockroaches or she just got confused mid metaphor.
Me: Knowing her, it’s the latter.

Shelly: How many of you girls have asked a guy what his life goals are before dating him?
Non-Theist girls: *raise hands*
Shelly: Only you four? You go girls! (Yeah, those evil, corrupt atheists…)

Shelly: How many of you have had one of those crazy drama girlfriends?
Some Non-Theist girls: *raise hands*
Angry Christian nearby: Faggots

Yeah, that last one wasn’t funny – just wanted to illustrate what we’re dealing with at Purdue.

I think this is pretty much the best thing someone has ever called me

Occasionally I like to wander around the internet, checking out blogs that have linked to my posts. Well, one of those was The Good Kentuckian, which I’m 99.99% sure is supposed to be a Stephen Colbert-like satire (though one can never be to sure when it comes to Poes). My blog is listed under what is quite possibly the best group name ever: FeminiNazi Nation of Christ-Haters.

Yessss. I’ve made the big time! The only thing that could make that better is if the blog was sincerely conservative. But you never know with the internet. I’ve definitely heard real conservatives say stupider things than what they have in their posts.

PZ and Hemant are also listed, but I think my group name is still the best. Pharyngula made “America-Hating Blogs to Watch Closely” and Friendly Atheist unfortunately got “Atheists & Homosexuals – Evil Intertubes Run By Demons.” Sorry Hemant, I guess you’re giving these guys the wrong signals!

And while we’re on the topic of blogging accomplishments, apparently my blog is blocked at someone’s work for “objectional content.” I’m not sure if it’s the atheism, occasional swearing, or random discussions about sex, but I think this is hilariously awesome. Well, not awesome for the people trying to read my blog at work – sorry guys – but I’ll consider it an honor!