Parenting

Rethinking Autism

Skepchick’s Official Jeweler®, Amy, of SurlyRamics, sent me this amazing link (via Twitter) to some new videos at RethinkingAutism.com. Rethinking Autism is a site dedicated to fighting the celebrity endorsements of autism misinformation.

The videos were put together by a woman named Leeann, a holy-crap-hot mom of an autistic child friend of a family with an autistic child, who wanted to help out the site and the cause. It’s a great cause… and these are some great videos. I know you’ll love them, because I do!

Happy Friday!

Check out the rest of the videos.

Elyse

Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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115 Comments

  1. No fair! Not allowed to watch the YouTube at work! Wahhhh!! I want to be smartened up, titillatingly!

    Also, I think davew’s confusing strippers with airbrushed Playboy centerfolds… Strippers are most definitely real women. After Playboy gets done with you, though, you are too perfect for words and that, to me, is fake. 112 lbs? Liar!! But anyway.
    Yeah. Hot.

  2. Perhaps I come off as a hypocrite here, because I’m peddling this hotness, but I don’t think this is necessarily the most appropriate place to be deliberating her hotness.

    Though she looks amazing in her underwear, it’s also the message that bring the hot. Her brains AND her body, both.

    hmmmm….Someone should write a song about that.

  3. @Elyse: “And I don’t think there’s anything fake hot about Leeann”

    Makeup, starched shirt, starched hair. This may be some idealized standard of beauty, but I find it very off-putting. I’d also bet a week’s salary that some of those curves are a product of intelligent design. She may be a very nice and attractive person in real life in which case the videos don’t do her any justice.

  4. From the Rethinking web site: “Leeann is the friend of a family with an autistic child. When asked if she would help, she graciously agreed. She immediately understood the tongue-in-cheek nature of the spots and, as you’ll see, brought her “A” game!”

  5. @davew:

    I really want to let this die… yet, I keep going with this.

    The point isn’t whether strippers are real or not.

    Here is a woman, who may or may not be aesthetically pleasing to you, who wanted to help spread the word about pseudoscience aimed at autistic parents. She is the parent of an autistic child, and has a rockin bod. She made videos to get people’s attention. To spread the good word. To start a conversation. To get people to understand that there is more to the story than what Jenny and Jim are telling you.

    And your response is: she’s not that hot.

    Not your type, fine. She doesn’t have to be your type. But to just say that she’s not hot is unfair.

  6. @Elyse: To be perfectly honest, I’d rather not women use their “hot bods” to promte some cause. It makes me uncomfortable and … meh. Can’t she just use her brain?

    It’s like, “LOOK I AM HOT! Now you can pay attention to me!” What if she *wasn’t* hot?

  7. I’m interested to see what kind of impact this has, besides the one on my pants. I see the merit in fighting boobies with boobies, but I could also see a backlash of the “stooping to their level” sort.

  8. @marilove:

    If she wasn’t, she’s do something else… and, I don’t know her, but my guess is that she’s probably doing something else as well.

    I don’t have a problem with the using your hot bod thing… I have a problem with “how dare you use your hot bod” and “how dare you use your body, you’re not hot enough.” I don’t think anyone should have to hide the fact that they are sexy and sexual beings… or refrain from using that just because they do/do not conform to the “sexy standard”.

    Leeann happens to conform to that. I don’t. I’m a size 18… I still took my clothes off for skepticism.

  9. @Elyse: Well, I guess my problem isn’t really with *her* but rather with society as a whole–women really aren’t listened to unless they are hot (and then they aren’t necessarily taken seriously). If she was not attractive, no one would care about her message. That’s why it bothers me.

    She is certainly not in line with PETA using women as objects for further their cause, I will say that.

  10. @marilove: I think, and I know I could be wrong as I often am, that you might be reading a bit more into this. At least on this sight and several other places that women are listened to even when they don’t show their boobs. The boobs are just a really nice extra. But even the women who don’t show them get listened to. Here at least.

  11. @davew: Again, I think you’re confusing strippers with models or porn stars or something. Or maybe you live somewhere that they are interchangeable. All the strippers I know are exactly like me, except sometimes they have enhanced cleavage. Oh, and six-inch heels. I don’t know any strippers who spend enormous amounts of anything on anything, any more than office workers or waitresses or anyone else do.

    @Gabrielbrawley: I was talking about Playboy centerfolds, which are big lame liars, not about the lovely Leeann.

  12. Blah blah “are strippers real” blah blah “should you use your body to make a point” blah blah.

    C’mon you people! This is freaking *awesome*! High production values, attention-getting, REAL life-saving information! You can argue all you want about what it says about our society that you need a scantily-clad hot woman to get someone’s attention, but the point IN THIS CASE is that she’s doing it for a KICK ASS reason!

    Take *that*, Jenny McCarthy! (Whom I might thing was hot if it weren’t for her distinctly un-sexy brain!)

  13. @Gabrielbrawley: I’m not reading anything extra into it. It’s pretty standard as far as our society goes that a woman must be hot to be taken seriously in the media.

    @Gabrielbrawley: Of course a lot of US would listen to her. Because we’re awesome. But society as a whole would give her a passing glance, at best.

    @jenea: Yeah, in the end you are correct: Her message is awesome, and I ain’t gonna tell her to stop.

  14. Also, I haven’t gotten laid in like a month. Clearly I need to get laid. This ian’t helpin’. THANKS A LOT, showin’ me boobs when I have no real boobs to touch. Oh, yes I do! *gropes herself*

    See. Now we’re back on the subject of boobies.

  15. Most impressive, attention getting way to deliver the message. Thanks for the post, Elyse.

    Leeann is a stunning beauty, and glues my attention to the message. Which is exactly what they intended. It works great!

  16. @Elyse: “She made videos to get people’s attention. ”

    You’re right. Let me address the more directly. These ads are pandering to the same base instincts that beer commercials do. I find it insulting when ad people think we can be so easily manipulated. I find it humorous when they miss what I find attractive so massively. I am not the target demographic for Coors commercials, but I should be in the demographic for this one. I hope for the sake of the vaccination campaign that my reaction is atypical.

    And now I’ll shut up.

  17. @Gabrielbrawley: No, not punishing myself, just busy. I am not really interested in dating right now, and haven’t had a chance to hang out with any of my friends-with-benefits. :P

    I have the pride gala tomorrow and I suspect my mentor invited me because she is on a mission to set me up. LOL.

  18. @davew: But when’s the last time a gorgeous scantily clad woman in a commercial told you to do something *smart*?

    I didn’t see it as pandering, I saw it as a playful mockery of those stupid commercials.

    Love the ads, love Leeann, this is awesome. (Also, boobs are awesome.)

  19. Here I wanted to jump in to one of my favorite topics (two of my favorite topics?) – BOOBS!

    But I see we’ve moved on a bit.

    I can completely see where marilove is coming from, too often a woman is defined by her looks and this kind of reinforces that idea.

    However, she is using that very flaw in current society to do something good. It’s hard to fault her for that. At least she’s not one of those non-person strippers, for FSM’s sake.

    On a side note, I love that Skepchicks are such fans of boobs. I come for the skepticism and stay for the mammary(s).

  20. @Elyse: The videos are great! I love them, and I think it is a very good idea to come up with something intriguing as this to draw attention to the autism debate.

    But I think a small correction is necessary. On the website of Rethinking Autism it says:

    “Leeann is the friend of a family with an autistic child. When asked if she would help, she graciously agreed. She immediately understood the tongue-in-cheek nature of the spots and, as you’ll see, brought her “A” game!”

    So she is not the mother, but a helpful and a uber-hot friend.

    Good job Leeann! ;)

  21. @davew:
    Why should you be in her target demographic?

    I’m not. I already know how to look at the data and apply the scientific method. I don’t need to be told superficial factoids about diet, vaccination, and so on because I already know where to find reliable source material, and am sufficiently well educated to evaluate most of it reasonably well.

    I’d bet with long odds that, with few exceptions, pretty much everyone who frequents this blog could say the same.

    We already know that Jenny McCarthy et al should be dumped in the nearest sewage lagoon and forgotten.

  22. @marilove:

    I agree with you on this issue.

    This strikes me as one of those ethical (or is it moral?) conundrums. Yes, her message is great. But the way she delivers it is clearly taking advantage of our culture’s perception of women as little more than sex objects, and as such uses fake sexuality, fake innuendo, fake come-and-fuck-me implications, etc.

    A really good, important, real message tied up in a piece of plastic soft-porn full of false body language.

    Conundrum.

    Yup.

  23. @James Fox:

    I saw you posted that… but I didn’t know why… and since I’d already read it on the site, I didn’t re-read it.

    Leave me alone. It’s Friday, I haven’t had a drink in like… days. And HELLO?? BOOBIES!!

  24. @Skepotter: “Why should you be in her target demographic?”

    Good points.

    @Amanda: “But when’s the last time a gorgeous scantily clad woman in a commercial told you to do something *smart*? ”

    1982. A woman in a bikini in a storage magazine told me that computers malfunction if you let them get too hot. History has proven her correct many times over.

  25. Love the video, hooray for brains and boobs.

    On an aesthetic sidenote that has nothing to do with the message of the video, I agree with Davew, I find absolutely nothing attractive out of what I think can rightly be called ‘not real.’ I don’t think anybody would say strippers or porn stars aren’t real women, that phrase just means their looks are not real.

    I also agree with Marilove about the pandering, and general hotness requirement in the media. As Elyse said, this does make sense as a mockery of that sort of thing.

  26. @marilove:
    “She is certainly not in line with PETA using women as objects for further their cause, I will say that.”

    Exactly. I’m appalled by these videos. *shrug* I’m getting the idea that these videos are specifically in response to whackjob videos, correct? Maybe if I had seen said videos I might respond differently. But, all I can think of is PeTA. *shudders* The message is great, but the delivery…not so much.

  27. @OneHandClapping:

    I can completely see where marilove is coming from, too often a woman is defined by her looks and this kind of reinforces that idea.

    However, she is using that very flaw in current society to do something good. It’s hard to fault her for that. At least she’s not one of those non-person strippers, for FSM’s sake.

    Basically, this is exactly how I feel! On target, man.

    Also, yes, Gabriel, my boobies are just as lovely nekkid. LOL

  28. @SicPreFix: Exactly! I’m torn, and I think that’s normal for a feminist skeptic. I like her message, but the way she is going about it bothers me.

    The Skepchick/dude calendars don’t bother me quite as much because they aren’t there to necessarily promote a specific cause or even skepticism–it always seemed to me that they were mostly aimed at the Skeptic community (particularly Skepchicks), because I don’t see a whole lot of non-skeptics buying the calendars (though I’m sure it happens).

  29. @OneHandClapping: “On a side note, I love that Skepchicks are such fans of boobs. I come for the skepticism and stay for the mammary(s).”
    Along with COTW I’m going to go ahead recommend that “I come for the skepticism and stay for the mammaries (or boobs)” as the new tagline for Skepchick.org

  30. I know have George Hrab’s “Brains Body Both” stuck in my head.

    BTW, people have you seen the calendar here? Same deal I think, sexy and smart are not mutually exclusive.

  31. I have to be honest the only difference I see between these and the PETA ads is that I agree with the message. That’s it. Otherwise you’re just using the same demeaning tactics. Maybe I lack a sense of humor but I missed the tongue in cheek or at least don’t see the tongue in cheek that much different than PETA’s claims. And really the first dozen comments or so bear this out. No discussion about the message of these videos but all about the boobs. Not that there’s anything wrong with boobs…

  32. The science and skeptical movement is very important to all of humanity. We need all the support we can get to promote critical thinking and the scientific method as a means to understanding the world. If you like it or not we as skeptics are the underdogs. Science has a reputation for being “geeky and nerdy”. If our science based movement is going to gain any speed and start attracting people outside of our group we are going to have to find ways to get the message out. This video project is a perfect example of a creative way to spread the message of science especially in an arena of debate where our competition is Jenny McCarthy. Is it a high brow tactic? No. Does it have the potential to get the message across where we have failed? Possibly. I believe we all need to do our part to spread reason and logic and science and not all of us are brilliant public speakers or bloggers. Some of us are artists and some of us are hot chicks in our skivvies, but whoever we are we can help the skeptical movement.

    I applaud Leeane for doing what she is good at to help our cause.

    Oh, and to compare it with PETA is silly. There is no violence, lies or appeal to our pity in these videos. Just a beautiful girl in her underpants and some facts. If that makes you uncomfortable then that is fine. Odds are you already got the message, it is the people who don’t understand science that we need to reach.

    As my mother used to say…”If you got it flaunt it.”

  33. @latenac: Well, we have a running commentary about boobs here. It’s kind of our thing. And partly my fault lol.

    And, besides, there isn’t much to discuss HERE on this issue, since everyone agrees with her 100%, ya know? I mean, clearly we all disagree with Jenny McCarthy, and we all agree that more needs to be done about presenting the REAL facts about autism (and vaccinations).

  34. @Noadi: “BTW, people have you seen the calendar here? Same deal I think, sexy and smart are not mutually exclusive.”

    Actually I haven’t which is sad. I think they would sell more calendars, especially to people like me, if there was a little more in the description and maybe a preview image or two. I don’t know how big it is or whether desk-style or wall-style. I’ve learned from conversations around here what the pictures are of and how they came to be, but the description doesn’t say this either. I’m sorry. I’m just not the sort to buy a calendar by its cover. On the other hand I’d gladly cough up $20 if I knew is was going towards a worthwhile cause like a vaccination campaign or a drinking skeptically bar tab.

  35. Comparing these videos to beer ads, I see them as different beasts. The beer ad says, “Drink our swill, and women this hot will want to be with you.” The videos say, “While you’re taking a gander at the hotness that is Leann, why don’t I educate you a little.”

    We all have talents that we want to use to promote causes that are important to us. Having above average looks is a talent. Many in society look at it with some derision as a talent that you’re born with. Unlike having a talent at rocket science which is viewed as requiring much hard work to have and use.

  36. It’s actually a brilliant campaign. Sex appeal sells. Period! So why can’t the strategy promote science and reality as long as the information is accurate. The brevity of the messages combined with the seductive visuals call attention to the right stuff. Cool beans. Thank you Leeann.

  37. While I, of course, am titaly in favor of the messages conveyed by these awesome videos, aren’t we guilty of using the “Appeal to Titthority” logical fallacy in promoting them. We should keep a breast of such illogical appeals lest we bebum what we fight.

  38. This reminds me of paradoxical interventions that serve to “snap” people out of their cognitive tracks. I like the juxtaposition of humor, sex and science. That should stimulate a few new interactions between neural pathways! Remember: neurons that fire together, wire together…so keep watching. Do your part for the survival of humanity…

  39. @Jimmy: I’m gland you asked that question since this is my aerola of expertise. Tit seems that people, men especially, will pay rigid attention to naked information if it’s delivered on a lovely set of learning curves.

  40. @marilove:

    I get that’s it tongue in cheek–how could it not be with that juxtaposition? :)

    I’m still pondering the idea that one person making a decision may be significantly different from a large group making a similar decision when the results are the same. Food for thought–thanks.

  41. @Amy:

    As far as comparing it to PETA, I see no difference between these sane autism videos and PETA’s “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign. They both use conventionally beautiful women and sex to sell a message. PETA’s other stuff, like “Holocaust on your plate,” is just crazy.

  42. It took me awhile to figure out my response to these videos.

    On the one hand, my first impression was that I smirked, and thought they were clever, as a personal message. If Leeann is actually a model (and it looks like she probably is), then this is a great way to use what she knows to get her message across.

    However, if this is supposed to be part of an actual campaign to reach parents, I’m sorry to say I think it’s a fail. It spoofs the beer commercial idea, yes – but hot women are not being used to sell autism woo. McCarthy was a playboy model, but she is not using that – she is using the Wholesome Mom(tm) card.

    Who would the target demographic of an anti-autism woo campaign be? Mostly hetero women of child-bearing age, who are used to seeing hot women thrown at them multiple times a day in order to shame them into buying stuff. Shame isn’t what I (hypothetical autistic child mom) want to feel when being educated about my child’s health (seriously – 5’7″ and 120 lbs? I suppose if her bones are hollow).

    An effective Rethink Autism campaign would play something like “I care about my child’s health, which is why when I found out he had autism, I didn’t use chelation… [insert short facts about chelation]” Maybe get Temple Grandin and some other people with autism to defend their autonomy. Some moms of autistic children to show their research files (my aunt’s is a tome) and empathize with the difficulty in getting good information. Plug some good info.

    The autism war is not being fought with hot women’s bodies, so the idea, while sweet to try and help, is not actually very helpful, and may do more harm than good if it succeeds in linking the body-shame of the typical nekkid woman campaign with medical information.

  43. @halincoh:

    No. Sex appeal does not sell. Titillation and the implication of offered sex is what sells. And that’s just playing with brain chemistry. And that’s manipulative, And as such, it could be argued, dishonest, mendacious, and cheap.

    Ultimately, and I suspect a lot of folks are going to think I’m anally retentive and overly uptight about this, but using the enemies methods (so to speak, i.e., manipulative deceit) to proselytize and “sell” (god forbid that such comodification is necessary) the skeptical, rational, critical thinking perspective is counter productive and dishonest.

  44. The very fact that these videos are being discussed HERE is THE point. It has drawn attention to the subject. The brilliance for those who aren’t within the scientific, skeptic or simply well read part of the population is that the messages are brief , yet complete bullet points. These videos serve as an introduction for further discussion , not as the end all to the topic, but as a beginning. I don’t understand the objections.

  45. @halincoh:

    It has drawn attention to the subject
    I don’t understand the objections.

    The objections are that simply drawing attention to something by any means necessary is not always a good thing. Contrary to Hollywood myth, some publicity is bad publicity.

    Those of us here who have some objections to the idea of the videos think that the medium is important to the message, and that, while I’m sure all involved were completely well-meaning, perfectly nice people, this campaign falls short on choosing the correct medium for this message.

    Sex appeal, or “titillation” can sell sports cars, fast food, and cologne pretty well! But I’m pretty sure it can’t sell home and life insurance, anti-diarrhea medication, and Depends. If the medium alienates the target audience (moms worried to death about the health of their children), it’s not helpful. Women’s bodies are used to sell things to men by making them associate positive fantasies with the product (“If I drink that beer, I could get hot chicks like that”), and they’re used to sell shame to women (“Oh god, I don’t look like her…maybe if I bought that product I could fix my clearly disfiguring flaws?”). Using a marketing ploy women associate with shame to give them good information is completely bass-ackwards. The anti-vax autism woo message is compelling because it sells false empowerment and false control to desperate parents who think that by avoiding this and taking that they can get their children back. They don’t want sexytimes. Not even a little bit. They don’t think “I want to see more boobies!” when they google “Autism treatment”. They want a kind, grey-haired doctor or real moms and dads who know what they’re going through to help them out.

    If these videos were something Leeann had created for her personal ad or something, to show that she had a brain in her head as well as a body, it would be hilarious. If it was an ad for Skeptic magazine’s autism debunk issue, or something – brilliant. Ad for a website purportedly debunking autism myths for concerned parents? Bit of a miss. It’s not a crime. It’s not PETA-bad. It’s just a complete non-sequitur, and the only discussion these ads have prompted, and I wager, will ever prompt, are discussions about whether or not she’s hot, and whether or not it’s appropriate to use sex appeal in an ad about real issues.

    The medium detracts from the message, so it’s a fail.

  46. @SaraDee

    I’m at the forefront of this battle because as a primary care doc I have to , more often than I like, undo the very dangerous woo that Oprah and Jenny present as fact, in order to help parents become comfortable with vaccinations. Sadly, it’s become an important part of what I do in the office.

    The media often picks the sensational, good or bad ,and forces that to the public. Rarely is it good though. A few years ago, the media emphasized that antibiotics are used too frequently and I LOVED that message. For some, it may have planted a seed of doubt regarding medical treatments, but it was in the right direction and I have been able to work with that to my ( and my patients ) advantage to hopefully decrease resistance to current antibiotics.

    Though I agree that this message may not target mothers under the influence of Oprahjen, it should create a general internet buzz in the RIGHT direction. And quite frankly, I want all the help I can get. Again, I can work with this. I can tweak it. I can further educate.

    Too many messages sensationalize the wrong or bastardized information. I’ll take any message that represents good information because I have faith in myself that I can fill in the gaps.

    Wish me luck.

  47. @SaraDee said:

    The objections are that simply drawing attention to something by any means necessary is not always a good thing. Contrary to Hollywood myth, some publicity is bad publicity.

    Hear, hear!

    I could not agree more.

    And:

    Sex appeal, or “titillation” can sell sports cars, fast food, and … Depends.

    I know it’s a misquote, but jeebles, what a concept!

    LOL

    Also, while I know I am perhaps being a little bit pedantic, or something, you said:

    … and they’re used to sell shame to women (”Oh god, I don’t look like her…maybe if I bought that product I could fix my clearly disfiguring flaws?”).

    While that is definitely true, I think it could, and should be expanded to read:

    “… advertising is used to sell shame to women, men, and children (‘Oh god, there is something wrong with me and something lacking in my life … maybe if I bought that product I could fix all my flaws and be loved, finally, like I should be?’).”

    Know what I mean?

  48. @halincoh:

    While everything you say is valid and important, the practice of adopting the enemy’s tactics to spread the good word, so to speak, is questionable.

    I think it is probably yet another ethical or moral conundrum or dilemma.

  49. I am quite puzzled by responses usually among freethinkers when an individual (usually a woman) fluants her body in tandem with expressing a scientific or atheist message. Unfortunately, it is girls who like science or mathematics who are considered asexual geeks and nerds. And if they wear a sexy dress then it’s scandalous among so called skeptics. Isn’t the whole point of freethinkers and skeptics to challenge the muddled thinking that brainy geeks can be sexy. Imagine if the cheerleader in high school deep down enjoys quantum physics or the geeky girl also loves sports, beer and porn.

    I think Leeann and all porn loving skeptics should push the envelope further and break down skeptic sterotype. Here’s one skepchick I think everyone would appreciate:

    http://www.tinynibbles.com/index.php

  50. @halincoh:

    A few years ago, the media emphasized that antibiotics are used too frequently and I LOVED that message.

    but HOW did they do that? They didn’t show half-naked women purring about finishing their doses, or writhing in ecstasy while refusing to share their prescriptions with other people. They showed spots (at least in Canada) with doctors and nurses, talking about antibiotic resistance. The medium was important for the content of the message. This medium does not make people talk about the message, it only makes people talk about the model.

    I’m going to go masturbate on Parliament laws to free Aung San Suu Kyi. Or I could organize a letter writing campaign for Amnesty International. I wonder which one would get me more attention, and which one would get Suu Kyi more attention….?

    @SicPreFix:

    the practice of adopting the enemy’s tactics to spread the good word, so to speak, is questionable.

    That wouldn’t bother me, if this actually was a fire with fire fight here. The enemies tactics are appeal to emotion via anecdote from other parents, and bunk science and medicine. Nary a whiff of women in underwear. Unless of course, I’m unaware of the beer commercials that tell parents to cure their autistic child with a vegetarian diet. In that case, strip away, ladies.

    If Leeann was sitting on a couch in a button up blouse talking about chelation and then referring people to the website, it would be a zillion times more effective. She’d be an attractive woman, which would draw people in, but it would be on topic, and would actually counter something real.

    I think it is probably yet another ethical or moral conundrum or dilemma

    I disagree: I don’t even see a moral or ethical conundrum. If it was an effective tactic, yes. Then we have the conundrum of whether we should use something frought with negative connotations, even if it has a positive final outcome. But I see no dilemma about whether or not one should use an effective tactic, or simply do something else to be “shocking” (though I can’t think of anything less original or shocking than a perfect woman in her underwear being shown in a video. Seriously, if she’d worn a chicken suit, and then shot the whole thing exactly the same, it might have at least been funny. And would have definitely got some attention).
    I mean, I get that she’s probably an actual underwear model, and decided to help using what she knows, but sometimes that isn’t helpful, and ends up being just plain self-indulgent. When trying to help a good cause, never ask “What can I do?” before asking “What does this cause need?”. If it needs more cowbell, don’t bring more oboe.

  51. @ragdish:

    I think Leeann and all porn loving skeptics should push the envelope further and break down skeptic sterotype.

    Seriously? My head just exploded. She’s not fighting for the right to be a sexy geek. This isn’t a “this is what an atheist looks like” video (a la the “this is what a feminist looks like” campaign). She’s trying to get people to stop using chelation to treat autism. I now rescind my conclusion from “Bit of a miss” to “Epic fail”.

  52. SaraDee:
    Seriously? My head just exploded. She’s not fighting for the right to be a sexy geek. This isn’t a “this is what an atheist looks like” video (a la the “this is what a feminist looks like” campaign). She’s trying to get people to stop using chelation to treat autism. I now rescind my conclusion from “Bit of a miss” to “Epic fail”.

    I agree. Leeann is not fighting to be a sexy geek. But she is a sexy geek nonetheless. And that’s my point.

  53. Here are a few other geeks who use their sexuality:

    Morgan Fairchild-LGBT issues, tsunami relief, Katrina relief, stroke awareness

    Danica McKellar- mathematics

    Marina Orlova- philologist, hotforwords

    And there are many, many more. All of these geeks use their looks and successfully convey their intellect.

  54. @ SaraDee and @ SicPreFix

    Isn’t it nice arguing points with sane, intelligent people?

    Your points are valid. I may not agree with all of them, but they are well thought out and represent a reasonable alternative point of view.

    But I think the rules are different for this battle because the people fighting the fight against sound science have broken all the rules. Though the scientific evidence IS the message, I have no problems with the messengers being diverse, because WE do not know who will respond to which presentation and which presenter.

    With regards to “this medium does not make people talk about the message, it only makes people talk about the model, ” I actually disagree. I TRULY did look at what the words were that surrounded her. In this rapid, immediate , instantaneous media age, the brief, but true words held my attention. Longer formats would not fit here, but should work elsewhere. Because we disagree on this point, we won’t be able to reach a compromise, but it’s been a nice discussion about an important topic.

  55. @halincoh:

    I have no problems with the messengers being diverse, because WE do not know who will respond to which presentation and which presenter.

    Fair enough. I just wish people could find a way to overturn one wrong status quo without having to explicitly accept another damaging one, you know?

    Because we disagree on this point, we won’t be able to reach a compromise, but it’s been a nice discussion about an important topic

    Then I shall tip my hat to you, ’til we meet again!

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