Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 11.1

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. Ummmm… howw about we get rid of monarchs, liquidate their inherited fortunes gained on the backs of the people, and feed a few hundred thousand hungry people. That goes double for the Vatican.

    Hell Houses are goofy. The real scary thing is what goes on in the minds of the people who create and enjoy them.

    Sexy-dressed women are nice to look at. No staring! And not for you! Before ElevatorGate I’d have assumed that those things didn’t need to be said over and over again.

    XKCD rocks!

    1. Ummmm… howw about we get rid of monarchs, liquidate their inherited fortunes gained on the backs of the people, and feed a few hundred thousand hungry people. That goes double for the Vatican.

      That goes for industrialists and corporatists too, but I suppose we shouldn’t get carried away least the liberatians start to howl.

    2. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. I mean, if I went ’round saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away!

    3. In a parliamentary system, if you get rid of the monarch you just have to spend a lot of time and money electing a president. Since all the president will do is ask the winning party form a government (sometimes ‘winning’ is hard to define, so this job shouldn’t be given to a bureaucrat), no one will notice exists until they commit a felony (see Israel).

      Regardless I really do think it’s nice to have a head of state that doesn’t actually run the country. In the US we spent the whole 00s being told that you shouldn’t question the president during a time of war. The fact that this rule only applies to Republican presidents makes it all the more annoying!

  2. The monarchy (at least in England) is actually a good source of income (tourism). And you know, I actually like that NZ is part of the commonwealth. Outdated? Sure. But it’s nice to sometimes get caught up in silly things like princess weddings.

    RE: CVS (xkcd), walgreens too. I was trying to find something to offset a potential UTI, and one of the things they had was homeopathic. I guess they missed the memo where you’re supposed to drink lots of water, not take a pill that has water memory.

  3. Yeah that’s right with the sexy dressing. She’s dressed for her own reasons. And if you actually understand that as a man, then she will appreciate you for that.

    As a guy, I find that meeting women for dating is the same on sexy-dressed Halloween as it is on any other day.

    She is:
    1. Interested in talking, and you may keep talking to her and see where it leads
    2. Interested in talking, but only in friendship, and as long as you realize that and don’t hit on her, you may keep talking to her and may make a great friend
    3. Not interested in talking and you should move on. Imagine if some freak wouldn’t leave you alone, that would be uncomfortable.

    Sexy dressing doesn’t change these rules.

    About the Nice Guy™ thing, yeah, that’s true. I used to be good looking and but the Nice Guy™, and my dating life was horible. Now however that I’m older, uglier, and much balder than I was – my love life is GREAT because I’ve transformed from Nice Guy™ to Nice but Confident Guy. Confidence is the key, and it’s 100% possible to be confident and very nice at the same time.

  4. On the haunted house story:
    Pastor Lamont Melrose defended Hell House, saying it’s about scaring people with real-life sins rather than imaginary ghosts.

    *blink blink* Yes, much more important that we make them believe in our magical zombie.*blink blink*

    Fucking simp.

    On a side note; Jezabel, really? Was this not reported anywhere else?

  5. One note on #2: I agree, don’t stare, which is not only rude but can come off as a threat. But the view does change, and a women in motion is like a moving piece of art. (And I’m not just speaking about any particlular body part).

    1. I’m not a work of art, not a thing. I’m trying to understand what you’re saying in a way that doesn’t make me deeply uncomfortable.

      Perhaps you’re talking about an appreciation of beauty? But aesthetics is not art. And beauty is exclusionary. So that not-beautiful women are not works of art.

      And in this context, I can’t see it referring to the beauty of humanity in a more general sense, across genders and ages and abilities.

      1. Maybe weatherwax does mean it in a more general sense… ish. Or at least doesn’t mean to be insulting? And the more I think about it, the more I come along to your way of thinking. Darn you, weatherwax, darn you to heck!

      2. Yes, I mean an appreciation of beauty. I don’t mean to make anybody uncomfortable.

        I certainly wouldn’t call any person a thing, but I’m at a loss for a term for someone who passes by me who I don’t know and who’ll I’ll probably never see again. My vocabulary just isn’t that sophisticated.

        There are certainly many who I don’t find attractive, but I wouldn’t say they are “not-beautiful.” And of course if there’s any kind of social interaction then yes, appearance doesn’t matter.

  6. That XKCD strip is stupid. XKCD is hit or miss for me and this is one of those miss ones. It makes no sense. I love to read. I have read many books and thoroughly admire and respect people who can write stories. Why would I curse them? They deserve to be compensated for creating something that can stimulate my imagination and send me on journeys to other worlds.

    1. I think you’re reading the comic rather differently than I am. I see the comic being critical of homeopathy and alternative medicine with a rather odd analogy. The ‘reader’ of the blank books calls publishers and authors greedy in a similar way to how many people in the alt med community view the scientists and pharmaceutical companies that produce conventional science based medicines. The alternative literature fan is supposed to come across as ridiculous.

      1. This is why I pointed out that I don’t understand why so many people think XKCD is so good. Like I said, it’s hit or miss for me and this is a huge miss. I read the roll over too and that didn’t make any sense either.

      1. It’s a dumb analogy because the criticisms of homeopathy are always that it’s total bullshit. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone bring up the greed factor. Complaining that corporations are greedy is like complaining that skunks stink. See, that’s an analogy; a clear and unambiguous one.

        1. Morbius, it is the defenders of homeopathy that always bring up the greed factor; they invariably claim critics are shills for Big Pharma and are being paid off. (This is obviously an ad hominem defense of homeopathy, but the response that homeopathic purveyors are doing the same thing, even though it is a tu quoque, is logically permissible because it is a joke.)

  7. It seems to me that the very same folks who defend the sexy dress and the right not to be harassed will pull a 180 and state that she is only dressed that way because her sexual narrative has been negatively conditioned by a patriarchical society. I could never fully understand this feminist contradiction.

    1. Also, this is true: “because her sexual narrative has been negatively conditioned by a patriarchical society.” though I really don’t have the time or desire to get into detail about it. It’s complex. You might want to google “feminism 101”.

      However, just because that’s true, doesn’t mean she deserves to be “harassed”, as you imply.

      How is it a 180 to admit that our society has created this complex narrative, but that doesn’t mean she deserves to be harassed?

      1. Where in my post did I state that a women dressed whatever way she wants deserved to be harassed? Au contraire, I firmly uphold the conviction that no has the right to sexually harass anyone for any reason. Period!! I merely stated that such a contradiction exists and implies that women who sexually dress have no free will as you are admitting to. Women have the freedom to wear a string bikini or a burka. The burka has patriarchical underpinnings historically but I know several women here in the western world who wear it because they want to. It’s no different than wearing a sari, jeans and a sweatshirt or a croptop with a plunging neckline. To each to their own. In fact telling a woman that she is dressed a certain way because of patriarchical coercion is IMO insulting and denies that woman any autonomy or individual freedom.

        1. ” In fact telling a woman that she is dressed a certain way because of patriarchical coercion is IMO insulting and denies that woman any autonomy or individual freedom.”

          It’s not, though. Everything you do is based on interactions with society, past, present, and future. Everything.

          It’s not as simple as “patriarchal coercion”. It’s so much more complex than that.

          If you decide to tattoo your entire body, you are doing it because you want to … but because of societal reasons as well, even if it’s just as simple as, “I want to be different from everyone else!” It was a decision you made freely, but not a decision made in a vacuum.

          Free will isn’t as simple as “I decide what to do or not to do.” I don’t necessarily think free will is a “myth” but we humans live in a society. Our decisions are made based on our interactions with that society. All of them.

          1. “It’s not as simple as “patriarchal coercion”. It’s so much more complex than that.”

            For my education, please forward me a URL that delves into this complexity. The feminists I read are folks like Wendy McElroy who some regard as an individualist or ifeminist. I have not read anything among those feminist 101s about how patriarchy ultimately influences a woman’s attire.

        2. Think about it: Why would a woman choose to dress sexily? It’s not as simple as, “Because she wants to!” Maybe she does it because it makes her feel good. Why does it make her feel good? Maybe she has an ideal body, and so dressing in sexy clothes makes her feel sexy, because she’s aware that she has a rockin’ body. But an ideal body has been very different in different points of history, as we all know. Jennifer Anniston is now the ideal body, when at one point it was Marilyn Manroe (perfectly toned vs. very curvy). There’s a reason why this hypothetical lady feels good while dressing sexily, and while she may be dressing sexy because it makes her feel good, you have to ask the question … why does it make her feel good? Why does it make her feel sexy? Because of society and how society perceives sexiness, that’s why, and as we are aware, we live in a very patriarchal society, so you cannot ignore that when talking about why a woman might feel sexy in certain clothing. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have free will, or that she can’t make her own decisions. It just means that the decision she made was not made in a vacuum.

          1. But even in the most progressive feminist democracies such as Sweden, women dress in string bikinis. They even have a feminist political party. You’re therefore saying that ultimately patriarchy will always condition a woman’s psyche even when all other factors (eg. equal pay for equal work, gay marriage, reproductive freedom, ending violence against women, etc…) are no longer issues? Would you go as far as stating that a woman who chooses to go to med school, have an abortion, marry a same sex partner are also in some way conditioned by patriarchy? If not, then why should her attire be the only choice ultimately influenced by men?

          2. First, I’m moving to Swedan!

            Hah! Anyway, it seems they have a pretty great society when it comes to equality, but I am pretty certain even they aren’t perfect.

            Yes, a patriarchal society will always influence how a woman reacts with the world, but it’s not the only thing that influences her.

            And, for the record, a patriarchal society also influences men, and not necessarily positively.

            Think about those TV shows that were common in the late 90s and early 2000s, where the husband was always seen as this idiotic oaf, while the woman was seen as the reasonable (if shrill) spouse. Home Improvement is a good example. I’d say that’s a negative, insulting portrayal of men, and one that is 100% influenced by a patriarchal society.

            I’m assuming your a man, though I might be wrong (feel free to correct me). You are just as influenced by a patriarchal society as I, a woman, am.

          3. I’v always hated Home Improvement. Instead I used to watch Star Trek Voyager. An incredibly hot and brainy Commander Janeway who travelled where no one had gone before. But I digress…..

            “Yes, a patriarchal society will always influence how a woman reacts with the world, but it’s not the only thing that influences her.”

            Then how do you know for sure that when a woman dresses scantilly clad its because of the patriarchy and not because it’s hot out.

            I am extremely jealous that you get to live in Sweden. Isn’t it one of the happiest places on earth? It is a testament to the naysayers that a society can be incredibly moral without God. You’re so lucky to revel in the beauty of Stockholm wherein fairy tales emerge. Enjoy the Lutfisk and pay homage to Queen Silvia. I wish we had it as good here.

          4. “Then how do you know for sure that when a woman dresses scantilly clad its because of the patriarchy and not because it’s hot out.”

            I live in Phoenix. We still had a high of 90 the other day and we’re still in the mid-80s. One doesn’t need to wear short-shorts and a tank top to keep cool. :) I generally wear t-shirts and jeans all year round (no shorts, though occasionally I’ll wear a skirt).

            In fact, it’s better to wear long sleeves and long pants if you’re going to be in the sun for more than a few minutes (just look at anyone that works in the field — none of them are dressed scantily). Of course, that’s pretty sweaty, so we generally wear shorts and t-shirts and stuff. Which is fine. I have no problem with it.

            The decisions we make as people (men AND women) are based on a patriarchal society, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the only reason why make certain decisions. Sometimes it’s just ‘cuz it’s fucking hot out, as you point out, or a mixture of reasons. You keep wanting to make it super simple, when it’s really not.

            It’s plenty hot in areas where Burkas are the norm, but the majority of women in those cultures certainly won’t wear shorts and a tank top, regardless of the temperature outside.

        3. I’ll try and find some links. There is just so much information on the interbutts that it’s hard to find the relevant stuff! Keep watching here today and if I come across anything relevant, I’ll post it.

          But think about it in a different way. Think about why you make your own decisions. Even the most basic decisions. Like bathing. Why do you bathe every day? You might say it’s because you want to bathe and you made that decision out of free will, but just try not bathing for a couple weeks, and then go interact with society. You’d be shunned. But back in ancient times, hardly anyone bathed, because society at the time didn’t value hygiene like we do today, for various reasons. Society really colors almost every decision you make, even the most basic stuff like bathing and shaving your face every day.

        4. “If not, then why should her attire be the only choice ultimately influenced by men?”

          It’s certainly not the only choice ultimately influenced by a patriarchal society. Patriarchal society does NOT equal men, by the way. A patriarchal society isn’t just a bunch of men making decisions on how the world works. It includes women, too (Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin are fully entrenched in the patriarchal society, for instance, and their political views and ideals show that pretty blatantly (abortion, gay marriage, etc)).

  8. This kind of explains in a bit more detail what I’ve been trying to explain. Its not perfect, though.

    http://plainsfeminist.blogspot.com/2007/10/feminism-and-question-of-appropriate.html

    And I believe it references this:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/07/09/from-bikinis-burqas-feminist-politics-clothing

    Try searching “feminism and clothing” or “patriarch and clothing” or similar search strings. You might come up with some more interesting stuff. Not all of it will be perfect, though, so remember that. You have to come to your own conclusions, of course, but the more knowledge you have, the better you will be able to do that.

  9. marilove,

    Thank you for the links. Always interested in understanding different points of view. There was another website full of essays. In one, there was an interesting discussion of pre-industrial civilizations wherein nudity was the norm. Although patriarchical, a woman’s nudity did not define the sexual narrative. In fact it was the clothing that drove the male libido batty. The chinese experience was shocking with the bone breaking and foot folding.

    Granted that our current cultural epoch sets the “norms” and I’ll concede that there is a patriarchical machine that defines much of culture. That in turn creates memes that influence fashion and beauty standards and thus, women’s personal decision making on sexy attire. I’m just not convinced that women want to turn that machine off at this point in our civilization without an alternative. You have to admit that setting aside nurture, all of us have innate drives set into place by evolution that foster lust and desire. Women and men will always physically desire others and also want to be physically desired. Indeed, an alternative non-patriarchical lust and desire has yet to take hold in a free society. In other words a feminist raunch meme has not yet gone viral.

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