Skepchick Quickies 5.1

Skepchick Quickies 5.1
  • Women and combative atheism – “Atheism by its nature is “combative” – at least, active or outspoken or explicit or “movement” atheism is. Movement atheism is naturally combative.” Do you agree?
  • Experts suspicious of company’s gas-saving claims – “The product, it says, improves mileage by up to 15 per cent while reducing toxic emissions as much as 80 per cent, and boosting performance — at a cost of $150 to $350, depending on whether the fuel is gasoline or diesel, and the size of the tank.” From Andy.
  • Makeup and feeling like myself – Greta Christina, “For me, makeup isn’t about covering myself up. It’s about bringing myself out.”
  • Tennessee passes abstinence-based “gateway sexual activity” bill – Due to the vagueness of the wording, “Some detractors argue that it could unreasonably punish teachers for allowing students to cuddle, hold hands or even hug, whether in the halls between classes or at a school dance.”
Avatar of Amanda
Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

51 Comments

  1. Avatar of davew

    “I choose my words carefully, so I can most authentically say what I mean. I choose my clothing carefully, so my appearance most authentically reflects how I feel about myself and my place in the world. I choose my actions carefully, so I can be my most authentic self.”

    If your authentic self is shallow and insecure I’d say you’ve nailed it!

    I find close attention to appearance, grooming, and clothes on either gender very unattractive. It advertises a disconnection between them and the things I value such as working and playing outside. It is possible the dude in the Armani suit and manicure rode 20 miles on a mountain bike earlier in the day, but I doubt it. I’d much rather chat up the woman who whose dress looks like it spent time recently in a backpack.

    • Avatar of Feats of Cats

      Yes, and you set the standards of beauty for everyone. People who enjoy the art of makeup and putting together outfits are automatically shallow and horrible.

    • Avatar of mikerattlesnake

      I bet greta is just BUMMED that you won’t be chatting her up. Too bad she didn’t consult you before deciding how to feel about things.

    • Avatar of mikerattlesnake

      Also, big laughs at you accusing other people of being shallow and then judging people based on appearance.

    • Avatar of Kammy

      I have standing appointments every four weeks to get my hair styled and bleached, my fake nails filled in, and my legs, underarms and bikini waxed. Every day spend about 20 minutes cleansing and moisterizing my face and putting on makeup, then I spend more time washing it off at night. A few nights a week I redo the color on my nails and sometimes paint a little design for fun. I make sure my clothes are clean, match and are not too far out of style every day, as well.

      I also clean my house, spend time with my family, help my son do homework, plan learning activities for him, camp, plan and execute SkepchickCON, pay attention to what is going on in the world around me, read my favorite childhood books to my son, weep for animals that got run over, call my friends with jokes I think they’ll like, ask them how they’re feeling, worry about how good of a parent I am, pick up garbage on the boulevard when I see it, worry about how good of a wife I am, teach my son not to waste water, worry about good of a Skepchick I am, barbeque, try to be nice to people because I don’t know if they’re having a bad day or not, try not to be a racist or a sexist, consider better ways to deal with my mental illness, think about how my actions and words affect others, ask my son what he dreamt about, and about ten million other things.

      Go ahead. Call me shallow because of that first paragraph.

      • Avatar of Will

        But Kammy! You don’t mountain bike! Therefore, you’re shallow and insecure!!

        • Avatar of Kammy

          I’ll inform my family,friends and co-workers immediately. I’d feel awful if they suddenly realized and felt stupid for liking me.

    • Avatar of marilove

      You can’t be serious. I mean come on, Dave. COME ON. Let me tell you a story:

      There was this girl I worked with at my last job. She was tall, gorgeous. Wore makeup every day, flat-ironed her curly hair, wore very nice, trendy clothes. Clearly she paid attention to her appearance, and also cared about it.

      You’d see her and automatically think vain, boring, not into being out doors, all because YOU are vain and completely full of yourself*. Yet if you didn’t pay so much attention to the superficial crap (more irony!) that in the end really don’t mean much, you’d find a sweet but motivated and smart girl. She is getting her Masters at 24 in business. She’s also very athletic and loves the outdoors Hikes a lot. She does tons of marathons — she did that big one in Vegas recently ish.

      I really admired her. And I’m seriously the complete opposite.

      *Seriously, do you really think any woman is going to suffer because of your judgmental and childish opinion of her? LOL

      I mean COME ON. You can’t be serious. Judging a woman on her looks? Especially when you consider how very much pressure society puts on women and their physical looks? Oh, wait. You never did consider that, did you?

      You’ve been commenting at Skepchick HOW LONG and you don’t even have a grasp of that basic point?

      WOW. I am sorry but that is some serious stupid. You are commenting on a Skeptical site with a very feminist bent, and yet here you are, spewing this crap.

      You’ve missed out on getting to know some awesome people if you immediately brush them off because they wear some mascara and blush. And I say people, because what about men who enjoy wearing makeup? Did I just blow your mind?

    • Avatar of Jen

      I honestly can’t remember the last time I was so deeply, personally offended by a comment on this site.

      Here’s a story – I grew up a tomboy in a broken home of males and was uncomfortable with my body and the expectations of “being a girl” to the point of it becoming a fairly serious emotional issue. Because I internalized the same philosophy you’re spouting – that caring about anything “feminine” is weak and shallow.

      Then I grew up, and I realized that things that are typically feminine are not automatically worthless, even though our society tries to make them that way. It’s a different identity, a different form of expression. And while no one should feel they HAVE to wear makeup or a certain style of dress in order to be accepted as a woman, neither should anyone feel they can’t if they want to. The whole point is that its an individual decision and not dictated by anyone else.

      I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis, but I love to play with it. I dye my hair and get tattoos and I like fun clothes. This is how I express myself, and I spent years of my life feeling scared to express myself because of what people like you would say about me. That’s ridiculous. If you don’t like or aren’t attracted to people like me, fine. But a sweeping generalization about the inherent intelligence and worth of women like me borders on misogyny and I’m not afraid to express what I think about that anymore.

  2. Avatar of m5unit

    “If your authentic self is shallow and insecure I’d say you’ve nailed it!”

    Am I shallow and insecure for speaking well?

    “It is possible the dude in the Armani suit and manicure rode 20 miles on a mountain bike earlier in the day, but I doubt it. ”

    That’s one hell of an assumption. And why do you assume “dressing well” automatically means one specific look at all times? Do you really think its appropriate to wear hiking gear to someones wedding? To court? Do you really think the ability to dress up says everything you seem to think it says about a person?

    “I’d much rather chat up the woman who whose dress looks like it spent time recently in a backpack.”

    Women of the world, take note!

    • Avatar of davew

      “People who enjoy the art of makeup and putting together outfits are automatically shallow and horrible.”

      Most specifically I said I don’t find them attractive. This is a long distance from horrible. I also called her shallow and insecure which she is by definition. Shallow because she judges herself and assumes others judge her by her appearance and insecure because she cares.

      Turn this around. If you are the sort of person that tends carefully to your appearance wouldn’t you be relieved to find out that I am inclined to avoid you at parties?

      • Avatar of Feats of Cats

        “Turn this around. If you are the sort of person that tends carefully to your appearance wouldn’t you be relieved to find out that I am inclined to avoid you at parties?”

        Because the only reason to talk to someone at a party is because you find them attractive.

      • Avatar of Will

        You said: “Shallow because she judges herself and assumes others judge her by her appearance”

        But you ARE judging her by her appearance!! Good grief you’re being dense.

        • Avatar of davew

          “But you ARE judging her by her appearance!! Good grief you’re being dense.”

          I’m only responding to what she wrote about herself. I cannot possibly be judging her by her appearance because I have no idea what she looks like. I think the only way she could have more clearly stated that she was shallow and insecure is by writing “I am shallow and insecure.”

          • Avatar of Will

            Let me lay it out for you more plainly. Your original post claimed that she is shallow because she cares about her appearance. Then you said, “I find close attention to appearance, grooming, and clothes on either gender very unattractive.” But you are paying close attention to appearance, grooming, and clothes. You just think that because it’s not manicures and Chanel and Nyx cosmetics that you’re somehow being less shallow. You’re not.

            You later defined shallow as judging one’s self and others based on appearance–something which you admit to doing yourself and actually do in this thread.

            Honestly, I’d much rather hang out with the most made-up, dressed-up person who is at least honest about their enjoyment of appearance than some bitter hypocrite who claims that appearance doesn’t matter as long as it conforms to his standards.

      • Avatar of jtradke

        “Shallow because she judges herself and assumes others judge her by her appearance”

        Uh, people do judge by appearance. You’re doing it, right here, in this very thread, by saying that you prefer to talk with a woman in a wrinkled dress than one who spent more time on her appearance.

        “…and insecure because she cares.”

        So you’d go outside with boogers on your face and food in your teeth? Dandruff on your shoulders? Would you feel weird with a pink mohawk? Shaved eyebrows? Do you comb your hair? Wear pants? Shave or trim your beard? Why do you care so much what people think?

        • Avatar of davew

          “Uh, people do judge by appearance. You’re doing it, right here, in this very thread, by saying that you prefer to talk with a woman in a wrinkled dress than one who spent more time on her appearance.”

          This is true to an extent, but it is rather like considering atheism as a religious position. The first tip-off is usually perfume or cologne. Most of the time I don’t notice what people look like. It’s only when they call attention that I tend to notice.

          “So you’d go outside with boogers on your face and food in your teeth? Dandruff on your shoulders? Would you feel weird with a pink mohawk? Shaved eyebrows? Do you comb your hair? Wear pants? Shave or trim your beard? Why do you care so much what people think?”

          As to the boogers and food… it’s been known. I confess I wore pants yesterday, but only to work in the yard. Most days I don’t. Isn’t a pink mohawk the exact opposite of not caring what you look like? Do I care what I look like? Not in the slightest with one important caveat. The caveat is my wife cares what we look like as a couple when we go out. I follow her recommendations without question.

          • Avatar of Will

            Well, aren’t you just so enlightened! =P

            You’re coming across as self-righteous and condescending. If you don’t care about your appearance (which I seriously doubt), good for you. Why do you care if other people care about their own? And why do you feel you must belittle them for doing so?

  3. Avatar of Skepotter

    When I interact with people, I care about how they interact with me. What they look like is not relevant.

    When people are comfortable with how they look and feel, it seems to me they are more likely to interact in a positive way.

    Most of the time, I choose the next t-shirt in the stack. Others take more time and put more effort into their appearance. To each her/his own.

  4. Avatar of davew

    “That’s one hell of an assumption. And why do you assume “dressing well” automatically means one specific look at all times?”

    I immediately assume that a person who gets a manicure hasn’t gone mountain biking. I would not be so bold as to state that no one has ever gone mountain biking with carefully tended nails, but the number must be very small indeed. Any problem with the chain or a tire and all that work is going to be undone anyway. Besides the people who off road regularly are going to have enough weathered skin and calluses that a manicure wouldn’t help and would probably look rather silly.

    • Avatar of Skepotter

      Your assumptions need a reality check, Davew.

      My ex-gf spent about an hour most mornings doing make-up. It was a time to be with herself, a quiet, meditative time. The make-up part was almost incidental – a ritual to justify the quietude.

      We hiked backwoods trails, golfed, fixed machinery together. When she got a flat tire on her way to work, she changed it. She is a good analytical thinker, and a good person. One thing she is not is shallow.

    • Avatar of marilove

      Dave, let me ask this: Have you considered, in all your judgement of women based on some mascara and fancy scarves, that women have a particular and very persistent pressure put on them by society about how they look and present themselves to the public? As a woman who is pretty casual in dress and rarely wears makeup (and I mean rarely), I gotta say, *I* feel it (especially now, as I’m interviewing for jobs; I have no idea how to look so polished and it can be frustrating and even hold you back).

      It’s interesting, Dave. All you’ve talked about is how women who wear makeup or care about their appearance even a little bit don’t turn you on. Because of course, when an article about a woman and why she wears makeup is posted, your first inclination is how much that just does not turn you on — and it’s so important, you must tell us about it. And oh, btw, you wouldn’t go up and talk to her in a party, because she’s so shallow and vain, all because she wears makeup and nice clothes.

      THAT is the most important thing you took from this article??

      Why are you even here, Dave? I assure you, know one here cares if women who wear makeup and nice clothes don’t give you a boner.

  5. Avatar of Corey Feldman

    I guess because I am not an atheist I feel the same way about combative atheism as I do about evangelical religions. You believe something else, OK I’m cool with that. You have a rational calm discussion why you believe XYZ, I’m cool with that too. But you get in my face, tell me I’m wrong, foolish, stupid, whatever, I don’t need that in my life. I don’t think women are less combative in regards to religious/atheistic activism. I have seen women on both sides of that fence take combative positions.

  6. Avatar of weatherwax

    I’m afraid I always come off as more stident than I mean too about make-up. I grew up in a little Reservation town were most of my classmates didn’t wear any. Now I work with quite a few women much younger than I, mid-twenties mostly. I think they’re all quite beautiful and have no idea why they want to wear make-up.

    But I really need to work on making clearer that if it makes them feel good, then F what I think.

  7. Avatar of msatheism

    I agree with the first article completely. I find a lot of people I meet are surprised at my assertiveness when it comes to atheist and skeptical issues. I certainly am not surprised to express my thoughts and be aggressive about it. I have had problems with a couple of my girlfriends who are atheists as well but are a lot more moderate than I am. They cannot understand why it is important to be a “combative atheist”. But no big deal, everyone can express their beliefs their own way!

  8. Avatar of dr. dr. professor

    //Tennessee passes abstinence-based “gateway sexual activity” bill//

    Say hello to a slow erosion of freedoms…

    • Avatar of Mark Hall

      I would, but “friendly greetings” can earn you 5-10 in the state penn. So, just do what Republicans do… have furtive sex in bathrooms with slow erosion of freedoms, while decrying it in public.

      • Avatar of dr. dr. professor

        Exactly, which is the typical of classical tyrants, they reserve freedoms for them and themselves only.

  9. Avatar of Luna

    Adornment has been going on for a hell of a long time – there is even a tribe whose men do the adorning for the women. Don’t ask me which one, I’m not on point today. Ultimately though, it’s about what makes us happy. It may even be a natural impulse as animals to adorn ourselves (although interesting to note how many flashy colors are from male animals instead of female).

  10. Avatar of mrmisconception

    I personally won’t go to any website that looks like it has been update since the days of GeoCities, and I won’t drive a car that isn’t covered in at least a quarter-inch of dust and bird droppings, and if you eat anything more than white bread and baked beans then don’t bother talking to me. I mean, what kind of shallow prat would update their site, mantain their car, or eat a variety of food?

    Form follows function as long as it’s the function I want.

    Sound ridiculous right?

    • Avatar of Will

      “I won’t drive a car that isn’t covered in at least a quarter-inch of dust and bird droppings”

      Hey, who told you about my car? =P

  11. Avatar of Lux

    In response to the last link about Tennessee:

    Any ace will tell you that cuddling and holding hands doesn’t always lead to sex.

    Hell, anybody who’s ever decided to take it slow with a relationship before having sex knows that hugs don’t always lead to sex.

    Furthermore, should I refrain from hugging my dad, stepmom, sisters, and in-laws because I might end up accidentally sleeping with them? I should definitely not be allowed to babysit my nephew anymore–someone might try to arrest me for pedophilia.

    • Avatar of mrmisconception

      It is crazy to think that hugging leads to sex.

      I think next they will realize that everyone who breathes also dies so if they outlaw breathing no one will every die.

  12. Avatar of KathyO

    If this doesn’t work, Tennessee will be instituting mandatory chastity belts.

  13. Avatar of freemage

    One of the links in the Tennessee story makes it very clear that the whole abstinence-only movement is about making sure that teens how have sex suffer for it–yes, it holds first time back for about a year or two in comparison to comprehensive sex-ed. However, when that time passes, the teens are far more likely to have unprotected sex, leading to more pregnancies and STD transmission.

    On the first article, there’s probably also the corollary that many men and women will often view a woman who uses the same ‘combative’ language as a male peer will get dubbed ‘shrill’ or similar epithets–thus, the women who would be most likely to operate as equals to the aggressive male ‘movement atheists’ are dismissed for triggering a patriarchy-induced response.

  14. Avatar of James Fox

    All this make up discussion is making me nostalgic for the over made-up, blow dry, glam rock days of my youth; as well as the times in college when I’d put on makeup and costume up to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show with friends. My wife and I are very outdoorsy types who hike, camp, bike and tromp around the woods and mountains on our horses; and we clean up pretty well. And I take considerable pride in my pristinely shaved head. I don’t recall anyone ever accusing me of being shallow, dense perhaps, but not shallow.

  15. Avatar of Siveambrai

    So I am neither a chemist nor a car person.. but I know some basics of each. Ceramics are typically pretty non-reactive that’s why they’re used in as a base material in many instruments. So saying they somehow react in a very controlled and long lasting way with gasoline is kinda dumb.

    Secondly, nothing in your tank will effect “how much gas is used” that is a mechanical function of the pumping system and the fuel regulator in the engine. Actually changing the density of the fuel (assuming the chemical component actually worked) would be really, really bad for your engine because it would alter the fuel to air ratio in the pistons, def causing you to run lean/rich and be less fuel efficient and potentially causing physical damage to the cylinders requiring them to be replaced.

    TL;DR Don’t stick things in your gas tank that aren’t fuel.

    • Avatar of mrmisconception

      Actually, if there is enough crap in your fuel tank you will indeed use less fuel.

      But my estimation puts the “savings” at closer to a 100% reduction rather than a paultry 15%. ;)

  16. Avatar of jesse

    Re: Tennessee — is it not true that a law too-vaguely worded doesn’t pass constitutional muster?

    It would obviously take a lawsuit to go through this, and if there is a lawyer out there please tell me.

    Also, what is the minimum age for marriage in Tennessee? Would a married 16- or 17-year-old (it happens in some places, if a girl gets pregnant) be in trouble for kissing her husband?

    I mean, this law just sounds like a magnet for lawsuits all around.

    • Avatar of mrmisconception

      Minimum age is 18, or 16 with parental consent, anyone younger needs a court order. o_O

      OT but 1st cousins are allowed to marry, especially if they are kissing cousins I guess.

  17. Avatar of Grand Lunar

    Tennessee is making itself out to be a lousy place to live, especially if you like hugging and kissing.

    I’m glad my cousin doesn’t live there; she’d be screwed up for life!

    I wonder what Orwell would think of laws like this.

  18. Avatar of marilove

    How nice. The first comment here is how a man doesn’t get turned on because of how a women looks (because that sure was the most important point of that essay), and he also just had to reassure us how very little she is worth because of her looks. We have progressed so far in the Skeptical community, haven’t we?

    And yes, Dave, that was obviously directed at you.

    • Avatar of mikerattlesnake

      Sometimes I think dave must be playing a “not getting it guy” character for the amount of times he is just blatantly and unapologetically wrong (and yet he sticks around and comments all the time), but that’s wishful thinking. He’s just one of millions of self-assured mildly to moderately sexist dudes who ain’t gonna be told how to think by no woman.

      • Avatar of marilove

        But but but the essay posted to this Skeptic site with a feminist bent about a woman who chooses to wear makeup was totally about Dave and his boner. It was just so very important for us women to make sure we knew just how shallow, vain, and worthless women who appear to care about their appearance are, and whether or not Dave deems certain types of women worthy to talk to at a party. Because women care about this. What causes Dave’s boner is *important* to us. This is some heavy shit, man! This makes or break how I dress when I walk out of the house every morning! Especially if it’s a party and I know he’s gonna be there.

        Because Dave KNOWS, just by glancing at women at parties, whether or not they are worthy. If they aren’t wearing any makeup, their hair is a mess, and their shirt has a mustard stain on it – BAM! Insta-boner! Success! We now know that woman has a glowing, amazing personality. She loves to hike! She loves to run. She is smart, clearly. The mustard stain, much like reading tea, tells us this. Dave is an expert mustard-stain reader.

        But if they appear to care about their appearance in any way, poor Dave isn’t turned on. He knows instantly just how shallow and vain she is. Just how boring and dim. That doesn’t turn Dave on, and what a shame. The world is a sadder place when Dave doesn’t have a boner.

    • Avatar of Improbable Joe

      Oh come on! Aren’t you impressed with obvious stereotypical sexism being replaced with slightly less obvious and stereotypical sexism?

      “You’ve come a long way, Baby!” :)

      • Avatar of marilove

        It isn’t even less obvious or less stereotypical. He’s playing on the “pretty girls are dumb” trope.

        He is just so smart! No one has ever said that pretty girls are dumb and vain before! Never! This is news to me!

        Of course he’s not responding anymore. Shocker.

  19. Avatar of freemage

    Trolls almost invariably flee after doing their damage.

    • Avatar of marilove

      He’s not a troll, though. He’s just a dense white dude who has yet to get it, after YEARS of commenting here. It’s pathetic, really.

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