Skepchick Quickies 8.31

Skepchick Quickies 8.31
Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

16 Comments

  1. I’ve been making the argument that rape exceptions are ineffective and disengenuous distractions for years. I am so glad to see there’s others making that argument, too.

    I live in a state where abortion is illegal after 12 weeks. I can’t think of a single rape trial that’s been concluded in that short amount of time, outside of plea bargains. Granting a rape victim permission to get an abortion 2 years down the road, once her attacker has hopefully finally been convicted, helps no one. Then what happens if there’s not enough evidence to press charges?

  2. The one female commenter defending the fake geek girl meme is just depressing. She seems to think that “fake” geek girls are the reason that she isn’t treated with respect as a female geek (not, y’know, the men mistreating her). She’s in her mid-twenties and still concerned with spotting “posers” and thinks that lots of women are pretending to be geeks to get attention and get laid. What the fuck? Last time I checked there weren’t really lines around the block to get down with geeks and pretending to be one was not exactly a requirement. It’s just sad how someone can internalize and rationalize an oppressive system like that.

    • You know what really bothers me about that woman and other people like her? (Meaning people who claim certain women don’t have enough “geek cred.”)

      What these people are saying is basically, “You aren’t cool enough to be a geek!”

      This kind of shit is totally opposite of what being a geek is about!! Being a geek is about being inclusive to those who don’t necessarily fit into the normal societal roles.

      And yet, these so-called “geeks” are bullying other people all because they don’t fit into some mold.

      Ugh. Infuriating.

      • Re: fake geek girl.

        The question “are you a real geek, or just a poseur?” immediately suggested to me the retort “are you a real a*****e, or are you just a wannabee?”

        \begin{rant}
        I simply cannot wrap my mind around this “fake geek” meme. Since when did a derisive term for anybody who does or likes things or acts in ways that the K00L P33PLE think are “weird” suddenly become the private property of some sort of exclusive clique, with self-appointed bouncers checking the bona fides of everyone they think is trying to sneak in?

        This business of policing who is allowed to like what or call him/herself what is the kind of stuff that those K00L P33PLE back in high school did to those of who they called “nerds” or “geeks,” and it’s those jerks who are the cultural ancestors of the folks who are trying to kick out the supposed “fake geeks,” not those of us who actually got called “geeks” and “nerds” because we liked Science Fiction or calculus or Tolkien or reptiles or took telephones apart to see how they work. (And computers, too, once they became accessible to people outside national labs and corporate accounting departments.)

        What’s next, people going around asking 5’10″ people if they’re really that tall or are just faking it to be thought k00l?
        \end{rant}

        • The question “are you a real geek, or just a poseur?” immediately suggested to me the retort “are you a real a*****e, or are you just a wannabee?”

          Brilliant. Lately, I’ve been fond of “Whatever, ‘geek.’ When’s the last time YOU bit the head off a live chicken?”

    • But I do know at least one woman who occasionally likes dressing up as a geek and hanging out with the smart kids. She even has fake glasses to enhance the effect.

      But she doesn’t try to fake the geek life, she just dresses to fit in. And is quite open about not knowing much about whatever she doesn’t know (and knowing lots about what she does know). My experience is that refusing to dress to type means getting a lot of funny looks and finding it hard to meet people. Like wearing my business suit to Occupy meetings, it doesn’t matter how radicool I actually am, if I dress like that I’m going to be seen as not on side.

      The rape exception for abortion is just weird. In a nonsensical sort of way. Like Buzz Parsec says, you can’t reason about it, because it’s not a reasoned argument. FWIW NZ doesn’t have a rape exemption and I can’t see why you’d need one, even with NZ’s other silly restrictions on abortion. Far better to legalise it explicitly than require women to tell doctors that they’ve been raped in order to get an abortion. That’s just asking for mandatory reporting rules.

  3. I’m not a big ketchup fan. Maybe catsup.

  4. Ketchup, finally something that might make me believe in god….oh god made tomatoes, man made ketchup? Well, it was fun while it lasted.

  5. Amanda,

    Come to think of it, it actually is pretty hard to imagine how a “rape exception” would work when it comes to abortion. Sorry I didn’t post any comments here until now, but I’ve been really busy and I just got around to it. I’ll try to post comments more regularly here when I can.

  6. Hello! Lurker here.

    I am against any restrictions on abortion. However, this is how a rape exception could work:

    For the woman to get an abortion, she has to file a rape complaint with the police. The doctor, seeing the complaint, can proceed with the abortion without risking any criminal charges.

    The abortion happens immediately, the rape inquiry proceeds as normal. If the accused is found guilty, he is sent to prison as usual and nothing else happens. If the accused is found not guilty, the woman is found guilty of infanticide and proceedings are started against her.

    Of course the woman also has the option of filing rape charges without aborting a possible fetus. Also, the punishment for rape would have to become harsher, since the additional cost of having to bear and possibly raise an unwanted child makes rape even worse for the woman than it already was.

    My 2 cents, since we’re supposed to be skeptical and all.

    In less confrontational stuff, yeah, studies are studies, it takes a few of them before something becomes ‘science’. (Though it’s encouraging that diet can extend lifespan so much even in some cases.) And “real geek girl” is of course awesome.

    I’ve always felt that geeks are protective about their subcultures because if people are mainstream AND geeks, then there’s obviously nothing special about geeks, and therefore the mainstream CAN’T be geek. Part of the joy of being in a subculture comes from other people NOT being part of it. And the geeks are the people who just decided to make their own subculture rather than try to be part of the mainstream. (It’s an interesting question why some subcultures are more insular than others, however.)

    But I find that pretty stupid. You shouldn’t be protective about your subculture, you know? The more the merrier!

    • this is how a rape exception could work:…

      No, it wouldn’t. It’s even worse.

      In your scheme the abortion’s legality would depend on the outcome of a trial — of someone else — held long after the last chance for an abortion.

      Note that a “not guilty” verdict does not mean that no rape took place, or even that the accused didn’t commit it. It simply means that — for whatever reasons — the State failed to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime specified in the indictment. Maybe the prosecutor argued the case poorly. Maybe the jury ends up containing a lot of “there but for the grace of God go I” guys. Maybe there was something wrong with the indictment. Maybe critical evidence was suppressed, or not found. Or lost.

      Should the legality of an abortion which has already happened depend upon how successful a job the State does of prosecuting a rape case?

      And what if there is no trial? If the rapist can’t be identified, or can’t be located, or the DA decides not to pursue the case? Does that make the abortion legal or illegal? (Showing how each approach has serious problems is left as an exercise for the reader.)

      On another note, a “rape exception” is glaringly inconsistent with the usual “pro-life” justification. If, as the “pro-life” people say, the reason for outlawing abortion is that the fetus’ right to life trumps everything else, why should that right depend upon whether someone else committed a crime? Regardless of what the father (or mother) did, the fetus is not the one at fault.

      • I think this is cognitive dissonance at work. Even the most extreme pro-lifers (I want to steal that term back) recognize the blatant unfairness of the double assault experienced by a woman who gets pregnant as a result of a rape. One way out of this dilemma is to deny that it is possible.

        Sleepy and Amm1 are trying to apply too much logic and critical thinking to the idea of a rape exception. Since the basic premises are fundamentally at odds with reality, you are bound to encounter logical conundrums. Don’t try to make sense of it. That way lies madness.

        Many years ago, my friend Bob and I established a definitive rating system of things that will melt your brain if you try to analyze them logically. 1st degree was most anything on television (with a few exceptions like Nova and Carl Sagan.) 2nd degree was anything claimed in a commercial or stated by a sports announcer. (You can see how David Icke, who we had never heard of at the time, had big advantage by starting out as a 2+.) All beer commercials rate a minimum of 3.0. The 4th and ultimate degree were beer commercials about sports. We didn’t include politicians, but I think anything said by a reality-denying politician is at least a 2.75 on this scale. Todd Akin is about a 4.5.

        • Sleepy and Amm1 are trying to apply too much logic and critical thinking to the idea of a rape exception. Since the basic premises are fundamentally at odds with reality, you are bound to encounter logical conundrums. Don’t try to make sense of it.

          Actually, I think there _is_ a kind of logic to it, if you assume that their real reasons for objecting to abortion are not their stated ones.

          In these subcultures, women having sex other than under the control of husbands is a kind of crime, and (unwanted) pregnancy is seen as the punishment. That’s why those subcultures do everything they can to make sure that a woman’s life is ruined if she has a child except when they can be reasonably sure it was the result of husband-controlled sex. They object to abortion, not because they care about the child (they’re perfectly happy to make the child suffer, too, the better to get back at its “immoral” mother), but because it means that the woman escapes her prescribed punishment. The objection to abortion to save the life of the mother makes sense, since dying due to a toxic pregnancy is simply further punishment (and a deterrent to other women.)

          The “rape exception” comes from the recognition by some (not all!) anti-abortion people that maybe a woman who is truly forced into sex against her will isn’t really at “fault,” and thus doesn’t deserve the punishment.

          • You’re right, I forgot about the “rape is a property crime against the husband (or father if she’s unmarried)” theory these people have. The rape exception makes more sense in this context.

            So does the “life of the mother” exception. A lot has been invested by the controlling man in acquiring a fully grown woman, and it would many years before a child, if it survives, would pay off.

            But what of the incest exception? (Assuming it’s the father is the rapist in that case?) Or am I getting into beer commercial territory here?

      • Ah, forgot about this thread. You’re right, it wouldn’t work. If I were in that situation, I wouldn’t get an abortion unless there had been like 5 witnesses who got it on tape. As bad as an unwanted child is, I’d rather have that than go to jail for life.

    • The article about rape exceptions has a link to another article which in part talks about Latin American countries which have rape exceptions and how women who legally qualify for the exception are unable to find doctors willing to perform the abortion. Basicallly the doctors fear that if someone in the future decided to challenge the claim that a rape took place that the doctor could also be charged with a crime so very few are willing to take a chance.

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/08/21/rape_exceptions_even_if_todd_akin_believed_in_them_they_don_t_work_.html

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