Quickies: Cadbury Creme Egg Conspiracy, the Burden of Big Boobs, and a Monument to Darth Vader

  • When An Autism Diagnosis Comes In Adulthood – “Some had suspicions about their condition growing up. For others, the diagnosis was as much of a revelation as it was a relief. Here are three that struck a chord.”
  • Watch John Oliver’s Cadbury Creme Egg Conspiracy Theory – “And over the course of the next few minutes, Oliver uses the kind of logic you’d see in any good YouTube conspiracy film to link Creme Eggs with Freemasons, Bono and the Illuminati. Obviously.”
  • Judith Lasker: Evangelizing against global health ‘voluntourism’ – “Judith Lasker is troubled by service trips to provide health care in the developing world. Some of them are great: useful for the local community and inspiring for the volunteers. Others smack of colonialism, she warns in a new book, where the main focus is on what Americans can get out of the experience.”
  • My boobs, my burden – “But I’m not used to glamorous bra shopping experiences. For me, and many other women “blessed” with big breasts, bra shopping is a stressful, even shameful, experience wrought with self-delusion, loathing, and disenchantment.” And WHY does everyone need to point out that you’re likely wearing the wrong size too? 
  • When Going Out Without a Hat Was Grounds for Scandal – “Elsewhere, too, you’ll find stories of women whose hatlessness may as well have been nudity. Michigan-based Gena Conti, who has been making women’s hats for 24 years and has traveled around the world tracking down other milliners, recounts coming across a newspaper story from the 1920s. The story reported how a woman had left her house to put a letter in the postbox at the end of her garden gate, without putting on her hat and gloves. A neighbor spotted her sin sombrero, and scandal ensued.”
  • 10 things black people fear that white people simply don’t – “We brace ourselves for those white colleagues who are pissed Barack Obama won both elections and take out their racist rage on us. When we drive our cars, we have to wonder if we’ll be pulled over because our cars look too expensive for a black person to be driving. If we’re poor and sick, we wonder if we’ll be able to be treated for our illness. We have a lot on our minds, and sometimes it’s overwhelming.”
  • Darth Vader Statue – “A monument to Lenin has been transformed into a statue of everyone’s favorite black-helmeted, fool-choking Sith Lord.”
  • Google’s bold bid to transform medicine hits turbulence under a divisive CEO – An interesting insider’s view of the worst of corporate science and biotech. If you think scientists are immune to politics and bickering, think again.
  • 7 Harmful Ways Parents Often Wield Adultism Against Their Kids – “Adultism is the belief that children are the property of their (often genetic) adult counterparts that can be used at will – instead of seeing kids as small humans who have their own thoughts, beliefs, personalities, and interests, and therefore are entitled to the same basic human rights as adults.”

Extra: Are you concerned about the erosion of LGBT rights in North Carolina? Go to the North Carolina Action Center to find out what you can do, no matter where you live! (From Jamie.)
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Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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  1. March 28, 2016 at 12:32 pm —


    John Oliver is hilarious! Now we know the the true nature of those evil chocolate eggs!

  2. March 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm —

    oh my. Do not google adultism.
    I try to like everydaydeminism, but it keeps reading like the worst listiclized buzzfeed to me.
    I feel like we need a response article called “7 things anti-forced-hugging bloggers hyperbolically claim you are doing to your child. You won’t believe number 3”
    I mean I get the point, but I have made way worse mistakes than letting grandma hug my kid when they were a baby and I find articles claiming I’ve now taught them they no bodily autonomy (leaving the child open to rape!) kind of ridiculous.
    It is 100% possible to teach your child they pretty much have to suffer hugs from family on Christmas while teaching them other kinds of touch are inappropriate.
    I generally feel like painting parenting decisions in these stark, high stakes, black and white ways is kind of destructive and unhelpful.

    • March 28, 2016 at 1:35 pm —

      Couldn’t disagree more. It was disgusting for me to be forced to hug relatives that I didn’t know or didn’t care about. And, kind of creepy. Once you ‘consent’ to the hug, you can’t fight it, or say that they’re squeezing you too hard, or that the hug is taking too long and you want to stop. You’ve given your consent to whatever they want to do to you. If that sounds hyperbolic, well, it isn’t. That is exactly the gamut of emotions that I went through when being forced to hug people that I didn’t want to.

      Sure, I was also taught that other kinds of touch are inappropriate, but you know what? I’m pretty sure the reason I wasn’t molested as a child wasn’t because I had bodily autonomy. It was because I didn’t know people who were rapists. Or, if I did, my parents never let me be alone with them.

      I take issue with your word, ‘suffer.’ Good god, why in the world should anyone suffer hugs? Why ruin a beautiful thing by making them ‘suffer’ it? Ugh. This is exactly the type of adultism that the article is talking about. Why doesn’t your child have the right to say no and have that no listened to and respected? If they don’t, you’re basically saying that the child has no rights. Even with stupid silly shit like hugs. Because if they can’t say no to hugs, what else CAN’T they say no to?

      • March 28, 2016 at 1:45 pm —

        I agree with you. Hugs should not be something to be endured. I don’t have to hug people as an adult, and neither should my kid. She gets to choose what to do with her body.

        • March 28, 2016 at 1:53 pm —

          @ Mary, I am surprised that you say that you don’t have to hug people as an adult. I do. For example, I hug my daughter all the time even if I don’t want to but she seemed to need a hug or has asked for a hug.

          • March 28, 2016 at 2:40 pm

            I never give a hug if I don’t want to. I still hug my daughter all the time and none of those are forced. Hugging should not be the default form of affection because there are plenty of people who don’t like it and there are other ways to show someone that you value them.

            Also, I was forced to hug adults when I was a child and it made me feel like I didn’t have a say over my own body. It simply comes down to the question of who owns their body, and I choose to side with my daughter’s right of bodily autonomy.

            There are of course times when she doesn’t get to choose what she wants, but my job as a parent is to do what’s in her best interest. I shouldn’t have to lay out exactly what that means but hugging is not a requirement in my house.

          • March 28, 2016 at 3:31 pm

            @ Mary, that is horrible that you didn’t feel that you had a right to your body. I think that the issue of teaching physical affection is being conflated with something else, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Although I find it interesting that you and others do not hug anyone when you don’t necessarily want to. Maybe we live in culturally different areas, have different views on hugging etc.

            I think that hugging isn’t a default, but it is certainly an option that I believe it normal to people. I hear what you are saying about body autonomy and the right to choice though. I feel that your experience proves the right to bodily autonomy can be diminished.

            Hugging and affection did not come naturally to my family growing up. I grew up in a family where I would say my Mom the primary care giver was un-nurturing, she has mental illness. So being brought up this way, I know the importance of teaching affection and appropriate affection to children, helping to feel loved and share love. I question the right of children to just get to say ‘no’ especially if they don’t know what they are saying no too.

            Additionally, I do feel a responsibility of showing love to the people around me, even if it is something that I don’t care to do. Again I didn’t grow up with it, so it isn’t something that I ‘want’ to do, but know that is important. If that makes sense.

            BTW I do ask people if they want a hug before I hug them. Even my husband.

        • March 28, 2016 at 1:58 pm —

          Again I agree that it makes sense to let your kid decide who to hug, but I do not think the consequences are that hyperbolic. I am not disagreeing with the priciple, I’m just pointing out this is another case where we take something that in most cases is very minor and turn it into another Horrible Think You Are Doing That Will Scar Your Child Forever And Leave Them To Be Assaulted (TM).
          I don’t think that this is a binary where those are the outcomes and presenting it that way just adds to the pile of judgy stuff parents have to constantly deal with.

      • March 28, 2016 at 1:45 pm —

        @ BlackCat I mean this with respect. Would the hugging thing have been different if your parents discussed hugging with you as a child and also talked with you about appropriate boundaries? The hugging too long or ‘squeezing’ is inappropriate. I think that is crossing the line into something else that is mean and not showing affection at all. Did you feel comfortable with talking to your parents about relatives that you were ‘creeped’ out by? See I think there is a careful distinction between showing love and care and creepy and apparently mean people.

        • March 28, 2016 at 3:02 pm —

          I appreciate your question. Unfortunately, the answer is complex. I grew up in an abusive household. My dad was emotionally abusive and a gaslighter. My mom was being abused alongside me. I think if I had tried to express my feelings, they both would have brushed them aside and said that “so-and-so wants a hug, it isn’t that big of a deal, just go do it.” I should mention that the relative I am thinking of wasn’t mean or inappropriate, just developmentally disabled.

          Maybe if I had grown up in a ‘normal’ family, where my concerns were taken seriously, we could have had such a discussion and I would have felt as though I could have spoken up for myself.

          • March 28, 2016 at 4:04 pm

            @ BlackCat I am sorry to hear that. It is too bad that you could not have conversation with any adults about your developmentally disabled family member. I am sure that there was all kinds of confusion then about how to be supportive of that family member without hurting their feelings or having uncomfortable exchanges. UGG! And then it makes me think that this family member probably didn’t know they were making others feel uncomfortable. Super ugg!

          • March 28, 2016 at 4:36 pm

            @greenstone123, yes, I debated whether to mention it or not because I didn’t want you to think that I didn’t like him because he was disabled. I just didn’t know him that well, I didn’t see him that often, and I am uncomfortable touching anyone that I’m not close to.

            It was very sad all around. I, too, am sure he didn’t understand why I was uncomfortable.

    • March 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm —

      @namidim: I can’t help but agree with the hugging thing. Because saying you don’t have to hug (to a toddler) sounds a lot like you can do whatever you want and don’t have to show affection nor give your full attention. In these articles, I don’t see advice in explaining to kids why we hug and that hugging is important. Nor explaining to our kids when boundaries are important. Just mostly the kids don’t have to hug grandma and then the pointing toward rape as an outcome.

      I remember actually telling my daughter as a 4/5 y.o. that when I come to pick her up she is to stop what she is doing, come over and hug me, and say hello. Then we practiced and she was ‘made’ to hug. It helped in a huge way her transition to leaving with me from preschool. This culturally acceptable ritual was soothing to her and she didn’t grasp the importance of it on her own.

      I challenge my daughter in how she is going to show affection and care for her family now that she is getting older. Hugging is an easy and culturally acceptable way. As an elementary schooler, she can find her best way to express herself to her relatives and doesn’t have to feel weird about physical affection because it has been a regular part of her life up to this point.

      • March 28, 2016 at 3:14 pm —

        Huh. This is interesting. See, now I sort of see the other side? I noticed that my niece and nephew, especially the nephew, who are 11, just kind of ignore us when we come to visit. They’ll talk to us, but they won’t greet us when we come in the door. It’s awkward. It’s made me think about these cultural mores that we have and why we have them.

        But hugging and saying hello are completely different things. I think there are definitely cultural ways in which to express affection, but perhaps society disregards the needs of one over the other, particularly when it comes to adults. Some people are just not comfortable with hugging. They shouldn’t be forced to do it, no matter how old they are. But when it comes to children and adults, it seems like what the adult wants ‘trumps’ what the child wants. Of course, I have to add that I’m not talking about doing what you have to do to raise the child to be an independent adult.

        We know about privilege. I think this article is talking about ‘adult privilege.’

        • March 28, 2016 at 3:52 pm —

          That ignoring, or I don’t want to thing really bothers me. I think that it is also interesting what you have said about hugging and hello are completely different. Sometimes they go hand in hand with the ceremony of being away and now together with someone. So where does the handshake fall in? We practice that too. :) Oh man. I make my daughter do all kinds of crap that she probably doesn’t want to do. I also ‘make’ her say hello to people we pass on the sidewalk when walking home from school. If she doesn’t, I ask her why she didn’t and we talk about that.

          • March 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm

            The ignoring thing really bothers me too, but there isn’t much I can do. Their mother has made it clear that she doesn’t care for my opinion on how she raises her children. I’ve tried to talk with her about many things; she is not used to talking so openly about her thoughts and feelings, nor is she comfortable with me doing so. So that’s that.

            I think the difference between you and the rest of the world, is you do openly discuss things with your daughter, which is awesome, btw. You talk and acknowledge the things we do as a society, unlike everyone else, who just says, “that’s how it’s done, don’t question,” and “tradition!” You’re teaching her to think critically about the world, something we need more of.

            Ok, saying hello is not personal-space invasive. I think it’s the bare minimum of interactions. A handshake is a little more invasive, but not too bad. A hug is very invasive. IMO, anyway.

  3. March 28, 2016 at 3:42 pm —

    Telling your children that they must hug someone even when they don’t want to is wrong.

    I will agree with @greenstone123 that it is hardly the most horrendous thing you can do, but it most definitely sends a message about who is allowed to violate your wants and who isn’t.

    I will however also agree with @BlackCat when they say that it is harmful overall. It tells the child that friends and relatives are allowed to do things that strangers can’t, it tells little girls (because, let’s face it little girls are more likely to be forced) that their affection is to be available to others, and it teaches little boys that they can violate the bodily autonomy of others (especially girls) if they feel like it.

    It can lead to things like this “cute” video, which is anything but.

    • March 28, 2016 at 4:32 pm —

      It’s a complex issue, for sure. It certainly doesn’t boil down to “all hugs are bad” nor “all hugs are good.” We have to think about why we are forcing our children to do these things and do they help them to become an independent adult or is it just to appease another party? I like how greenstone123, talks to their daughter about the actions they ‘force’ her to take. I think that helps lay the groundwork for understanding how society functions, why we do what we do, and what it means for us to be in society. Also, after that, we can discard what we dislike and will understand the consequences.

      That video…. I LOLed at first, but then was horrified at the blatant disrespect of the boy. The girl obviously gave clear ‘no’ signals that he didn’t notice. I mean, she turned away from him so he couldn’t get in her face anymore, and he pushed on her shoulder to force her to look at him. Ugh. He needs to be talked to.

  4. March 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm —

    I wish we could totally divorce the perceived connection between a child’s physical affection and “respect”. My kids never have to hug another person that they don’t want to hug. They do have to be polite and greet people who come into our orbit and be polite to them. As they get more able to assess different situations, they learn how to do things like shake hands, which is the accepted form of “official” physical greeting in the part of the US in which we live.

    As mrmisconception suggests, this works both ways – not only do I want my children to learn that no one has the right to their physical affection, I also want them to learn that they don’t have the right to anyone else’s – they are also expected to ask first if they want to hug their friend or their cousin or pretty much anyone who is not their dad or me or grandparents because of how our relationships work.

  5. March 28, 2016 at 5:34 pm —

    That article on Salon about having large breasts is FULL of misinformation. That is not how bra sizing works! No one, not even Victoria’s Secret, uses a “38BBB” size.

    Plastic surgeons don’t know shit about bra sizes, and you should never trust them, ever, when they tell you that you’ll be “a C cup.” That’s not how it works. Cup size means nothing without band size; it’s a relative measure, not an absolute. Cup size is determined by the difference in inches between the underbust measurement and the full bust measurement – and no, you don’t add inches. Every inch is one cup size, so one inch of difference is A, two is B, and so on. What this means is that a D cup on a 32 band is a smaller absolute size than a D cup on a 40 band. All a D cup means is that there are four inches of difference between the underbust and full bust – which in the scheme of things is not that large, so the author’s example of “large busted friends” who all wear D cups doesn’t really work.

    Most people don’t fit into the small American size range of 32 – 38 A – D, which is why you hear the oft-reported statistic of “80% of women are wearing the wrong size!” Well YES, of COURSE they are, it’s because the vast majority of bra retailers don’t HAVE their size. It’s as if shoe stores only carried sizes 7 and 8.

    The popular notion of the average bra size is somewhere around 34B or C, but in reality it’s more like 32F. A true 34B is actually fairly rare; it would fit someone who measures 34″ around the ribcage and 36″ at full bust.

    • March 28, 2016 at 5:41 pm —

      She was writing from a UK perspective so sizing over there might be different in general. I don’t like the US version of using DDD as a measurement instead of F.

      • March 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm —

        The UK sizing system is the most straightforward and certainly does not use BBB. It uses these sizes: A B C D DD E F FF G GG H HH J JJ K KK L.

        American sizing is all over the map. Most companies use A B C D DD, but after that it’s a mess. Some use DDD and DDDD some skip E and use F, et cetera. I have seen as many as 6Ds on a label. It’s completely ridiculous.

        It’s also ridiculous that she went to good shops like Linda’s and Bravissimo and still couldn’t get the sizing right.

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