Skepchick Quickies, 1.7


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. I’m not from Spain, but I know a few people there, and the situation seems to be jumpy. If you go to some Catholic Church or right-wing site (they pretty much amount to the same thing), you’ll see how they use the terms “secularism”, “atheism” and “communism” interchangeably. A couple days ago I read a headline saying: “Now the threat’s name is ‘human rights’.”

    I must add that any figure about the amount of Catholics anywhere is at best dubious. They’re based on Church records of baptisms, deaths and the like, and not on the actual number of people who identify themselves as Catholics.

  2. I forgot to add: even among those who do identify themselves as Catholics, only a minority agree with Church doctrines about anti-conception, abortion, gay rights and the like. So Church officials are not as representative as they like to claim.

  3. @scottelittle:
    Yeah. The dolls are weird. I can see using them as some kind of (controlled and supervised) therapy to get over a miscarriage or the loss of a child, but it sounds like the one woman simply likes for other people to think that she is the mother of an infant.

    That can’t be healthy.

  4. I’m sorry but those women have no idea about the joy of having a child. Just like life in general you can’t have joy with also having hardship and pain to set it against. And there are plenty of people that have kids that can’t afford a $1500 doll.

    Creepy way to delude yourself.

  5. ‘Detoxification’ products = marketing pitches to the unwary consumer. So what else is new? Marketing = Convincing the consumer to buy what they don’t need or want, using more borrowed money than they can afford to repay on a high-interest installment plan. Caveat emptor.
    Some of the ads for this stuff make great comic book-level reading, but that’s about all.

    On another note: I agree, those grown women carrying around dolls are seriously weird, creepy and disturbing. Girls should stop carrying around baby dolls at around puberty, unless they are in a parenting class.

    On another note, I agree with Andrés Diplotti about how the Catholics, fundamentalists and right-wingers vilify and smear atheism by misrepresenting it and misusing language. Remember who came up with the concept and word “propaganda.” I really think that public atheism would be personally dangerous in times of civil troubles because of these efforts. Look at the controversy around the use of demonizing terminology during the recent US election cycle. The right wing regularly winds up their followers with this stuff, then turns them loose ehile turning a blind eye to the consequences when one of their followers acts on it.

  6. I’m glad somebody’s challenging this vague detox obsession. It’s all the rage in my generally privileged, liberal circle of friends, and there but for the grace of the indifferent universe go I.

    But boo to the swipe about “comic book level reading.” Comics are a medium, not an indicator of reading level.

  7. That detox article focused mainly on dubious products, but does anyone know, have any links, about various detox and purge diets like people who go on all juice for a week, or raw food for a week? Is there any validity to THOSE types of detox?

  8. @McArthurSoup: “But boo to the swipe about “comic book level reading.” Comics are a medium, not an indicator of reading level.”

    Generation gap, I guess. In the world I came from, comic books were about 4th grade reading level. I do not consider graphic novels as “comics,” but on their own terms and merits.

    FFFearless: My guess is that those juice/fiber/raw food etc. diets come from the people that write diet books, which can also be questionable, if not outright pseudoscientific nonsense. Anyone can lose weight quickly by using a diet like those you mentioned – it’s called “diarrhea.” Losing it and keeping it off are another story altogether.

  9. @QuestionAuthority
    Anyone can lose weight quickly by using a diet like those you mentioned – it’s called “diarrhea.” Losing it and keeping it off are another story altogether.

    I guess the mentality behind it isn’t just “losing weight” but that it “cleanses” you so that continued weight loss is easier. Visually (ugh) it seems to make sense, like using industrial strength Drano on your insides. Practically, not sure if it actually works that way.

  10. Wouldn’t it be better if these women went through the foster parent program for their state and were caring for real, live babies that could appreciate that care?

    Naww…they cry and poop and keep you up at night… :-(

  11. I found the baby thing utterly creepy but it doesn’t hurt anyone and if it contributes to a lower population, sure- though there are so many real babies that need homes!

  12. I saw that “Detox” thing on the BBC news. They did a wonderful job of trashing it. Complete with clear pictures about what all the body’s organs do and why they don’t really need any help from “detox” products.
    They did end it with one of the “detox” diet proponents (Detox in a box) saying “well, what’s the harm in eating healthy?
    Nothing. But why does it cost more than buying the same stuff at the supermarket?

  13. @CobaltG: “there are so many real babies that need homes”

    How many real babies are there? (Warning: this comment is going to be U.S.-centric). I know two different couples who have adopted babies. Both were very committed to adoption within their own country – the United States. What they found was that there were very few infants available for adoption within a reasonable time frame (2-5 years). Both couple ended up adopting from other countries – one from Russia and one from China. Both of the adopted infants had not been adopted within their own countries because they had health issues.

    I always assumed that there were a lot of kids in orphanages just waiting for people to come adopt them, but these anecdotes (I know! “Anecdote” does not equal “evidence”.) have made me question that assumption. Does anyone know the actual statistics? How many real babies need homes?

  14. @durnett: Wikipedia ( gives 2004 number of 118000 – I know it was four years ago, and it’s Wikipedia, but seems like a decent ballpark figure to start with. Not astronomically huge, but 100,000 kids who need homes is a sizeable number.

    Another thing to consider, which probably relates to your friends’ situations – everyone wants infants. Older children generally have a much harder time being adopted.

  15. @Jen: “…everyone wants infants. Older children generally have a much harder time being adopted.”

    Agreed. However, I think that the women who have the life-like dolls would also be interested in adopting infants, so older children waiting for adoption would not be impacted if we got these folks to put down the plastic and go to the orphanage.

  16. @durnett: True. I was just commenting on adoption in general. Although, if these women – and it seems likely from the quotes – are so scared of the inconveniences of babies, maybe an older child would suit them a bit better. Or fostering children, which takes care of the cost and permanence issues.

    Honestly, I think posing the question to these women, whether or not it’s actually a viable option, might be a good thing, because it might help them to think about a something beyond their own needs. I see no problem when people make deliberate decisions to stay childfree, or just aren’t interested in children – but to define children, even imaginary ones, as nothing but props to your own vanity? That disturbs me, and makes me think this practice, while not causing particular harm, might not be all that mentally healthy.

  17. My wife and I are proud parents of a wonderful 4 1/2 month baby girl. We adopted her as an infant and received her after almost 2 years of waiting.

    I don’t have actual stats but there are in fact a lot of infants available for adoption. We waited so long because of our prefernces – we wanted an infant, caucasian, and we were particular regarding health concerns such as prenatal drug abuse.

    In those two years many babies were adopted at the agency we used. We were a bit picky because this will be our only child. Our baby girl is half hispanic (so we relaxed our standards some), but we ended up with the perfect child for us.

    And yeah – those dolls freak me out, but not half as much as the woman who have them.

  18. @Jen: “Honestly, I think posing the question to these women, whether or not it’s actually a viable option, might be a good thing…”

    I don’t know if I can support the idea of asking people their opinions. That seems awfully risky. The world would be much simpler if all of you would just bend to my iron will.

  19. I hope I don’t freak anyone out too much, but I see the baby dolls as fulfilling a similar role as sex dolls. They both fill a sort of human compulsion in a less-risky way. Sometimes the ache associated with the desire can be helped a lot by something like this, even if you know it’s not real. I’m for it (both) in theory, but can see it going weird places easily.

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