Skepchick Quickies, 10.11


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. Polish woman dies when doctors refuse treatment, fearing for fetal life.

    This is my biggest beef with the whole abortion debate. Medical decisions should be made for medical reasons. When you make them into political or religious decisions this is the sort of thing that happens.

    Suppose that doctors could still prescribe Viagra, but only your wife could pick it up. Having sex with anyone besides your wife is immoral so this arrangement should be perfectly fine, right? Oh, not married? No Viagra for you! Next!

  2. I think this pinkification is a relatively new phenomenon. When my nieces were born three years ago, I wanted to get them tree ornaments as Christmas gifts since they were too young to care about toys yet. Now I know that they had typical red-and-green “first Christmas” ornaments in the 80s because I have one from my own first Christmas. But the only child-themed ornaments I could find in 2007 were pastel pink and pastel blue, which aren’t even Christmas colors. I couldn’t find a single red and green ornament at all. It wasn’t just that a gendered color was an option; it was the only option. I ended up just getting less childish generic ornaments in the standard colors. I wonder how long it will be until even those are gone.

  3. When I studied marketing in the early 80’s, the basic thrust was toward identifying and finding your target market.

    Today, the basic thrust seems to be to creating your target market.


    From this stand point, the pinkification of girls (and bluification of boys) makes sense because it homogenizes the market making it unnecessary to target more than 2 groups with ones product lines.

    I think we are going to see a lot more of this in future. It is not going to be easy to battle. “Celebrate diversity” as a social strategy is laudable to me, but it will never have the resources behind it that marketing does.

  4. @davew
    I absolutely agree, the abortion issue is almost exclusively an emotional one.
    Recently the Point of Inquiry podcast had a woman, Jen Roth, on as an atheist against abortion who went on to say that any argument that could be made in favor of abortion could also be applied to infanticide. She espoused the opinion that all of these arguments for choice were emotional. She then went on to say, with no real scientific backing, that at conception there is a potential life and anything that stops that potential life is violent and should be discouraged. If that is not an emotional appeal, I don’t know what is. To her credit she, and her colleagues, are trying to reduce abortion through persuasion rather that legislation so that’s good.

    Okay, I need to rant about POI (and CFI America for that matter) and how it has gone downhill since D.J. Grothe left.
    I love Karen Stollznow’s episodes and would have stopped downloading it by now if it weren’t for her. Her episode are similar to but different enough from D.J.’s version to make it her own without destroying the balance that POI is known for.
    Chris Mooney is an accommodationist with a capital A (as evidenced by this weeks episode where he debates PZ Meyers over accommodationism) something that, despite his denial, may stem from his relationship with the Templeton Foundation. I still enjoy his interviews but feel they are a bit “soft” for lack of a better word.
    Robert M. Price’s interviews disturb me. He is a self-professed conservative who “doesn’t buy” much of the liberal agenda. Fair enough, if he would do his interviews from a more neutral point-of-view I wouldn’t have any problem with that, we need more conservative voices in the skeptical movement to keep it honest if nothing else. The above interview was his and he did not press for a better description of what Ms. Roth meant by “potential life” or ask when that status began, he didn’t point out that her arguments were also emotion based, or that any argument against choice could be made against birth control or masturbation as well. I am a supporter of women’s biological freedom, but I am far from an expert, and if I had this many objections to this interview than someone more up on the subject must have blow out their voicebox screaming at their MP3 player, or simply turned it off, I almost did.

    Between the “adjustments” at POI and the press release about the supposed “ground zero mosque” (basically stating that it was wrong) CFI America needs to get its act together, fast.

    Thankfully D.J. still has a podcast outlet since moving to The James Randi Educational Foundation, it’s called For Good Reason and it takes up where he left off at POI. I think POI could become something different but equally good to its old self but it needs to stop trying quite so hard to push the personal agendas of its hosts.
    Gentlemen, let Karen give you some pointers. Just saying.

  5. @mrmisconception:

    “went on to say that any argument that could be made in favor of abortion could also be applied to infanticide.”

    When infants become physically attached to adults in a non-transferable way, then maybe Roth would have a point. She seems to think that pregnancy is just a minor inconvenience, or that somehow embryos/fetuses have rights to use someone else’s organs against her will, and that is a right that no actual people even have. Yeah, I know you don’t agree with her but when I see people like Roth overlooking this very important point, it makes me ranty.

  6. @catgirl

    Also, to be fair she did make the argument that by getting pregnant a mother had given permission to the fetus use her body. It is complete and utter hogwash, but she made that argument. Unless she believes there is a form of birth control that is 100% effective or that sex before intended pregnancy is wrong that is.

    What really bugged me was her supposition that her arguments were superior to those from pro-choice advocates. I will be the first to admit that my thoughts on when life begins are arbitrary and emotional. Unless you can give me a medical (or scientific) proof of when life begins then yours is a guess also.
    Most pro-lifer put life as starting at inception, most pro-choicer at birth, neither has actual proof. I personally think that an unborn (I don’t like to use fetus, that is a specific medical term) warrants more consideration when it becomes viable outside of the mother. IT IS ARBITRARY, but I can change my own mind with a well-reasoned argument. I would be against so-called “partial-birth abortions” but I see no need for it, most women at this point in their pregnancy that are considering abortion are not doing so for convenience. (The pro-life bugaboo)
    I would say proof of that was provided by the murder of Dr. Tiller. It was widely reported (please correct me if I’m wrong) that he was one of only two doctors in the country that was performing this operation. If that is true it must be a very rare incident indeed. Setting aside ideas of intimidation and financial problems, (admittedly big ideas) I’d say that late-term abortion is just as much an overstated problem as the rape victim being forced to give birth. I’m not denying that either happens, just that the frequency is exaggerated for effect.

    Sorry to add to the rantyness.

    So, how about that pinkification thing, huh?
    Pretty weird, right?

  7. It’s really depressing to see some of the response to the pink campaign. I get similar responses when I try to talk about feminism on my blog etc. Inevitably someone (unfortunately, usually a guy or someone using a guy’s name) will comment that I’m just repeating feminist talking points, I “don’t get it” (the thing I’m commenting on), I’m uptight, etc.

  8. @mrmisconception:

    I don’t think life begins at birth, and most of the pro-choice people I know also don’t think that. I don’t think that’s an accurate description for most people who are pro-choice. I personally don’t know when life begins and it’s probably not a specific timepoint, but it doesn’t matter. Even if the embryo is a person, no person has the right to use my organs against my will. Embryos and fetuses shouldn’t get more rights than actual people have.

  9. @Kimbo Jones

    Keep in mind most men, myself included, can be immature self-center asshats that think anything that they don’t see as affecting them in an immediate and personal way is just so much bellyaching. We also are prone to lose our focus fairly easily?

    Were those boobs?

    Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, men are pigs.

  10. Pinkification is obviously either a feminist plot, an anti-feminist plot or both. Just listen:

    Pink is by its very nature the color for boys as evidenced by the quotes in the article. Boys are more important than girls, as I’m sure I don’t need to explain further, so pink is a more important color. Girls are now being forced into liking this color in acknowledgment of the supremacy of boys.

    Or women started liking the color because of its attachment to boy children, the good kind of child, and in a self enforcing loop this preference grew stronger and stronger and started earlier and earlier.

    Or it’s originally a feminist plot to steal the good and important color from the males to make girl children appear more valuable.

    Or a combination. I can’t decide. Any child of mine will have to settle for wearing all brown all the time.

  11. @catgirl

    I agree completely.

    I was stating the opinions of the vocal proponents of either side and I apologize for that. I acknowledge that both sides have more diversity than I stated. Let me try again, most pro-life proponents would tend to fall closer to life starting at conception and most pro-choice advocates would put life beginning closer to birth. I realize that it is not cut and dried, but the “leaders” of either side do mostly state that which supports their viewpoint best.

    I will add, I agree with you.

  12. I’m an atheist against abortion.

    I’m also against imposing one’s philosophical opinion on others.

    I’m also against withholding education and access to effective contraception that could reduce the need for abortions, thereby addressing the concerns of both sides of the debate, while benefiting society as a whole.

    I’m also against endangering lives by withholding medical care on questionable moral grounds.

    I’m also against not properly informing a patient why medical care is being withheld, so that they can make the informed decision whether to seek care elsewhere.

    I’ve probably missed a few things, but I’ll be against them on a case by case basis.

  13. Part of the problem is in that phrase “life begins”.
    As far as is presently known, life began as a prokaryotic cell about 3.5 billion years ago, and all life in existence is an extension of that life (which daughter cell is the new life, and which one is the previous life). If other lifes arose, they died out before evolving a form capable of long term survival, or leaving a trace of themselves.

    What is meant in the abortion debate is “legal rights begin”. Pro-lifers believe that legal rights should begin at conception. Pro-choicers believe that legal rights should begin at some moment after that, and that in the meantime, the mother’s rights are paramount.

    The phrase “life begins” in this context is a religious declaration, not a biological one. Its continued use is an Appeal To Emotion.

  14. @Skepotter:

    Even if legal rights begin at conception, nobody has the right to use someone else’s organs against their will. Giving embryos and fetuses the right to inhabit a uterus against the woman’s wishes would be giving them a right that actual people do not have. This isn’t about when rights or life begin; it’s about who has rights to a uterus.

  15. @Bjornar:

    I can’t decide. Any child of mine will have to settle for wearing all brown all the time.

    Sensible…may I also suggest a unisex smock of some sort made of a durable material

  16. Hey, did anybody else notice in the how not to mom article that telling the baby she’s pretty and telling the baby she’s smart are presented as opposites?
    Seemed odd.

  17. Actually, the abortion issue is or should be framed over the definition of a person. The question is to decide when the fetus becomes a legal person.

    “Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, men are pigs.”

    Men are no more innately pigs than girls innately prefer pink.

    “Chris Mooney is an accommodationist with a capital A (as evidenced by this weeks episode where he debates PZ Meyers over accommodationism)”

    PZ Meyers is one reason why I deconverted from atheism. He came after me personally simply because I disagreed with him, (and had pretty good arguments why). If you want to know why I’m “angry” that is why. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

    Creating enemies doesn’t strike me as a plan for success.

  18. @catgirl: You are talking about moral rights while I was talking about legal rights. I couched it in general terms because legal rights are different in different jurisdictions, and people on this site live in many different places.
    As far as I can tell, my moral view is pretty much the same as yours.

  19. I’m an atheist. Came to that after years of thought and a certain amount of emotional turmoil. Can’t imagine my position on that being changed by anything someone else had to say.
    Seems odd.

  20. @noen “PZ Meyers is one reason why I deconverted from atheism”

    so, PZ Myers is an asshole, therefore jesus?

    “He came after me personally simply because I disagreed with him, (and had pretty good arguments why). ”

    If your posts here are any indication, that last bit is a blatant lie.

    “Creating enemies doesn’t strike me as a plan for success.”

    Then stop being such a bigot.

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