Skepchick Quickies 2.17


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. So, on the interspecies language thing… I’m excited by this, but right now it is very much an object-driven language. I can see it eventually getting to an imperative language (giving commands; “Put the ball in the basket.” “Give me a fish”. I do wonder, however, if we’d ever be able to have meaningful conversations, or if the conceptual divide will be too big to bridge.

  2. Dear US military,

    WTF is your problem, why can’t you get a handle on the abusive situations that your female soldiers face? As a woman who will soon have a skill set that is very much needed by the military (so many job postings for Afghanistan, so many), I would be very very reluctant to enter a combat zone, even as a civilian, if you can’t keep your men from raping your women. And you know what? My field is largely made up of women.

    Your fucking loss,
    One sincerely pissed off chick

  3. Hi Amanda,

    If that Pharyngula thread hadn’t come up over here, I was going to suggest it as a topic.

    I threw in my .02 cents worth over at that Pharyngula thread a few times. I generally agree with PZ, but I think everyone should listen actively to each other, irrespective of gender.

    In a way, I see it as a good place to practice the so-called “Golden Rule.” Gender aside, just treat others as you wish to be treated. What’s so hard about that? (Sorta rhetorical question…)

    Part of the reason it’s hard is that we all have been conditioned not to listen to the other person, but to plan our “retaliation” or response. I will admit that from personal observation, it looks as if men are more guilty of this than women. If you are doing that, you aren’t listening. You can’t do both at the same time.


  4. @QuestionAuthority: While your point true in a general sense, PZ was writing specifically about the task of outreach, which in light of the conference talk in Huntsville, kinda wasn’t meant to engage a general discussion about etiquette.

    In his post, he was keeping to the theme of engaging minorities and women specifically to attract more of them to what is often seen as a monolithically white and male movement. Thus, since we already are, by default, listening to the majority, his point still stands…the majority needs to listen rather than explain to the minority their own positions.

    PZ’s point reminds me of the RNC when confronted with their ever lessening appeal to minorities after the 2008 election, a bunch of the old guard members got together and thought, hey, let’s elect Michael Steele as RNC chair and get him to speak all “urban” n’ stuff.

    On hindsight, this tone deaf approach did not work out so well.

    Outreach from the majority to the minority is already a one way street from the default…all PZ seems to be stating is that the minority has a voice that needs to be heard by the majority for that street to actually become two ways.

  5. Here’s a quote from that link on rape in the military:

    ?”The chaplain basically told me that, ‘It was God’s will for me to be raped, and that I need to get right with Him, and go back to church.'”

  6. @scribe999: …You and I essentially agree. I must have been a bit…well, unclear…as I came straight from Pharyngula to here to post. I think I left some of my meaning back there somewhere. ;-)

    @Supercheetah: So…If the rape victim happened to have her sidearm handy and plugged the a$$hole rapist, that would be God’s “plan” for him?

  7. @QuestionAuthority: I agree, and heck, “WTF is so difficult about the Golden Rule?” is pretty much my view of life.

    But I think this shows the problems with how women are often treated as “the other.” We’re treated as being sooooo much different from men that there’s no hope for men to ever understand us. And if you think you can’t understand somebody, you don’t respect and sympathize with them and therefore, you don’t fucking listen.

    And you’re right about the retaliatory nature of these discussions, too. It’s understandable, but at the same time, if you ease off of being so fucking defensive for just a moment, you might find yourself learning from your “opponent.”

    @scribe999: I only vaguely remembered that, having been a kid at the time, but reading about it again…ugh. 20 years later, still fighting the fight. This is especially depressing being the daughter of two ex-Navy feminists, too.

  8. @Kimbo Jones: @supercheetah: Deutoronomy 22: 28-29

    28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[c] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

    Yeah, I’m not sure I’d trust that chaplain’s “god” on the subject of rape either.

  9. @scribe999: I love the …and they are discovered part… in other words, rape a girl and get away with it, and you’re good with god. Why in the hell does anyone want to worship this guy?

    @Amanda: I agree… the men were responding to their emotions (anger, feeling attacked), and letting these emotions overcome their ability to rationally react and listen to their opponent.

    As a so-called “emotional woman” myself, I find a certain amount of satisfaction in this observation.

  10. @QuestionAuthority:

    “but I think everyone should listen actively to each other, irrespective of gender.”

    And where did PZ say something other than this? The point is that people weren’t actively listening to certain people, those people being women. Pointing out that we need to listen to women who currently aren’t being listened to does not imply that we should ignore men, and PZ never made such a suggestion.

  11. I think we should all take a step back (a click and a scroll?) and go to what PZ’s well-intentioned post has become (I was going to use the phrase ‘devolved’ but no).
    It’s this weird cultural … thing. It just breeds this meme that can be simplified to ‘Women are less’ or ‘Women aren’t quite people’. It’s about 4:48 PM in NY and the thread count is at 962.
    It ranges from blaming the victim to ‘stop whining’ to Schrödinger’s Rapist (thanks for the umlaut, spell check!) to a great deal of people saying “The situation is that a large part of our collective sub-culture is dismissing and demeaning an entire gender and this totally isn’t cool”, along with “This is my experience with it.”
    It is a new sort of horrifying, as I thought the entire notion of skepticism is to be open, with understanding context, and fiercely critical to determine what “a Thing” is. I’m kind of curious if PZ is reading his way through it and his reaction to it.

  12. re: inter-species language

    I though dolphins had been talking to us for a while now it was just the most of their attempts at communication were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch football or whistle for tid-bits. I mean the last dolphin message I saw was a sophisticated attempt to do a double backwards somersault through a hoop while whistling the ‘star spangled banner’ (I later discovered the message was “so long and thanks for all the fish”)

  13. @im_robertb: Did he say “shut up and listen and never speak again?” Could he perhaps have meant, “for a change, why don’t you stop talking and let someone else speak, specifically the people we’re talking about” ?

    What is so hard about taking turns?

    It’s like being in grade school. You can tell who has had a life of being told constantly how smart and valued they are, by which kids are shouting out the answers while all the rest are raising their hands.

  14. @Mark Hall:

    I don’t know enough about this new language, but if it is a true language, then there is some way in which new “words” can be formed, and no reason for an unbreachable conceptual divide. You are perhaps making assumptions about the cognitive and linguistic abilities of dolphins. The simple fact is, we don’t know enough about their abilities in these areas, but what we do know seems to indicate (to me, anyway) that they have fully developed language.
    I wish I still had the references, but I don’t. I’m going on memory, so please feel free to take all this with a grain of salt. They can learn a signal for “left”. Think about that for a second. 1 – it’s an abstract concept, 2 – it’s a relative concept. My left and your left aren’t always the same. In another study (intended to determine if they were aware of their past behaviors) they learned signals for “same”, “other”, and “any”.
    None of these are objects, and consider for a moment that the dolphins essentially had to derive the intended meanings of these signs from the behaviors and responses of the trainers. Picture a game of charades, and think about what would be involved in getting someone else to guess “other”.

  15. So, on the Huntsville thing: I read that some guys were using the, “it’s in our biology to hit on chicks (sic),” “defense.”

    Please, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a boatload of evidence that theism is also “in our biology?” How do these guys justify their atheism?

    Cognitive dissonance: it’s not just for breakfast anymore!™

  16. @Amanda: Absolutely, because it’s the majority, there’s so much more competition when you’re trying to make it be about you! ;-)

    Okay, I tried to shut up and listen, but at some point I had to butt in. Is there a term for when the people with all the power start playing the victim card? Something like “privwhinge”?

  17. Amanda,

    About that story about Laura Logan. I’m not a racist, and I wouldn’t say that every Arab, or everyone in the Middle East, or an Islamic society is a monster. However, Islamic societies in general are not well known for respecting individual rights and being bastions of classical liberalism, including Egypt.

    Here’s a story from The Globe And Mail, on a poll taken of average Egyptians. While some of the findings are positive, much of it is pretty disturbing. Its not a very socially liberal culture. Based on this poll, it is also a society where a majority of the people do not support equal rights for women.

    Poll shows Egyptians Favour Democracy and Stoning for Adultery

  18. @Buzz Parsec: I am stealing “privwhinge” and using it forever! In return, COTW.
    @Damien: I don’t see what this has to do with the horrible victim blaming that’s been happening everywhere about Laura Logan’s rape. And generally if you have to start something with “I’m not a racist, but…” you should probably rethink what you’re saying.

  19. Amanda,

    Some people get accused of racism, whenever, they say negative or unpleasant things about other cultures, even if they are not. I was responding to that article that you posted that accused Debbie Schlusell of racism, for what she said.

  20. Amanda,

    I do not think she should have said that she deserved to be raped. That’s a disgusting and horrible thing to say. I would not wish that upon my worst enemy. However, Islam is a religion, not a race. People convert to Islam and leave Islam everyday. There are even passages in the Koran about how people who leave Islam should be put to death. Hows does such a threat make any sense if those who are born Muslims cannot convert to something else? How could anyone choose to be a Muslim or not to be a Muslim, if it was genetic?

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