Skepchick Quickies 9.20


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

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    1. If they were digging in soft rock in a known fossil-bearing area, why not? I think a kid is just as likely as anyone else to hit something. When my niece was 6, she would have definitely been able to identify it as an ammonite.

      There’s no way she could have excavated it by herself (it looks like it weighs more than she does), but she could have exposed it enough to make it obvious there was something there.

      However, the plastic spade claim in the headline is clearly a lie. It’s a metal shovel in the picture. You can see the rusty edges, and it doesn’t have the typical thick reinforcement of a plastic shovel.

      1. If it was a poorly-consolidated shale, it could be quite easy to get it out, especially if the ground was wet. Some fossil bearing rocks are so soft and/or crumbly that they barely hold together. What a sweet find. I’ve only ever gotten little pieces of puny broken cephalopods.

  1. Honestly, I do everything I can to stay out of retail stores. I hate them. Luckily my wife is not one to linger.
    I do not see how this is sexist or puts women back into the laundry room or whatever.
    Someone please explain how this puts gender equality back. Would it be sexist to have a “ladies recreational area” at a gun show (or some other example of something that men drag their hetero-SO’s to)?
    I suppose the room could be gender-neutral, but other than that…
    Are y’all suggesting that it is the man’s duty (or appropriate gender role) to follow his SO through IKEA and feign interest?

    1. We’re suggesting that many men enjoy shopping, many women enjoy gun shows, and pretending that is not the case reinforces harmful and outdated gender stereotypes.

        1. OK. Yeah a recreational area would be better than day-care for husbands. It does put us guys down, doesn’t it?

    2. There’s lots of problems with it.

      – It absolves men of the responsibility to take care of domestic issues like furniture selection. It acts like that’s a woman’s job, and the men shouldn’t be dragged along and should be allowed to just play their games. Then that same mentality can be extended to the laundry… “but I don’t wanna! I’m a man! I don’t know how! Let me play NBA Live 2011 while you go do all the women-stuff”

      – Along with absolving responsibility, it infantilizes the men and reinforces the notion that their girlfriends or wives are their caretakers / mothers-by-proxy. This is something creepy I see happening in way too many relationships, and a majour retailer supporting that whole mentality is really gross.

      – It’s ridiculously reinforcing of very conventional, very narrow binary gender roles. What’s in Manland? Sports, hot dogs and video games, of course! Because that’s what guys, like, right? And if you’re a man who doesn’t like that stuff, you’re not a real guy, and should probably go do some shopping with the women? And women, naturally, don’t want to play video games or watch sports or get free hot dogs, right? They’re women, and women love to shop! Even for boring stuff like towels and closet organizers! It presents a very binary, very narrow, very limited view of both of these genders and what they’re ‘naturally’ like, and ‘inclined’ towards. We should be questioning ideas like that, not embracing them.

    3. There’s also the general issue of relationship equality, too. It’s not a guy’s “duty” to feign interest in anything, no. But in a healthy relationship you share responsibilities and decisions (especially decisions about shared things like how they furnish their home). Although you may not share all the same interests, you be supportive of your partners interests. You don’t simply opt out when there’s a responsibility or decision you *think* should belong only to your partner, and you especially ought not to use gender as a divider for who is “supposed” to do what in the relationship. A man getting dropped off at daycare while the woman goes and handles the womyny-womyny shopping stuff doesn’t really foster a sense of equality in a relationship.

    4. “Someone please explain how this puts gender equality back.”

      Because it suggests that shopping is woman’s chore and it suggests that shopping is not actually a chore for women, because we all just love any type of shopping. For many women, myself included, shopping is every bit as much a chore as doing dishes.

      It’s also pretty insulting to men, as it suggests that they are giant manchildren who can’t handle grownup responsibilities and have to be sent to daycare.

      If a man doesn’t want to go shopping and a woman does, then the man can just stay home. What’s the point of going if they are just going to mess around in a game room? And if neither of us really want to go, we might as well share the responsibility fully, just like we alternate doing dishes.

    1. No. Scientifically, it’s utter nonsense. This is the same junk we’ve been fed about cell phones in another form.

      Low intensity non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation doesn’t hurt you. The most it can do to your body is warm it slightly. If that could cause serious health problems you wouldn’t ever be able to go outside, because the sun’s visible light does massively more warming than any cell phone tower could.

      Don’t take my word for it. Run some double-blind tests on these people. If what they say is true, they should easily be able to tell whether they’re really in the presence of a strong electric or magnetic field, and even its rough strength and source direction.

  2. The whole “Manland” concept doesn’t bother me, except for the fact that it’s gender specific. If my wife and I go to a department store, I’ll be hanging out at the tool department (and occasionally be asked if I’m looking for something for my “husband”) while she’s in the kitchenware.

    1. Yeah, it’s the gender specificity that annoys me. I mean, half the stuff in “man land” appeals to me more than sofa buying does. Sweeping generalizations FTL.

  3. I have been following the “Racial Realism” nonsense on Youtube, myself. If it interests you, you should check out Criss’s follow up video, as well as the stuff Peach has done on it (http://www.youtube.com/xxxthepeachxxx). Very good examples of very good thinking – logic and evidence, with citations.

    However, the Racist HeyRuja is not only wrong across the board, she is a prime example of a sloppy thinker. It is like listening to a Creationist. You could turn it into a skeptical drinking game, where one imbibes every time Ruka vomits up another fallacy, but I think it would be hard to get through the whole video and remain sober.

    And here’s the thing: Ruka’s an outspoken atheist. Now, I tend to consider most atheists to be “better thinkers” than most theists, because they do not accept as true that which has no supporting evidence (gods).

    But in many ways, these Racial Realist idiots are very much like creationists. They can understand logic, somewhat, but they utterly choose to ignore it when it comes to their pet ideology (“my race is the best, and science agrees, so I’m not a racist”).

    They begin their research with their conclusion already firmly held (“my race is best!”), and then accept evidence that supports it, no matter how dodgy and scarce it is, and reject evidence that refutes it, no matter how solid and plentiful it is.

    In that way, they are very similar to creationists, and conspiracy theorists, for that matter (like global warming deniers).

    These people are young, intelligent, and educated, and they do not accept the supernatural as real (gods, horoscopes, psychics, etc.).

    However, they are racist to the core, and use fake and bad pseudo-science to back up there bigoted values. It was frankly shocking to discover that they existed, and in such large numbers. The comments of all of these videos are filled with people who feel the same way as Ruka, and use the same bad thinking to justify it.

    1. I’m really glad someone commented on this. I thought we had fought (and won) this battle many years ago, but it keeps coming back, every 20 years or so.

      In all the word salad in Ruka’s video, I couldn’t tell if there were actually any new arguments. I see she’s still citing Herrnstein; his original 1971 IQ thesis was thoroughly refuted by David Layzer, Stephen J Gould, Noam Chomsky, Richard Lewontin, and many others. When he and Murray recapitulated it in The Bell Curve in 1994, it was demolished again. (The Wikipedia article on it is a pretty good summary.)

      Here we go again. Depressing.

    2. “They begin their research with their conclusion already firmly held (“my race is best!”), and then accept evidence that supports it, no matter how dodgy and scarce it is, and reject evidence that refutes it, no matter how solid and plentiful it is.”

      Additionally, as I point out in my blog post, they take evidence that refutes their position and present it as evidence that supports it. I don’t want to accuse her of lying, but she’s most definitely misrepresenting and/or misunderstanding the source she cites. *None* of them say what she claims they say, and a few even say exactly the opposite.

      Thanks for linking to the article, Amanda. I think it’s so important that this be discussed in the skeptical/atheist communities because, as DataJack pointed out, it’s a matter of sloppy thinking and an ideological drive. And this person claims membership in these communities, which is a big problem because she’s not being skeptical in her thinking processes *at all.*

  4. Man-land at Ikea is offensive because it takes a gender neutral activity (furniture shopping) and labels it as women’s work.

    But I think its is not an entirely stupid idea. Just make the waiting area gender neutral. Still have the 30min timer but give it to whoever is doing the shopping. Chances are that BOTH people don’t want to be there so maybe also offer a game of chance to determine who has to actually do the shopping. Tic tac toe?

    But somehow I can’t see a gender neutral version of man-land happening.

    Because it plants the idea that furniture shopping sucks for everyone. It might just encourage people to shop online instead ;-)

  5. I can survive IKEA but couldn’t they have a Manland in H&M? – just a sofa and a TV with some sports would do.

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