Yessenia will shave her head to help students get to SSA Con

This month’s Skepchick Challenge: Yessenia of Queereka has agreed to part with every last hair on her head if we can reach our goal of raising $2,500 by June 4 to send students to the Secular Student Alliance Conference in Las Vegas this June.

That amount will cover travel, lodging, and conference fees for 20 students, 10 from SAC City Freethinkers and 10 from the Atheists and Skeptics Society at Berkeley (BASS). Students are the future (and arguably the present) of the movement, and SSA is on the forefront of activism that benefits all of us. (See Top 10 Reasons to Support the Secular Student Alliance Today for just a fraction of the reasons to support this organization and the students in it.

If you can spare even five bucks to help them out, Paypal your donation to Sara Burke of SAC City Freethinkers at Burkesaram [at] or just click on the Donate button below:

Do you have ideas for a cause that could use extra fundraising help? Suggestions for a challenge you’d like to see a Skepchick contributor complete? Contact us, and we’ll consider it for a future Skepchick Challenge.

Featured image (not Yessenia) by Andrew Braithwaite.

Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer living in a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband, two kids, dog, and two cats. When not making fun of bad charts or running the Uncensorship Project, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and putting out random dumpster fires. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

Related Articles


  1. I’m sorry Yessenia is going to do this.

    If you say you’ll shave your head for money, as if being bald is an inherently negative thing to be avoided, you are perpetuating a stigma against me. You are telling me that I am weaker than you, inferior in some way.

    I don’t have the skill to craft that previous paragraph for myself, those are Yessenia’s words about ableism (from her post titled “Oh, you don’t take pills? How nice for you.”) re-purposed for this topic.

      1. Like Yessena’s need for prescription medication, baldness is involuntary and carries a social stigma. That doesn’t apply to tattoos.

        If she wants to change the challenge to getting a tattoo I wouldn’t be bothered in the slightest.

        1. Yessenia’s post was about someone disparaging using prescription medication, as though using it (and being like her) would be a negative thing. This type of attitude is one that has actually cost her her job, among other issues. Inverting that here is perhaps not the best way to make your point because the situations are not analogous.

          Many people voluntarily shave their heads, some for purely aesthetic reasons. Baldness is not inherently negative. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t some social stigma against it. There’s social stigma against tattoos as well. Tattoos and shaving one’s head are voluntary, and your hair loss is not. I understand that. But I really don’t understand how more people choosing to be bald perpetuates that stigma so much as it dilutes and counteracts it.

          Shaving one’s head for a cause is also fairly common in fundraising, such as for cancer research. Have you objected to those fundraisers as well?

          1. Yes, when my company staged a head shaving dare (of a willing volunteer) to raise money. I quietly voiced my objection to HR and this form of fundraising was dropped after that.

            Please be clear Melanie, I’m differentiating here between shaving your head in support of cancer patients ( I strongly support that, especially for children.) or just shaving it for fashion. I’m complaining about the I’ll only when it’s portrayed negatively as a forfeit for a lost bet.

          2. This isn’t a forfeit for a lost bet. She shaves her head if she *wins* the bet. It’s a bonus incentive, a challenge to do something, like getting a tattoo, that is not inherently negative. I think the negativity you are seeing is through your own lens on this. It really isn’t there in this challenge.

    1. This is a completely stupid comment that portrays a utter lack of comprehension about Yessenia, her post, and her motivation for doing this. I don’t know why you feel like this is a useful contribution at all–it comes across as someone with an axe to grind.

      For some people, being bald is a negative thing. For themselves. That doesn’t mean that they think all bald people are somehow inherently inferior or weak. It means they like having hair. I say this as a person who shaves his head because he is starting to bald–voluntarily bald and involuntarily balding.

    2. Hey, Sara Burke here. I’m the one handling part of this fundraising venture.

      This isn’t Nickelodeon’s equivalent of getting slimed. Yessenia shaving her head as effect of a fundraiser is not a form of self-humiliation. Yessenia has offered to change a major part of herself as a reward for the support people have to offer the sceptic community.

      Source: I’ve had a shaved for quite a chunk of time now. Making the choice to actually do it was a big decision, and took a lot of commitment at that moment to accomplish. I can hardly imagine life with hair that requires maintenance now.

      P.S. Thank you all so much for the support! The club is super excited!

  2. As a baldie myself, I’m going “What the!?” Screw this negativity, this concern trolling, I want to donate! (and I’m not even an American) Kudos to Yessenia!
    But where is “the donate button below”?

  3. Vaguely related story, the first time I did my hair with clippers many years ago, I stuffed it up and had to go all the way down to number ones. You should have seen the looks of disapproval I got! But then I overheard one of the girls at work talking: “Have you seen Jacks hair? It looks really ugly! “and the response “I reckon it’s great! He looks like an animal!!”

    It was one of my proudest moments and in fact the whole episode boosted my reputation, socially if anything.
    TL;DR if you’re bald, own it!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button