Afternoon InquisitionFeminism

AI: Now-overlapping Hobbysteria

One of the things that frustrates me enormously is the lack of real science in fitness reporting…. and the overwhelming amount of non-science that all conflicts with the rest of it.

Another thing that really frustrates me is the way that women’s magazines focused on fitness are really focused on looking sexy for your man.

So last week, in an attempt to combine skepticism, fitness and women in one place, I started the Skepchick Quickies Running Club on Facebook. It’s pretty great, actually. I expected that maybe 15 or 20 women would be interested ever, but we’re up to almost 60 members and it’s so busy I can hardly keep up with all the monitoring.

I’m really excited about this because I have one place on the internet where I can discuss so many of my overlapping interests. Like, even though I’m training for a marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s science-based medicine fundraising team to cure cancer, they’re not really skeptics or feminists… and, in Texas, I’m avoiding the religion topic allllllllllll together. And hanging out with other skeptics, it’s often assumed that I’m being impolite when I discuss my morning fartleks. And no one wants to hang out with me when I’m being all feminist buzzkill… and I don’t want to hang out with people who explain to me why my feminist viewpoints are my silly girly irrational emotions talking.

But now I have a place where I can injure myself while running for science and have a team of ladies be like “No! Don’t rub hemlock extract on that!” While also not not worrying about having to punch anyone for laughing at some dude getting “chicked” (that’s when you’re running so slow, a chick passes you.) It was a social intersection I desperately needed.

And even though we’re brand new and global, members are already organizing social runs for the group. Skepchick Jamie is hosting a Quickies run at SkepchickCon and a Sundays group run along the lakefront in Chicago. Rebecca and co-badass moderator Julia Burke are doing a Zombie 5K. And Surly Amy is developing a profound friendship with an elliptical/solidarity machine.

Sometimes I feel like the world is nothing but negativity, but then something like this comes together and it reminds me that the world is pretty great, and I feel pretty great knowing I did something to help make it so… like bring together 60 women into a niche group for support and encouragement and learning. And where they still “like” my annoying fundraising update/reminders. (“Did I mention I’m running the Chicago Marathon? FOR CHARITY? Well I still am. In case you forgot…. since I last mentioned it… 10 minutes ago.”)

Do you have any cool special interest groups you belong to? If you could start a group for your typically non-overlapping interests what would it be? Do you have a non skeptically focused hobby that you wish had more skepticism in it? Are you doing anything to help your communities be happier and more supportive places? 

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. I’m part of a local run group. Though when I first heard about the run group you had started, I sort of wished I was a woman so I could have joined. Ah well :) Also, Fartlek is funny no matter whether or not you know what it is :P

  2. Okay. So today’s high is 111. NEXT Tuesday’s high is 115. For the record, that’s what it officially says when I look it up. And like, next Tuesday is June 18th. IT ISN’T EVEN CLOSE TO JULY YET YOU GUYS.


    I will not be going outside unless it is very, very important. There will be SOME running, as I run quickly to my car and back. But otherwise, you guys go have fun. :P

  3. Woah. I was about to post my typically non-overlapping interests that I’d like to see combined in a social group when I suddenly was overcome with a horrified sense of EXPOSING myself to the internet/CIA. I think I’d better let *them* try to triangulate my different interests and decide whether or not I am a danger to civilization/Obama. :-)

  4. I go to a regional burning man event and I’ve always been sad that there wasn’t a larger representation of kinky people there. I really want to see a fire play workshop there. I know there’s a lot of reasons not to but I can’t actually think of any that aren’t equally applicable to the fire dancers. It’s not like we don’t have all the safety equipment and burn remedies at hand. I’m thinking of setting it up myself.

      1. Actually, it’s the kinky people that seem reluctant to do potentially dangerous BDSM stuff in an environment where people are doing a lot of drugs. The real problem is that only a subset of BDSM people do fire play and I don’t know any that go to Apogaea(the event). It’s a practice very different from fire eating or fire dancing. Typically it involves getting a nice person horizontal and partially or completely undressed. fuel is applied, then ignited, then blown out. There’s a pretty neat style that omits that last step, as well as the pain (and therefore all the tricky timing involved) involving V05. I’d probably teach that for a hands-on class.

        Problem is, nobody in my corner of the BDSM community really does Apogaea. I couldn’t teach the class alone, so at the very least I’d need to find an experienced bottom, or preferably a top that is also comfortable with public speaking! I know there’s a few kinksters there, I’m just going to have to come out of my shell and hunt a few of them down.

  5. I’d totally join in the run but with my back and hip problems, I’m doing well to walk some days. Which brings me to the hobby I’d LOVE to add some skepticism into, is there a physical therapist on this planet who doesn’t believe in some sort of woo-woo for Pete’s sake?! OK, so PT isn’t really a hobby, but still. I left my first one because she started going on about Creationism and Intelligent Design and I’m thinking “well crap, now I’m going to need PT for clenching my jaws together so I don’t start a massive fight in the middle of my therapy.” The second (and better than the first as far as the PT work) believes in psychics and has all the Sylvia Browne books. I’m counting down the days until PT is over!

  6. You people run, really? Like, even if there’s *isn’t* a large predator chasing you? Huh, interesting. I own a bicycle myself, well, several if I’m honest. And okay, in the interest of full disclosure: I own a bike store. But I’m sure that has nothing to do with my puzzlement….

    I’d like to be in a band made up of skeptics (the music world is full of woo) and put on a gig with a couple of other likeminded bands. And if we’re dreaming, why not dream big? I’d also like to make enough money that I don’t end up out of pocket. Cue Supertramp: “Dreamer, nothing but a dreamer…”

    1. But how do you outrun and out-endure the predator/cops if you don’t train? YOU CAN’T!

      Enjoy getting eaten by a bear while you get on your bike!

      (PS Maybe MadArtLab could help on the band-front. Provided all the Oz skeptic musicians haven’t been eaten by kangawallabies)

  7. I wish there was more of an overlap between the burner/festival/hippie crowd and the skepticism community. There’s actually quite a bit of overlap between the burner and poly communities where I live, so that’s good, but it would be nice to be able to go to an awesome festival without constantly hearing about the evils of flouridation.

    In general, I’d rather hang out with a non-skeptical hippie group than a group of skeptical libertarians, but it would be nice if I didn’t have to choose, haha.

    1. I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of avoiding that nonsense at burner events. I’ve only had to deal with that once, but it was really unpleasant. Some guy was really concerned about my friend’s “energy” or chakras or somesuch nonsense. He put his hands on her arm, and also really worried both of us. I think she was pretty sober and was mostly feeling annoyed and violated, but I was pretty worried about the whole energy thing.

      I’m glad my experience isn’t yours, but I still think I’d have to agree that they would be better than a bunch of skeptical libertarians.

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