They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In a recent post, I relied on this principle but I think it did not work for a lot of readers. So I want to try this again but using additional words to augment the pictures. This is about the sex-appeal of the skepchicks.

I actually have nothing to say to you about the sex-appeal or the sexuality or the sexiosity or the sexiness or the sex of the Skepchicks. That would be a personal matter between each Skepchick and her or his … whatever. What I want to talk about is this idea that the Skepchicks are using sex to sell skepticism.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Or maybe, I’m just strange, but really…. I think I’ve got this right and YOU are the one that is wrong.

Now, I happen to know a handful of skepchicks, some better than others, and for each and every one of them I can totally see why they are loved by their mates and admired by their friends, for all sorts of qualities. I remember getting to the point of knowing Car2D2 and Tim3Po that it was obvious and overtly acknowledged that we were friends, and thinking that I was really glad about that, that I felt lucky to know them. And to the extent that I know some of the others, I really can’t say enough good stuff about each and every one. What a great group of people.

But this sex-appeal thing, I mean really, you’ve got to be kidding. As individually sexy, warm and friendly, smart and snarky, thoughtful and caring any one of the skeptics may be in real life, as real people, the skepchicks themselves are not sexy. Or, if you think they are, you need to get your meter checked.

They were lab coats, people. They drink Tang! They give away test tubes as party favors. I mean, come on, really. This is not sexy. This is a parody of sexy. A parody.

That is not to say that test tubes and lab coats can’t be sexy. They can be. So can Tang, I suppose. But that is not what the Skepchicks are doing. They are making fun of sexy. They are not making fun of sexy like Jenny McCarrthy makes fun of sexy. They are making fun of sexy like Phyllis Diller makes fun of sexy.

(And now that I have gotten The Skepchicks, Jenny McCarthy and Phyllis Diller in the same paragrph, I think I get some kind of award, right?)

If there is really any question in your mind about this, look again at this picture I showed in that earlier post, the one that was supposed to be worth a thousand words:

i-8d816da3056cf6c8e10aa8a9c5936f71-con_043693226905_8070f54f99.jpg

This is two skepchicks licking a stuffed beaver.

If you find that sexy, then you are probably demented. If you think that this photograph, which is absolutely representative of what the skepchicks are all about, is a demand for female skeptics to be all Christina Aguilera, Christina Milian and Kerry Katona (whom I understand are hawt sexy babes based on an informal survey I just did) then you need some sort of adjustment. If you think this photograph is not a joke then you need a sense of humor. And this photograph is not the Skepchicks making fun of themselves. It is the Skepchicks making fun of you. And everybody.

Come on … look at the photograph again.

i-8d816da3056cf6c8e10aa8a9c5936f71-con_043693226905_8070f54f99.jpg

Do you see the beaver? It is a funny toy beaver like you get in a toy shop. “Beaver” is a crude term for female sexual anatomy. But it is not the actual female sexual anatomy, and it is not even a sexually charged and erotic reference to female sexual anatomy. Now, if these Skepchicks were licking a Georgia O’Keefe painting or something that would be different. But they are not. They are licking a goofy toy beaver.

A goofy toy beaver, people.

But wait, there’s more. Look again at the picture. This time I’ve enlarged it a bit:

i-54597a0f1c29771c5c86e507383050e2-licking_skepchicks.jpg

What do you see here? The Skepchicks are NOT EVEN LICKING IT!!!11!! They are faking it!!!11!! They are pretending to lick a fake toy beaver. OMG. If you think this is sexualizing anything, if you think this is making everybody feel bad that they can’t be them, if you think this is anything other than people making fun of people exploiting sex to sell something … then … well … then I think someone should lock all the stuffed animals that are in your house in a secure container. Where they will be left alone. Where you can’t get at them.

Initially, it did not occur to me that people were not getting this. I assumed that people understood what was going on here. But no, some people are not getting this. There seem to be a couple of things standing in people’s way of understanding what the Skepchicks are up to. One could be that people arrive at this sort of issue with their presumptions in one hand and the usual slings and arrows in the other and don’t really think about what they are doing. Another possibility is that this whole thing is too meta. Parody is by definition meta, and maybe the Skepchicks are too meta for some people to understand. (A parody of a parody is even harder to understand. See comments below.) A third possibility, and I think the one that is most important, is that the Skepchicks are guilty of improper labeling. They are doing things that are supposed to be funny, supposed to be a parody, but they are not telling us. So, I recommend that they do a better job at labeling what they are doing. Like this:

i-318cf3d6275337a2c38485680aa20215-NOT_a real beaver.jpg

That is all.

Comments

  1. #1 The Science Pundit
    January 23, 2010

    What do you see here? The Skepchicks are NOT EVEN LICKING IT!!!11!! They are faking it!!!11!! They are pretending to lick a fake toy beaver. OMG.

    I call fake outrage. ;-)

  2. #2 DataJack
    January 23, 2010

    Brilliant, again. You are the (parody of) the Skepchick’s knight in (a parody of) shining armor.
    :)

  3. #3 William Donohue
    January 23, 2010

    I’m not certain, but I think Beaver Hayes may take issue with that label. That’s a real fake beaver, and not a parody of a real fake beaver.

    I’m just disappointed that they didn’t take a picture fake-licking a merkin. But given that this was at Convergence, all the merkins may have been pressed into service as tribbles.

  4. #4 Tim3p0
    January 23, 2010

    haha, though they clearly are looking sexily at the toy. and why did they choose a toy beaver? are they too good for the other stuffed animals, or worse the ones that arent stuffed? Harrumph… ;)

    great post Greg, thanks

  5. #5 Jason Thibeault
    January 23, 2010

    Tim3p0: WRONG. They are clearly NOT looking at the toy. Neither of their gazes are even remotely TOWARD the toy. CHECKMATE!

  6. #6 Tim3p0
    January 23, 2010

    Jason Thubeault – even though you clearly make a point and proved that i was wrong, i am still going to rant and proclaim that I am right and your perception is wrong *stomps feet and does a very pathetic attempt at a growl-y face* you see, not only are skepchicks all thin and white, but they clearly have lazy eyes. Jebus, the pic makes all these points soooo obvious ;)

  7. #7 Jason Thibeault
    January 23, 2010

    Wow, Tim3p0, that post was so close to some of the real arguments in this whole mess that I almost thought you were one of those trolls. Spot-on impersonation, good sir! Jolly good show!

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    January 23, 2010

    Clearly, the two of you just don’t get it.

    You don’t even get that you don’t get it.

  9. #9 Jason Thibeault
    January 23, 2010

    I totally do too get that you get that I don’t get it! That’s what YOU don’t get.

  10. #10 Tim3p0
    January 23, 2010

    well if you didn’t write such concise and focused writings, maybe i would get it. but you are apparently too cool to get up and meet me on my high snobby pedestal to talk to me in an irrational voice. now if you will excuse me, i will go taunt a cute puppy by dangling a doggie treat out of his reach. ;)

  11. #11 CaveGal
    January 23, 2010

    I thought they were using a safe replica of a beaver to teach us all the fact that live beavers are dangerous and that when they open their mouths their tongues tend to fall out and hang limply, but they are still dangerous in real life no matter how cute it looks. Don’t fall for the licking beaver face!

  12. #12 DuWayne
    January 23, 2010

    Fuck all you all – the only thing that I don’t get is algebra…

  13. #13 Jason Thibeault
    January 23, 2010

    Oh, and Greg, could you post copious amounts of links to primary research in these only marginally related topics, which I could easily have Googled myself if I had any intention of doing any research whatsoever rather than using you as my own personal search engine?

  14. #14 NewEnglandBob
    January 23, 2010

    Why can’t we just enjoy their posts? Why are we (not including me, of course) going through this? Is this a slow weekend?

  15. #15 Uncle Glenny
    January 23, 2010

    I’m just disappointed that they didn’t take a picture fake-licking a merkin.

    I don’t thing real ‘Merkins hang around with skepchicks.

  16. #16 llewelly
    January 23, 2010

    The Skepchicks are NOT EVEN LICKING IT!!!11!! They are faking it!!!11!! They are pretending to lick a fake toy beaver.

    Case closed. It’s explicit pornography for sure.

  17. #17 Bill
    January 23, 2010

    I love a simple picture that ruffles the feathers of people who have nothing else to do but look for the bad in everything. Keep it up, the world needs you!

  18. #18 DuWayne
    January 23, 2010

    Keep it up, the world needs you!

    Of course it does – that vile pornographic crap, is nearly as evile as fucking algebra!!!

  19. #19 Stephanie Z
    January 23, 2010

    What amuses me here is that this started with me saying the Skepchicks are sexy because they’re smart–they actively practice thinking. Somehow it ended up being about their bodies and their come-hither whatever, or lack thereof. I didn’t swing the conversation that direction. I’m ridiculously hetero to the point that I’m happier ignoring that they have bodies. They didn’t swing the conversation that direction. None of the guys who think they’re sexy swung the conversation in that direction. I have some ideas why it might have happened the way it did, but I’m still choking on the irony.

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    January 24, 2010

    It swung in that direction because, as I said above, people showed up with their preconceptions in one hand and their slings and arrows in the other.

    It really started with the very first comment on my post, which brought in the party thing and the video with the loin cloth. Then you made the smart/sex link, which led to the first serious accusation that the Skepchics were too sexy, in comment 10. After that, the frequency with which the word “sex” is mentioned in the comments goes up in that thread continuously.

    Apparently, this is only the most recent in several cycles of abuse leveled at the Skepchicks. Which would make me kind of mad if I cared about the people who are imposing these proscriptions, and thus trying to silence them.

    As I said to Carrie, there are THREE kinds of people in this world:

    1) Those that love you;

    2) Those that won’t hurt you;

    Oh, was I saying something? Can’t remember. Oh well, time for a snack.

  21. #21 Tim3p0
    January 24, 2010

    StephanieZ:

    “…I’m happier ignoring that they have bodies…”

    so what we need to appease these trolls are non-corporeal apparitions that can blog. ghosts can be sexy too though, so i suppose they would find some way to jump on them then. but then again, most people’s first reaction would be “holy shit! its a blogging ghost!” so maybe that would work. but then again, all it takes are some anti-ghost blogger trolls to come after them for writing a smart-and-funny post. Honestly though that wouldn’t work because trolls cannot retain anything they just read, which is why they just repeat themselves ad nauseum till they pass out and forget what they were doing until they see their computer screen and slightly remember (a la the movie memento).

    then again, i am just being a smartass, i have no idea why they latched onto whatever they did (and i doubt they do as well, due to whatever their original point was, is now completely obscured by their unfocused anger and vitriol). what i do know is i am proud to know the skepchicks personally, and am proud to know you Stephanie. You all do amazing work and i have the utmost respect for each of you. <3
    ~thank you

    then

  22. #22 John McKay
    January 24, 2010

    Admit it. This whole controversy is just an excuse to write “sexy” and “chicks” and “sexy chicks” and “beaver” and “licking” and “licking a beaver” as many times as possible just to get your traffic up (so to speak). Well sir, I refuse to participate. I absolutely will not visit your comments and write words like “sexy” or “chicks” or “sexy chicks” or “beaver” or “licking” or “licking a beaver”. Not me. Nosiree Bob.

  23. #23 Bill James
    January 24, 2010

    Greg, your obsessing.

  24. #24 Karen Burke
    January 24, 2010

    They should blog as cabbage heads!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9Uu-SNqR9I

  25. #25 skeptifem
    January 24, 2010

    Perhaps the jref forums were an especially gross bunch of skepdudes but yeah, their sexiness was commented on often. There are weird guys that follow the skepchicks around at tam (well, at least rebecca). If you think that women can be a public figure of any sort without being exposed to that kind of attention you are sooo wrong.

    “What amuses me here is that this started with me saying the Skepchicks are sexy because they’re smart–they actively practice thinking. Somehow it ended up being about their bodies and their come-hither whatever, or lack thereof. ”

    No, you said that skepchicks will show how not boring skepticism is because you guys will bring the sexy and some booze, and that the smartness just made you sexier on top of that.

  26. #26 skeptifem
    January 24, 2010

    @greg “It swung in that direction because, as I said above, people showed up with their preconceptions in one hand and their slings and arrows in the other”

    That is how it was for a period of time. I asked other people if they had the same perceptions as I did at that time and they did, I am not some kind of crazy person. There was an emphasis on being sexy, and proving that women can be smart and sexy at the same time was talked about as empowerment and feminism. I should have checked out the blog between back then and now before commenting, and talked to a greater variety of skepchick. I appologized for the things I was wrong about, I should have checked up on it again before commenting (I haven’t done it yet, but I plan to when I get some time). If there is still something to my initial ideas I will blog about it, but I will take other peoples word for now because they read skepchick more than me.

    Also, what is wrong with you? We all make mistakes. Remember the ‘name withheld” fiasco? My mistake was at least well intentioned, and I was sorry when someone pointed out my mistakes. I don’t think anyone mocked you and encouraged other people to do so. They just pointed out how screwed up it was of you to do that and expressed their anger. I don’t know what would make someone want to rub it in like this after mistakes were admitted. It is kind of creepy and weird. You are making it seem as though I never said I was sorry at all so that you can have fun at my expense and invite other people along.

  27. #27 SQB
    January 24, 2010

    Bill James:

    Greg, your obsessing.

    <petpeeve>This sentence no verb.</petpeeve>

  28. #28 the real meme
    January 24, 2010

    Oh shit. More chicks exposing licks and tits as an excuse to draw attention away from tit licking chicks, etc…yuk. And worse than worse could ever be?> Stephanie Z stating the usual ” I’m ridiculously hetero to the point that I’m happier ignoring that they have bodies”

    Is that an ex parte exclusion of femininity, feminine corpus,and its necessary(from an evolutionary standpoint) wiles of health, well-fedness, and fertility–accompanied as it is by their outcry of ‘wise-everyone-lookin-at-me?–, or is that a deeply Freudian exception to the general rule of “methinks you protesteth too much”?

    Maybe it’s just another anti-woman sentiment–as if women cannot even be looked at–as if they are so revolting, disgusting, and solely, exclusively intellectual? That damned intellect, in foresight, is actually a groos misconception; a monster unworthy of viewing…

  29. #29 MadScientist
    January 24, 2010

    @#20 – can we make that “Greg’s Law”? Something like a Godwin?

  30. #30 Stephanie Z
    January 24, 2010

    Skeptifem, I said this:

    During the day, they’ll sit on panels and be informative and entertaining for the people who are already interested. During the evening, they’ll show everyone very, very clearly that being skeptical doesn’t equal being dry and boring and pedantic. It will involve alcohol and sex appeal, but not particularly more so than the rest of the con (except that the Skepchicks come with added smart, which multiplies the sexy).

    You don’t get to ignore “not particularly more so than the rest of the con” just so you can say I said what you read, any more than people get to ignore the fact that Elyse and Rebecca are using that picture to mock the people who demand that they be sexy. And by the way, just for clarity, “more so” on the alcohol is because the alcohol is generally confined to party rooms and hours, and “more so” on the sex appeal is because there’s a huge contingent of kids who come to the con.

    And your description of Isis deciding that Greg had called her a cheerleader and that her standards for “sock puppets” didn’t apply to Greg is approximately as…precise…as most of your characterizations in this particular discussion. You’ve got some solid general ideas about the world, but you’re not bothering to figure out whether they apply to an individual situation. Like your assumption that Greg is mocking you for making a mistake about this picture.

    I’m sure you have to deal with people mocking you to diminish your message. That doesn’t mean Greg is mocking you here. This post was written because there were people in the original post holding it up as an example of the Skepchicks being “sexy,” despite the obvious absurdity of the position. (I had a couple of friends pull up the page last night and look at the picture without reading any of the text. “Is that picture sexy?” “Oh, God no.”) It takes something pretty strong to get past blinders that big.

  31. #31 Jason Thibeault
    January 24, 2010

    Holy hannah, that’s fantastic… there have been three flame wars in my recent memory at this blog, wherein the person who initially started the fire later thinks that every escalation of the war is a direct attack on them, regardless of the fact that they are most certainly not the only people throwing gasoline on the flames.

    Skeptifem, what Stephanie said. You may have apologized for your mistake, but you’re still mischaracterizing the whole discussion. That isn’t helping. People coming into the discussion now will read your mischaracterization and think that’s how it all went down, when they’d be way better served by actually reading the original posts and comments.

  32. #32 Greg Laden
    January 24, 2010

    Skeptifemm: The thing is, you are basically right (about the sexy thing. I’m still working on the smartness-added thing). If we use sex to sell something we are immediately becoming part of the heteronormative patriarchic objectification of women (I love saying that). But if we fly to a climate change conference we cause climate change and when we tell a terrorist we are not negotiating with them we are … actually negotiating.

    Those are all totally sucky analogies but I’m only halfway through my first cup of coffee, so please forgive me. And these analogies are not meant to say that we should have no limits on what we do simply because what we do is imperfect. But there are limits on what perfection can allow us to attain.

    The thing is, just as the perfect should not (usually) be the enemy of the good, purity should not be the enemy of action.

    The skepchicks are in very large part a parody (the point of the present post) and to the extent that they willingly place themselves in circumstances they might otherwise avoid (as people, as women) they are bravely wading into a stream of popular culture and catching a lot of fish there that otherwise might not be caught (the point of the prior point) and since this is done as parody (in large part) only really drunk people have their heternormative patriarchic thingies stroked. And they mostly will not remember. Finally, sexuality is not the enemy.

    Sexuality can be coopted and used in counterproductive ways that turn off rather then turn on those little lights in our collective heads that we want to increase, brighten, and keep burning. The Skepchicks are not Porky’s. They are not even National Lampoon’s Animal House. Rather, the Skepchicks are most like the spawn of Bill Nye and Bette Midler.

    Regarding your comments about the houndish guys at TAM: I can imagine. I think it is probably similar at the CON except they are wearing Klingon suits or medieval armor. (But I quickly add that the culture of the CON is not especially repressive and being nice and cool and helpful is very much part of that cultre. If someone found a quarter on the ground they’d turn it in to lost and found.) It should be noted that when you walk into the Skepchicon reception suite, and you look at a skepchick you’re not going to get much of a come-hither look. There is a very different tenor.

    Which is, I guess, the thing that has frustrated me most about this whole discussion (which arose simply because I asked people to consider helping). Much of what has been said that is negative about what the Skepchicks are doing is really assuming a model for what is happening that is not an accurate description. There seems to be a natural accretion of certain factoids and ignoring of others (I’m not talking specifically about you, Skeptifem) For instance, I mentioned that in order to find an orgy I had to go elsewhere (which was an inside joke …. there was no orgy) and sure enough one commenter incorporated the orgy into the Skepchick repertoire!

    Politically I’m more of an old fashioned feminist and I’m pretty comfortable assuming the usual patterns when it comes to the exploitation of sexual imagery and related tropes as a first approximation. But I’m here looking at this phenomenon and that’s not what I’m seeing at all.

  33. #33 Greg Laden
    January 24, 2010

    OK, I’ve now read the comments subsequent to Skeptifem and I want to underscore that I’m very sorry about any mocking and also did not mean to (and was not entirely) focusing on Skeptifem. I remain a bit annoyed at “Reader” because I think that was a bit more than a misunderstanding, and I suspect willful miunderstanding. But mainly, I think there are key values here we are all on board with, with something less than perfect overlap on how to approach the overall goal (of spreading critical thinking).

    So, everyone should report back: What did you do over the last week to spread cirtical thinking? I gave a talk in which I emphasized the importance of being careful when applying non-human animal models to understand human behvivor, and later today I’ll pepare a lecture for class tomorrow on the same topic.

    Which I need to do before the big game, of course. Which I wouldn’t really be watching if my wife was not so much into football. I quickly add. And I’m only exaggerating a little.

  34. #34 Stephanie Z
    January 24, 2010

    What have I done in the last week? Mostly argued and provided support.

    I asked someone I rather like to stop suggesting poverty is a joke (based on a non-skeptical prosperity-gospel-like philosophy) and kept the ensuing discussion from blowing up into a flame war that would obscure the original point. I thanked someone who organizes scientific outreach and encouraged her to teach others about what she does that works. I offered her a forum to do that.

    I got on the radio at a risk of making a fool out of myself being the white girl offering opinions about race in the skeptical movement. I listened to people who have expertise in outreach that I don’t have, identified unrecognized sources of skepticism in communities of color, and reminded listeners that we’d just heard about a great resource for getting those people in front of audiences.

    I insisted that people grapple with the reality of the Skepchicks, rather than some second- or third-hand reputation. I passed along a viewpoint that I didn’t share, but which was fact-based and correctly identified opinion as opinion, in order to demonstrate the difference between the two types of arguments. And I marshaled emotional support and encouragement for the Skepchicks to get back to issues of skepticism instead of dealing with the mess directly.

    Oh, and I told some homeopathy jokes and shared some skeptical links among my friends. Quiet week.

  35. #35 skeptifem
    January 24, 2010

    “And your description of Isis deciding that Greg had called her a cheerleader and that her standards for “sock puppets” didn’t apply to Greg is approximately as…precise…as most of your characterizations in this particular discussion. ”

    It was a public mistake. on science blogs. that was the only thing that was supposed to be compared. I am getting really damn sick of you telling me what my intentions are. It is one thing to say what you got out of it, but to tell me why I said something…. you could ASK, you know. Your track record isn’t so great so far. It has made me exhausted to the point that I really do not care enough to respond to you in the rest of the original thread.

    “You’ve got some solid general ideas about the world, but you’re not bothering to figure out whether they apply to an individual situation. Like your assumption that Greg is mocking you for making a mistake about this picture.”

    I am glad my ideas about the word are generally solid enough for you to inform me of their quality, I could not figure that kind of thing out on my own.

    I didn’t ask you for a critique of my personality. Greg kinda said that parts of it were intended that way, more towards some other poster than me.

    “I’m sure you have to deal with people mocking you to diminish your message. That doesn’t mean Greg is mocking you here. ”

    You try having a bunch of people pile on you (too many to really respond to in any meaningful way), and then have post after post come up about it, and then have something like this posted and see comments that characterize your opinion as hysterical and sexist. Try that after having gotten massive amounts of shit every time you have tried to say something about sexism on JREF. What the fuck else am I supposed to think? Some of the commenters seem to think that it was intended that way as well. Just read them. I am not alone in feeling like this was a jab at me or people who agree with me.

  36. #36 Greg Laden
    January 24, 2010

    We need to hear at least one homeopathy joke.

    We don’t need to hear the whole joke. We only need a small fraction of it.

  37. #37 Greg Laden
    January 24, 2010

    The Skeptically Speaking Podcast is up by the way:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2010/01/skepticism_and_race_1.php

  38. #38 DuWayne
    January 24, 2010

    What did you do over the last week to spread cirtical thinking?

    Ooohh!!! I will hit that one, before I go work out and get back to the evile’s of algebra…

    I am having a great deal of fun (though also feeling more than a little overwhelmed, as they are seven of eighteen credits this semester) with my interpersonal communications across cultures class (online which makes it better) and my language and culture class. (help/blog whoring, if you would like to take part in one of my papers for the former, I have posted more questions – please feel free to respond and get others to)

    In the language and culture class, we have not gotten to the critical thinking sorts of discussions yet, but I did decide on my semester project (which includes a presentation). Unfortunately, I can’t get into that yet – but will once I have gotten a smattering of comments to my second set of questions on the blog…

    In my com across cult. class, we have had a rousing discussion of a rather classic anthropology article by Richard Lee, “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari.” The discussion question was about comparing the friendly and sometimes less than friendly mocking of people who accomplish something of the Jun’Hoansi (Kung!) people, with American culture. The point that I made, was that on the relational level of the Jun’Hoansi (kin and “friends”) Americans are often times much the same actually. That among family and friends, mockery or the belittling of great accomplishments is often used to maintain equality in the group – regardless of larger social status, healthy friendships and kinships tend to be as egalitarian as hunter gather social groups.

    That commentary led to a very interesting discussion that really pushed people to think outside their comfort zones. Both in the context of a specific aspect of U.S. American culture and in expressed similarities between people who live so very differently than most U.S. Americans.

    There was also a side tangent discussion that sprung up from someone claiming (with scripture to back it up) that pride is a sin. Several people agreed and we managed to (thus far) maintain a civil discussion about people who are non-theists feeling much the same, minus the language of sin. I made a well reasoned argument for completely rational reasons why pride and powerseeking can be very negative, whether the intention is positive or even if the intention is necessitated by the need to remove a dangerous leadership.

    Depending on how well civility can be maintained, my instructor is considering opening a discussion question about religious versus secular motivations for social behaviors generally attributed to theistic origins…

    As a general rule, I am very enthusiastic about making observations that are outside the mainstream of the discussion boards and sometimes directly challenging the comments of my classmates – very politely (you have no idea how difficult it is not to use “fuck” or “asshat” sometimes) and with all due respect befitting the context. This includes making observations about what others might think about something, sometimes observations I don’t even agree with myself.

    And as my language and culture class moves forward, I will be provided many opportunities to do that same there.

    Have a mentioned yet, how much I love these fucking classes?

    But not the algebra…The algebra is hateful and vile.

  39. #39 Lou FCD
    January 24, 2010

    DuWayne: Wait ’til you hit the calculus.

  40. #40 Stephanie Z
    January 24, 2010

    Aw, come on, guys. The maths are cute and fuzzy. Well, cute anyway.

  41. #41 Greg Laden
    January 24, 2010

    What about fuzzy logic and set theory? Very important to me as an archaeologist.

  42. #42 Stephanie Z
    January 24, 2010

    Of course, Greg, but you don’t hit that in algebra and calculus. I am glad someone got the joke, though.

  43. #43 Stephanie Z
    January 24, 2010

    I am getting really damn sick of you telling me what my intentions are.

    And beyond “so you can say I said what you read,” where have I done that? And what am I supposed to ask you? Telling you you’re wrong says nothing about why you prefer to be wrong. For all I know, you’re simply intellectually lazy and/or hate to recognize that you’ve made a mistake. Those are the most common reasons people don’t bother to get things right.

    I am glad my ideas about the word are generally solid enough for you to inform me of their quality, I could not figure that kind of thing out on my own.

    I didn’t ask you for a critique of my personality.

    Critiquing your ideas is very specifically not critiquing your personality. If I were critiquing your personality, there would be no doubt that it’s what I was doing.

    And fuck your little “you don’t have the power to agree with me” game.

    You try having a bunch of people pile on you (too many to really respond to in any meaningful way), and then have post after post come up about it, and then have something like this posted and see comments that characterize your opinion as hysterical and sexist. Try that after having gotten massive amounts of shit every time you have tried to say something about sexism on JREF.

    What makes you think I haven’t been piled on for being feminist? What makes you think I haven’t been piled on for not being the right brand of feminist? What makes you think I haven’t been characterized as hysterical and sexist? What makes you such a snowflake that that kind of behavior is about being mean to you personally instead of something every woman who doesn’t hide the fact that she’s a woman deals with?

    What the fuck else am I supposed to think?

    That the people you deal with are individuals? That a man who has spent over a day standing up for a group of women, and pointing out the sexism in attacking them for behavior that would be fine in a man, and treating you with more respect than you’ve lavished on the rest of the people in the comment threads combined, might, maybe have some other point in mind than taking a cheap shot at you. In other words, you’re supposed to think at all.

    Some of the commenters seem to think that it was intended that way as well. Just read them. I am not alone in feeling like this was a jab at me or people who agree with me.

    I don’t see anyone suggesting this was aimed at you. I see comments ridiculing other behaviors in the argument, but that’s aimed at behaviors. If you identify with the behaviors, I can see why you’d take it personally, but you do have to make that step on your own. It’s neither explicit nor implicit in the comments.

  44. #44 Irene
    January 24, 2010

    Of course, let us not foreget that a parody of sexy is potentially sexy.

  45. #45 Stephanie Z
    January 24, 2010

    Let us also not forget that sexuality is so varied, both within and between people, that anything is potentially sexy. To keep the discussion within the realm of SF and fantasy cons, I submit as evidence: furries.

  46. #46 Lou FCD
    January 24, 2010

    eh, maths are a tool. Biology is sexy. Biology needs maths. Maths are just sexy-by-proxy.

  47. #47 Lou FCD
    January 24, 2010

    It occurs to me that not one single person has blasted Sam for putting his own sexeh out there.

    I wonder why that is???

  48. #48 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 24, 2010

    The other thread was funnier, although Communication Is My Field is doing a nice job here, too.

  49. #49 Stephanie Z
    January 24, 2010

    Soooo glad you’re getting your jollies, CPP. It’s good to know that anytime I’m talking about feminism and treating women as the people they are instead of representative of someone else’s idea, I’m doing it for the amusement of some random guy on the internet.

  50. #50 Irene
    January 24, 2010

    To put a finer point on it, this blog thread has the CPPd00d seal of approval.

    Continue ladies.

  51. #51 DuWayne
    January 24, 2010

    Thankfully, Lou, it is unlikely I will get into calculus at all. The problem is that that is not as intimidating. Geometry is a cakewalk for me, given years in construction, a little calc too – the problem is that the math I will eventually use, is fucking algebra.

    It certainly is not fuzzy Stephanie, it is spiky, sometimes round and on occasion it just never fucking ends…

    And back when I smoked a lot of cannabis, ALL my logic felt rather fuzzy…

    Let us also not forget that sexuality is so varied, both within and between people, that anything is potentially sexy.

    And let us not forget that sexuality is so varied that sometimes sexy and sexuality in fact, transcend sexuality and typical sexual responses. More importantly, as long as it doesn’t exploit/harm people (including the instigator) it is also healthy.

    More importantly, sexuality is often empowering. Not empowering to a group, except occasionally when it empowers a specific shared sexual culture – it is often empowering to the individual. And sometimes that empowerment is exceedingly important to a person, fuck whatever anyone else might think about it…

  52. #52 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 24, 2010

    I am not “some random guy on the Internet”. I am the great Count Douchebaggio of Douchebaggylvania!

  53. #53 Stephanie Z
    January 24, 2010

    What, you think there’s a difference?

  54. #54 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 24, 2010

    Of course there is! Count Douchebaggio is SPESHUL!

  55. #55 ERV
    January 24, 2010

    Oh my god.

    Ive been so caught up having fun with the XMRV–>CFS fiasco, I havent posted pictures of my bewbs for MONTHS! No WONDER all the CFSers think Im a guy!

    AHHHHHHH!!!

    *turns on webcam and changes into bikini*

  56. #56 Bill James
    January 24, 2010
    Greg, your obsessing.

    This sentence no verb.

    Greg, you’re obsessing.

    K?

  57. #57 IanW
    January 25, 2010

    Greg -

    I think you have some serious denialism going on if you have, on the one hand, no problem reading racism into the Avatar movie, but on the other hand seem completely surprised by other people reading something other than what you would sanction into a photograph of two women pretending to lick a fluffy toy beaver….

  58. #58 Greg Laden
    January 25, 2010

    IanW, I loved that movie, Avatar, and I criticized the reading of racism into it. Plus I saw some racism in it. And, I suggested that some of the possible racism was actually possibly anti-racism. There is nothing simple about what I sais about Avatar. If all subsequent thoughts of mine require reconciliation with my comments about that move, then I really can’t have any more thoughts. Fortunately, I understand that the world does not work that way!

    Avatar is an interesting case for discussion but not a great example of a racist movie.

    Your claim about me being in denial is itself denial. It may be YOU, sir who is in denial! Denial of the fact that the world is complex. A parody of sex is sexy (see third parenthetical remark in my post). A critique of sexiness is therefore always a critique of a parody of sexuality. Therefore, a parody of sexuality can never really be a critique of a critique of sexuality, and is therefore always a parody of ITSELF.

    OK, that is all the sophistry I’ll be engaging in on this thread. Thank you very much.

  59. #59 Karen Burke
    January 25, 2010

    This thread needs more bacon.

  60. #60 DuWayne
    January 25, 2010

    Mmmmm…Bacon!!!

  61. #61 Dacks
    January 26, 2010

    Somewhat off topic: I used to visit the forum for the Skeptics Guide to the Universe pretty regularly, but got turned off after a while by the non-stop sexy banter between men and women on the forum. Seemed like a dating chat room for skeptics.

    It gets old sometimes, all the irony.

  62. #62 Brian
    February 3, 2010

    This thread no bacon.

  63. #63 Brian X
    February 6, 2010

    I have nothing to add except “Laci Green”. And possibly Kelly O’Connor/Kasey Grant, if she ever decides to take some time out from her porn career to do more stuff like she did with the Rational Response Squad.