Archive for the ‘Women’s rights’ Category

Republican Party Platform Prepares to Back Akin

August 21, 2012

At the same time as Representative Todd Akin (Republican-Missouri) said this

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

-The Republican National Party prepares to reaffirm a platform which includes amending the constitution to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest. From CNN, draft language for the platform:

“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

The good news? Conservatives finally see a good side to the 14th Amendment.


Atheism Plus Social Activism

August 19, 2012

Atheism Plus logo suggestions by Jadehawk

First, if you haven’t read Jen’s call to action, go read it and the follow up. I have to say: this is the movement I thought I had joined.

My reason for becoming an atheist- the reason I started losing my faith and questioning religion- was because of biblical passages that were anti women, anti homosexual, pro slavery and pro disproportionate response. Yes, I am an atheist because I don’t believe in god, but that is just the definition. I didn’t question the existence of god first. I questioned the morality of god:

I asked how could God kill children with bears just because they called someone baldy? Couldn’t the prophet have used a beneficial miracle or just good works to show that other things are more important than outward appearances? How could it be deemed appropriate by an omnibenevolent and omniscient being to create homosexuals and then declare homosexuality to deserve death by stoning? If it was a sin, why would God make some people have the urge and others without? And how could two adults being in love ever be a sinful thing?

I asked how God could make women the property of their fathers, to be bought for marriage. How could God decide that war and slavery was correct and that virgin women captured in battle were prizes for warriors? I asked how God could flood the whole world and kill everybody for being sinful when he made them to be sinful in the first place.

And the sick thing was, I wasn’t asking “how crazy is this god?” I was asking “how sinful am I that I can’t even begin to understand God’s Perfect Morality?” I was questioning God’s morality to understand it: and thought that it was evidence of my sinful state that I failed to understand.

But it wasn’t understandable as morality because it wasn’t morality. Even when I realized that, I didn’t stop believing in God. At first I simply decided that the bible didn’t properly record His morality. It took me a long time of exploration and questioning before I finally rejected the god hypothesis. But it was the immorality of the Christian Bible that started me questioning.

And it is my humanism that makes me blog as an atheist. My atheism itself might be just a conclusion about rejecting a premise because of insufficient evidence, but pointing out that lack of evidence is a means to an end: that of freeing minds from the shackles of religion, and undoing the social harms done in its name.

If you think that humans deserve equal rights, that women and men are equal, if you think that death sentences by stoning or otherwise deliberately carried out slowly are barbaric, and that love between consenting adults is something to be celebrated rather than to be opposed, if you think that distinctions in pigmentation are trivial and the social differences that result are profoundly terrible and that slavery and rape can never be justified, then you should oppose religion. But you shouldn’t stop at religion.

These wrongs exist outside of religion as well: religion is merely a transmission device that causes the ideas within to be more resistant to change. But we need to oppose misogyny and racism, homophobia  ableism and xenophobia wherever they may be. And while we are at it, we should fight the undervaluing of labor and the overvaluing of capital. Opposing these things helps everybody, whether you are privileged or oppressed on any particular question doesn’t change that: as a white person, it is in my interest to oppose racism just as it is in the interest of a straight person to oppose homophobia.

This especially goes for the situation of social movements focused on achieving progress in one facet of human rights: ignoring the other facets doesn’t work. You can’t claim to be working for human rights, and then say “Yes, but not for those people.” Just as the gay rights movement had to reform to include lesbians, the atheist community has to embrace women, the LGBTIQ community, people of color and has to embrace their issues as well. This should be a natural fit – as I pointed out, those issues are our issues – but I know we are going to have to work to make up for those activists who only care if an issue effects white straight males.

“Real” Women, “Real” Men: Real B.S.

August 1, 2012

Emily reblogged “real women” on her tumblr, here are some bits:

Real women do not have curves.   Real women do not look like just one thing.

Real women have curves, and not.   They are tall, and not.  They are brown-skinned, and olive-skinned, and not.  They have small breasts, and big ones, and no breasts whatsoever…

Real women are fat.  And thin.  And both, and neither, and otherwise.  Doesn’t make them any less real.

There is a phrase I wish I could engrave upon the hearts of every single person, everywhere in the world, and it is this sentence which comes from the genius lips of the grand and eloquent Mr. Glenn Marla:

There is no wrong way to have a body.

-and following is a reposter-

I am glad this showed up on my dash today, because of reasons.

I went to the grocery store today, and as I was standing in line, I happened to glance at the magazines there and found Doctor Oz (among others) telling me that the weight I carry in my hips is ugly, unhealthy, and wrong.

There is a double bind related to fitness and women:

Fat in excess of a cultural norm is considered “ugly, unhealthy and wrong.” Muscle in excess of the cultural norm and less fat is considered unfeminine.

Of course, the ideals regarding “real” men are also unhealthy, placing value on muscles so exaggerated as to be impractical. But at least the force is in one direction, and doesn’t require that men walk a tight rope of cultural expectations where they are shunned or insulted for falling on one side or the other.

If a man is overweight or undermuscled, he will take flack for being a “fatty” or “wimp.” But if a man is of extraordinary fitness, he won’t be derided as  not masculine enough, which would be the equivalent to what women go through in the cultural policing of their femininity.

In order for people to be free to be individuals, we need to cut loose of gendered expectations. Some women have strong upper bodies. Some men have great pride in their legs.

There is no wrong way to have a body.

It gets better: and it makes me love our species.

July 11, 2012

I am inspired by our species: by our progress in humanism, by our art, by our moments of bright shining passion: by our love for each other as human, as equals rather than idealizations or icons.

I love when attitudes change towards greater love and equality. Even though it frustrates me that progress is so slow, I love that people are advocating for gay marriage in greater numbers than ever.

I love seeing people fight for their rights, and I love seeing allies fight for the rights of others… and I love that they are doing it sometimes for their loved ones, and sometimes out of a deep and unequivocal realization that treating people as people is something demanded by our very humanity.

And I love when people bravely declare who they are, and the reactions they get include love and respect. I love that safe spaces are being made in communities which previously weren’t safe, and I love that the safe spaces that exist are getting bigger and more inclusive.

I love that when we talk about gender, race, sexuality, disability, wealth and other places where inequalities arise in our societies, more and more people are examining their privilege and are starting to Get It.

And I love being able to say: I am a part of this, however small. We may be a bunch of tragically fragile hairless apes, but we have brains, we have compassion, we have righteous indignation and we have persistence by the ton. We will make our societies more just, more equal and more caring.

Because we are just too damn stubborn not to.

Links from Addicted to Pez. (Emily’s Tumblr)

Patriotism vs. Nationalism

July 2, 2012

With an eye on the 4th of July, I feel I should honor the revolutionary spirit which created the United States and which drives us to create a more perfect union.

The revolution was not merely a trade of one authority for another, but rather a hostile response to the very concept of an absolute authority.

We did not trade one king for another: we said “Good riddance” to monarchy and created a system of checks and balances which was meant to ensure that no unopposable authority would arise.

We did not trade one state religion for another: we said good riddance to religious authorities having direct governmental power.

If we were Tories, we would not have done these things. We would have questioned the patriotism of those who did, and we would have trumpeted our own patriotism while clinging to the status quo.

But I say that despite becoming rebels, the founders were truer patriots. They strove to do what was best for their country. They tried to appeal to their Parliament and reform before they came to the conclusion that the best thing for their land and people was to become a new nation.

And so, I argue against nationalism which says that our country is perfect as it is. It is a mask which pretends patriotism and tries to reap the benefits of such a reputation. But patriotism is hard: it requires hard work and sacrifice.
It is not replaced by the smug complaisancy of nationalism.

We must keep our eyes open and unclouded. We must see the defects in our system and correct them. We must defeat the control of our country by an oligarchy of corporations and the rich, and we must rid our system of its inequalities. We must commit to the education of our citizenry, for without an educated citizenry our democracy is flawed at its core.

We must do this in order to have government of the People, by the People, for the People. We must do this to make a more perfect union.

Who needs feminism?

June 30, 2012

Okay, I don’t have a tumblr, but I wanted to answer this question:

I need feminism, because the popular conception of gender as a binary means that people are seen as “less than” if they are an emotionally developed person. Either less masculine, if he is capable of crying, or less feminine, if she is capable of asserting herself.

I need feminism, because some of the work that I see as being of the greatest value is usually valued less by society because it is seen as “woman’s work.”

I need feminism, because I want women to be just as safe as I am when they are (for example) alone, at night, being a pedestrian, or trying to relax.

I need feminism, because we are never going to have sensible policy making if we insist on pretending that women and men are so profoundly different that they might as well come from different planets.

Groups with national influence

June 28, 2012








One of these organizations has too much influence and in a state platform says this:

“Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

The other has too little influence, and one of their values statements is this:

“We hold that all human beings are entitled to freedom from others’ religious ideologies in living their lives, engaging with service providers, and interacting with government.”

Is it too easy to guess which is which?

Found both stories through Friendly Atheist.

(Another) Ugly side of men’s abdication of responsibility

June 27, 2012

Amanda wrote a post over at Friendly Atheist, talking about the harm done by religious concepts of modesty encouraging hatred and fear of women’s bodies. I suggest everybody who considers the harm done by religion or gender inequality to be worth opposing go over and read her post. I think she does a wonderful job of bringing home how something simple like standards of dress can be used to demand conformity and submission to ideas with which the individual would never agree if they were given an honest choice.

I would just like to add that there is something fundamentally warped about any system where all of the power is given to one group and all of the responsibility to another. In religious concepts of sexuality, women are innately enticing and seductive and they are given the responsibility to avoid giving out irresistible siren calls.

Men are given no responsibility, but all of the power to act on their desires- with other men as the only potential threat to acting out those desires. They are assumed to have no restraint in the face of women’s magical seductive abilities. That is a  hell of a rigged system against women, and anybody who disagrees should first check their privilege.

In reality, both men and women manage to be enticing and seductive at times, (news flash) and other times they are just perceived that way without having done anything to encourage it. If a person feels sexual attraction, that does not mean they somehow lose all responsibility for their actions. And people manage to be attracted to other people when they are wearing sackcloth and ashes (there’s probably a website for that) so you can’t sensibly blame a neckline or a hem line for a human’s lack of control.


June 27, 2012

As a continuation of Michigan’s long hard road toward giving the male members of their legislature a proper sex education, I refer you to:

I feel sorry for their wives.

Found through Political Irony.

Quiet rooms and Romney

June 26, 2012

I have written a few things here about inequality-social and economic- and between my thinking about that and this article, Mitt Romney and the Quiet Room, I’ve just had it brought home to me why I am so very opposed to Mitt Romney taking the helm of this country.

It is because he doesn’t talk about inequality. He talks about jobs, but not about  how low wages are. He talks about immigration only in the context of xenophobia and “border security,” not about people coming great distances to build a better life. He talks about women’s issues only to the extent of saying that his wife tells him that economic issues are what matter to women.

It is as though not only are matters of inequality not important to him, he doesn’t even conceive how they could be important, since they don’t affect rich white straight men with power.

Article found through Political Irony.