Category Archives: Opinions & Rants

Bikini or Burka: Pick One!

textI read Frank’s article, The Veil in the Western World, which he wrote in response to a Huffington Post piece by Jennifer Izaakson.

“The Veil Issue” is a quagmire of racial distrust, religious intolerance, perceived misogyny, and a clash of cultures.

Anyone concerned with women’s rights, the abuse of women under the guise of religious traditions, and the objectification/ownership of women, will see a woman wearing a veil as an affront. Well-meaning people are projecting their own indignation onto what they perceive to be male-dominated and dogma-fueled oppression. Others see the veil as a defiant refusal to assimilate into a new culture or a silent condemnation for the society that they should be embracing. Still others may feel that the veil will antagonize racists in the community and put the wearers’ safety at risk.

And to some extent, every one of those opinions is true, which unfortunately can turn an article of clothing into a flying banner of contention.

Personally, when I see women who cover their hair or shroud their entire bodies, I feel sorry for them. I see them as having embraced religious or cultural practices that, to my mind, diminish them, not only as women, but as human beings. Regardless of my own ideas of what constitutes appropriate public attire, the fact that a woman’s choice of dress, from a miniskirt to a burka, is seen as tacit complicity with a society that will label her a whore or victim is disturbing.

To my mind, if a person’s culture or religion does not cause physical or mental harm to themselves or others, they should be left alone. However, violence and cruelty under the guise of religious freedom or cultural tolerance should never be accepted by the rest of society.

So, unless you’re sitting next to Lady Gaga and she’s wearing a razor ribbon dress, don’t fret about what a woman’s wearing. Your time would be better spent considering the validity of your own prejudices.


Filed under Opinions & Rants, Women's Rights

Atheism+ and Misognyny

atheism plusI’ve been an atheist for quite a few years, but raising kids didn’t afford me the time or leave me with the energy to do anything but “be” an atheist. I knew there were others (besides Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov), but I assumed that other atheists were unobtrusively living their quiet, isolated lives, giving others the space to believe whatever nonsense was flapping inside their brain cavities. It wasn’t until quite recently that I learned, not only are there plenty of free-range atheists, they have been flocking together.

I try not compartmentalize myself or others, to distill anyone into an easily sorted whole, but as a society breaking off from a larger collective into smaller, more elite blocs seems to be an evolutionary necessity. Calling ourselves “The Blue Team” is too broad, we are naturally drawn apart into shades of blue. The atheist community is a rainbow of blue and I am, for my own education, attempting to differentiate the subtle variations. At the moment I’m learning about AtheismPlus.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far:

AtheismPlus is a very young movement that identifies itself as a “new wave of atheism” which aims to mollify the old atheism by focusing on social justice, specifically the “misogyny, racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, ableism and other such bigotry inside and outside of the atheist community.” The primary catalyst behind AtheismPlus seems to be a new wave of feminism, an ism that has been vilified, with varying degrees of severity, since women fought for the right to vote (or, as some would argue, the beginning of time).

Throughout history (I’m guessing, I’m not that old) a movement driven by the passion (or anger) and arrogance of youth is bound to be a teeny bit self-righteous. “We may have discovered the wheel all over again, but this wheel is better! Let us tell you why your wheel sucks…” For that reason alone I will not confront (at this time) the underlying message that all other atheists don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. Instead, let’s talk about misogyny, a word that is being overused to the point that it’s losing the full impact of it’s true meaning: a hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

Gender discrimination and the sexual objectification of women are social ills, not abject misogyny. For example, a man (Richard Dawkins) may be an insensitive, arrogant bastard who has no qualms about talking shit about a particular woman, and still not be a dyed-in-the-wool misogynist. A man (Richard Dawkins) may flippantly dismiss a young woman’s feelings of being treated as a possible sperm receptacle without believing that she somehow asked for the advance and deserves whatever happens. I know this from experience: as a young woman, at one time or a hundred you will be objectified. A socially retarded guy who hits on you isn’t necessarily a brute who can barely conceal his hatred of women. He’s just a socially retarded guy. Every human being can be a total asshole at one time or another. Most men don’t hate women, they simply weren’t taught how to be respectful of another person’s space or feelings. Don’t waste your time being pissed at the sexually frustrated, insensitive fuckwits who leave vicious comments on your blogs. If the goal of AtheismPlus is to counter true misogyny, make sure you’re fighting the real thing, otherwise you’re doing the entire atheist community a disservice.


Filed under Atheism, Opinions & Rants

Bill Donohue Is Annoying

My husband and I pay extra to not be assaulted by terrible shows, insulting commercials, and the hysterical drone of news programs. It’s extortion, but that’s the world we live in. So I watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (and a few others) via HuluPlus and I’m content. Being informed and entertained by people who have, more or less, the same world view as I do is comforting.

My recent plunge into the whirlwind of Twitter has been an interesting experience. Aside from picking up a bit of the vernacular (e.g. LULz) and experiencing the challenge of expressing coherent thoughts with 140 letters or less, it’s also a fascinating area in which to study human nature.

Not everything I’ve encountered on Twitter is surprising or interesting though. For example, I already knew that Fox News is appalling and I’m not shocked by the number of very irritating theists who argue their one point like a dog chasing its tail while incessantly barking. But now also I know that Bill Donohue exists and he’s appalling too.

I don’t like smug in any color or creed, but listening to Mr Bill only reaffirmed by choice of turning my back on religion.


Filed under Atheism, Opinions & Rants

The Truth About Pro-lifers


The hypocrisy of the Pro-Life movement is quite clear, yet its proponents are oblivious. With their willful ignorance and self-righteous prejudice, they are condemning thousands of women and children to lives of unnecessary poverty and suffering.

Saying that a person who is Pro-Choice is pro-abortion is intentionally disingenuous. Girls aren’t going around getting pregnant just so they can go to a local Planned Parenthood and have an abortion. No one thinks abortion is a good thing, but sometimes it’s the best choice.

I became pregnant when I was 26, but didn’t know until after my sort of boyfriend decided he wanted to break up. I was four months along before I even knew I was pregnant and I burst into tears when the doctor told me. I never thought about an abortion, not because of “moral” or religious reasons, but because I was able and willing to take on the responsibility of a child, husband or no. There were three people in my life at the time who felt that I should get an abortion: my boss, a friend who’d had several in her past, and the man I had been seeing. My boss tried to convince me that I was throwing my life away, which I found insulting. My friend thought I should “get it taken care of” without telling anyone. The “father” agreed with his dad and brother that “it was a catastrophe” and that I “should get an abortion tomorrow.”

This was in the early ’90s when single mothers were being vilified in the news and by Bush Senior. The ex would leave newspaper clippings on my doorstep that blamed single mothers for everything, from illiteracy, to poverty, to drug use. I resented the hell out of all of them.

I chose not to end my pregnancy and have been very grateful for the wonderful son I now have. I’m grateful that I’m not living with the pain and regret of having had an abortion or giving up my child for adoption, and I don’t see myself ever urging someone else to end a pregnancy. That being said, I believe it is obscenely misogynistic and cruel to take away a woman’s right to make that choice for herself. How could anyone tell a 17-year-old girl that she has no choice, whether or not she is ready – emotionally, mentally, or financially – to care for another human being for the next 18+ years? Add to that the condemnation that either decision will bring down on her. Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

To those self-righteous, good people who know what’s best for everyone: how dare you compel a woman to bring a child into this world and then turn your backs on them both. It is shameful and heartless.

I used this cartoon without permission, but I’ve asked Nick Anderson if I can have permission.

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Filed under Atheism, Opinions & Rants, Women's Rights