Are Bugs “Boy” Things and Dolls “Girl” Things?

This fall a little girl wrote to Abdo Publishing after becoming concerned that the book she was reading, “The Biggest Baddest Book of Bugs,” was part of a series titled “Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys.” “Some girls would like to be entomologists too.,” she explained. Abdo wrote back, thanking her concern and agreeing to change the series title to “Biggest, Baddest Books.” But there was something about the story that struck me. Read more

Whitesplaining Racial Disparities in STEM Fields

I’ve seen enough of this that appeals to “reason” or “rational thought” are starting to make me twitch. Too often this is code for “you’re wrong and your lived experience is irrelevant, let me tell you how it actually is.” I’m so over that. When a person has not even considered that systemic racism might constitute a “taking” or assumes that the real solution to failing schools is to give the students some “tough love,” you are neither well informed nor a critical thinker, and your sense of compassion is underdeveloped at best. Read more

Racism Is (Not) Dead

I got to the point over Thanksgiving break where I was so fed up with the responses I was hearing and reading that I threw up my hands and declared, “I give up on white people!” And I’m white. And obviously I don’t give up on white people. But following this conversation over the past few weeks has been both incredibly disheartening and extremely eye-opening. Racism is alive and well in this country. The words used may have changed, but the feelings haven’t. Read more

The Holiday Season

So we have arrived, once again, in Christmas Month. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant December. In all seriousness, I love Christmas, but honestly, our attempt to include Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as though that somehow makes the holiday season equal opportunity often feels rather hollow to me. Take a look around—Christmas reigns supreme. Christmas is a Christian holiday. It is often marketed as a secular holiday, but it can’t be entirely divorced from its longtime religious roots. Read more

In Which Sally Goes to School

As many of you know, Sally started kindergarten this fall. I’ve blogged before about my school phobia and some fears surrounding sending my daughter to public school after being homeschooled from kindergarten through high school myself, but most of those hangups dissipated before the time came for me to actually put her on the school bus and send her off to school. Mostly I was just excited for her—and boy was she excited herself! I watched her as she boarded the bus, turning back with excitement to smile and wave. Read more

Male Sexual Entitlement, Again

I have found most of the messages I received about gender and relationships during my conservative evangelical upbringing echoed in mainstream culture. This is likely because both evangelicalism and mainstream culture incorporate older patriarchal assumptions. Sometimes, though, it is extremely disheartening. I had thought that I was leaving these ideas behind for good when I left my evangelical upbringing, but I wasn’t. They’re out here in mainstream culture too. Read more

“He’ll never by the cow when he can get the milk for free”

And of course, there’s also the fact that marriage is no longer a purchase transaction. Marriage is not about a man purchasing a woman. It is about a couple choosing to be life partners. That’s a big difference. A life partnership is not built on the foundation of one person wanting sex and the other holding out until a marriage license is signed. Read more

Help Support the Coalition for Responsible Home Education

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is holding a fund drive for the month of December. I highly recommend making a donation, if you are able. All donations are tax deductible, and the organization is offering a variety of incentives. Read more

How Not to Teach Children Critical Thinking

It is one thing for a parent to say they are going to teach their children critical thinking and encouraging them to learn about a variety of different ideas, and another thing entirely for them to actually do that. When I hear atheist parents talk about teaching their children critical thinking, I worry that they may unintentionally repeat my parents’ problematic pattern. My parents, after all, talked a good deal about teaching their children to be critical thinkers—it’s just that they had only one possible end point in mind. I would urge other atheist parents not to repeat that mistake. Read more

I Will Not Apologize for Growing Up

This isn’t some sort of equal thing where we both messed up. My parents messed up. Full stop. And yes, I get that people do mess up, and there are a lot of things I’ve let go of as I’ve moved on. I’m not even usually angry with my parents anymore—though anger can be legitimate. I’ve reached a point where I’m mostly just sad. But this isn’t some sort of thing where we both need to admit our faults and forgive each other. I didn’t do anything wrong. I know that sometimes people claim that to get out of responsibility for their actions, but that’s not what I’m doing here. If I had fault here I would admit it, but I don’t. Read more

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