What I’m Reading Lately Online.

I was going to put these links at the end of various full posts, but I didn’t want them to get lost, so here they are in a semi-organized lump. Here’s what I’m reading lately from the netosphere that I think you might like too:

* Remember that Modesty Survey I’ve talked about a few times here? It was a nasty bit of Christianism wherein men were invited to rate and discuss various outfits (like “tank tops” or “long skirts”) as modest or immodest. What it really showed is that some men really will find absolutely anything immodest–even what sounds more like a burkha than a real burkha would be!–and that there’s no real consensus about what is or isn’t “modest.” The comments from men who participated were also, to say the least, sickening and degrading to both men and women. Well, the reason I’m not linking to the survey itself right now is that has been taken down. (Hooray!) Here is an interesting post-mortem of it written by one of its original moderators (with some comments that are written by one of the men who coded it, too), who now realizes that the survey was a horrible awful no-good very bad idea–and she’s figured out why, which is nice, since I could see the problem with it the moment I first saw it and could have told her. It is a terrible idea to value women based upon their clothing, and to imply that men can feel free to devalue women based upon their clothing. When you put “modest dress” on a pedestal, you are inevitably going to devalue women who don’t conform to those arbitrary, ever-shifting standards. And inevitably there’s going to be escalation as Christians try to out-do each other in how hardcore and “modest” they are, which is why fundie churches often look like Victorian-era Amish conventions. Worst of all, “modesty” basically puts responsibility for how male Christians abuse women on, well, the women rather than on the male Christians doing the abuse, and demands that women change all kinds of things about themselves to protect themselves from abuse–which doesn’t work, because “modesty” isn’t actually what prevents men from abusing women. I hope more Christians figure this out, but it seems unlikely–controlling women is a huge part of what modern fundagelical culture is all about, after all. But at least some Christians are figuring it out. (Note to “modesty” adherents: wear whatever you want to wear, and let other adults wear whatever they want to wear, and stop worrying about forcing people to do stuff.)

STWTS
STWTS (Photo credit: kozemchuk)

* Stop Telling Women to Smile. This Tumblr blog had me just in tears the other day. A talented artist is making posters of women to raise awareness of street harassment, and she is putting these posters in places where men are likely to see them. The posters say things like “Stop Telling Women to Smile.” And “I’m Not Here For Your Entertainment” and “I Am Not Your Exotic Thing.” She features women of color, LGBTQ women, and others in these posters, and all of them are looking straight out at the public as they “speak.” Look, street harassment isn’t fun for women. Getting told to “smile” is not actually something I think most women interpret as friendly or pleasant. It’s scary to get hit on by a guy who thinks he is entitled to your time and attention, and by men who think that just because they’ve formed an opinion about your body that they are now legally and morally obligated to share that opinion with you. Hitting on women who don’t want to be hit on is not about “making friends” or “being nice” or “just talking with you, you snooty stuck-up (insert slur here).” It’s almost always about a man who needs to express his dominance or even frighten women to feel more manly, and no woman feels safe when it’s being done to her–which is why I think most men do it. I’m glad to see this campaign doing so well. For extra awful, though, the blog includes some of the helpful vandalism that misogynists have added to the posters, like writing “(slur)” or “liar” above some of the captions; it’s just so horrifying to me that anybody would be like that in 2014, and every one of these acts of vandalism illustrates and demonstrates perfectly why this campaign is so necessary.

* Why Guys Really Hate Being Called Creepy. Old one but good one, and I think necessary considering the previous link and recent info about one of the latest spree shooters having been quite, quite creepy before he decided to go assault the women he viewed as having rejected his “perfect gentleman” self. Men, even ones that try to come off as “socially awkward,” are perfectly aware of what the cues are that women give off and they are perfectly aware of what they mean–some of them just don’t like what they’re hearing and will push past women’s more subtle refusals because they know that women are often super-uncomfortable with being direct–and for good reason, I might add. Being direct often gets us abused or even hurt, because there is absolutely no way to tell when a harasser will happily accept a direct refusal or get infuriated and abuse us for it. Pushing a woman’s boundaries like that and making her feel unsafe and uncomfortable is not okay for any reason–or ya know, doing that to anybody of any gender. On the mega plus side, I had a nice comment-chat with a former Nice Guy not long ago who had figured his butt out; that third link I gave was one of his major awakening-moments, making him realize that what he thought he was communicating, which was supposed to be friendliness, respect, and a dogged determination to “win” the unfortunate young women he’d targeted, was actually a boundary-destroying campaign that was totally creeping women out and making them feel genuinely unsafe around him. I can absolutely tell you that he had gotten completely over that awful mindset. So clearly we’re making some progress. It’s slow, but it’s happening.

One in a series of posters attacking Radical R...
One in a series of posters attacking Radical Republicans on the issue of black suffrage, issued during the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election of 1866. (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Not shown: A whole lot of change.

* Racism and President Obama. Interesting–talks about how both the left and right are processing racism with regard to the presidency. It’s taught me to be careful about assigning racism to everything the right wing does, but it’s also taught me that the right wing is more fueled by racism than I’d ever thought possible. If you needed more reasons to despise Republicans, here’s your link. It talks about dog-whistle coded language too, which is going to be useful for outsiders.

* Speaking of racism, that racist KKK dipshit who recently gunned down three people in the mistaken belief that they were Jewish was apparently once caught “in a compromising position” in the back seat of a car with a black male prostitute “masquerading as a woman.” Of course he was. I don’t know why anybody is surprised here. I don’t know if the prostitute was a transgender woman or what, but the dipshit in question certainly thought it was a man because he revealed to the Southern Poverty Law Center (seriously, what is it with these assholes who think they’re doing their cause some good by trying to spin-doctor their bad deeds?) that he’d lured the prostitute to him “with the intention of beating him.” (Emphasis was mine.) Then, as so often happens with racist homophobic dickholes, he fell down on the prostitute’s penis or something. Happens all the time. I fell on two penises just today. Nothing new to see here; move along. Watch out for the penises.

* A Quiverfull refugee has teamed up with Cracked.com to write 5 Insane Lessons From My Christian Fundamentalist Childhood, which I encourage you to look at if you’ve never really tangled with what the far-extreme right wing is doing lately. I left fundamentalism long before this bullshit became fashionable, but even then I can see, looking back, that its threads of paternalism, dominionism, patriarchy, and misogyny were already starting to weave into that obscene tapestry that is the modern Quiverfull movement. There are links in and after the article too for more reading if you want to learn more. Libby Anne, who writes over at Love, Joy, Feminism has talked about that movement quite a bit as well and it’s a great blog so if you’re curious, check it out.

* If you’re wondering how a person breaks free of that kind of religious stranglehold, A Preacherman’s Secrets promises to be fascinating; it seems like the blogger intends to take you on a long journey from deconversion to disentanglement.

* The Manifesto of the Lasting Supper. I just really liked this statement. The group itself, the Lasting Supper, seems nice; I don’t know much about it because it costs money to join, seems like. But if you’re wanting to hang out with some nice folks who don’t seem like they’re toxic in any way and not specifically any religion in particular, this might be worth a look. If you’ve tried it, feel free to comment to let us know more about it.

Science Shtuffs, because all work and no play makes Cas a dull girl:

* I know I’ve probably plugged Stuff I Won’t Work With before, but seriously, if you are even a smidgen interested in science or chemistry, this chemist’s blog is one of the funniest reads on the internet. I wish he’d add more stuff to it, but even as it is, this is one of the things I’ve been re-reading of late.

* Ask a Scientist, where (mostly) kids ask (mostly) super-high-end real scientists and professors all kinds of questions. Bonus: some of the questions are clearly coming from kids with nutball parents. I landed there because I wondered why some mammals are born with their eyes closed and some are born with their eyes opened. (Context is for cowards: I don’t remember why I wondered that. But I never did find out what the mechanism is for the eyes to open and exactly how it happens, so if any total uber-geeks reading this know where I can find some nitty-gritty on the subject, link your Captain up?)

(Edit: Fixed a link reference problem.)

The giant white cat is pretty sure it’s dinner time so that’s it for now. His latest stunt is rubbing his fangs across my bare ankles just to make sure I’m getting the idea. <3 you all, and see you soon; we’ll be talking about the Unequally Yoked Club I was in while married to a Christian. I hope to see you there!

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