Off-Topic Day: Charlottesville

Okay, so I already have a religious/secular blog called Kemetic vs. Atheist, and I have this one about feminism. What do I do when I have something to talk about that fits neither of those categories? Off-Topic Day (instead of creating a third, fourth, etc. blog).

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Heather D. Heyer was killed on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., after a car crashed into demonstrators protesting a white supremacy rally. Credit Facebook, via Reuters. Image downloaded from CNN.

Wow, the world just went crazy, didn’t it? Oh no, that’s right, it wasn’t the whole world, just the American part of it. So let me say to the rest of the world, if you’re struggling to understand how this could happen in 2017 America, so are we.

This beautiful young woman was killed when a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a “Unite the Right” rally. The white supremacists were there to protest the taking down of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, the commander of the losing side of our Civil War, a statue that never should have been erected. Things got violent, and Heather Heyer was killed and 19 others injured.

And when I say “white supremacists,” I mean the KKK and the Nazis. Yes, actual, swastika-flying Nazis were there.

Before I go any further, if you haven’t already read this wonderful piece of journalism by The Guardian, please go do that. I’ll be here when you’re done.

And so what I’m seeing now on my Facebook feed are a lot of people saying “silence equals consent” or “silence equals complicity,” and while my first impulse is to resist those who would put words in my mouth (or the nonverbal equivalent), I am here to say  I give. Racism, bigotry, and all forms of oppression are wrong. They are wrong. I stand for tolerance of differing views, for acceptance of diverse people, but not racists. There’s an old Peanuts cartoon (I looked for it online and couldn’t find it) that shows Sally (I think) saying she was not prejudiced, except for bigots; she couldn’t stand bigots. Anyway, that’s me. It always has been.

If you have any comments, please click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. (Please keep it civil. Thanks.)

Sexism and anti-science in the red depths of North Florida

I got a new t-shirt in the mail the other day. I had bought one with the 500 Women Scientists logo so I could support their work. And the first chance I had to wear it was two days ago, so on it went.

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Me with my new “500 Women Scientists” shirt. The rest of the image is a flower (you can just see the tops of the purple petals), complete with green stem.

And then I had to go to Walmart. For those of you without a Walmart in your neighborhood, let me say that you are probably better off for that. Here in my tiny town of Crawfordville, Walmart is sometimes the only game in town (say, if you need a new water heater at 2 a.m. — which has literally happened to us). Or, in my case, they were the only pharmacy in town that hadn’t yet pissed me off because I hadn’t taken my business there yet, so I switched my business to theirs a couple of years ago. And sometimes it just saves you a 30-minute drive into the local mini-metropolis of Tallahassee, Florida, where there are more options.

The above paragraph explains why I go to Walmart twenty years after my husband and I denounced the company as The Evil Empire, and just a few years after my husband stopped calling it “Hellmart.” I find that as I get older, the world appears less in black and white, and more in multiple shades of gray.

But in general, Walmart does not attract the most open-minded clientele (is this a stereotype? Perhaps), so I really should not have been surprised at the reaction my new shirt engendered in one particular gentleman.

I was coming into the store as he was walking out with his family/party, and our eyes locked somehow. You know that old expression (I assume it’s not just American) about someone having daggers coming out of their eyes? Well, forget that — this guy had bullets coming out of his, if not grenades. Holy cats! In my head, I was like, “Dude! What’s your problem?” Then I remembered what I was wearing.

Did my “500 Women Scientists” shirt threaten his virility in some fashion? Did he think I was going to launch into a discussion of climate change (which some people now deem to be a “political” subject)? I doubt he saw the button on my shirt (in case 500 Women Scientists was not enough liberal protest, I was also wearing a button that says “I Voted for Hillary”), which I imagine was small enough and far enough away from him that he couldn’t have seen it. Or maybe, just maybe, he was angry before he saw my shirt and was just having a bad day. But that doesn’t seem likely.

I’ve decided it’s not enough for me to just write a blog. I have been sitting on that “I Voted for Hillary” button (along with a few similar buttons) for several months without having the courage to wear it until just recently, which is to say, right after I started this blog. I need to have the courage of my convictions, which I haven’t always done in my 50 years on this planet, but I’m trying to get better at it. I mean, it’s not like I will be shot for my beliefs (more than likely). You never know, in this day and age in America, when someone can go into a church — a place of worship, mind you — and shoot and kill nine people. (“But don’t you dare make a move on my guns!” Sorry, that’s another rant for another blog.)

Anyway, speaking of ranting, I guess I’m done for now. If you want to leave a comment, please do so below.

“Mankind” vs. “humanity”

And now for a short post on semantics, or, “words do matter.”

Just yesterday, we all celebrated the 48th anniversary of men first landing on the moon (that’s a true statement since so far, unfortunately, they have all been men). My husband is a space freak, and some of that has rubbed off on me, only I concentrate somewhat on the female side of it, reading books like “The Mercury 13” and such.

Which is not to say that I am not full of admiration for the men that did it. I enjoy seeing this clip as much as anyone. But does anyone else get that twinge in your head when Armstrong says “mankind”? (That little inward feeling that says you weren’t included; the prototype for the human race was male.) (and if your response was “But woman was created from Adam’s rib” then you really are reading the wrong blog, and get out)

But it was 1969. It was a different world. Maybe they just weren’t as conscious of those things back then.

Flash forward to 1996.

Independence Day? Really? (And once again, I am a HUGE FAN of this speech; it’s an example of the St. Crispin’s Day speech in Henry V. More than one movie features a variant of this speech.) We should have known better in 1996 — or at least most of us should have; the writers of the movie clearly did not. (Devlin and Emmerich, responsible for Stargate, another of my favorite movies! Here I am denouncing my favorites all in the same post!)

Can we all agree, in 2017, to call the race “humanity” or “humankind”, instead of the exclusionary “mankind”? Would it kill us to do this? Because the human race isn’t composed of just men.

Thank you.

The rush to post naked Jodie Whittaker photos, or why we as a race really haven’t grown up yet

I doubt I can tackle this better than Jezebel did, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents.

So now that we have a female Doctor Who, apparently some media outlets think we all just can’t wait to see her naked. Oh wait, she’s flashed her boobs and stuff already! Well, gosh! Where can I gawk?!

Jezebel named The Sun, the Mail Online, The Daily Mirror, Daily Express, and Daily Star as the guilty parties, and I have no reason to distrust their research on this matter. So let me just address them directly here: Did you do this when Peter Capaldi was cast? Would you have done it if Capaldi had been replaced by a man? Is that a “no” I hear you all saying? Then shame on all of you, with your double standard. There is no reason to treat Ms. Whittaker any differently than any of her predecessors.

Now, do not understand that this is meant to cast any aspersion at all upon Ms. Whittaker’s career. She’s an adult, isn’t she? And most of us are too, right? (Well, maybe not so much in the case of the above media outlets.) I have porn in my house, okay? I make no bones about it. So when I say I’m not a prude, you can trust me on that. I honestly don’t care what she’s flashed in her previous jobs. That’s her business. But I’m afraid I have to call the rest of the human race “immature” until most of us feel the same way.

Why this site, and why today

Hello. If we haven’t met yet, nice to meet you. You may have seen me post on Kemetic vs. Atheist (a site which is not going anywhere, so if you were worried, please don’t). For a while now, I’ve been concerned with the idea that my only blog is about religion; there’s so much more to discuss in life, isn’t there? And with political events in the United States having taken the turn they did last year, I feel there is still a need for feminists to speak up about the way things are going, and the way we’d like to see things go. Some are throwing themselves into the political arena, getting active…this is what I’m doing. And I may get political too; we’ll see by the time I’m done.

(For the record, there are a couple of things that I will not be full throated about, but I thought “Almost But Not Quite Full Throated Feminism” just didn’t have the same ring to it.)

Why today? We received the wonderful news about the casting of the next Doctor Who as a woman, Jodie Whittaker. I’ve seen her in Broadchurch and she was great, so I look forward to seeing how she will handle, what? The most iconic TV role in Great Britain? Is that exaggerating it a bit? I don’t think so; I’ve seen the word “iconic” bandied about quite a bit today, so I’m going with “iconic” too. So if you’re reading this and you’re feeling peeved about Whittaker’s casting, I’m thinking this may not be the blog for you. Probably. Just a feeling.

Still here? Awesome! If you have any thoughts — about this blog, about topic suggestions for future posts, etc. — please feel free to leave them below.