The Intersection of Boobies and Skepticism: or Why the Skepchicks rock


This post started it’s young life as a response to a post by Greg Laden. Actually, it was a response to a comment on that post wherein the commenter basically laid into the Skepchicks for sexualizing themselves to attract “horndog dudes” to boost their readership and of being “dishonest” for encouraging women to know they can be smart and sexy. I don’t want to paste the whole thing in here so go read the comment, then come back and read my response. Of course, I am an openly male man-type person complete with penis, so I probably don’t even have the cred to comment, but, whatever.

@skeptifem Teh skepchicks r hawt!!1! Oops, sorry, that was me being a horndog dude. Yup, I’m one of the penis-equipped heteronormative (sometimes) skepdudes who enjoy being part of the Skepchick community. In the same way you accuse the Skepchicks of conforming to some societal pressure to appear and act a certain way, you have neatly boxed me into your narrow definition of what the Skepchick male readership looks like. Allow me to inform you of my reasoning behind championing the Skepchick cause.
What I see are a group of rational-minded women who have embraced themselves, ALL of themselves, sex included, and are putting themselves out there for the purpose of promoting rational thought and skepticism. They cover a wide range of topics including debunking woo specifically targeted at women. They encourage readers to do research to find out about topics the reader might not have first-hand knowledge of and they provide resources for acquiring that knowledge. They frequently will admit that they are NOT experts on a subject and they never encourage intellectual snobbery. What they encourage is combating ignorance and an intolerance for willful ignorance. “Intelligence” is not what’s required for admittance, but rather a willingness to be educated.

And perhaps my definition of feminism isn’t correct, but to me it means being all of who you are, vagina and uterus included, and not mindlessly accepting some pre-packaged gender role. The women who write for Skepchick are genuinely themselves. If part of themselves is being sexy, or enjoying sex or taking pleasure in looking at naked bodies, then they shouldn’t have to hide that to please you and your pigeonholing of feminist activities. You ask “Who is casting a skeptical eye on contemporary female desirability?” and “…where are the skepchicks who could not possibly care less about being sexy for strangers?” The answer to those questions is the very group of amazing women that you’re denigrating. I may be wrong, but they seem to me to be women who believe that they don’t have to “be sexy” for anyone; that they “are” sexy and that part of that sex appeal is their skeptical and rational natures. And also that being sexy doesn’t disqualify them from embracing and celebrating their femaleness.

So, there you have it. All opinions expressed are my own and I make no official statement on behalf of anyone but me. This is my take on the Skepchicks. Who totally are hawt. And smart. And rational. And damned fine people.

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  1. #1 by Jason Thibeault on January 21, 2010 - 6:42 pm

    *slow clap*

    Bravo. Bra… vo.

  2. #3 by AngieAntiTheist on January 21, 2010 - 6:57 pm

    Ah, thank you! I got flak for doing the Think Atheist calendar (Feb 2010) and for my icon pics and my camera angle in my YT videos… I find I especially get shit from other women because I happen to fit the beauty standard so hated by women (yup, I'm proportional, thin & blond. Go ahead & hate me.) I spent most of my life having to hate my body & hide my sexuality because of religion. I'm done with that now & no one is gonna put a burqa or chastity belt on me or my tongue.

    • #4 by CyberLizard on January 21, 2010 - 7:56 pm

      "…no one is gonna put a burqa or chastity belt on me or my tongue." Fantastic! I love it. Good for you. It's important for people to take ownership of their sexuality and bodies, whether that means they choose to show them off or not.

  3. #5 by kelleyclark on January 21, 2010 - 7:03 pm

    Huzzah! I don't use my sexuality as a weapon, but it's there. I'm not going to hide it. Skepchicks shouldn't either.

  4. #6 by thesexyatheist on January 21, 2010 - 7:24 pm

    I'm sure the skepchicks do not control who goes to their site, or do they. I like them, I think that they are funny, girly and smart. If they are using sexuality to promote the cause, I'm not going to throw stones, and who cares anyway. Sex sells, they/we/us didn't create that, we just acknowledge, accept and use it. For example, go to my blog and see more pics of my six pack, but stay for the content. cool beans, yo.

    Kriss

  5. #7 by statzy555 on January 22, 2010 - 1:56 am

    Wonderful wonderful post.

  6. #8 by Jodi on January 22, 2010 - 2:01 am

    I missed all this today while I was getting myself tied up in wedding ribbon.
    Excellent post though!
    I'm glad you came back to your blog :)

  7. #9 by Mrs_Skwirl42 on January 22, 2010 - 9:47 pm

    Couldn't have said it better myself!

  8. #10 by vjack on January 23, 2010 - 3:18 pm

    I feel like I'm missing something. How exactly are they supposed to be using sexuality to promote anything? Maybe I haven't spent enough time on their site, but I just don't see this as being an issue on which they could be criticized. They write good, smart stuff. I don't see them even trying to use their sexuality to promote it.

    • #11 by Jason Thibeault on January 26, 2010 - 2:48 pm

      You're not missing anything. At all. I honestly feel like the argument was fabricated from whole cloth over a slightly misworded plea for funding (with the reminder that the Skepchicks' convention parties are fun and involve lots of free liquor as a carrot). This spun out into hatred for the very idea that their tagline says "skepticism never looked so good", and hatred over their Skepchick and Skepdude calendars, and hatred over the fact that most of these feminists are sex-positive (which certain groups of supposedly purist feminists apparently hate, because sex is totally about the guy, you see).

      It's all stupid. Plain stupid.

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