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.