It’s just a joke!

Whenever I see the phrases “Get over it!”, “It’s just a joke!” or “You need a sense of humor.” All I really hear is “Shut up.”

By pretending that humor is an excuse for -isms and phobias is just living in denial.  When a lackluster comedian makes his living by reinforcing the idea that women are gold diggers who belong in the kitchen, he is not “just being funny” he is actively perpetuating a stereotype.  When comedians use race to crack jokes at the expense of others they are not being “edgy” they are being malicious and hurtful.

There is a line between joking and bullying.  Usually you can tell if the line is being crossed by 1: who is delivering the jokes and 2. whether they are bucking a stereotype or reinforcing it.

I know that most people do not stop to think about humor and simply laugh at it.  The same way most people will listen to music without understanding the lyrics or watch an action movie and not care about the plot.  I believe all three of these activities are LAZY and HARMFUL.

Lazy is paying $20 to buy a CD full of music that insults your sex, your race or your culture because it has a catchy beat.  Lazy is supporting a movie that insults your gender and your intellect.  And LAZY is an Oscar Award Winning actress giggling at a joke that dehumanizes her.

Harmful is telling the entertainment industry that it is okay to step on women and minorities.  Harmful is allowing yourself to be used to market products that degrade you.  Harmful is raising new generations of beings in a society that thinks this is okay.

It is not easy speaking up for what is right.  It is not fun being the “sourpuss” the “grump” the “whiner” and so many other terms lobbed at those of us who aspire to be better than cavemen.  But that doesn’t mean you should just give up.  If you are offended, speak up.  Don’t just smile nervously.  Glower, stare your verbal abuser in the eye and say “No sir, that wasn’t funny. THAT crossed the line.”

I am sick to death of being told that what I need to do is just “lighten up and learn to take a joke”.  No.  Most people who say this are in a position of privilege and have never been attacked for simply being who they are.  And when they are attacked, they react by calling us “haters” or “feminazi” or “prudes”.  Yes, I am a hater in that I hate what our society is. I hate that women, minorities and intellectuals are treated as subhuman.

But what I hate most is that the people who should be speaking out have been guilt-silenced and stomped down into submission.  So far down that they are laughing AT THEMSELVES.  So far gone that there are hordes of women, young and old, who honestly believe that a woman is just a man’s accessory.  That minority children have limited futures.  And that making money should be the ultimate goal in life.  Stop believing the lies they tell you about yourself.  Even if it comes wrapped in a joke and sealed with laughter, an insult is still an insult.

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Things We Need to Stop Saying

After reading this article and ignoring all the little flaws like 1. did this even happen as described and 2. God didn’t make anything, genetics did   I still find it unnerving that even in comments and social media replies, people are still blaming the victim.

I think it’s time we start cutting certain verbal habits from our daily dialogue.  Sexist cliches only serve to reinforce hostile environments for all females.

1. “Fathers lock up your daughters.”

This phrase is used as both positive reinforcement for boys (a man so attractive he can sleep with anyone he wants) and negative (uh oh, pervy Mr. Swanson is coming to town!).  In each case the assumption is that girls cannot help themselves and need to be “protected” from men and that men cannot help themselves so locking them up would just be a crime.

2. “Boys will be boys.”

Another Nature vs. Nurture argument that assumes genetic drive is 100% un-maintained by environment or social norms.  Also, false.  “Boys” assuming the already incorrect attitude that there are predefined binary genders, will not “be boys” unless they are raised to act that way.  In this cliche case: aggressive, overtly sexual and unfaithful.  Not only does it insult and question the worthiness of any male who does NOT wish to act this way, but it excuses bad behavior and choices.

3. “… for a girl”

This one is usually tacked on to the end of a genuine compliment.  Rather than accepting that a woman can be talented at something in an entire field, the speaker decides they should be ranked against ovary bearing competitors only.  Never mind that many female athletes, entertainers and scientists have surpassed their male counterparts throughout history, there is still this need by some to say “she could have done even better if she had a penis.”

4. “Look so pretty when you smile.” “Just smile.” “A smile is so much nicer.”

I understand that this is a genuine truth.  People ARE more attractive and inviting when they look happy.  The reason I include it is that I never once heard this phrase uttered to any of my three brothers.  Never once to my dad, my boyfriend or any male character in a show or film.  So why this silly stigma that women need to be giggly perky 24/7?  The perpetual cheerleader stereotype.  The waitress, stewardess, secretary etc.  Unless that is your NATURAL personality, having false delight forced on you is cumbersome and constantly frustrating.  I once had a manager tell me I should be “smiling more” while washing dirty trays.  Sure, if I want to look like a crazy person!

** I will add more as I come across them. **

So please, make a conscious effort to scrub these cliche ideas from your vocabulary.  Future generations would be thankful if they knew. 😉

Why “Pro- Life” really means “Anti Abortion”

I was going to avoid this topic as it’s very near and dear to me.  I am a woman and I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who is a Neonatal Nurse.

About 5 years ago I found myself pregnant and though it was unplanned, I was in a serious relationship and would have kept the child.  However, as I went back for my check up (it was too early to see an actual zygote and they could only tell from a urine and blood test) I was told that the egg was actually lodged in my Fallopian tube.  I had never heard of an ectopic pregnancy before then.  But as I told my mom over the phone she asked me what I would do.  I was terrified.  Though I was always pro choice, I hate hospitals and surgery scares me.  Thankfully, it was only about 4 weeks in and I was told I could do a simple medical abortion, no surgery needed.  In fact, I later found out this is what almost 90% of women who have abortions do because they come in early enough.  Basically you take two doses of high strength pills which force your period.  It’s what the morning after pill does.  You uterus expels the fertilized egg, you have bad cramps for a day or two and you move on with your life.

Sure I thought about all the what ifs, but I didn’t want to die.  You can’t carry a baby in your fallopian tubes.  So you can either risk surgery to replant the egg in your uterus, you can wait til the body aborts it naturally or you can die when the egg tries to grow and causes internal bleeding.  I chose the smart route, and took a couple pills instead.  And I will never ever feel guilty for making the choice.

So fast forward to today and all I hear about are how “baby killers” are “ruining the world” and have “no respect for life”.  I did not “kill” a baby.  I have great respect for human life.  Probably more so than more pro-lifers in that I know we only get ONE life on earth.  But these people don’t bother me nearly as much as people who call themselves Agnostic or Atheist and still hold onto pro-life ideas.

First off, you are not “pro life”.  Everyone who is breathing is pro life.  What you are is ANTI abortion.  And I am willing to bet that it is because, like most people, you have very little understanding of the science behind the female body, reproduction or abortions.

For starters, the human body rejects fertilized eggs all the time.  Naturally.  Women who cannot get pregnant usually have a uterus that reject eggs and treats them as foreign objects.  They have to rely on medical intervention or surrogates to even GET pregnant.  So, no, not all uteruses are created equal.  There are also those women who because of physical duress or illness have aborted fertilized eggs naturally.  Sometimes the body decides it doesn’t have the ability to feed another living thing and expels the egg/fetus.  We usually call this a miscarriage but sometimes it’s just as simple as getting your period soon after hearing you are pregnant.

As an aside to “abortions are natural” do you know why we crack eggs in a separate bowl when cooking?  Because before we had technology  (or candles) there was no way to tell if your menstruated hen eggs were fertilized or not.  Humans bodies are not unique in rejecting eggs.

So, now that you understand it occurs for many reasons without science intervention, let me explain why science intervenes.  Women used to die in childbirth much more often before medical science.  In fact, it was so common that you will find it is a common thread throughout older literature.  Thankfully, we now have ways of making this body straining act safer.  But not all women are lucky enough to be healthy and for them, pregnancy is extremely dangerous.  Does this mean they shouldn’t have an active sex life or want to attempt to have children?  Does it also mean that should they find themselves pregnant but unable to carry to term they should be denied their right to seek every available medical option to survive?

For starters educate yourself.

So you say “okay, women who might die should be allowed abortions, but no one else!”

Ah, what then in the case of rape?  Do you as an agnostic/atheist support the Old Testament belief that rapists own their victims and can force them into marriage and child birth?  Do you honestly believe that a girl or woman is so much less than a human that not only should she be used as a sex toy but she should be forced through all the pain and trauma of childbirth as well?

I sincerely hope your answer is “no”.

Lastly, let’s get some facts straight about abortions here in the US.

1. A good 90% of abortions are done early and with pills which eject merely a fertilized egg.  Not a zygote, not a fetus, not even close to a baby.  And by increasing accessibility to abortions and the morning after pill, this percentage would go up as women would no longer have to wait or jump through hoops.

2. Late Term Abortions aka: partial birth abortions were outlawed over a decade ago.  Let’s stop circulating pictures of outdated medical practices as evidence against something unrelated, shall we?

3. By cutting funding to Planned Parenthood and other such women’s health programs you are not only denying poverty level women a chance for cancer screenings and HIV testing, you are also making it more difficult for women to detect and deal with pregnancy EARLIER.  Not to mention the easy access to contraceptives would prevent more pregnancies in the first place.

I implore you, next time you want to make a judgment call on abortion, do your research first.  Some of those pictures are a hoax.  And those of you who do not believe in a “soul” or supernatural conception should have an understanding of what it means to be “viable”.

2013: Atheist Resolutions

I already posted my generic list of goals elsewhere, but I have a second list that needs to be here:

1. I will not back down from correcting anyone who mislabels Atheism as anything but a disbelief in the supernatural.  It is not Satanism, Paganism, anti-religious etc

2. I will continue to spread memes with a secular message and not comment on them. (see #3)

3. I will no longer waste my time debating with extremists who cannot be educated beyond their current level.  There is no point and I am wasting my energy.

4. I will put more energy into positive things this year like charities.  Leading by example and proving the adage that “millions are good without god”.

5. I will open my heart and help to any agnostic or atheist person who finds they have no one to speak to.  You are not nearly as alone as you may feel. ❤

6. I will take control over my future.  After all, you only get ONE life, best not waste it.

Please Stop

I have seen these around for years on the subway lines and buses here in New York.  This bit of Theist Graffitti:

Imageand I have up until recently just laughed and ignored it.  But today on my trip to the city and back home, I saw it no less than 15 times.  Once even scribbled in a speech bubble on a college advertisement.  And so, as I seethed on the train ride home, clutching my red Sharpie and actively willing myself to not write N O over those empty headed demands, I hatched a plan.  

You see, there was a time not too long ago when I was part of a Guerrilla advertising campaign with Anonymous to rally against Scientology.  Part of me misses that thrill and the excitement that knowing we were actually helping inform random strangers.  So I planned a few stickers to carry on my person in case I come across anymore of these asinine theist demands that one “pray”.  First there will be a smaller sticker that just says “THINK.” which will cover and replace the word Pray.  Second, I will make a set of stickers which read “Millions are Good without God.”  and lastly, for those particularly vile spammers who litter entire cars advertising their local churches, I will print up “Religion Poisons Everything” stickers.  Yes, I will surly offend some people.  But I will rest easily knowing no one else will have to see “Please Pray” and want to vomit. 😛

America is a Secular Nation.  Always has been and always will be.

Foxhole Atheists Deserve Equal Rights

reposting this link once more:

http://www.change.org/petitions/demand-that-the-us-military-start-protecting-atheist-soldiers-from-hate-crimes

15 signatures is a nice start, but I would love if more of you could share this petition in your circle.  Every little bit helps! Thank you.

For more info on why this is important and currently an issue for atheists:

http://militaryatheists.org/watchlist.html