Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Oink oink

I felt today like having a good old rant about this, so here are my responses to the Sam-Harris-yet-another-prominent-atheist-man-of-privilege putting his foot in it. Isn't it enough we have Dawkins continually making a twat of himself on Twatter?

 1. I started by claiming that my readership seems more male than female. And when I shifted to speaking about atheists as a group, I was referring to active atheists—that is, the sort of people who go to atheist conferences, read atheist books, watch atheists debate pastors on YouTube, or otherwise rally around atheism as a political identity. I was not talking about everyone on Earth who doesn’t believe in God. 

 2. Although I share the common perception that there is a gender imbalance among active atheists, I don’t actually know whether this is the case. I used to joke that my average “groupie” was a 75-year-old man. Happily, my audiences are now filled with young people, but I still encounter many more men than women. I wouldn’t be surprised if the split were 70/30. I would be very surprised if it were 50/50. Again, I am talking about active atheists. I have no idea whether there are more male unbelievers than female.

I don't go to atheist conferences, no, they tend to be in 'Merica and I am not rich in money or time. But I do buy and read atheist books. I used to be more active in online atheist communities and consider atheist a strong part of my identity, but y'know what, those online communities were hostile to me, full of dudebros who would throw me under the bus for a thought experiment, invalidate my experience and patronise or come on to me. Because I'm a woman.

I'd always identified as a feminist, but it was the atheist communities that drove me to identify more strongly with that and more or less lose interest in the "atheist movement". So you, Sam Harris, looking around seeing a predominance of men - it's not because women aren't interested, it's because the environment you've helped create is antagonistic to women (and minorities).

3. My work is often perceived (I believe unfairly) as unpleasantly critical, angry, divisive, etc. The work of other vocal atheists (male and female) has a similar reputation. I believe that  men are more attracted to this style of communication than women are. Which is not to say there aren’t millions of acerbic women out there, and many for whom Hitchens at his most cutting was a favorite source of entertainment. But just as we can say that men are taller than women, without denying that > women are taller than most men, there are psychological differences between men and women which, considered in the aggregate might explain why “angry atheism” attracts more of the former. Some of these differences are innate; some are surely the product of culture. Nothing in my remarks was meant to suggest that women can’t think as critically as men or that they are more likely to be taken in by bad ideas. Again, I was talking about a fondness for a perceived style of religion bashing with which I and other vocal atheists are often associated.

Ok, have you ever even read any female atheist bloggers? They're not angry? Why oh why, then, do perceived angry feminist atheists get pulled on their tone by tone-trolls all the fucking time? Why oh why, then, do feminists get called on their tone by tone-trolls all the fucking time?

It's good that you acknowledge there's a cultural aspect to women being expected to be 'lady-like', less abrasive and less confrontational, but y'know, the innate and psychological differences parts make me wonder which you're putting most weight on. I have a feeling you like the innate, but y'know, we never have a chance to see that. Let's do some cultural shifting, and see what happens.

4. I believe that a less “angry,” more “nurturing” style of discourse might attract more women to the cause of atheism.

And that's not sexist at all? Fuck you.

5. However, I haven’t spent even five minutes thinking about how or whether to modify my writing or speaking style so as to accomplish this.

You haven't spent 5 minutes actually thinking about sexism or this response either, have you?

I am well aware that sexism and misogyny are problems in our society. However, they are not the only factors that explain differences in social status between men and women. For instance, only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. How much of this is the result of sexism? How much is due to the disproportionate (and heroic) sacrifices women make in their 20’s or 30’s to have families? How much is explained by normally distributed psychological differences between the sexes? I have no idea, but I am confident that each of these factors plays a role. Anyone who thinks disparities of this kind must be entirely a product of sexism hasn’t thought about these issues very deeply.

 #head-desk# So women making disproportionate sacrifices for their families has absolutely nothing to do with sexism? Nothing at all to do with social pressure to be the 'good mother', nothing to do with sexist stereotyping and traditional gender roles? Nothing to do with the woman being the one expected to be at all the school meetings, to find childcare, the fact dads are often referred to as 'babysitting' when they're looking after their own kids, that women are considered to be trying to "have it all" if they want a career & kids when men's decisions in the same respects are never even scrutinised, that a man who works long hours is just trying to be a good provider, but a woman is neglecting her home and family? Again, fuck you.

Violence is different for women than it is for men. Unlike men, they don’t tend to get into fistfights with strangers after an escalating series of insults. It is far more common for a woman to be attacked, physically controlled, and sexually assaulted by a man. Outside the walls of a prison, adult males almost never have to think about getting raped. For most women, rape is a very real, lifelong concern. Women also suffer from domestic violence in ways that men rarely do. Most of these differences can be explained by general disparities in size, strength, and aggressiveness between the sexes.

And not at all by men being socialised to be aggressive, to feel entitled to sex, to be the head of household and considered to be less of a man if he's 'pussy-whipped'. Nothing to do with domestic violence being viewed as a source of amusement "why I oughta!", the norm (that it's just a domestic), or that in our 'civilised' society  Ray Rice can knock his partner cold and only when a video is released of the actual act does he face any sanctions, otherwise it's just brush it under the carpet because sport, that Mike Tyson can be convicted of rape yet be an acceptable choice for a cameo in film comedy, fucking Polanski, etc etc. Clue-by-four, those things are products of a sexist culture that doesn't take violence against women seriously.

Any time a woman comes away from an encounter with a man saying that he gave her the creeps, I trust her. This is not mere chivalry on my part: It is a judgment based on an understanding of human nature. One of the things we are naturally good at is detecting threatening people—indeed, millions of years of evolution have more or less guaranteed this. The silly word “vibe” enjoys its most felicitous application here—when a person must make a split-second judgment about the man at the door. I suspect (but do not know) that women are slightly better at this than men. I’m not denying that honest misunderstandings occasionally arise, or that some men have been falsely accused of sexual harassment and even of rape. But having been raised by a single mother since the age of two, I have always had a very visceral sense that men have a responsibility not to be evil jerks. And when they are, they should be sorted out—physically, if need be—by good men. Call me old-fashioned.

You were doing ok-ish,(but chivalry? but women are more instinctive? Yuh-huh o_O) until the sorting out by good men. Really? I don't even. And I'm not touching the part of your post about gun control and so forth. Just no. I'm stopping here.

I'm not saying you're the worst ever sexist pig, Harris, but you are a product of the sexist society you live in. If you're being called-out all over the interwebz, perhaps a bit more reflection and less reaction might be in order.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Spinning my wheels
I am a child's toy on my side
Spinning spinning

What now, what next

Things in my head
Won't come out
I am stuck
But spinning spinning.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Some days I wonder what the hell I'm doing and why am I doing it?

Inertia carries me through most of the time.

I entered into an arrangement with someone, and it continues, and I'm not sure why. On some levels, I'm getting something from it, and on another, it's a distraction.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More song-age

Maroon 5 - 'How'


I have been searching for your touch
Unlike any touch I've ever known
And I never thought about you much
Til I'm broken down and all alone, ohhh

Though I don't understand the meaning of love
I do not mind if I die trying, ohhh
Took it for granted when you lifted me up

I'm asking for your help
I am going through hell
Afraid nothing can save me but the sound of your voice
You cut out all the noise
And now that I can see mistakes so clearly now
I'd kill if I could take you back

But how?
But how?

I can feel it in my guts
What's going on with him now
And don't patronise me with lies
I'm a man, be a woman now, ohhh

I have been bound by the shackles of love
And I don't mind if I die tied up, ohhh
Took it for granted when you lifted me up

I'm asking for your help
I am going through hell
Afraid nothing can save me but the sound of your voice
You cut out all the noise
And now that I can see mistakes so clearly now
I'd kill if I could take you back

But how?
But how?
But how?
But how?

Ohh yeh
Why must we be so ugly
And please do not think ill of me
Why does the one you love
Become the one who makes you want to cry

(And how?

But I don't understand the meaning of love
I do not mind if I die trying
I do not mind if I die trying
I do not mind if I die trying

Tomorrow's song

Radiohead - 'Just (Do it yourself)'

These are the days

Some times are so good. On the way home, M & I laughed and laughed about how "I tolerated you until death do us part" will be the epitaph I write on his tombstone. (Actually plaque on a Xmas tree planted on his ashes - we're planning ahead.)

And then we were joking around with the kids, and all laughing so hard. Daughter pwned dad in a pointless roundabout argument of snarkasm. Debating the sizes of our slices of cheesecake, and dad eventually admitting he got the smallest because he snoozed and losed.

Jumping out ninja attack when our son was in the bathroom, only he'd only opened the door and didn't actually come out, so we leapt out on nothingness.

And the ever popular:

therefore your argument is invalid.

These are the days worth remembering. Nothing else matters.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Following predictive text on my phone

All the best things about this property considers appropriate and a half. The other hand is not the intended recipient, please notify me immediately by replying sooner rather than later. This month we have to pay for your help and advice on this occasion and the police told me that you have seemed like a whale watching .

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Today's song

Elbow - 'One day like this'

Sunday, August 03, 2014

This is why we still need feminism

From Channel4:

"In a speech on Monday to mark the end of Ramadan, Bulent Arinc railed against the "moral decline"in Turkey, later denouncing the excessive use of cars, the influence of Turkish soap operas and even the popular use of mobile phones, with women "spending hours on the phone to swap recipes". In his speech he said a man "should be moral, but women should be moral as well, they should know what is decent and what is not decent", adding: "She should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times." "

I don't need feminism because cat have real problems too. 
How about fixing them first? 
Like this door, why don't you open it already?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Questions I can't answer, apparently

1. How Did You Become an Atheist?

As soon as I started to question the Christianity I was brought up in, it all seemed to fall apart and make no sense to me whatsoever. I was confirmed, but I knew at the time I didn't believe.

2. What happens when we die? 

Our bodies rot and there is nothing, just like before we were born. We live on in the memories of our loved ones, in our actions good & bad and how they affect others, and in our descendants.

3. What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL! 

Then won't I be sorry! Lol.

4. Without God, where do you get your morality from? 

God's morality seems all about testing people to breaking point and demanding worship of him over decency. Reciprocal altruism and not actually wanting to harm others works for me.

5. If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded? 

That's why we have laws. God only offers reward/punishment in the unknowable afterlife, human law attempts to rectify badness in the here and now where we can see. Good deeds tend to be rewarded by acknowledgment by the people around you. Plus it's nice to be nice and not expect medals for it, but just do it anyway.

6. If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning? 

It has meaning in the love of my family and friends, in the sunshine, in the laughter.

7. Where did the universe come from? 

Big Bang.

8. What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?

Lots of people believe odd things. What about people who've seen aliens and been rectally probed?

9. What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?

They're all arses in some ways and interesting in other ways, like most people.

10. If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?

If there's god, why aren't all the religions the same?

Hat/tip Pharyngula.


I saw this rainbow shortly after I got the news of a relative's death. It was very unexpected. The death, not the rainbow.

It was a busy funeral, the church was filled, the over-flow room had to be used. Afterwards there was tea & cakes in the church hall, which was so full it was unbearable.

It was lovely to see my extended family, although in such shocking and sad circumstances.

Saturday, June 07, 2014


People seem
to like me
And I don't understand it at all

I am bewildered and perplexed
and I do not know
What is there to like?
What are they after?

I think,
Are you this fucked up that you don't believe that anyone could like you?
And the answer seems to be yes.

Yet I function and live
I'm happy
I have love and I live

But I guess as someone who's afraid

Waiting for the punchline
Waiting for the rug to be be pulled.


I saw a man driving, top-down, arm nonchalantly thrown across the front seats, driving one-handed.
But wait, he's actually steadying something.
Oh, it's a window? Or metal screen?
It's laid across the back, and sat in the rear, steadying the other side, with so little room the edge of it is at her throat, with her head flung back, is a woman.
All it takes is an emergency stop, and her head's going to be rolling rolling rolling down the highway.

The stupid, it burns!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014


Yesterday I noticed that workmen had moved all their extra stuff into the women's loos at work, while they're working on the disabled toilets. It really bugged me, because the men's toilets are directly opposite, about the same distance and same size, possibly bigger, and I was wondering why it was the women's ones they had chosen to use. I was thinking about feminist issues surrounding women's space being treated as less important and such. Then I realised that the door of the disabled opens against the men's, so actually it's likely a matter of convenience. This was actually a huge relief to me. Which is good, it means I'm not just looking for things to be angry about.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Songs today

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Good things 3

Lying in the sunshine today.

Discovering the little pond in the garden is a wealth of life, even though it was through a death I found this out: there was a dead toad floating, looking rather like the blown up animals Shrek & Fiona made. On fishing it out, I had a poke round and disturbed newts and other beasties. I had thought it but a fetid pool awaiting some tlc.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Give yourself a gold star

I read this at Captain Awkward's blog and it seems really important to me, so I'm quoting it here, to remind me and for me to keep for others, potentially.

"So, this is big. When you feel lonely and needy and isolated, and you make the effort to go somewhere, and you don’t really find anyone you connect with, it’s very easy to weave it into the story of loneliness and failure that you’re experience, a.k.a. Well I TRIED and it DIDN’T WORK and now there’s PROOF. 

You have to actively fight against that mentality. It’s not fair. It’s exhausting. But every time you go to a thing and/or talk to a new person, make sure you congratulate and reward yourself for your efforts. Write it down in a journal somewhere. Give yourself a gold star. Tell yourself a different story, one that goes like this: You are doing good things to take care of yourself! You are learning the skill of meeting new people and building a social life as an adult, and that is something that a lot of people need if the volume of questions I get here is any indication. You are learning to find people you connect with; one part of that is figuring out where you don’t belong. Tell yourself that you put on clean clothes and showered and you tried. You saw a terrible band at the local anarchist collective and ate the worst food of your life at the vegan potluck and you listened to crabby Old Farmer Olsen talk about his hip pains for the 1700th time, and even if he didn’t really appreciate it, his wife had a good time not having to deal with him and getting to talk to some new people for a change. You helped give food to people who really need it. You marked trails for hikers who will appreciate not being lost. You petted kittens and puppies who need homes. You learned a new expansion pack of a board game. You gave your parents some alone time without having their roommate underfoot. You are doing the best you can. You are learning new skills. You are finding new interests and strengths. You are doing your best to take your place among your fellow humans. That’s all you can control, and the rest is up to luck."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Good things 2

Listening to spoken word poetry all morning.

"Are you listening?! Can you hear me" - his voice really moved me on those words (Ken Arkind's God Box).

Fluffy clouds! It's been a beautiful day and the skies were dotted with the kind of clouds children make in pictures with cotton wool. Makes me smile.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Good things

OK, I want to write about a good thing a day, see how that works out.

Something I feel good about is turning back to open a shop door for an old lady in a motorised wheelchair = good deed for the day, I guess.

I feel good about the sunshine, about remembering to put the guinea pigs out for some grass, about doing some drawing yesterday, about my friend and my husband.

Monday, May 12, 2014


I bloody hate this advert from Always for overnight sanitary towels. It pretty much uses the exact script of a nappy advert, which really flicks my switch: "I can wriggle" and lullaby music. Argh! Infantilise women much?

Fuckkkkkk offfff.

What would be a good ad for sanitary products? I don't know - stop being so prissy or 'empowering' (white trousers & roller skating, anyone?) - just the facts please and not this this this idiotic tip-toeing. Urgh.