Hayley is a Ghost

Poster girl for skepticism

Posted on: January 3, 2012

In a recent post titled ‘2011’ I wrote out a list of insults I had received last year. One of them was ‘poster child for skepticism’ and people have seemed confused as to why I would consider that an insult. I was actually wrong – I got called ‘the poster girl for skepticism’.

The reason it is an insult is because a) it was intended as an insult and b) it was insulting

To be called a girl equates me with being young and childish. I’m often told that I am young, childish, immature, ‘playing with bigger kids’, ‘running with older skeptics’, ‘throw tantrums’ and similar. Putting to one side my issues with my mental health that often cause me to seem like I’m having a tantrum, and how insensitive peoples comments can be – the world is, it seems, always very keen to remind me that I am indeed young, and that because of this people wont take me seriously.

Even when I am right. Which I often am.

I do make mistakes because I’m human, and that’s what we do – whether we’re Twenty-four, Fifty-four, or Eighty-four. However my mistakes are nearly always pinned down to my age, or because I’m a skeptic. I can handle anti-skeptic bias, but the age thing is annoying because there is nothing I can do about my age.

I was called ‘the poster girl for skepticism’ in the discussion thread to a post I wrote where other people agreed with the things I had written in the article, and one person hadn’t. He called me ‘the poster girl’ because he wanted to undermine the support I was getting for the things I had written.

There could be no other reason people were supporting me, other than because they were building me up as their poster girl for ‘the cause’. It couldn’t be because I was right, or they agreed with what I had written in that instance. No. It was because there had to be another motive – in the mans opinion it was because I was young and didn’t know things and was impressionable and because of this, bigger skeptics were using me as a poster girl for their cause.

That is why it is an insult. To be counted out because of your age – to have it presumed of you that your opinions and thoughts are only valid because others are greedy and want to use you to further their cause, is insulting.

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16 Responses to "Poster girl for skepticism"

I came to this posting assuming that ‘The Poster Girl for Skepticism’ was a good thing. At first glance, it sounds like a wonderful thing to be. Maybe it’s because I consider skeptics to possess the tools needed to rise above any biases they are indoctrinated into and to see the world for what it really is. That’s an amazing superpower that most people lack.

As for the term ‘Poster Child’ or ‘Poster Girl’, to me that has always been synonymous with ‘epidome’. Again, a very good thing.

It had never occurred to me that someone might consider either ‘Poster Girl or skepticism to be a bad thing. May I suggest that you trample on your detractor’s original intentions and take the epithet as a term of pride? After all, it really is something to be proud of.

I’ve already explained why I found it offensive. I’m not going to take pride from that. I appreciate your sentiment though.

In retrospect, that is condescending.
My apologies, I didn’t understand the context of the comment.

Swapping “girl” for “child” is just adding dung to the mud slinging.

It’s not a problem, it’s why I clarified things here 🙂

Being bipolar, I’ve had my fair share of insults. Mostly by people who don’t understand that mental illness is an illness, not a personal weakness. It saddens me to see such strife. I’d hope that people put the hard feelings behind them and take the situation as a learning experience. For some, they will forgive and learn. Others, I fear, will dig further into their cognitive dissonance and remain willfully ignorant.

I applaud you for standing up.

You may be young Hayley but I enjoy reading and listening to all the things you do, I’m 46 and I’m learning new things all the time from your blogs and podcasts. Some people have no patience with mental health problems especially those lucky enough not to have any. Stick with it you are doing a good job.

Being one of those who saw no problem with ‘poster child’, the phrase ‘poster girl’ I see as more negatively loaded and I completely understand your reaction to that.

Age is not something you can change quickly, and you will get dismissed because of your age likely for another decade, perhaps more because you’re a woman and in spite of the consistent record of girls outperforming boys academically there is a cultural idea that women aren’t “serious” until a later age than men. I’m in my forties and it’s only in the last decade that older people have largely (but not entirely) stopped using my age as an excuse to avoid my arguments. Frustrating to be sure.

I’ve found your writings and podcasts to show an intellect and maturity that anyone of any age would be proud of.

“Even when I am right. Which I often am.”

Such modesty.

Is it arrogance, or is it simply misguided self-importance? i never can tell with you, Hayley.

You seem to have missed the bit where I said I make mistakes because I am human, or did you rush to the bottom of the page to leave a comment and not read the whole post?

You, make mistakes, Hayley? Never. It’s not possible. 😉

You’ve come onto my site, called me either arrogant or misguidedly self-important, and then when I point out that neither was the case you make a sarcastic reply.

Stay classy.

Wrong.

You are still ether arrogant or misguidedly self-important, both if memory serves. But let’s not dwell on the past, eh?

I was sarcastic simply because your blog post is hugely contradictory, Hayley, as most of your ‘worries me’ posts seem to be, and I couldn‘t be bothered to point it out to one so morally blind as you.

Stay cheap.

You say ‘let’s not dwell on the past’ but clearly, whoever you are, you are dwelling on the past. You obviously keep reading my blog despite apparently not liking me, and while thinking I am arrogant. Perhaps you should move on?

This guy’s a troll.

People seem to find a way to demonize someone they dislike. In their minds, it justifies disrespect and mistreatment of others. Nothing can take away your talents and the fruits of your hard work.

I don’t dwell on the past, Hayley. I just enjoy reading your blog, I disagree with the majority of it, but I enjoy it. Is that wrong?

You know, for a person who advocates free speech you aren’t very capable of allowing much of it on your blog, are you? I think you need to re-evaluate what you stand for if you are to continue this course of action.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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