Archive for the ‘feminism’ Category
I bet some of you are already spoiling for a fight in the comments of this post simply because of the title.
How ridiculous of you.
I was going to write down my thoughts about the recent ‘Reddit makes me hate atheists’ article written by Rebecca for Skepchick, but it seems so many people have summarised what I wanted to say in a much better way than I could.
I am truly saddened to see people I count as friends completely dismissing a genuine problem (sexism, and rape comments aimed at a 15 year old) because they don’t like Rebecca Watson. I think the below articles are important.
Greta Christina – Why ‘yes but…’ is the wrong response to Misogyny
Jason Thibeault – Why is Rebecca Watson so damn polarizing
Skepchick – Why chicks gotta be so dumb?
Also worth a read, is ‘Not a touch’ by Ophelia Benson
Earlier today twitterer Trinoc_ brought to my attention a comment that had been made on the SGU listeners forum in which I was referred to as the token female host of the Righteous Indignation Podcast.
I also listen to the Righteous Indignation podcast which also the one token woman in a bunch of guys.
They went on to say:
“She’s the only one of one type of thing (woman) amongst a larger amount of other, although similar, types of things (men). That makes her a token woman in my book. I mean that in the nicest possible way. She’s great. I dig Hayley, were I to ever have forewarning about an impending meeting with her i would gladly bake her a cake or crumble pie*”
I am not blogging to have a dig at the person who said the above and called me a token woman because I don’t believe they said this as an insult, they simply didn’t think through what they were implying by saying I was a token woman; a title that is both incorrect and unfair. To label a person – male or female, as a token undermines their work and effort put into a project (in this case, the podcast).
It also presents the idea that the person in question has been asked to be involved with a project because of their gender, and not their ability to do well in that project/role or to contribute their skills and insight.
This is why I was initially quite angry and annoyed to see myself being referred to as a token female host. I don’t think that lowly of my co-hosts to think they would do such a thing and I certainly wouldn’t allow myself to be in a position where my gender was the thing that got me there.
I don’t intend to go into how I came to involved with Righteous Indignation in the first place as I have covered that before, however, I should probably point out that when Righteous Indignation first started there was myself – a female host, and Trystan – a male host. Was he the token male skeptic? No, and he wasn’t seen that way either.
Marsh came along a bit later and just fitted with the show – we didn’t decide to ask Marsh to be a permanent host because he is male, we asked him because of his sense of humor, his ability to tackle big stories and interviews in a purely brilliant manner and the fact that he just gelled into the show with us.
There have been other things I have been involved with in the past for which I was the only female, or the only skeptic but I have never been asked simply because of what I am, but because of who I am and what I do and am able to do.
The picture to the right is me as a bratty child. Despite the long blonde hair and blue eyes I grew up a “tomboy”, I didn’t have a problem getting stuck in with fights, climbing trees in the neighbourhood or taking part in dangerous bike races. Being girls was never a problem for me and my friends when we were growing up and I think it’s quite remarkable being the only girl in a group of friends or in a game was never as significant as it is now that I’ve grown older.
*Cherry crumble or it doesn’t count for anything.
Last year I spoke at the ‘Weird ’09 paranormal & ufo conference’ in Warminster, Wiltshire. I was the only female speaker and rather than making me feel powerful it made me feel a bit lonely and outnumbered.
This year the Weird ’10 conference has possibly 1 female speaker (representing ASSAP) and reflecting upon this fact recently made me wonder why it is. Paranormal research is a research field full of females and males – so why is it only a few women are ever seen speaking at conferences and why do we never see a predominantly female line up at such conferences?
I know that Kylie Sturgess touched upon this issue on her blog here.
I think that the issue of gender equality is an important one that is vastly overlooked. Okay so paranormal research doesn’t have feminism high on its equality focus list – instead they focus more on skeptics vs. believers equality which is fine, but where that’s important to have in equal amounts it is also important to ensure gender of speakers is equal or at least nearly equal too.
Like I mentioned before ghost research is a mixed bag of females and males, UFOlogy and cryptozoology can seem like a bit of a boy’s game (even though there are female researchers out there) so there is, in my view, no excuse for females to be lacking on the speaker line-ups for paranormal/ufo/crypto conferences.
One suggestion put forward to me is that these sorts of conferences are usually organised by men and therefor the speakers are men and that’s a poor excuse.
Another was that those females with something worth saying in the research field either:
a) don’t want the fame/bright lights
b) are too busy
Which is probably true and is a shame when you consider that the resentment of going public with something to say is causing the field to have a lack of female representation. Which is bullshit.
Dear sister suffragettes and early feminists,
Due to your endless campaigning and sacrifices I was able to vote today in the hope of making the change I would like to see in my country. Perhaps my vote will help, perhaps not – but at least I had a chance to vote and that’s a freedom I’ll never underestimate even if so many people do.
Thank you girls! Much appreciated!
Hayley M Stevens x
On the 26th I took part in #boobquake because I thought it was a cheeky, funny idea to help promote the fact that it’s actually pretty common to be skeptical about irrational claims that people make. For an Iranian cleric to state that boobs caused seismic activity was pretty irrational (not to mention laughable) and so when Jen McCreight from Blaghag put forwards the idea of boobquake and people in their masses decided to take part I thought “why not?”
It was harmless fun, and I was quite pleased to see numerous friends of mine who aren’t involved in the skeptical community asking me what it was about and then looking into it further and sharpening their own rational thinking skills. One friend of mine has even discovered skeptics in the pub through the boobquake and so that was really pleasing.
However, the boobquake has come under criticism for being sexist and anti-feminist and, although I can see why people might think that, I really think that people are just overreacting. For one, boobquake was voluntary, two, it was voluntary, and three, it was voluntary.
If somebody is willing to take part in an event in which they have to show a bare arm, a bit of boob etc. then who is anyone to tell them they can’t because it’s oppressing them as free people? I like to think that anyone who refers to themselves as a skeptic is able to make the free choice to take part in an event after summarising whether they feel it is suitable and, I’m pretty sure that nobody was forced to dress down on the 26th by anyone involved with boobquake.
It made me ponder who it was that was being anti-feminist. Jen from Blaghag for encouraging people to question the vile claims that had been made about women, or the cleric who had deemed himself as important enough to tell women exactly how they should dress. I think that the people who decided to take part in boobquake were able to deem for themselves whether or not they felt it was a suitable thing for them to do or not.
Another thought that crossed my mind was that if this large group of female skeptics showing a bit of cleavage was so anti-feminist somebody ought to travel back in time and tell the feminists of years gone by that they shouldn’t be removing their bras in public and pretending to burn them because they’re being anti-feminist. I think that would go down quite well.
“You’re the Tracey Beaker of paranormal research!”
“I’m going to come around to your house and kick your door in to get an apology!”
[To my employer] “Hayley is a spy who films you all with hidden cameras”
“You silly, little girl.” — Andrew Ward, Bradford-On-Avon based homeopath
“Child!” — Various people
“You’re a hateful b**ch who needs to grow up!”
“Grow some respect atheist scum”“You’re a deluded god bully.”
“If you don’t take it back, I’ll f***ing sort you out!”
“I’m going to look out for her in the future and corner her after a talk! Another skeptic to add to the hitlist”