I’ve been finding it difficult to come up with ideas for blog posts, which is why this blog hasn’t been very active lately. As such, I’d like to leave it up to the readers: what would you like us to write about? Would you like to know something specific about our atheism? Do you have an argument that you’d like us to address? Would you like us to discuss a particular book? Do you have any questions about Philosophy, Biology, or History? Would you like to know our stance on a particular feminist issue? Is there something else you’d like us to write on? Let us know in the comment section.
Tag Archives: media
I just got home from seeing a talk given by Timothy Caulfield, the author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?. The talk was on celebrity culture and pseudo-science.
During his talk Timothy Caulfield mentioned how people are more willing to listen to celebrities than doctors where health is concerned, and how people are incredibly confused about health. I understand that confusion. There is a lot of information out there, and a lot of it is contradictory. But I can’t understand why anybody would turn to a celebrity for advice on anything other that what they are famous for. If you’re confused about what to eat, why wouldn’t you ask you doctor? They may not have all of the information, but they do have the training necessary to decipher the information. I can understand not fully trusting your doctor: Dr. Oz does apparently have a medical degree and he got rich off selling people “cures” that don’t do anything. But surely a doctor is more likely to give sound medical information than, say, Rob Schnider. Unless, of course, Rob Schnider has a medical degree that I’m unaware of.
Timothy Caulfield studied that very phenomenon. He looked into why people are so confused about health (surprise, surprise, the celebrities cause more confusion than anything else) and why people are so quick to follow them rather than their own doctors. His findings: it’s a culture thing. Celebrity culture is our culture. This means that we are more likely to follow the celebrity advice then the advise of those who actually understand the science. What’s more, this culture is caused by lack of social mobility. Americans often think of the United States as the land where all dreams are made possible. In the US, you’re supposed to be able to go from poor to rich with nothing more than hard work. But the fact of the matter is that this is not true. The United States has very little social mobility, so you are more likely to stay in the social class you were born into than anything else. So people idolize celebrities because they are seen as defying this odd (despite the fact that most of them have famous parents or relatives). In countries with more social mobility, this celebrity culture doesn’t exist. Which countries have the highest social mobility? The social welfare states! Denmark, Finland, Canada, and Sweden are the highest respectively.
So what does all this mean? I’m not really sure, but it certainly suggests that we have a lot of work ahead of us.
Click to go back to Part 1
Next I will discuss the one part of Godless Cranium’s reply where I felt misrepresented.
Here is the section from his reply where he quoted me saying the following.
Moreover, women are considered public objects in our society, we are allowed to freely and openly critique every physical portion of a women and are often expected to. From their body to their clothing to the way they move and present themselves, even the way they talk. One might say men get this to, but anyone who is honestly looking into the issue will admit that it occurs far more regularly to women. For example; how often do men get cat called, or whistled at? Both women and men judge women largely by their physical traits, which is largely not the case for men. As well, this is not an inequality born of nature, but of culture. There are cultures where the above examples are not the case, yet we are mostly blind to this since we were raised with this often overt sexism all around us and deem it normal and expected.
He then followed my quote with:
Emphasis is again mine, to show where one sex is minimized in favor of the other.
So because men don’t get cat-called or whistled at as often as women, they’re never critiqued for their physical proportions. Really? …
… Are you saying that popular culture (movies, TV, video games, cartoons, comics, websites etc) are not flooded by good looking men?
Are you saying that sex sells, no matter the gender or sex being portrayed?
In a perfect world, should men or women be valued more if they’re attractive to the opposite sex?
Of course not. But we’re sexual beings and we like to look at the opposite sex. Women do it just like men do. There are also jerks from either sex/gender.
I feel this misrepresents what I said, and misrepresents the reality.
I never said objectification of men never happens when asking if men are treated as object to be yelled at and judged purely by their looks, aka catcalling. In fact I implied it occurred to men as well, but not as often. I also didn’t make a statement about how men are not critiqued for their physical proportions, nor did I say anything about media in that section of the post, but allow me to do so now.
Now, I won’t argue your point about people in media in general being full of beautiful people, but I will argue that women and men are still not equal in that regard. Men get much more diversity of representation in the looks department then do women. You don’t need to be super attractive to succeed in media if you’re a man. There are unattractive men in media, and main character of sitcoms are often unattractive men, particularly cartoons (The Simpsons, Family Guy), but the women in these shows are generally very attractive and are often in the position of being far more attractive then the main male character. The reverse is basically never the case, have you ever seen an unattractive women in a TV show in a relationship with an very attractive man? It’s exceedingly rare.
Unattractive men are not that uncommon from the small and large screen, or even games, but unattractive women? You don’t see them in media nearly as often, and you basically never see them as fleshed out characters. And you hardly even see any women as fleshed out characters let alone unattractive women.
There are attractive people in media and, while not all people like looking at attractive people of a different sexes (let’s not be hetero-normative, the media might be, but we don’t need to be), most people like to look at other attractive humans. This is pretty obvious. Though I don’t think that we should judge women (or men, but I’d argue men don’t have this problem) primarily on whether or not we think they are attractive. This Ted talk by Megan Kamerick discusses the representation of women in the media (this one’s good for making you think):
And in regards to not caring about physical appearances, I honestly don’t know how the world would be different if it was the case we didn’t care about physical appearances. It could be better, or it could end up not changing anything in the end. I can’t know, but it also isn’t the world we live in, so it is irrelevant to the question of what we should do.
There are jerks everywhere, and I’m all for supporting a culture where men and women don’t have to be sexually harassed in public.
I agree with Godless in principle, but I don’t necessarily like framing the issue as both men and women are harassed (equally) in the street. It ignores that women take most of the brunt, and it also isn’t saying who’s doing the harassment. I suspect it’s largely men. I personally haven’t experienced sexual harassment of men in public, but I have experienced multiple times where women have been harassed publicly. Mostly this was when I was younger and I didn’t know I could do anything about it, but I make up for that lack as best as I’m able now.
Feel free to keep saying “I’m all for supporting a culture where men and women don’t have to be sexually harassed in public,” but don’t forget that women are harassed more than men see following links for the proof:
According to these stats, women once again are subjected to the brunt of street harassment as 65%-99% of women reporting having been harassed, and, while 25% of men in the study reported having been harassed, with a higher rate of LGBT men being harassed, there are several study and links to the full report on the Stop Street Harassment site, I’ve included two links for ease of access.
Alright so I need to be very careful and I probable haven’t been as careful as I could be. I definitely don’t mean to ignore men’s issues, and really I’m not. I point them out when I see them, and I understand they are problems. But the point is that anti-feminist sentiment tries to label feminists as man-hating and ignoring men’s right all together. This is what I’m fighting against, and the reality is that women take the brunt of the societal ills I’ve been discussing. While child custody issues, and legal issue surrounding courts giving favorable sentencing to women for no other reason by their gender, is a real issues, why do those two examples occur? I think it’s largely because society view’s women as harmless, kind, caring, and nurturing. While men are ambitious, aggressive, dangerous, and strong. Of course, this sort of sexism will cause misconceptions, and are probably in the vast majority of cases benevolent sexism.
Here’s a video about why violence against women is a men’s issue. This video is useful to tie thing together as we go along through these posts, and points out how both men and women are victim of violence perpetrated by men: something I’ve been glossing over, but that needs to be said. Though over all he hit all the points. Watch it here:
If we are really going to talk about men’s issues we need to talk about the US justice system, and how men and boys are unfairly locked away, especially those who are economically disadvantaged and who are not white. Talk about how we raise boys to put sex (with women) higher than almost anything, along with being respected and being ever stoic no matter what’s happening.
Here are some resent posts dealing with issue primarily effecting men:
We need to tackle the problem largely by going after the roots of sexism in society. The shit we learn even as small children. And most of that work is in education, and it’s very hard to educate when there are big powers and other movement’s pushing back hard against this education. We need to teach and encourage men to speak out about all these issues, especially violence against women, which is so often normalized and ignored. I suspect a large reason the movement has been as successful as it has been is due to the fact that feminism is the just thing. Most people understand that equality is the only real just option we have available.
Supernatural is my absolute favorite show. I love the concepts, I love how they don’t scare away from controversy, and I love the characters. Since the new season hasn’t started yet, I’ve been going back through all the old episodes. This is definitely one of those shows where you can get lost if you don’t remember something, so I figured I should reacquaint myself with the earlier seasons.
I’m now back to season 2, and I just watched episode 13. It’s about these people who’ve been committing murders. They turn themselves in claiming that an angel told them to do it. In the episode, Sam is convinced that they’re actually dealing with an angel, but Dean thinks it’s just a spirit. This episode has always resonated with me. Especially since it was released about 9 years ago and I’ve been an atheist for 10.
For those of you who don’t watch the show, Sam is the younger brother. He’s very smart and he’s the moral voice. He’s always asking whether or not what they are doing is right, and he does most of their research on whatever it is they are hunting. Dean sees things as more black and white. Things are either good or evil, human or not. Dean would rather shoot first and ask questions later. He’s also fairly smart, but he doesn’t value knowledge. He thinks that the only knowledge worth having is that which is absolutely necessary. He definitely can come across as proud of his ignorance.
Sam has always been my favorite character because he has the better personality. But Dean’s a better skeptic. Sam has a blind spot where religion is concerned, though his faith is pretty thoroughly destroyed in the fourth season. Sam and Dean hunt ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and even demons. Sam takes this as a sign that all lore is real. He’s willing to believe in all forms of supernatural. But Dean only believes in what he can see.
In this particular episode, Dean says that he loves his job is that it doesn’t require faith. He says that there is nothing looking out for him, there is no God, and there are no angels. This is a very rational view to take: they have no reason to believe that any of those things exist. They’ve seen demons, ghosts, werewolves, etc, but nothing particular to Christianity, or Yahweh. Nothing that couldn’t be explained without Christianity. Sam later reveals that his willingness to believe is out of fear.
Of course, Supernatural does eventually reveal that there are in fact angels and there may be a God. Dean still isn’t sure about God though, and is perfectly willing to kill God if he does exist. Sam is now less faithful, and he seems to be a better skeptic. But Dean still has him beat in that one area.