Is Something Wrong Here?

Dr. Mrs. Rugbyologist had dinner this evening at Jamie Oliver’s newish restaurant here in Cambridge called Jamie’s Italian. The food was excellent, with the charcuterie anitpasti platter being the definitive highlight of the night. We had to wait about twenty minutes for a table, ten of which were taken up watching the bartender make our dirty gin martinis (i.e., the bar is good, but very meticulous and slow). Of course, I am not here to do uncomped restaurant reviews[1]. I am here to complain about trivial things in a pedantic fashion.

Menu from Jamie's Italian

Continue reading “Is Something Wrong Here?”

Solutions to “The Skeptical Boys Club”

You may have noticed that I provide no solutions to the problem[1] of the under-representation in either my hacky attempt to quantify said problem or my personal response to the experience of investigation. There is a good reason for this. I do not have any. I don’t do PR. I’m not a psychologist, a sociologist, or any other “-ologist” that might have expertise on such things. I’m also not a woman, although I have had rugby opponents imply as much in inexcusably sexist and misogynistic tones. Basically, I have as much confidence that I have something constructive to contribute to the proposal and evaluation of solutions as I do to solving the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Continue reading “Solutions to “The Skeptical Boys Club””

Reflections on “The Skeptical Boys Club”

It has been a few weeks since I originally published “The Skeptical Boys Club” on the significant under-representation of women in Skepticism[1]. It generated some serious response, criticism, and discussion. At the time, I tried to focus the article on the information I gathered, but tried to restrict the injection of my personal motivations for being interested, my thoughts on possible causes, and my thoughts on possible solutions. In the first case, those motivations were not immediately relevant. In the latter cases, I have no reason to believe that my thoughts on these matters have any value, and to put it next to “impressive” looking graphs might give those ruminations an inappropriate appearance of authority.

There has been some more recent interest in “The Skeptical Boys Club” by some individuals for whose thinking I have tremendous respect (but not always agreement, which is healthy) and whose thoughts on feminism, skepticism, and women in skepticism is infinitely more developed and considered than mine. After all, I can really date my intense interest in these types of issues quite accurately to precisely 28 months ago (more on how I know the date so precisely below). That is not much time to form a fully coherent philosophy of life.

So, I thought I would take this time to share some of my reflections from the experience of conceiving, researching, writing, and getting responses to the article.
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The Skeptical Boys Club

The Worldwide Skeptical MovementTM,1 has found itself in the unenviable position of one of Van Wilder‘s2 clients, namely asking, “How do we get ladies to come to our events?”3. Fortunately, The Worldwide Skeptical MovementTM seems to be asking for more serious reasons than the Lambda Omega Omegas. Unless you are the Augusta Country Club, you want your group demographics to mirror those of the society within which your group is embedded. Among many other benefits, this shows that your message is successfully reaching the entire society, not just a specific niche.

This is what is known in the business as “hard”. Continue reading “The Skeptical Boys Club”

Do Guys Dream of Electric Playmates (Repost)

This is a repost of an article originally published on 24 February 2009 here in response to a Wired Magazine article that is, once again, making the rounds.

My apologies to Horselover Fat for the title, but what is a boy to do when confronted with Katharine Gammon’s “Infoporn: Today’s Playmates Are More Like Anime Figures Than Real Humans” in Wired Magazine:

Oh, Playboy, why do you want your “readers” to lust after androids? That’s the only explanation we can think of for the proportions of your lovely ladybots.

If Hef is secretly invested in Battlestar Galactica, then the argument that Playboy has been gradually programming American males to “lust after androids” for the past fifty years makes sense.
Battlestar Galactica publicity still
The argument that Playboy drives the public perception of the ideal female form, as opposed to responding to the preferences of their readers (you won’t get any judgemental scare quotes from me) may just be a reflection of Gammon’s socioeconomic philosophy or writing style. It also does not involve fun graphs. Dealing with the specific claim of the article, that Playmates represent progressively more extreme and less healthy body shapes, does.

Continue reading “Do Guys Dream of Electric Playmates (Repost)”

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