boobs

A quick clarification about Boobquake

Holy crap.

So what started as a joke and somewhat sarcastic reply to the ludicrous notion that women’s immodesty causes earthquakes has now exploded. Seriously, internet, you scare and amaze me sometimes. The Facebook event already has almost 14,000 attendees (and 60,000 invited) in just over 24 hours. The wall is getting comments so quickly that I had to disable Facebook email notifications because my inbox was getting flooded. The twitter stream for #boobquake is updating so quickly that I can’t keep up. To top that off, I just got interviewed by the largest newspaper in Canada and some radio station in Ireland wants to interview me.

Because I made a boob joke.

Since this is probably only going to get crazier in the next couple of days, I want to make a quick clarification. This post is going to be far shorter than it should be since I am a student and I’m trying to finish homework and such, but I wanted to at least acknowledge what people are saying.

I just want to apologize if this comes off as demeaning toward women. To be honest, it started as silly joke that I hurriedly fired off since I was about to miss the beginning of House. I never thought it would get the attention it did. If I would have known, I would have spent more time being careful about my wording.

That being said, I don’t think the event is completely contrary to feminist ideals. I’m asking women to wear their most “immodest” outfit that they already would wear, but to coordinate it all on the same day for the sake of the experiment. Heck, just showing an ankle would be considered immodest by some people. I don’t want to force people out of their comfort zones, because I believe women have the right to choose how they want to dress. Please don’t pressure women to participate if they don’t want to. If men ogle, that’s the fault of the men, not me for dressing how I like. If I want to a show a little cleavage or joke about my boobs, that’s my prerogative.

I also hate the ideal of “big boobs are always better!” The cleavage joke was just a result of me personally having cleavage, and that being my choice of immodesty. And I thought “boobquake” just sounded funny. Really, it’s not supposed to be serious activism that is going to revolutionize women’s rights, but just a bit of fun juvenile humor. I’m a firm believer that when someone says something so stupid and hateful, serious discourse isn’t going to accomplish anything – sometimes light-hearted mockery is worthwhile.

Anyway, I’m not forcing anyone to agree with me. Maybe I am failing at Feminism 101, or maybe I’m just taking a different approach.

And to the scientists who are concerned with my methods – don’t worry, I fully plan on doing some statistics after the event. I know many earthquakes happen on a daily basis, so we’re looking to see if Boobquake significantly increases the number or severity of earthquakes. Or if an earthquake strikes West Lafayette, IN and only kills me, that may be good evidence of God’s wrath as well (I’m not too concerned). And yes, I know I need a larger sample size to make this good science. Maybe I’ll include Mardi gras in my calculations.

In the name of science, I offer my boobs

This little bit of supernatural thinking has been floating around the blogosphere today:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader.

I have a modest proposal.

Sedighi claims that not dressing modestly causes earthquakes. If so, we should be able to test this claim scientifically. You all remember the homeopathy overdose?

Time for a Boobquake.

On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I’m sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn’t rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it’ll be one involving plate tectonics.

So, who’s with me? I may be a D cup, but that will probably only produce a slight tremor on its own. If you’ll be joining me on twitter, use the tag #boobquake! Or join the facebook event!

(Confused? Angry? Think my science is crap? Read a serious explanation of boobquake here)

How not to promote female atheists

Hey guys, remember that giant list I made of awesome female atheists? And how I talked about the importance of promoting this minority within the atheist community? Yeah, this is not the way to do it:

Dude: @jennifurret Is there going to be a bikini beauty contest in Skepchicamp?
Me:
This is the kind of sexist BS I’m talking about. Not funny RT @Dude: Is there going to be a bikini beauty contest in Skepchicamp?
Dude: @jennifurret How’s that sexist? Nothing wrong with a bikini contest. As a matter of fact, it would be a great way to promote Skepchicamp.
Me:
@Dude Because it’s a conference focusing on skepticism, intelligence, and empowering women, yet you reduced us to our boobs
Dude: @jennifurret Are you implying a bikini contest is all about boobs, no intelligence?
Me:
Uh, yes? RT @Dude: Are you implying a bikini contest is all amount boobs, no intelligence?
Dude: @jennifurret Why? I don’t think boobs and intelligence is mutually exclusive, ie we can get only one but not both.
Me:
@Dude I think you should stop while you’re ahead
Dude: @jennifurret To compete with Christianity, we need to package boobs and intelligence together as a killer product.
Me: Keep digging that hole RT @Dude: To compete with Christianity, we need to package boobs and intelligence together as a killer product.
Dude:
@jennifurret You are so evil!
Me:
I am merely repeating the things you are saying. You produce the consequences RT @Dude: You are so evil!

Okay, I’ll admit I’m kind of on a short fuse about this topic at the moment. Usually the first tweet (which came out of the blue) would illicit nothing more than an eye roll, but last night I watched the PZ vs the Preacher blogtv fundraiser. I was getting pissed how whenever Ashley or ZOMGitsCriss were on screen, the chat room devolved into “Show us your tits!” and creepy sexual comments. I hate how on one hand you have men talking about how we need more outspoken female atheists, and then on the other hand you have completely socially inept sexist creepers making us want to go back into hiding. Yes, it’s the internet, and people will say things they usually wouldn’t dare say in real life – but those thoughts are still there, and that’s distasteful enough.

Good looks and intelligence are not mutually exclusive, but good looks shouldn’t matter when judging based on intelligence. Is it a coincidence that when I think of the female bloggers and YouTubers I follow, a high percentage range from moderately attractive to smoking hot? I’d love to think that someone who would be judged as “unattractive” who was also smarter and wittier would be just as successful, but that seems like the exception rather than the rule. Males don’t have to stand up to that sort of scrutiny.

Boobs should not be the marketing scheme for atheism, nor should we have to put up with subtle sexism in a movement promoting skepticism. I don’t want to ban sexual discussion or humor – hell, I’d be the last person to suggest that. However, there is a difference between me talking about my sexuality and someone yelling “Show me your titties!!!”; between posing for a sexy Skepchick calendar and having someone suggest you should have a bikini contest during a conference; between us all trading juvenile boob jokes after I initiate it and someone making an irrelevant comment about my chest whenever I post a photo.

Think of it in terms of consent.

When I’m initiating a conversation or a joke, I’m giving you permission to join in. Bringing it up out of the blue, often in a crass way, is jarring because sexuality is so private. Some women will open up more than others – but just because I open up frequently doesn’t mean it’s a free for all. Off topic boob comments, marriage proposals, and sexy costume suggestions (I wish I wasn’t making this up, folks) get old after a while, even for an avowed pervert like myself.

I don’t think that most of the time there is ill will. I do think that most guys are oblivious at how such comments can make women feel like they’re being reduced to their breasts. Especially in a community that cherishes intelligence, logic, reasoning, and wit, being judged on looks is just plain annoying.

So do me a favor guys: Think before you speak. And if your fellow man forgets this simple rule, please remind him.

Happy New Year!

My night:

  • Went to Mark’s house. It was just us and another old high school friend, since everyone else had either left for vacation in Florida or was partying it up in Chicago.
  • Beat his 8 year old brother in Mario Kart. Barely. Parents whisked him away before I could be embarrassed.
  • Ate way too much spinach and artichoke dip, yet didn’t imbibe a single drop of alcohol. Mono, I shake my fist at you. Ah well.
  • Roommate (who was in another town) texted me asking me what dead baby jokes I could remember. I love my roommate. I also love that she would turn to me for help in such an area.
  • Watched three hours of The Next Food Network Star. Developed an idea for a new show, Bobby Flay Goes Apeshit. All you have to do is use the outtakes from one of his billion shows, add some explosions and lasers shooting out of his eyes, and you have a fucking masterpiece. Seriously, were we the only people who noticed how he looks like he’s about to absolutely flip out in disappointment before the camera cuts away? I can fill in the gaps. “Capers? Where…are…the CAPERS?! ARHRFHGHG!! *rips of shirt and grills the failing contestant*”
  • Tuned into Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper right before the ball dropped in New York. Oh my god, I wish we would have tuned in sooner. I love both of them separate, but together it’s just pure genius. I’m amazed at Kathy’s sheer willpower to not swear for all of those hours, but she was still being horrendously inappropriate for the program, and watching Anderson squirm awkwardly was amazing. “I just did some blow!” “No, no she did not. *frantic look*” Or when she asked Anderson what his safe word was? Also, Anderson Cooper getting hit on by a drag queen made my year (the 45 minutes left of it at the time). And the fact that Lance Bass was randomly reporting too – Could CNN get any gayer? Win.
  • Then we tuned into to the local Chicago news for our count down. Good god, Chicagoans look like the saddest bunch of people compared to New Yorkers. New York was a huge party, Chicago was a bunch of middle aged people sitting at tables eating, listening to crappy bands, and falling asleep. Every year the highlight is watching ABC 7’s Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies announce as they get progressively tipsier and tipsier. It always ends with Mark constantly making off color jokes and vaguely hitting on Janet. I was not disappointed.
  • It turned midnight. Yay. 2010.
  • We watched the South Park movie. Mark’s parents and 8 year old brother decided to come home right when Kenny was going to heaven and seeing a bunch of boobs, and then going to hell and seeing blood and gore. Oh, and don’t forget the constant swearing. It amuses me how things can become awkward so quickly given the audience.
  • Watched the same Girls Gone Wild commercial probably 20 times. Was it really necessary to include that one commercial during every break, sometimes two times per break? Could they have at least mixed it up a little so we could see a different drunk girl’s boobs jiggling across the screen?
  • Drove home, put on pajamas, and wrote this blog post because I can’t fall asleep. …Wait, now I’m getting meta. Time to stop.

How’d you spend your New Years Eve?

Irrational reactions to clothes shopping

I hate clothes shopping. When it comes to my list of Failures at Being a Woman, this probably ranks at number one. I loathe shopping for clothes so much that I will literally put it off for a year or more, continuously coming up with new excuses not to go. Even when I’ve mustered up the strength to go to the mall, I usually only last an hour or so before giving up and leaving.

Why the hatred? To me, it’s just one big trip into poor body image land. Even when I was younger I hated it. I was 5’9″ at age 11, and let me tell you, no pants fit freakishly tall girls. Even “long” juniors pants were too short, and grown-up jeans looked like clown pants on my hips since I hadn’t filled out yet – an 11-year-old girl look more like a ruler than an hourglass. Thankfully, I’ve since worked on that and developed a womanly figure and finding pants isn’t such a problem.

But if it’s not one thing, it’s another: now I have boobs. I know, I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right? I know I’m lucky to have boobs the size of mine, but that doesn’t mean I’m particularly confident about them; to me, they are not in the best shape and I often find myself thinking ‘Am I a good candidate for breast reconstruction surgery?‘. When it comes to shopping, finding clothes as a D cup is a pain the ass. One, it happened fairly suddenly so I had to get a new wardrobe – five years as a B, then wham! D cup. Old shirts don’t fit, at least not comfortably. And you’d think in a country where the average cup size is a C that I wouldn’t have such issues, but I feel like Goldilocks. Mediums are too small, with it fitting around my abdomen but my boobs feeling like they’re going to explode out ala Superman or the Hulk (or literally doing so if it’s a button up shirt)*. Larges fit my chest, but are like a tent around the rest of my body. Is it so much to ask for clothing for curvy girls? I’ve even considered having Breast Reduction Surgery in Westchester, NY so that I can find clothes comfortably. Everyone thinks I enjoy having big boobs but really they are just a hassle. You’d think that in a society which is obsessed with big boobs, we’d give them a little more respect.

Even though these seem like fairly practical gripes, I’ll admit most of my aversion is irrational. Not being able to find clothes that fit makes me feel inadequate. I can look in the mirror and feel attractive, I can have others tell me I’m attractive**, but the moment I’m in that changing room, society’s opinion is weighing in. I know it’s stupid to care about the standards of the fashion industry or just society in general, but it’s hard when you’re immersed in it. I’m below the average weight and pant size of an American woman, yet if you use models and actresses (women we constantly see) as a standard I look like a freaking elephant.

The worst part is that if something seems fashionable, trendy, or cute, I feel like I’m not allowed to wear it. I feel self-conscious wearing nice things because it seems totally out of character for me like I’m only supposed to wear boring things that will just make me blend into the background. I’m not sure if I can even explain the feeling other than “You’re not one of those pretty girly girls, so just throw on a t-shirt and jeans.” The idea of getting dolled up for a night out – doing something other than just brushing my hair, putting on any makeup, donning a cute little dress – is just absolutely alien to me. I’m not judging women who do do that – I just feel like I missed out on the Woman Card that gave me clearance to do such things.

Are there others who feel this way, or am unique in my insanity? I hate being so irrational about my appearance mainly because I know it’s irrational. That’s the hard part about being a skeptic. It’s one thing to believe stupid things, but it really stings to know you’re being stupid.

*And the fanboys chant, “Go with the mediums!”
**The point of this post is not to get pity compliments. Please do not regale me with “Well I think you’re hot”s to make me feel better. Just pondering this line of thinking.

Science, Boobies, and Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer awareness month. There are all sorts of days and weeks and months designated to promoting awareness of worthy causes, but breast cancer is especially important to me since my mother is a survivor. She was diagnosed the summer before my senior year of high school, which would be a little over four years ago. We don’t have a history of cancer in the family so getting genetic testing for cancer was never something we had considered but, all of a sudden, it found its way into our lives in a big way. My mom was very lucky in that she caught the cancer early because of her persistent self examination. She felt a lump, but the doctors didn’t believe her – she nagged them and had more than one mammogram before they realized she did, in fact, have breast cancer. If she hadn’t been checking herself and been so diligent, I’m afraid to think what would have happened to her.

I have to admit, at the time I wasn’t really too worried. It was probably a combination of me being young and naive, and knowing that she had caught it early enough that her prognosis was good. My general mantra for dealing with bad things in life is don’t worry about what may happen, just do your best to avoid it and fret when it actually does happen. To me, we just had to be level headed, get treatment, and hope for the best. If her status worsened, then I could start freaking out. Not only do I have an oddly unemotional approach to life, but my mom was a fighter. She tried not to let it show how sick the chemotherapy made her, or how sad she was about losing her hair. Instead she would buy trendy hats or talk about how maybe she’d be more stylish by keeping her hair short after her treatment.

She even said the cancer didn’t upset her – the thing she feared the most is that she wouldn’t be able to watch my senior golf season because she would be too weak (I was the captain of my team and one of the best players in the region). My mom scheduled her chemo and radiation around my golf schedule, so she would be sick on my practices and well enough to walk with my Dad and follow me during my matches and tournaments.

She would brag to the nurses how her daughter was going to go study genetics and maybe solve all of these problems. While I’m not in cancer research and there’s not going to be some magical “cure” that works for every type of cancer, she still recognizes the roll that science plays in saving lives. I’ve said before that my mom is sort of a deist, but I don’t remember a single time her asking for people to pray for her, or referencing religion in any way. What I do remember is discussing treatments, what certain chemicals do, how radiation actually works… How I was learning about cancer in human genetics, and she would ask me how exactly cancer starts, how likely you are to get it, if her cancer means I’ll get breast cancer, if certain genetic tests were worth while… We talked about science.

Science saves lives, and it can only get better at saving lives if they have money and support. Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation for information or to donate. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a good review on breast self exams, for those of you with boobies (or with girlfriends whose boobies you like to prod). For those of you in the twitterverse, you can participate in #boobiewednesday to show your support for breast cancer research by tweeting about it and changing your avatar to a photo of your chest (yet more incentive to follow me on twitter*)!

I know there are some feminists who hate boob campaigns, like selling shirts that say “I Love Boobies”, because they say it reduces woman to their breasts. To an extent, I understand. Breast cancer research isn’t about saving boobs, it’s about saving women. If a woman has lost her breasts, that doesn’t make her any less human. But I don’t think these movements mean any harm. They’re just exploiting people’s infantile humor (omg boobies lol) in order to raise money for a good cause. It would be lovely if people would just donate money out of the goodness of their heart, but they don’t…so the way I see it, let’s milk boobie humor (haha, get it?) for all it’s worth. In the end, it’s saving lives.

*No, you don’t get a bigger version of that pic. You’ll have to live with 48 pixels.

Blogging is serious business

It seems like I’ve been on a trend of ranty/serious blogging lately. While I enjoy reading the discussions that go on in the comments, they also start to drain on me after a while. So, here, have something silly:

Me: Will you take my picture? I want a before shot, while I’m still female
Friend: Sure. No, pose more girly.
Me: KayAmerica’s Next Top Model, I am not. I can totally imagine Nigel telling me that my hand looks like a claw or Tyra saying I’m not smizing enough (yes, I fully expect you all to shun me for watching that stupid show). Oh, and sunburn from our Pastafarian preaching, yay!

But then the clock struck 8, and instead of turning into a pumpkin, I turned into……a skeevy used car salesman! I mean, a male! Actually, with my hair down I looked eerily like Penn Jillette, which would explain my magic trick of making my D-cups disappear.

Yes, Friday night I held a drag party. I think that’s an acceptable excuse for not blogging.

The comment thread to end all comment threads

BOOBS

Discuss.

This is post 43 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Chop Suey for Charity

Not sure why none of you suggested this one, but I thought it was the most hilarious pick. Keep in mind I’m embarrassing myself for charity. Enjoy the silly singing and complimentary boob jigglage.

Thanks Mark for the backup vocals.

(Sorry it’s not the full song…camera battery died right when it cut off =( )

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OdsbV6xV3w&hl=en&fs=1&]

This is post 25 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

A Catholic Atheist

Hi everyone! My name is Vanessa and this is my first blog post that will be read by people other than my close friends. Hooray!

When asked to guest post, my first thought was to divulge all of Jen’s dirty secrets, as I had been her roommate a couple years ago (and incidentally will be again in a few days). Unfortunately, I couldn’t really think of a whole lot to share (though she does get quite a collection of dirty socks under her desk). So instead, I am going to share my atheist conversion story.

I grew up Catholic. My parents are Catholic and we went to church every weekend. I went to Sunday School (though it was never on Sundays) from 1st through 11th grade.I was baptized, confirmed, reconciled, and had my first Eucharist (eating the bread and drinking the wine, for you non-Catholics) all before I was 9 years old.When I was young, I was all into this. I mean, what else was I supposed to think? My parents told me this was the truth and I had no reason to believe that they were wrong.

It was probably around 7th or 8th grade, when I started taking serious science classes, that I began to question my beliefs. In high school, I became a critical thinker and started analyzing religion.Most of it didn’t make any sense to me. But I wanted it to be true, so I tried to hold on. That didn’t last long, however, because by 11th grade, I had given up on trying to make sense of religion. I remember watching the deleted scenes of Donnie Darko in which Donnie is talking to his therapist. She described an agnostic as “One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.” I decided that described me. That same year in English class, one of our spelling test words (yes, I actually had spelling/definition tests in 11th grade) was agnostic. The definition our teacher gave was “someone who doesn’t care whether God exists or not.” I was offended by that. I cared very deeply, because I was still trying to work out which side of the fence I was actually on. Incidentally, this was the same teacher that canceled our school’s annual Haunted House because it promoted demons and Satan and the like.

When I got to college, I was still pretty firm in my agnosticism. I made friends with a bunch of other agnostics and some atheists. Being around them and not being forced to go to church every day, I realized that the more I thought about it, the more ridiculous the idea of a god seemed to me. So by the beginning of my second year at college, I began defining myself as an atheist.

That is where I stand currently, and I am proud of it. However, I can’t bring myself to tell my parents or the rest of my family. I feel like it would greatly disappoint them. I feel like they would think they failed somehow in raising me. One day I hope to come out to them, but until then I’ll just continue with my secret life.

This is post 16 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

What should I wear?

In less than three weeks I’ll be at the Creation Museum with PZ’s enormous horde of heathens. But I’m having a serious problem, and I need your help.

I don’t know what blasphemous/nerdy shirt to wear. I have too many!

Here are my favorite options, and there’s a poll at the bottom where you can tell me what I should wear.

Official club t-shirt
*Quote is on back
Pros: School pride! Self pride since I designed it. Comfortable
Cons: Loose fitting, less boobage for others to enjoy

You Say Tomato, I Say Lycopersicum esculentum
Pros: Delightful biological nerdiness
Cons: So nerdy only biologists may get it (I’ve had this problem)

Spiritual Symphony Fin
Pros: Awesome looking, Jesus in a rock band will probably annoy the creationists
Cons: Must constantly deal with people asking me who the dude on the right is (They say Mohammad, I say Moses so I won’t be destroyed)

Biblical Disaster
Pros: Will be absolutely amazing to wear in the room that recreates the Ark
Cons: Older shirt and a little less comfortable

Stand Back (xkcd)
Pros: Irony of trying science in the Creation Museum. xkcd is awesome. This shirt gives me super boobs
Cons: May be mauled by atheist men for being an atheist chick who likes xkcd. Wait, maybe not a con afterall…

So, what do you think?

I really probably shouldn’t have added that last option, but I couldn’t resist. If you’re going to be a smartass, at least vote for a real option too ;-P

EDIT: Oi, there’s actually a little poll widgit there, but it’s no showing up in Google Reader. It does work on my website though. Damn you technology!

It’s officially summer!

Why? While walking to lab today, I got my first cat call of the year. Woo. I don’t know if there’s something about warm weather that gets guys all worked up, or if it’s the fact that I’m no longer wearing jackets and sweaters that hide my boobage*, but this always happens in the summer. Seriously, can someone with more testosterone than me explain this phenomenon to me? I really don’t get why guys think it’s so awesome to hang halfway out of their car whistling and yelling nonsensical flirtations to some random girl. I never know if I should be flattered, or if they’re just doing it sarcastically to mock me…

Me: I don’t get catcalling, like while you’re driving away quickly. What’s the point?
Male Friend: I think it’s more about the guys in the group… guys don’t do it alone
Me: Yeah, it was the passenger in a car. I just don’t get it
Male Friend: Oh, so he was a Scrub. You don’t want none of that.
Me: lol scrubs don’t get no love from me, don’t worry

*I’ve been told that I have “surprise boobs.” Most of my shirts come up to my neck so no gratuitous cleavage, and from about September to April I’m wearing sweaters that apparently flatten me out. I’ve caused more than one guy to go wide eye with shock the first time they see me shirtless. This is why I don’t get girls that flaunt cleavage all the time – it’s so much more fun to take them by surprise! That being said, my threadless shirts are pretty tight in the chest, so I guess that shows them off a bit. You know what, I can’t help that they make those shirts for skinny A cup girls… Wow, I’ve been a bit obsessed with boobs lately, haven’t I? I can’t stop talking about them! Boobs! Boobies! Breasticles! Ahhhhhh!!!