Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz


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#MeToo, Sex Ed, 50 Shades, Abuse & Consent

#MeToo has led to a lot of questions about what healthy interactions look like between people where at least one of the parties wants something sexy to happen. Unfortunately, a very widespread lack of understanding (and in many cases coupled with disregard for the safety or feelings of others) means that a huge number of people have been subject to painful experiences.

Sometimes men’s fears about ‘being labelled a harasser or rapist’ are absurd and absolutely should be met with derision (also, try living in fear of actually being assaulted) – if you can’t understand the difference between flirting and harassing, please get yourself some help. This is your problem to fix. Also watch this video!

But there is also a deeper problem in that we get a lot of bad information and there are vacuums that are filled with nonsense when it comes to sex and relationships, while we grow up. I recall chatting with friends around the time that the original 50 Shades film was announced (wtf?! we exclaimed – then last year brought us the second) and our discussions of abuse, relationships and sex education in schools; how bad it all is.

50Shades is Abuse

I don’t know who wrote this; please add in the comments if you do and I can amend!

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On supporting sexism: repeat the nonsense

I know I haven’t written a thing for ages but I felt the need to lay this one out in more than a Storify because… does anyone actually read them?
But here are my favourites:

  • Pockets! They’re sexist. How much stuff have you broken?
  • Trump, misogynists, ‘gamerg*te’, white supremacists – a weird web of misery

Anyway, to the point. We all like our insults, and sometimes we reach for things that are less than ideal. Have got into this previously here & here.

The Storify topics are just 2 examples of sexism – quite far apart on the scale as it goes – but another huge one is rumbling along, the Google memo. Cue a bunch of guys coming forward to defend him because really, female inferiority is just science, right?!? Continue reading


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Russia Running Rings Around Homophobia

Please go to More Links for updates since I wrote this.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time and after a loooong writing break, am finally getting around to it. It’s long, but I hope it’s worth it.

We can make it happen.

We can make it happen.

I went to Russia a few years ago. It was a great holiday, and I was hopeful about a return trip someday. However, developments since Putin somehow managed to retain his presidency have basically removed that option.

It is hard to say exactly why the “Gay propaganda law” has been put in place. A common (but not universally accepted) suggestion is that one goal of a ruler who wants to keep their power is to suppress views they do not like, and that’s precisely where these laws come from, pandering to the “traditional” views of some of the people, and the church. Create scapegoats that aren’t you, but some imagined “other” that are a real threat to your livelihood. In this case, it’s “protect children from things that might make them gay” – obviously based on a fundamental misunderstanding of both sexual orientation and what’s important for young people*.

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LiftGate: QEDcon2013

qedconHello everyone.

So you know before we get going, some of this is meant to be tongue-in-cheeck, mainly because I wanted to make use of a pun. It’s also got little serious bits in it and partly it’s because I just got home from QED and I need a bit more of it in my life before I let it go for another year…

Also I haven’t been blogging much lately, I don’t know why. Haven’t been inspired, also busy with new job(s) and imminent moving house! I didn’t write a post about QEDcon 2012 because I was mega-stressed with thesis-writing at the time (nearly couldn’t attend because of it) but this year I shall follow from the 2011 posts:

I love QED

As does everyone I speak to who’s been. This was its third year and it certainly lived up to expectations based on the last two. I’d looked forward to it since I left in 2012; extremely tired on the Sunday evening, I slept through the whole train journey back to Euston. Cleverly, this year I booked the room for Sunday night too – to anyone who can afford a bit of Monday off and the extra expense, I highly recommend this!

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LGBT+

I don’t know why I suddenly started thinking about this (and asking Twitter about it) today. But I did, and the conversation was quite good, so I wanted to write a post. It’s kind of about labels and acronyms and diversity and inclusivity and other things – choice, importantly. A bit of privilege. All those words that crop up a lot when you move in “liberal” kinds of circles. And like thinking about issues. Also I propose a competition! Read on…

logo_lgbtFor the uninitiated, if you have no idea what I’m banging on about and need some definitions, I wrote a Background section at the end for you – if you’re open to learning something today, that is.

So, somehow there began a tendency to define some sexualities and gender identities (I find it interesting that the two seem to go hand-in-hand still, despite the increasingly clear message that one need not follow the other) and lump those definitions together in acronyms/initialisms. I don’t profess to know why that happened, but I have some of my own thoughts on a) why people choose to identify with certain labels and b) how that can be useful to them.

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Cuts, labels and preferences

Last night I stumbled upon (via a friend) what is probably one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time about male circumcision – it’s got just about everything there. The religious angle, of course, since the article is written by Jewish Nobel prize winner, George Wald.

But more than that, it highlights what a complex issue genital cutting is and expands upon the probable motivations that drive people to it. Where angry victims tend to place the blame (squarely upon mothers, except in Judaism); FGM; issues of gender and misogyny; the less reported forms of MGM outside of the USA and Europe; basic embryology; health myths (for the skeptical readers!); and personal perspectives from those involved.

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Invisible Lives

It’s a skeptics in the pub write-up!

In case you missed it, I luckily made it to Westminster Skeptics to see Juliet Jacques give her talk,

Thinking critically about transgender issues

and you can listen to it on the Pod Delusion but I shall write up my notes for those who prefer to read!

Firstly Belinda Brooks-Gordon introduced the talk by saying that trans rights have not really moved forward along with women’s rights. To try to highlight this and educate people, Juliet has a Guardian blog where she posts regularly about trans issues.

Now we can hear what Juliet has to say – it’s a lot of stuff, hugely informative, and it was a great talk!

I’ve put in a few thoughts of my own with [Comment: …] along the way.

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