It's all too easy to stereotype people. For example, astronomers are nerds, and bloggers are self-indulgent egoists who just love to hear their own voice, metaphorically speaking. Well OK, nuts, maybe those aren't great examples. But you get my point.
I hear the same thing about skeptics all the time: we're naysayers, cynics, joyless, loveless, and have no sense of wonder. But that's way, way off base. We're human; we have a sense of wonder, we love, we hate, we stub our toes like everyone else.
One stereotype that's a bit more on-the-mark is that skeptics tend to be men. I'm one of those, for example, and when I go to skeptics meetings that does seem to be the most common species. But women are there too. Lots of them! Maybe not enough, but the numbers are encouraging to me.
These are cool women. Funny, bright, sociable, sarcastic, and possessed of a great sense of humor, they call themselves skepchicks. They also have a fine sense of support; that is, they understand what a fragile thing skepticism can be for someone new to it, and they want to encourage others to join in.
To that end, two different groups of skepchicks have figured out a way to support critical thinking: sell stuff! And if it's sexy stuff, all the better.
One group of skepchicks (which formed in large part due to James Randi's website) has gotten together and done something I think is very, very cool: they have created a 2006 Skepchick calendar, on sale now. Proceeds from the calendar will go toward a fund to help support more women attending Randi's Amaz!ng Meeting 4 in Las Vegas this coming January.
|Their tagline is: "Smart is sexy". Ain't that the truth! Turns out fishnets help too.|
Anyway, I've already ordered my calendar, though I have no idea where I can hang it. In my office means getting fired; in my house means Mrs. Bad Astronomer will shake her head pityingly at me. Hard to say which is worse.
|The second site I want to plug is for Rationalitees, where you can get skeptical gear aimed (mostly) at women (I like this one in particular). This site is run by a skepchick from the Central New York Skeptics, an excellent group of folks who have done a lot to promote critical thinking.|
So go buy stuff. It'll do some good, and will keep the Skepchicks from hurting me at the next meeting.