Tag Archives: SSA

Blogathon

Smart Giving: Why You Should Donate To The Secular Student Alliance

Disclosure: I’m an intern at the Secular Student Alliance this summer. The opinions below are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the SSA.

Hello, Dave here.

I’m going to come straight out and say it. You should donate to the Secular Student Alliance. Right now. I’m serious. Get out your wallet and set it on the table beside you. Have a credit card? Get it out. Have a bill in your wallet? Get it out. We’re going to do something here with it in a second.

I want you to take your credit card out of your wallet and look at it (or, if you have cash, take it out and look at it).

I want you to think of all the things you’ve bought in the last week.

Gasoline? Coffee? Gum? Cigarettes? Soda? Beer? Went out to eat?

I just got back from the store. Here’s a list of things I’ve bought in the past two hours:

– Two bottles of wine: $30 (not on receipt because I got them at a different store)
– A bath sheet: $20
– A corkscrew: $10
– A fancy can opener: $18
– A box of trash bags: $8
– A big jar of peanut butter: $7
– Two jars of jam: $5
– A package of hangers:  $5
– Some mouthwash: $5
– A little candle with a holder: $4

All of this together is over $100. Now, if I were to ask myself, which is more important to me? Wine? A fancy can opener? or the Secular Student Alliance?

Every time, without fail, I would choose the SSA.

Except that I *didn’t* choose the SSA; I chose the fancy can opener. I guess that’s not “without fail.”

I want you to look at your credit card, or the cash you got out, and ask yourself: “What is the highest and best use of this money?”

The Secular Student Alliance is doing the most important work I have seen in the world. I am not just saying this. I’m studying economics & anthropology at Mizzou, and I’m interested in non-profit efficiency and smart giving. I care about a lot of causes. I care about feminism, and poverty alleviation, and reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights, and vegetarianism & animal welfare. But I chose to work with the SSA because I think this is the most important cause, and the most urgent cause.

We are empowering students toward a secular future. A better future. A science-fiction future with flying cars and weekend trips to the moon and people living to their 200th birthday. Prosperous countries trading instead of fighting. When we focus our attention on being good critical thinkers, we solve problems. Like the bumper sticker says, “Two hands working accomplish more than 1,000 clasped in prayer.” The SSA works with students because students are our best hope for the future.

I want you to read this post by my boss, Lyz Liddell. It’s called “The Unstoppable Secular Students.” I mentioned “smart giving” above. That means using critical thinking when deciding where to donate. It means asking questions and making sure your money is being put not just to good use, but the best use.

The problem with this, from a non-profit’s perspective, is that when people think critically about donating, they tend to donate less. Emotions can take over people’s donation behavior and when people aren’t asking questions, it’s easy to get them to donate. I want you to do the opposite of what most people do. I want you to think critically, realize that the SSA is the doing the best work you could ask of a non-profit, and donate more. I want you to donate as much as you possibly can. I want you to do this because I have done my homework, and I know how important this is and how good of a job the SSA is doing. I know how understaffed the SSA is and how much its people care. And most importantly, I know that they are getting stuff DONE, I know how much they need every dollar you can spare to keep doing it.

Smart giving doesn’t mean giving less. It means choosing a great, efficient, and productive charity, and giving all that you can. If you care about secular issues, the SSA is what you’re looking for.

What are you going to buy tomorrow that you don’t really need? Don’t do it. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance today instead. We can make this happen with your help.

So, your wallet that is sitting out. Let’s do this. We can do it together. The $100 I spent today on crap I don’t need? I’m officially pledging another $100 to the SSA, right here, right now. And I want you to do the same. If $20 is all you can manage, donate $20. And because of Jeff Hawkins & Janet Strauss’s matching $250,000 donation offer, your $20 magically multiples into $40. Do it. Donate, because the SSA is important, and that’s worth caring about.

– Dave

Ellen says:

Remember, here are some ways to pledge:

1.  Pledge per word (.01¢ per word is suggested).

2.  Pledge per post (24 throughout the day).

3.  Pledge per thing you’ve learned.  If a post teaches you something new, you donate your pledge amount.

4.  Bid to torture. Have a crafty challenge for me? Something new to make into crochet? Some sick geometric origami? Whatever you do, don’t make me go outside and do… things… like… …exercise. I will hate you. But if you bid enough, I might do it.

5. And always bid for crochet Cthulhu’s and FSM’s! They will be available throughout the week, and any that are not auctioned will be for sale near the end.

So if you need any more reasons to donate, stick around. I’m here all day.

This is post 19/24 of Ellen’s Blogathon in support of the Secular Student Alliance. Donate here!

Activism Ethics Lifestyle Opinion

Why I’m a Male Feminist (And Why Our Movement Needs More of Us)

“Feminist” is a polarizing word.  You’ll generally see it used in one of two ways: as self-identification by people who consider themselves feminists, and as a pejorative by people who do not.

It’s a word with an ugly connotation in many people’s minds, not unlike the word “atheist”; people hear the “-ist” suffix and infer an ideology that seeks feminine supremacy rather than gender equality, just as many see atheism as a rebellious denial of God rather than an affirmative acceptance of a godless universe.

To be sure, there are differing opinions among those who consider themselves feminists regarding what it means to be a feminist. There are disagreements about its implications regarding sexuality, marriage, reproductive rights, and parenting. There are disputes about what reforms are needed in modernized Western societies compared to developing nations.  There are debates about who gets to call themselves feminists, particularly about whether this label can apply to men.

Can men be feminists?

I call myself a feminist because I agree with the movement’s most basic tenet: women are people. I feel that throughout human history and in the status quo today, women have been and are either (a) regarded as lesser beings than men, or (b) propped up on a pedestal from which they are not permitted to descend, and often paradoxically both at the same time. I see this as wrong and would like to do my part to correct it.

As such, supporting fair treatment across gender lines means proactively questioning and reforming the way we (both men and women) think about women. For this reason I will use the word “feminist” and not try to make up some new, gender-neutral term for supporting gender equality.

Hoping that I don't sound like this.

I know that there are hardcore feminists out there who object to men calling themselves feminists. I understand their reasons for feeling that way (for example, men presumptuously thinking they can speak on behalf of feminism, men dominating discussions on feminism, and then there’s this guy).

I still feel that I should use the label, as it helps to make feminism less taboo, less scary to people who claim they oppose feminism without understanding what it means. An increase in the number of visible male feminists (or “pro-feminists” or “allies” if you prefer) will increase dialogue among men about their treatment of women, and increase the number of men who stop to think “Y’know, maybe I am being sexist without realizing it. I should reexamine my attitudes about gender roles.”

Being visible among skeptics, or Wearing it proudly

At the SSA conference last month, I chose to wear my bright green “THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE” t-shirt, bought years ago from a fundraiser for a battered women’s shelter.

I don't always wear t-shirts with slogans on them, but when I do I support equal treatment of women.

I’ll admit that I knew I wasn’t going out on a limb with this: I knew that there were many feminists among the population of young atheists and agnostics. It got positive reactions from feminist atheist bloggers Jen McCreight and Greta Christina, and it turned out there were even a few other male feminists there as well.

In proclaiming myself as a feminist, just as happened when I proclaimed myself an atheist, I am bound to make both friends (not all of whom I’d like to call “friend”) and enemies (some of whom I have no quarrel with) based solely on the label.

Case in point: one of the Marxist activists present at the conference seemed to assume I’d be sympathetic to her group’s ideology based on my self-identification as a feminist. I was not.

I’m not aware of any animosity toward me regarding the shirt (I’ve experienced such from male acquaintances in the past), but I have to wonder if it frightened anyone away. I would certainly hope not.

The bottom line

I will echo the sentiments of atheists who have found the AAFHSS community to have a detectable sexism problem, if based solely on what I’ve read in the blogosphere (I personally heard no such comments at the SSA conference).  I do suspect, however, that many groups and social movements have the same problem, if not a more deeply embedded one; the difference is that there are outspoken feminists in the secular movement who recognize sexism when it rears its ugly head and call people out on it.

I also will ask that any men who feel threatened by feminism take a serious second look at their attitudes toward women.  Are you afraid of becoming a second class citizen, or are you afraid of losing special privileges you’ve become accustomed to?  Are you afraid that values associated with your gender will someday no longer be the default?

I won’t tell other skeptics and freethinkers that they should get behind a particular ideology, but I will ask them to consider what they do believe about sex and gender and examine the evidence on which they base their views (even feminists should do this – any idea worth believing is worth scrutinizing).  You may find that you hold biases you weren’t aware of.