I am sorry, Eos, I hit enter before I was totally finished!
Despite your suggestions - I'd like to counter them by finishing my post....
I think one of the problems that the term 'skepchick' has involves the fact that it labels skeptical women with what can be easily interpreted as a 'cute-sy' term. Not by those who work so damned hard to make it not so, I assure you! But by those I've encountered who represent skepticism in the main who will and always will, look at the fishnets and the party girls and not really beyond.
And I think it's because we don't have enough serious Science background women who have the opportunity to allow themselves to be promoted like some others. Perhaps they don't have the time. The talent. The energy. But there's a gap there and perhaps it boils down to the fact that they are also a minority. Hell, all of the skeptical women are still a minority, what can one expect.
I personally prefer the term 'skeptical women' because as Suezoled says, it is not fair to label women skepchicks if they don't want to be... would one label a person (urgh...) with-a-term-that-is-usually-very-offensive-for-black-people-because-it-has-passed-into-the-mainstream-due-to-certain-cultural-acceptance-like-rap-music just because 'well, PDiddy sings of it, therefore it must be okay for me to call you it'?
I have, sadly, in recent experiences felt that the term 'skepchick' is still being used to 'cutesy-fy' skeptical women. By men who work in the skeptical world. And who can blame them? I am certain there'll have to be something to counter that (and I'm certain there is something in the works) in terms of getting Scientific women into the main and being a 'Shermer' or 'Randi' and speaking with real experience, education and background over a number of years into skeptical issues... but until then, it's still fishnets, chocolate and nude calendars. Something will have to be done more than just a site!
There are some people who don't take skepchicks seriously and probably never will.
And I know that I'll be misinterpreted and leapt upon by people who will take this entirely the wrong way (hey, why prevent the trend that has already happened this year) - but there is still no James Randi/Bad Astronomer/Michael Shermer who is a female equivalent who has written books, has a science degree or significant
experience in being a magician (like a real innovator of the likes of P&T) and is internationally known.
Hell, perhaps women as a gender will never be taken seriously!
I think that there will be a female 'Shermer/Randi', but it will take time.
But the 'cute-sy' aspect will probably still maintain with 'skepchicks' until women with significant background experiences in Science speak up more. And perhaps there are already avenues out there for skeptical women of that ilk to take control and let their voice to be heard in the main. I just do not see, yet, a woman Physicist or Biologist or the like who is able to yet devote her time to promoting herself as the female Michael Shermer.
Maybe we did have one here once. Girl 6. Who is not/is exercising her right to not access one of the most popular sites for getting yourself heard in the name of skepticsm... and no I don't agree with that situation and I have not forgotten. Some things are bigger than a misapplied rule, but that is for another forum.
As Brecht had Galileo say '... and yet it moves.'
Monica Pignotti, Eos? Is she speaking at TAM? And Harriet Hall? So far at TAMs we've had a few female speakers like *swoons* Julia Sweeney but where are the Science women? Is there a female Penn and Teller, truly? Someone who like Michael Shermer has significant educational experience in studying skepticism and not just reading for fun? Or has actually worked towards producing an educational program for young people like Girl 6 was doing? This needs to be someone who has the time, the support - and yet is not going to alienate people by getting the 'cute' tag
so easily attached to them - by coming from a discipline that has respect by the Science community. And that takes study. Not just the ability to use HTML.
There's only so long you can write 'on the surface' about skepticism without serious study, IMHO. I myself, with an unfinished Science degree but a D/M in Philosophy and Literature and a finished (by the end of the year, if the world doesn't have its way) MEd in special needs education IN NO WAY think that I could do it justice the same way that some have tried and certainly in no way in the league that Shermer does. I also, due to the fact that I work for the Uniting Church, distance myself somewhat from certain activities that may irk them. But that's another tale, for another day.
Where is the real authoritative women in Science Eos?
I mean someone who can actually talk beyond
'growing towards skepticism'? Anyone with no qualifications can do that. It's not the 'I grew towards' but 'Here's some real strategies and informed study that I base upon significant experience and scholarship in the field'!
Who actually has real grounding in a discipline and has the time, the support, the overarching acceptance amongst the skeptical community?
And yes, I know that I'll have all of this misinterpreted again - why the hell not, some of you have already put the boot... as Emily Post may have said, let the evidence for that stand and illustrate to the world what sort of person you really are underneath it all, rather than gain my comment on it...
But I seriously and with great concern ask:
you really think that there'll be in the short term a honest-to-god woman who will not be derided on a variety of 'cute-sy' excuses that nay-sayers come up with like 'party girl' and 'attention whoring' and 'chocolate scoffing socialite' and 'fishnet floosy' (
), who will have a true respected standing in the Scientific community that they have contributed to
(because say it as you like, that's what is putting women back in the face of society in general
- the lack of women in Science let alone the attitudes of men who will not take you seriously until you can challenge with that behind you) - and has the promotional spirit?
I think as a group, sure.
And also, I am not so certain that there really needs to be - because LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE NOW in the case of Shermer/Randi/P&T/the BA, et al! - just ONE figurehead, anyway. There should NEVER be just 'one'. Never one voice that 'speaks for all'. It already puts people off-side when the term is seen as 'cute-sy', what when it's seen to be embraced by one figurehead and what if that figurehead is not universally seen to represent all the skeptical women?
Which is why I'd like to see more skeptical women, even those who do not like the term 'skepchick' - getting out there and getting support.
Because when you put just the one
on a pedestal, you're going to discover clay feet.
And one clay foot is - no scholarly background in Science or real skeptical investigation over a long term.