Influencing Myself

Wow it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Yes, I am still alive. Apologies for the lack of activity – the rest of my summer was taken up with writing and submitting my dissertation and finishing my Masters. Which, woo, is all done now. I passed with distinction (!!!) and graduated in December. So what’s new? Well, aside from no longer being a student, I finished up my work as a Learning Support Assistant at the end of last year and am now on a temporary contract as an admin/receptionist/resourcer which isn’t ideal but it’s money and experience and definitely better than nothing!

So where does all this leave the blog?

There’s been a lot going on in the world, and a lot I’d love to write about – from the shootings in America to the rape in Delhi, from feminism, sexism within the atheist community and wider world in general, travel bits and pieces etc etc. I even have about five posts started but hanging around the ‘draft’ graveyard unfinished due to a number of issues – times, motivation, focus, blah blah. And also due to a realisation that I simply don’t know enough about these topics in order to write an properly informed opinion.

So I’ve been educating myself and I thought I’d share with you guys a few of the blogs I read so you can see what I and my opinions are being influenced by.

First up on my ‘reading list’ isn’t *a* blog – it’s a collection of them!  “Free Thought Blogs” (FTB) are a a veritable smorgasbord for you to explore (and yes, ‘smorgasbord’ is one of my favourite words. Just say it out loud!), all written by different people brought together through atheism, skepticism and social justice. I wouldn’t say it has “everything” (there’s a strong liberal/left-wing bias but in my opinion that’s not a bad thing) but it does have awesome variety – bloggers come from many different walks of life with different genders, races, sexualities and (ex-)religions represented. I’ll be the first to admit that most of what I’ve read on atheism/skepticism has been written by white, middle-class, straight men from a Christian background (yah, we’re talking Richard Dawkins here!). So it’s refreshing and, more importantly, crucial to get different perspectives and it’s nice to find some that I relate to more. Intersectionality is important! And not just for feminism.

Here’s my personal favourites:

Pharyngula. “Evolution, development and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal”, aka, the blog whose name I cannot pronounce! PZ Myers is a biology lecturer in the US. And yes, speaking of white, male, straight bloggers… He ticks all those boxes. But I do love his writing. Very to-the-point and the biological bias is fascinating. And the cephlapods are bizarre but beautiful.

Sincerely, Natalie Reed. Sadly this wonderful blog has come to an end but if you’re quick you should still be able to read some of the posts. Natalie’s writing is stunning. Clear, concise, clever and heartbreaking in equal measure. She’s opened my eyes to a world I’d paid little attention to (much to my shame) and has shared some of the horrific struggles that trans-women have to cope with on a daily basis. All I can really say it’s she’s redefined feminism and the question of ‘what is a woman’ in my mind and I’m genuinely saddened that she’ll no longer be posting here. Fingers are crossed that she’ll find a new place to share her amazing and incredibly relevent works. Also, she’s a comic book fan too which makes her even more awesome!

A Million Gods. Avicenna is an atheist (ex-Hindu) medical student currently living and working out in India. I really enjoy his writing, especially as it’s from a “non-traditional” atheist perspective.

Also worth a mention (and a look) are: “No Country For Women” (ex-Muslim blogger) and “Ashley Miller”. They and many more can be found through the links to the side of any of the above blogs. 

Outside of FTB there’s a couple of sites I’ve found which are definitely worth sharing and exploring:

Social Justice League. A group of Australian bloggers who (in their own words) occupy place in a Venn diagram where Social Justice Activism, Ethical Capitalism and Science & Rationality overlap. I like them.

Skepchick. They put it best when they say they are “a group of women (and one deserving guy) who write about science, skepticism, feminism, atheism, secularism, and pseudoscience”. What more do you need to know? They’re awesome!

Mookychick. Feminist ‘newspaper’ site with some good opinion pieces.

And if you’re the sort of person who likes their social activism, feminism and atheism in 140 characters or less, these good folks are worth a follow on Twitter:

Natalie Reed (@nataliereed84) –  twitter account of FTB’s “Sincerely, Natalie Reed”.
PZ Myers (@pzmyers) –  twitter account of FTB’s “Pharyngula”.
Avicenna (@Million_Gods) – twitter account of FTB’s “A Million Gods”.
Everyday Sexism (@EverydaySexism) – a project documenting the sexism faced everyday by women. Eye opening.
Rebecca Watson (@rebeccawatson) – a feminist blogger from “Skepchicks”.
Sarah McAlpine (@sazza_jay) – feminist commenting on current issues, mainly focusing on the UK but also world-wide.
Skepchicks (@skepchicks) – twitter for “Skepchicks” (I’m not sure that needed explaining!)
Stonewall UK (@stonewalluk) – British LGBT charity. Though probably should be noted the ‘T’ isn’t that vocal. Actually, the ‘G’ is the most vocal aspect.
Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) – web series of some very good feminist videos.

So lots for you to explore and discover! And also now you know where I’m coming from when (that is a definite *when*) I get around to properly writing up some of my stuff. After all, we’re all influenced by a variety of sources and the student in me still feels the urge to cite mine. Now you know!

Oh and if you think I’m missing anything from these lists, or you know a site I might like, please do let me know. I love finding new things to read!

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