[Call this the straw that broke the camel's back for multiple reasons.]

Re: Sexism & Misogyny in the Atheist World

Sacha: Why are you moderating comments?

Godless Grrl: To filter out spam, abuse, harassment, or comments that veer wildly off-topic.

If you've got a comment or question that's on-topic, I'd be up for hearing it.


Somehow, I don't think that's very likely if it falls outside of the "what I want to hear" parameters. I refuse on principle to respond to blogs that are posted publicly and moderated. It's at the point where I do a test post to see if it is in order to not waste time writing a response that could simply not see the light of day (hence taking it up in the forum where it's beyond ideological control). I'd suggest others do the same and boycott these items. There's no better way to shut down a free conversation or destroy the perception that it is open to all opinion (other than that which is in explicit agreement) than to make it moderated. There is never, despite all the self-justification, a good reason for moderating a blog here. Never. Open abuse and harrassment has pretty much zero tolerance and is dealt with. Spammers are nuked on sight. Off topic diversions are often entertaining and enlightening in manners that may not be apparent to all - that is the joy of spontaneous collaboration. So you are not really talking about moderation of the altruistic kind, but rather that which is selfish and personally subjective. Censorship is closer to the truth than moderation. Especially on this subject that will not die. Exactly why are you bashing this tub again? The rubble has only just settled from the last time. So at the risk of wasting time...

Godless Grrl continues: In recent months I've had the unfortunate experience of being on the receiving end of misogyny from a number of atheist men. When it comes from a theist it's not so surprising: not every theist is a misogynist, but enough religions are anti-woman that when I do experience it from theists, it isn't entirely unexpected. But I must admit that getting it from atheists rather blindsided me.

Well it's not all bad then. The sooner you rid yourself of the idea that all atheists are somehow guaranteed to be decent, honest, rational and intelligent human beings the better. The gravest cardinal sin that all atheists fall prey to if they are not eternally vigilant is that of "confirmation bias" after reading one too many studies telling them what superior geniuses they are. Atheists are just as capable of mirroring the entire gamut of human stupidity and they do so daily right here. In fact, you are even doing your bit now.

Call me naive, but I expect better than that from men who don't believe that god commands them to hate the fair sex. I also expect better from men who consider themselves enlightened freethinkers.

One has to assume you consider yourself a "freethinker" then. "Freethinker" is a term that like "liberal", "conservative" and "humanist" has lost all relevance to its original meaning to the vast majority of people here. Most folks use it as follows -

"I am entitled to my own free thoughts. You are also entitled to my free thoughts. You are not, however, entitled to your own free thoughts."

It is this kind of nonsense that then allows people to assume that things like comment moderation in public blogs is OK because, after all, they are freethinkers and exceptional enough to be able to judge what can be seen and what can be dismissed as inappropriate hostility from one kind of "-ism" or another. At no point will it occur that "freethinker" has now mutated into "doublethinker". That's the kind of realisation that's best avoided at any cost due to the risk of dissonance induced implosion.

I'm curious to know how common misogyny is in the atheist demographic, and whether or not it might be prevalent enough that women are discouraged from speaking up or joining in. Ladies, have any of you encountered misogyny from other atheists? If so, what was your experience, and what impact do you feel it had on you? Why do you suppose some atheists are sexist? Do you think it could discourage women from considering atheism, or discourage atheist women from becoming more active in the atheist community (discussions, groups, etc.)?

This was discussed ad nauseam here and here and has been one endless moan of varying volume ever since. It can be summarised as "There is a serious problem. We don't know precisely what it is, but it sucks and it's your fault. Why won't anybody fix it????" over and over and over. Not a single constructive thought anywhere, especially not on the external blog that started it all. The only thing that was achieved was a wholesale slander of the entire white male demographic of a|n and the permanent poisoning of an otherwise healthy and happy community by robo-feminist sausage machine rhetoric. Many of us, both male and female, were left scratching our heads and feeling decidedly nauseous. What was an open community now had a chill where speaking freely was suddenly not so free anymore. And now you want to scrape the scab off the wound that had almost, but not quite, healed.

Your whine is markedly similar by its sweeping amorphousness. Some unidentified "other", it would make just as much sense if you were leveling your accusations at Sagittarians. Vague unspecified atrocities committed by unknown people for unknown reasons at undisclosed locations and unexplained circumstances. It's just *they*. *They* hurt your feelings. Without explicitly saying so, again the male population of this site is being slurred as a whole.

Well, mull on this. Probability being what it is, it is highly likely that you've had your fair share of unpleasant encounters with blacks, asians or hispanics. Would you write a similar race specific piece in these cases? No you wouldn't would you. Because you would be too ideologically correct to venture there. But males are fair game. You're making my head spin. Could you explain *precisely* why one is OK but the others are off limits entirely?

And while you're at it, I would also like it explained why misogyny is a crime against humanity, yet misandry (yes that is a word, go fetch your dictionary) is perfectly OK and a trivial matter no one should have an issue with? And why it's OK that All Men are Bastards books and stationary, despite being so very yesterday, are still freely available on Amazon?, yet if someone were to release an All Women are Lying Two-faced Sluts product range, the world would stop spinning on its axis and lava would pour from the heavens?

I used to be perplexed as to why the many strong and independent women I've met over the years, who have built lives and careers all on their own without any outside assistance, all seem to cringe so much at the very mention of the word "feminist" - and often, without prompting, find the need to express the fact that they are not feminists. I am not perplexed any more. The despair was expressed quite succinctly in a personal chat with a member discussing this very blog (she pointed it out to me) -

I've not really ever experienced misogyny... idiots, sure
but I've never ever felt as though I could not speak up because I am a woman
Truly I can't think of one instance where I experienced misogyny
Not in the western world
not anymore
whine whine whine
plus it is such a ridiculous thing to say how strong and capable women are, and how emotional responses are not a problem, and then turn around and whine about misogyny
I have no sympathy at all for women in the western world... none... we have it better than we deserve


What the fuck, as a man, am I supposed to do when I hear this, and variations of the same, over and over? Women that have achieved so much and they sit there aghast watching this loudmouth, whining minority just ignore it all and reduce it all back to petty, mindless victim politics.

GG, it is not acceptable to just mouth off that you have received "some" misogyny from "some" members of the atheist community and then ask if others have experienced the same. You are not talking about anything tangible or quantifiable. As a statement it is about as meaningful as some race baiter saying "some" blacks rape "some" white women - there is no substance, nor is that the intent. The intent is to provoke a reaction. So it's not acceptable. If you have specific, citable instances of this kind of behaviour, then point it out [*]. No one here condones asshole behaviour of any kind. Making these vague accusations without backing them is is more or less implying that as a community we do. You are badmouthing all of us as a whole. So either put up and tell us explicitly where the problem is so we can fix it, or shut the fuck up. Stop picking this pointless scab.

[*] - To avoid confusion, much of the perceived misogyny is probably simply a case of you being spoken to as an equal - and not liking it. This does not count.

Tags: bitching, double standards, doublethink, misandry, misogyny, moaning, pointless crap, slander, whining

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Replies to This Discussion

Do you know the difference between sexism and misogyny?
Oh no, another Jacq Homan. I haven't decided if I am going to take you (asharu) on just yet. I need some time to consider if I have the energy.
take me on... like life is a series of assaults... interesting guess this is why the ERA will never pass- we fight our own... fun.
You seem to obsess about the ERA. Yes, while it is unfortunate that it did not pass, I would like to quote from Heather Gerken, a woman and a Professor Law at Yale, on the Rachel Maddow Show (Rachel is also a woman) just this week. Gerken quoted Reva Siegel, another woman and Yale Law Professor, who writes about what she calls the "de facto ERA":

GERKEN: Well, this is what is so interesting. They said sometimes, you can amend the Constitution without amending the Constitution. So you just talked about the ERA. It‘s a great example as my colleague, Reva Siegel, has pointed out. The people who worked for the ERA actually got everything they wanted by moving for the ERA. They never actually got it into the texts of the Constitution. But everything that was embodied in that amendment was eventually given to them by the Supreme Court. So why did that happen?
Well, they used the ERA as an organizing tool. They changed people‘s minds about the place of women in society. And nine of the people whose minds were changed were sitting on the Supreme Court. And those justices eventually began to read the broad part of the Constitution in a way that was perfectly consistent with the ERA. So they got the constitutional amendment. It just isn‘t in the text.


Three prominent women. Are they also misogynistic?

Oh, and I take exception to this "we fight our own" mentality. Do not impose some Us v. Them mentality on relationships between men and women. One would hope that if you read thousands of books, you would have gotten beyond Solanis's SCUM Manifesto.
actually your thoughts are too skewed and bizarre for it to be worth my time:

No such thing as misandry... the reason women are not permitted to try out for a male sports team is because they are considered inferior... a man made a comment that you should put your long rant without punctuation or paragraph spaces into a more reasonable format if you want him to read it, and you called him a misogynist... you concluded that I am self-hating after reading my post here, and it seems any woman who disagrees with you is a self-hating misogynist...

whatever you are on about here:

"...who else in our society is commanded to ignore the most self-threatening extreme natural physical trauma our species can know for the better part of a year so another person can live? We don't even demand men donate blood but if you're a women you better hope you live in the right state if you want to keep your spine fused (pregnancy pulls your spine apart if your unaware)..."

the list of bizarre comments just go on and on...

You are clearly obsessed with some sort of conspiracy theory.

It would be a waste of my time to attempt a debate with you.

I do need to finish my thoughts on the subject, but that has nothing to do with you or your comments.
quoting asharu: "...who else in our society is commanded to ignore the most self-threatening extreme natural physical trauma our species can know for the better part of a year so another person can live?

Bad, Evolution! Bad, bad!!

And who's commanding whom to ignore anything??
It's kind of pointless to get angry about things like the excruciating pain of childbirth. Don't have a child, or take painkillers during childbirth. The only way to be angry at men about childbirth is that some men are against abortion, thereby dooming raped or accidentally pregnant women to the excruciating pain--but the pro-life crowd is not entirely made up of males.
WE are not equals because I have read thousands upon thousands of books on every various form of patriarchy and misogyny

Are you saying you had to read thousands of books to find out that there is misogyny? That sounds like you were searching for it. If misogyny was so widespread then you would see it in every day life without having to study obscure feminist theory (and I am not saying there aren't examples of it in real life--but I am saying be specific) There are places in the world where women really are treated as subhuman. Worse, there are some who call themselves feminist who have a double standard toward other cultures. I'm glad I live in the culture that I do, where things may not be perfect but I am treated as a basic human being, and if I don't like something I can challenge it.
"There are places in the world where women really are treated as subhuman."

and that
is what should feminists should be spending their energy fighting against, not the minuscule slights perceived as misogyny in the US.
Stop whining and go help the women who are truly being victimized, and are truly in serious danger.

"Worse, there are some who call themselves feminist who have a double standard toward other cultures. I'm glad I live in the culture that I do, where things may not be perfect but I am treated as a basic human being, and if I don't like something I can challenge it."

You have hit on number two on my list, PRG. Admit that being a woman in the western world, means you have it great. One does not even know what misogyny looks like unless you see what women have to live with around the world. The moaning is obnoxious...
No, it goes even deeper than that, and is much more insidious.

It diminishes and trivializes what those women who truly are victims of
misogyny are going through.
"Sexy Scientists". I can see the point that some people would see the "sexy" part and not care about the fact that they are scientists. I can see how someone would object to that, although the people calling him names and assuming that he's a vile and reprehensible creature were overreacting, and in general behaving much worse than him. To look at "sexy scientists" a different way it draws attention to the fact that women are scientists--and also defies the stereotype that sexy=dumb. When I find someone sexy it is usually b/c their personality, talent and intelligence enhance their appearance in my eyes. He is probably doing the same thing, since he didn't have a blog on "sexy Christians" or anything like that.

According to his apology it is OK to think that males are sexy b/c they won't be put in a threatening situation. It is possible for a man to be harassed and even raped by a woman, and most likely when it happens it is even more underreported. The idea that women can't be sexually objectified while men can doesn't fit in with the idea of men and women being equals.
if you do not like what someone has to post in a public space you are free to ignore it

Aren't you also free to write about it if you feel like?

And this is also posted in a public space, and you don't like it, so the same advice would apply to you.
O.K. here is my stab at where I see some obnoxious behavior; one big issue has been hitting on (usually women) via the internet and acting as if women are being mean when they ignore it or tell the person to stop. I've seen at least one member on this site going specifically to the feminist group or other locations like he was cruising for dates. Fortunately this was not ignored and he seems to no loner be here (If I could remember his name I promise it would be shared)
It is frustrating when someone constantly interrupts discussions with valueless nonsense and virtually smacking them upside the head does not help me or get the point across to the individual. It may appear small, but it is more about control and resenting the audacity women show when treating one who does this like the vainglorious puerile troglodyte which he is proving himself to be.
That said, women can be sexist towards other women and men while men can be great feminists. Most people can be brought to understand how their behavior is bothersome to others if concrete explanations are given. Sometimes behavior may seem based on an external factor, like gender, when the person is either being fair and direct or is just being a jejune self centered jackass.
Many of these conversations should include explanations about privilege and just what is meant by that and how to recognize it and not fall victim to it instead of accusations filled with generalizations. (which hopefully I did not commit and will explain further if it seems I did)

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