[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

I think the hitting on women is just being desperate, or asinine, more than sexist. Relentless pursuit can happen between any combination of genders.
First, PRG, let me say finally having a little time alone is making me overly specific and technical, it is a thing.
It is true that relentless pursuit can occur between gender combination, which is why I put mostly women. When 'no' or NO! is not accepted it becomes about one person wanting attention without any concern about what the person from whom they are trying to get the attention wants or needs. (although I prefer the combination vainglorious puerile troglodyte because it is more fun to say and can apply across gender identifications)
It is almost always a maturity issue, but can also fit within the assumptions of defined roles by gender: male = pursuer and the female = needs to be pursued, and I've seen it more male to female (this happens more outside of A|N).
Again, it was not tolerated and the most egregious member has disappeared, (and the kids in the Feminist group did not take it without a fight) he could of left after not getting his way or been banned. It was meant to be my pro-A|N argument.
Look, all of this stuff is assholish behaviour at the interpersonal level and is not limited by gender, race or affiliation. It happens everywhere. Misogyny is on an institutional level. Misogyny operates as a policy against all women. Sharia valuing a woman as half a man is misogyny. Some loner that nobody likes anyway behaving like a jerk is not misogyny. It's being a jerk. Using ideology to promote the idea that the behaviour of the lone jerk is representative of an entire population, is... what? I don't know. How about one of our "atheist misogyny" meme evangelists explain to us what that is?
I said nothing about it being misogyny only that it could, in very narrow and specific instances, fit into the definition of sexism, but was most often an immature jackass that gets petulant when not given his or her way; no gender politics required.
Misogyny, by its definition, can very much be a person policy because an individual can have hatred or fear of all women. Hell, I fear large groups of women like the stereotype of boy at a jr. high dance, I just don't know what to do or say around them.
It was not meant to promote any ideology, but simply to point out that ones personal ideology can lead to being a lone jerk. Just like it is a group of assholes that each share an ideology that women are inferior that leads them to create and accept laws stating a women is valued as half of a man. (try making more little men without them assholes with that ideology)
I would argue that neither case is representative of the whole. For example women would not have gotten many of the rights we now enjoy without men who stepped up and fought for those rights too. In terms of the Middle East, specifically Afghanistan, Malalai Joya points out men who are on her side in 'A Woman Among Warlords'.
It is the personal hatred and fear that spreads and creates these hateful policies. Moreover, such rules are as damaging to the men who fight them as they are to the women because those men are often put in terrible situations; not to mention what it does to see ones sister, mother, daughter or friend treated this way knowing it is not right because you neither a misogynist nor brain-washed by ideas like 'faith' and 'tradition'.
Michelle, I wasn't aiming at you - rather at the greater mass out there that is unable to make the distinction. I have no disagreement with any of your points, definitions or differentiations at all.
Ahh, clarity, that was what I was missing. My son started school today and time to add 'well technically' can lead me to run amok.
My perspective is that Atheist Nexus is created for the sole purpose of providing an inherently restrictive and moderated forum which excludes theists. Discussion about religion is welcome but discussion promoting a particular religion is definitely not. Again, this isn't my opinion but my peception of the intent of A|N. Which that in mind, should we expect that the moderation shouldn't cross into undesirable (for someone or other) territory from time to time?
Okay, I have a lot to say here.

Comment moderating:

First, there is absolutely no reason to moderate comments. Silencing people is weak. It is cowardly. In a post about misogyny, it is amusing because the one moderating seems to be protecting those "weak and easily upset" women from something they may not be comfortable hearing.

I am a woman, and I was not comfortable with my ability to say what I felt in Godless Grrl's post because of the comment moderating. So right from the start, the comment moderation did two things. One was to protect those "overly emotional, and hysterical women" from things that Godless Grrl decided would be too much for their little minds, and the second was to make a women feel as though her thoughts on the subject were not welcome. Hmmmm. Probably not what she had in mind unless she is a misogynist herself and is convinced that she knows best for other women.

Her response when I asked why she was moderating comments was this:

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

SPAM? seriously. The members here do not tolerate spam very well, and they would quickly be called out on it.

Abuse and Harassment. Well that goes back to protecting those fragile women. What if someone had written a harassing comment? What do you think would have happened? I think that, again, the members would have had plenty to say, the person would be called out on it, and made feel unwelcome and as a bonus, that person would have shown their true colours, and we would all know.

Comments that veer wildly off topic usually happen once the discussion has run its course, but let's say they began straight away. A few things would have happened. The new topic would have been interesting and relevant, and the commenters would begin to discuss both topics, or if the new topic was interesting but either was not relevant, or deserved a discussion of its own, the person who mentioned it would be asked to start a new discussion fr that topic. Sometimes a comment can make the discussion veer in a different direction than was previously planned, and the discussion as a whole becomes much more interesting and one may find similarities that were not easily apparent. Or the comment would have been off-topic, have no relevance, and not be an interesting or worthwhile detour, and in that case the members and the original poster may have to step in and ask everyone to stay on topic. Not so difficult, and well worth a lack of comment moderation. Perhaps Godless Grrl may not have seen relevance but other members would and she might learn something.

Basically she decided what people were allowed to say in regards to a subject she brought up for discussion. What is the point of having a public discussion if one wants to choreograph the conversation and wants only those who mirror her feelings on the issue to join.

Bones said:

What I forgot to write in my original post was that if you do not like what someone has to post in a public space you are free to ignore it.

yes, we are free to ignore it, we are free to comment, we are free to get angry and annoyed, we are free to start a whole new post in order to tackle the issue without being silenced, we are free to do a plethora of things. Your point?

I think there are better ways of getting your point across because I have no idea what point you are trying to make.

I think this is a great way to get the point across. One does not know they are being silenced until they attempt to post a response. I want to know every discussion this is happening. It shows me what sort of person the poster is.
I do not believe you when you say you do not know what point he is trying to make. It could not be any clearer. What has happened in the past is relevant here, but even if you were not privy to the comment silencing discussions in the past, it is just as important a topic as if this were the first time it happened, so it is irrelevant that you missed some past issues.

I am not sure who the "you" you are referring to is in your angry rants. I do not know where your hostility is coming from.

If you do not understand why I am annoyed after reading this, I don't think anyone could help you understand.

Rants are different than discussions. If Godless Grrl wanted to rant about her misogynistic experience and make it clear that she wanted only people who were going to support her position to comment, that would have been a very different type of post.

and finally you said:

If you think moderation is lame you can post on someone elses blog.

huh? Yes, we have made it clear that moderation is "lame" although I think it is much more insidious than that word allows for.

I would moderate my blogs in case a rude person came along and tried to post an unproductive comment such as "moderation is lame."

The truth hurts. You can always tell that person you feel they are being rude. To begin with duct taping mouths is a very dangerous thing, it is even more dangerous when people agree with that sort of behaviour. I often experience conflicting points of view from members on a variety of topics. I never, ever would want them silenced, yes, even if they are "rude" I can take care of myself quite well. I will confront the person if I feel that they are rude. I'll do it publicly. I do not need someone to decide what is too much for me to handle. Often what is rude to one is not rude at all to me, and I will publicly side with the one who is getting a lecture about their "rudeness" even if I am the only one who sees their point of view. All of this should be done in public where everyone can read everything and make their own decisions based on ALL of the evidence.

I'll be back to comment more on Godless Grrl's post here.

I will not respond on a post where others are silenced.

The "you are not a woman so you can't possibly understand" argument is tired, lazy, and not even true.

Newsflash! I am a woman.

Jezzy said: Basically, what I'm saying is: This is inappropriate, you sound muy bitter, and I think that if someone is making a discussion on how common misogyny is, chances are, THEY EXPERIENCED MISOGYNY.

This is not at all "inappropriate" How is this inappropriate, Jezzy?

Felch does not sound at all bitter, but nice try. Again with the lazy argument, next you will be saying that he was dumped by some wonderful woman and because of this he is vengeful.
Felch sounds frustrated, and angry, and he has every right to be .

and I think that if someone is making a discussion on how common misogyny is, chances are, THEY EXPERIENCED MISOGYNY.

Although you get an award for being politically correct, your statement above is definitely not true, on all levels. One, Prog Rock Girl made a very interesting observation in the original post.

she said: "Some women have seen misogyny (or other prejudices) where I haven't and I think that is b/c of counting some unintentional assumptions that people make."

I've seen this time and again where women perceive misogyny when it isn't there, and also they look for it at every turn. Usually these same women have no issue whatsoever with misandry, and spew all sorts of hatred against men and believe it is their "right" to do so.

The other thing that a lot of women do, is give power to things they do not like.

These are extremely important aspects in the misogyny argument.

I'll explain in detail here in just a bit.
Self hating women are the worse misogynists.

The fact you don't understand that misogyny and misandry are not interchangeable in anyway since all forms of misandry come from a woman who is being oppressed and it's just her way of lashing out to achieve freedom. It's natural for someone to react negatively to someone who is denying you rights. Perhaps someday our culture will advance far enough so true misandry can exist but currently it does not. Yes individuals can be bigoted but sexism as well as racism is about having the power structure of society on your side based on your appearance to USE against someone who does not have a society that respects them as humans.

a misogynist on the other hand already has full power, freedom and control in his society (since all societies are male controlled), no one is denying him anything except in your estimation his RIGHT to despise women and their unfortunate position in the world. So a misogynists hatred of females is NOT oppression driven its truly just for the fun of hating someTHING you feel is less than hu-MAN.
all forms of misandry come from a woman who is being oppressed and it's just her way of lashing out to achieve freedom

Sweeping generalizations. How do you know that every single time throughout history a woman has male-bashed it's been because she's oppressed and fighting for freedom? Most of the misandry AND misogyny I've seen has been based on frustration with dating, or someone breaking up with them, or some other bad experience with the opposite sex.

Life for women is not perfect, but unless you live in Iran or Saudi Arabia you have a lot of explaining to do if you want to claim that we are not treated as humans.

How does misandry help women achieve freedom? It's just a cheap shot. It's not feminism; it's female supremacy. Developing more prejudice only serves to keep the prejudice going, and alienates people who would otherwise be sympathetic. Whatever justifications people want to put on reverse-prejudice, or the prejudice of an "oppressed" class toward the "privileged" (and I think it's ridiculous to stereotype everyone of a certain group as privileged), it doesn't make it any less hypocritical or weak. If someone professes to be superior, they need to show why. I've mostly seen this in the context of racism: people complaining about how racist our society is (without giving examples), while proceeding to stereotype and profess hatred for white people, and give excuses of why that's OK.
Proggie: How does misandry help women achieve freedom?

[***Warning*** "atheist misogynist" content]

I had a brief fling ~20 years ago with a 300lb, australian aboriginal/russian/irish girl who was a militant feminist and rape crisis centre worker (but not a lesbian). I really hit the jackpot. She used to go to inordinate lengths to justify what she called "positive discrimination" to weed out undesirables. I used to ask her what was she actually hoping to achieve with this. She would say it's a good way to create examples out of the idiologically impure to warn others. There is some logic here - our forefathers used to leave heads on sticks or hang people on gibbets for the same reason. I then asked her how, exactly, was this any different to shunning? She would then waffle at great length, but without any actual substance, that it was in fact different and I should not be so stupid. I then asked her why, if they want to make examples of people, they don't just tar-and-feather them? She stopped speaking to me shortly after that.


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