Rebecca's experience and that of other women Atheists, changes how I feel about the Atheist Community. I especially lost respect for Richard Dawkins after reading his sarcastic comment.

It Stands to Reason, Skeptics Can Be Sexist Too

It wasn’t until I started talking about feminism to skeptics that I realized I didn’t have a safe space.

My YouTube page and many of my videos were flooded with rape “jokes,” threats, objectifying insults, and slurs. A few individuals sent me hundreds of messages, promising to never leave me alone. My Wikipedia page was vandalized. Graphic photos of dead bodies were posted to my Facebook page.

Twitter accounts were made in my name and used to tweet horrible things to celebrities and my friends. (The worst accounts were deleted by Twitter, but some, such as this one, are allowed to remain so long as they remove my name.) Entire blogs were created about me, obsessively cataloging everything I’ve ever said and (quite pathetically) attempting to dig up dirt in my past.

...they were often adults who were active in the skeptic and atheist communities.

These were “my people,” and they were the worst.

... The Amazing Meeting (TAM), a skeptics’ conference in Las Vegas... I finally stopped attending TAM when the organizers blamed me and other harassed women in our community for driving women away by talking about our harassment.

... the goals of skeptics are good ones ...

Those goals will never be met if we continue to fester as a middling subculture that not only ignores social issues but is actively antagonistic toward progressive thought.

For the most part, the people harassing us aren’t just fishing for a reaction—they want our silence. They’re angry that feminist thought has a platform in “their community.” What they don’t get is that it’s also my community.

Tags: Atheism plus, Atheism+, Rebecca Watson, gender bias, harassment and Atheist women, misogeny in Atheist community, sexism

Views: 211

Replies to This Discussion

I think the geeks have always leaned more towards atheism.  They just haven't been part of the atheism movement, because they're asocial geeks.  Is it just the internet that made them join?

What are your thoughts on the subject?  What made them join the movement in such numbers?

I think geek-itude is here to stay, unless the internet collapses along with the rest of civilization from Climate Destabilization.

I never thought of the New Atheists crowd as especially geek, any more then other atheist folk I see online. Perhaps I missed something.

It's not about "online" or not, it has to do with time and the convergence of various social phenomenons. Maybe gnu-atheism would never had occurred without the internet, usernet-net groups, which began in the 80s. And maybe it is here to stay.

But I think if you ask most people who were atheistic since before that era of "gnu-atheism" (ie I was an out atheist back in 1973), you'll find that geekyness was not an important component of this movement. The four horsemen IMO were the second half of gnu-atheism.

So what made geeks come out as gnu-atheists and increase the ranks of atheists?

Well, it's about the same time geeks came out in society in general... nothing special, just the way society was changing, separately from faith. Humanism never used to be a serious component of atheist groups. Humanism has historically been more about Humanistic Christianity than secular Humanism. Now geekyness and Humanism were perfectly matched for each other. Both groups were well served by the WASP component of society... all they did was get rid of supernatural gods and replaced them with technological godliness. The rest has mostly stayed the same.

So Ruth, I don't remember seeing this in your profile, were you an out atheist in the 70s, do you remember atheist conversations in the 70s, before this new wave?

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