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: 224

Replies to This Discussion

Seems to me that the goals of Atheism Plus are not only desirable but essential for reclaiming our community, for women and everyone else!

We are...

  • Atheists plus we care about social justice,
  • Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
  • Atheists plus we protest racism,
  • Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
  • Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

The battle over definitions of "Atheism Plus" on Urban Dictionary -- complete with obvious vote stuffing -- exemplifies the desire to silence any discussion of very real, non-"nonexistent" misogyny. As Rebecca points out, we can and should be better than that!

The very name atheism plus has turned me away. There is no such thing as atheism, and I hope there never is. I apply atheist, as an adjective, to myself, but I don't want there ever to be some ism that purports to promote some sort of value system. That's what the Humanists do, and the Humanist crowd have been quite successful in propagating their absolutist Christian moralities among atheist communities. I look forward to the day when atheist groups everywhere distance themselves from all Abrahamic values.

As for the Urban Dictionary... "female privilege"... that is language used daily by MtF transsexuals. MtFs are the ultimate slap in the face to feminists and feminist groups all over must wake up to this. Feminism is about removing all stereotypes bounding females in "feminin" stereotypes, MtFs promote the very stereotypes that feminists have long battled against.

I will look into Atheist plus Grinning cat - I need to see what they are about.

From what you post here they sounds awesome.

Patriarchy and religion are inseparable. New (gnu) atheists are in most ways perpetuating the exact same values as Christianity, minus the god part. I can't count how many times I've read/heard "don't throw out the baby with the water". Religion sucks, BECAUSE the values they portray are uninformed and moronic. A female atheist who isn't feminist is IMO completely missing the point of the whole thing. They might as well just to their old godless Christianity morality spiel. Dawkins has always been a total WASP, so what he doesn't believe in gods... he drank the whole WASP coolaid anyway. Just like so many other new atheists.

I agree, Ruth.

I am so sorry that women who are atheists apparently have to suffer because there are hostile and socially inept male atheists.

Damnit, we women are atheists too, and deserve respect and equality!

I am grateful to Rebecca and you for speaking out about all of this. To hell with Dawkins, since he takes the side of the oppressors.

I agree with you Mary.

It is good to get this issue out in the open.

Geez, why is this still an issue and why does it seem to be getting worse, the US election really opens the light on it. In this age of Hillary Clinton and other strong empowered women this renewed vile attitude from men. Unfortunately the young girls and women coming up are making themselves look and act like stupid sluts. Look at the Halloween costumes for women and the various duck/cleavage shots thrown about on facebook.

It's the trouble with civilisation. The human experience, outside of technological adventures, is restricted to a single lifespan. There is never anything acquired from society, everything we consider to be 'culture' is simply whatever sort of norms and moralities were taught to us in our formative years. This idea we delude ourselves that a battle won in a previous period can carry-over to future generations is just an illusion. We must fight for all causes, as each generation comes along.

One of the things that gets me is that her original message wasn't even really feminist.  You want more women to show up at your conventions?  You want to have sex with them?  Here's how you do it ... or at least here's how you don't not do it.

Only the assholes who resort to neuro-linguistic programming or the shit that The Pickup Artist pushes couldn't get this sort of message.  These are the sorts of guys who need a remedial course in social interaction.  Those who would use those kinds gimmicks (like my ex-roommate) aren't even likely to benefit from them, even if they did work (I have serious doubts; I smell a huge pile of false association (such as powdered rhino horn giving you huge erections) and confirmation bias), since they'll likely creep the girls out and drive them off, once they go off-script and resume interacting as they would without the training.

Are we saying that Atheists which usually are made up of geeks/nerds who are known to be socially inept and lacking in experience are more apt to act like Asshats towards women like this? I feel that's a bit of a cop-out. 

Not an excuse, just an explanation.

And there are geeks in any social grouping.  We just have a lot of online activity, in the atheist community, due to the small percentage of vocal atheists in most areas.  Geeks feel more comfortable being active in an online forum and bring their social ineptitude and misogyny to the table.

It's only recently that atheists have attracted the geek/nerd crowd, atheistic thought used to be the domain of philosophers and atheists and activists. But since "gnu-atheism", lead by Humanists, the atheist movement has taken on this geek persona... Personally, I wouldn't mind getting rid of this persona.

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