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My Response to the CFI’s Response to the Skeptical Community’s Response to Ron Lindsay’s Opening Statement at the Women in Secularism 2 Conference

I’ve been out of action here for quite a while due to work and family and just life in general.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on in the skeptical and atheist communities.  There has been a lot going on there, but it took something unbelievably appalling and rage inducing to motivate me to start writing again.

As you can see by the title of this posts,  something happened at the Women in Secularism 2 Conference.  Something so unthinkably insensitive you would have thought it was said by one of the disgusting Republican, Tea Party loving, rape apologists.  But, no.  sadly , it was said by the leader of one of the leading and most influential secular groups in America; the Center for Inquiry, or CFI.

I won’t get into the particulars.  If you haven’t heard about it, you can read the outrage from different individuals here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  The CFI response to all this outrage can be found here.  

My personal response, which I’ve emailed to the CFI Board of Directors is below.

June 22, 2013

To Tom Flynn & the CFI Board of Directors

Dear Mr. Flynn and CFI Board members,

I am writing today to express my outrage at your response to the outcry caused by Ron Lindsay’s opening statement at the Women in Secularism 2 conference.  

You have shown that you are either incapable, or unwilling, to take an definitive stand on sexism in the Skeptical community.   Your official statement regarding this issue, far from helping to quell the protests, only exacerbated the situation.  

Your refusal to issue an apology, either as an organization, or though Ron Lindsay personally, is a disgrace.   Your insipid claim to value equality in the community is woefully inadequate at best, and pretentiously self-serving at worse.

Over the past year or so, sexism has become possiblty the most important and divisive issue in the Skeptical community.  The examples of blatant misogyny and raw hatred by  a relatively small number of members of the community toward anyone who dares support feminism and women’s right are disgusting, abhorrent, and almost too numerous to count.  They include vile insults, threats of rape, and even death threats against those, mostly woman, who speak out against them.

By refusing to take a stand against these misogynistic, hate-spewing members of our community, you only encourage, enable, and by your silence, tacitly accept their continued hatred and harassment of those who work tirelessly towards equality for all in our community.

I can no longer support the CFI, given it’s stance regarding sexism within our community.  I will no longer be donating to your organization, and this includes renewing my subscription to Skeptical Inquirer magazine.  This last honestly pains me because not only do I feel that it is the best skeptical magazine tin existence, but having been published in it, I can no longer in good conscience submit my work to be published there.

I fervently hope that the leadership of CFI will take an unambiguous public stand in support of ridding our community of sexism, misogyny, and hatred.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that I feel sums up my feelings toward the current state of the CFI leadership.

In his “Letter from a Birmingham jail” he said:  “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Sincerely,

James Walker


If this issue upsets you as much as it does me, please do something about it.  At the very least, let the CFI know how you feel.  You can email them, as I did, at tflynn@centerforinquiry.net, or snail mail them at:


Center for Inquiry Transnational
P.O. Box 741, Amherst, NY 14226


Do something!  Don’t let your “appalling silence” allow the injustice to continue.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Atheism, Feminism, GLBT, Humanism, secular humanism, Skepticism, Social Justice | , , , , | Leave a comment

Follow-up and Apology

I posted the other day about some comments DJ Grothe made about women feeling safe at TAM.  I was dismayed and angry about how his words were perceived as sexist.

I overreacted.  I’ve had a chance to read more from other sides of the issue and I can no longer stand by my condemnation of DJ.  He has done much to help the skeptical community become more inclusive and I was wrong to be so quick to judge him.

I let my emotions get the best of me.  I allowed my bias (the fact that Rebecca was the first one to really inspire me to become a skeptic) to get in the way of clear thinking.  Worst of all, I didn’t do any digging to find out more about all sides of the issue.  I didn’t use reason, but I let emotion guide my writing.  It was a disgraceful performance equal to the sloppy woo ridden drivel that I constantly rail about here.  

To DJ, and to all of my readers, I most sincerely apologize.

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Feminism, Skepticism, Social Justice | , , , | 5 Comments

Skepticism’s Dirty Little Secret Isn’t Secret Anymore

It started with Elevatorgate.  Rebecca Watson related an experience she had at a conference at which she’d just spoken about how uncomfortable it makes women to be constantly hit on at conferences.  Afterwards she was going up to her hotel room in the elevator and there was a man there with her who was at the conference.  He asked her if she’d like to go back to his room.  That was exactly the type of unwelcome advance that she was speaking out about.  In a video blog about the incident she simply asked men to please not do that.  

She didn’t  call the guy a scumbag, she didn’t rail against men in general, or even those types in particular.  She didn’t call for all women to rally around the feminists flag.  She merely asked men to be respectful of women and not hit on them.

For her troubles she was called a bitch and a cunt.  She was told that she deserved to be raped.  She was threatened with rape and violence.  Even the venerable Richard Dawkins weighed in saying that women like her needed to stop whining and think about all the women in the world who are forced into prostitution, abused by men, forcible raped, etc.  

All of this highlighted the ugly underbelly of the skeptic, humanist, and atheist communities: men just don’t get it.   Yes, there women around the world in much worse situations that Rebecca and other women like her in our society.  That’s not the point.  The point is that women feel unsafe in places where they should feel safe.  The point is that women are being treated like objects.  This treatment may not raise to the level rape, forced prostitution, or genital mutilation, but it is still unacceptable because it creates fear in thousands of women.  No one she feel unsafe, especially in a community that prides itself on its inclusiveness.

Not only do some men in our community not get it, some are downright misogynistic.  They are quick to call women who speak out about sexism in the community feminazis, whores, and man-haters.  

Then there are the, what I will call, accommodationist.  They try to show their understanding and support of women while at the same time making excuses for mens’ bad behavior.  They say that these men are a product of their society, that they didn’t mean to offend, or some other lame assed excuse.  

The fact is that there is no excuse for sexist and myogynistic behavior.  And there certainly is no excuse for character assignations and threats of violence.  

Women in the community have had enough of this disgusting behavior from men.   They have said resoundingly that they do not feel safe at conferences.  The vicious attacks from the misogynists have frightened them.

The effects of this may be seen at this year’s registration for TAM.  Up until last year, registration for women was close to about 40%.  So far this year it is 18%.  Once can’t help but wonder if the events of this past year have had an influence on the huge drop in female registrations for TAM.

JD Grothe, president of the JREF and TAM’s organizer certainly thinks so.  He recently stated, 

Last year we had 40% women attendees, something I’m really happy about. But this year only about 18% of TAM registrants so far are women, a significant and alarming decrease, and judging from dozens of emails we have received from women on our lists, this may be due to the messaging that some women receive from various quarters that going to TAM or other similar conferences means they will be accosted or harassed. (This is misinformation. Again, there’ve been on reports of such harassment the last two TAMs while I’ve been at the JREF, nor any reports filed with authorities at any other TAMs of which I’m aware.) We have gotten emails over the last few months from women vowing never to attend TAM because they heard that JREF is purported to condone child-sex-trafficking, and emails in response to various blog posts about JREF or me that seem to suggest I or others at the JREF promote the objectification of women, or that we condone violence or threats of violence against women, or that they believe that women would be unsafe because we feature this or that man on the program. I think this misinformation results from irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe, and I find that unfortunate.

He singled out Rebecca as one of those who were being, as he claimed, irresponsible.

Rebecca: Off the top of my head, your quote in USA Today might suggest that the freethought or skeptics movements are unsafe for women. This is from the article:

“I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space. . . ”

Rebecca recently announce that she will not be attending TAM this year.  I don’t blame her.  This is incredibly sad, not because a well know skeptic won’t be attending, but because that those 40% of woman attending last year is in large part due to Rebecca and others at Skepchick.  They have been raising money for years to send women to TAM and have succeeded in helping the number of women attending TAM to double over the last few years.   This surge in women attendees have spilled over into other conferences such as Skepticon, and has fueled a flowering of hundreds of skeptical female voices in the blogosphere.  

I was pondering attending TAM, but decided against it several weeks ago for financially reasons.  Now I’m defiantly glad that we didn’t register.  I would have been compelled to not attend TAM, despite losing  a substantial amount of money for the registration fee.  But more importantly, I could not attend TAM because I can not condone, or support with my money and presence, DJ’s stance here.  Blaming women who speak out about their feelings and fears is no different than blaming a rape victim for being raped.  

Of course this doesn’t rise to the level of rape, but the results are in the same.  Women are being victimized by being blamed for speaking out and taking action against an injustice.  They are being made to feel violated simply by saying they feel unsafe.  

I won’t consider attending TAM until I see that the organizers are willing to stop blaming women and take real, meaningful actions to stop sexual harassment at their conference.  I am also withholding my financial support for the JREF and will no longer write for the JREF blog while these conditions remain.

I am hoping that men in the community will respond to these events by voicing their support for Rebecca and all women in our community who are outraged by this latest turn of events.  I would call on PZ Myers, Phil Plait and other prominent male skeptics, who I know wholeheartedly support women’s rights,  to avoid TAM.  We need to send a message to DJ and other organizers that this behavior will not stand.  Maybe if we start throwing our support and our money behind other events, such at  CFI’s Women in Secularism conference, this will send a message to organizers of conferences to take real, meaningful actions to alleviate this problem.  Hopefully this will allow us to create events and venues where all participants can feel welcomed and safe. 

 

 

 

defiantly

June 2, 2012 Posted by | Atheism, Feminism, Humanism, secular humanism, Skepticism, Social Justice | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paying For Sex With Your Taxes

Rush Limbaugh has sparked an intense controversy with his sexist, misogynistic, and immoral statements about Sandra Fluke’s testimony supporting mandated provision of contraceptives by health insurers.   Besides his horrendous comments and personal attacks against Sandra Fluke, his comments also begat a strange, terribly misinformed notion that American taxpayers are paying for women to get free contraception, in essence, we are all paying for women to have sex.

First of all, the foundation of this argument is totally bogus.  Taxpayers are not paying for anything here.  Insurers are paying for it.  These insurers pass the cost of free contraception (just as they do free pre-natal care, yearly physicals, etc) onto employers in the form of insurance premiums.  The employers then pay their portion of the premiums and the employee pays their’s.  Nowhere does the taxpayer pay one penny for contraceptives, except for government programs like Medicaid.

So Limbaugh’s argument, which is being taken up by the religious right, is false.  I might give him and others the benefit of doubt that they are just clueless, but I find it hard to believe that anyone in the public sphere, especially legislators, are ignorant of the reality.  They are simple liars, lying to promote their particular political agendas.

But, for sake of argument, let’s assume that Limbaugh’s argument it valid and that taxpayer money is being spent to provide contraceptives.  If that is the case, then it is no different than paying for Viagra for old, impotent men.  Why should we pay for these men to have sex?  There isn’t even any corollary argument for it, as with contraceptive.  Contraceptives prevent pregnancy, STDs (in the case of condoms), help some women regulate periods and treat ovarian cysts. Viagra has no other benefit except to give a man a hard-on.  So all these aging white men can stop getting viagra at taxpayer expense.  I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to pay for Rush Limbaugh to have sex, never mind actually watching him do it on video (as he suggested Sandra Fluke do).

Of course, the above argument is just a spurious as Limbaugh’s.  The real lesson here is that this is one more attempt by privileged men to control women.  The latest outrage is taking place in Arizona (that hotbed of radical religious inspired insanity).  Read Rebecca Watson’s take on the new law that would force doctors to lie to their female patients about the health of their unborn child.

If you don’t think that there is a war on women being waged by the religious right and the GOP (which have become one and the same), there have been dozens of similar attempts to allow the state to control a woman’s body.  For a party that claims that they are for less government and putting a stop to government’s intrusion into our personal lives, they sure don’t seem to think that applies to women.  I supposed that as long as the government isn’t trying to regulate your guns or property, everything else is fair game.

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Feminism, Religion, Social Justice | , , , , | 1 Comment

Sexism Among Atheists and Skeptics

There is a great blog post from PZ Myers that discusses sexism in atheism.  I just want to add that this problem is also found within the skeptical community as well, perhaps not quite to the same extent, but close.

This is just a microcosmic example of what we find in society at large.  I would say that the problem of sexism in the atheist and skeptical communities isn’t nearly as entrenched or as vicious as in, say, the gamer, science, or other similar communities, which is a good thing.  If we can make the efforts that PZ describes, we can be leaders in including women as equals.

As atheists, skeptics, and secular humanists, we already have a greater sense of, and support for, social justice than the population at large.  We need to keep working to include all segments of society in our communities and show the often bigoted, sexist, and racist religious believers what real brotherly, and sisterly, love means.

September 28, 2011 Posted by | Atheism, Feminism, Science, Skepticism, Social Justice | , , , , | Leave a comment

More on the Cleveland, TX Rape

I wanted to expand on my rant about the rape of an 11 year old girl in Texas that I posted yesterday.   I also posted this on my journal on my DeviantArt site and one of my dearest friends responded with some thoughts that I was too emotional to appreciate when I wrote it.  Here is what she had to say:

I think it’s ok they talk about the how the boys became desensitized and did this – and how they do have to live with this choice forever – b/c it IS odd for gang rape to occur and they are not convinced it was a group of “bad” boys so much as a phenomenea that the town needs to better understand in order to deal with it – and what about the boys too?

Regarding the girl – maybe this one story of the zillion done on it were not about her – and the comments about her dress do not need to mean she asked for it – so much as she put herself out there in ways that can have consequences – and how much of that do we think about when we are thinking of the boys that succumbed to the group deviancy – not necessarily b/c we are focusing on how the girl was “bad _ just this reality of pent up aggression in young men and how sex is an outlet

My response pretty much sums up my thoughts on this without getting into a treatise on the subject of testosterone addled and amoral male youth that fill our soulless communities.

I agree that the boys have to be considered.  I should have made myself clearer in saying that my outrage was that no consideration for the girl was mentioned in the article. In a situation like this the causes are varied and run deep in the community. I think the Times could have done a much more balanced job of reporting this.

The fact is that there are these assumptions that we hardly notice that are so anti-female and so sexist. We see them again and again in the media and as long as we allow even the smallest of these to pass uncontested, they will continue to perpetuate in society.

Of course there are always two sides to every issue and often pain on all sides in cases like this. I don’t mean to minimize the causes of desensitization of the boys, but what I have a real issue with here are two things.

First is that the girl was 11. No 11 year old girl I’ve ever know was anywhere near mature or competent enough to even have the slightest clue of the possible consequences of her actions in a situation like hers. This should only have been brought up in the context of poor adult supervision. Perhaps that is what was meant, but it didn’t come across this way in the article.

Second is that victims of sex crimes are perceived and treated differently victims of other violent crimes. Rape is an act of violence, period. We need to remove the sexual component from these crimes and focus on the violence. Women need to be seen as individuals with the same worth as men and until they are rape will always been seen as a sexual crime instead of a crime of violence.

I will call out anything I see in the media or public forum that has even the slightest hint of sexism. I do for my daughter in the hopes that her daughters won’t have to deal with these issues. I do it for every woman I’ve ever known. I do it for every women out there because every time we let these almost unconscious assumptions go unanswered, we are abetting in perpetuating thousands of years of sexism.

 

 

 

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Feminism, Humanism, Social Justice | , , , | 1 Comment

Another Example of Careless Perpetuation of Sexism. This Time the Victim is an 11 Year Old Girl.

Last November in Cleveland, Texas 18 young men and boys were charged with raping an 11 year old girl.  The act was recorded on a cell phone video and discovered by the girl’s teacher who reported the crime.

While this is a heinous enough crime in and of its self, the reporting of this story in no less a paper than the NY Times compounded the the pain that the girl and her family must feel by perpetuating the myth that the victim “had it coming”.

“Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.”

While bringing up what a woman was wearing, how she was acting or what she was doing to try to justify that “she had it coming” is disgusting enough as it is, to even ask these questions about an 11 year old girl is beyond the reason.  An 11 year old has no real concept about how the way she dresses or acts will effect men.  To even hint at the “she had it coming” myth is simply irresponsible reporting.

But that isn’t all that is wrong with the article.  The reporter goes on to state:

“The case has rocked this East Texas community to its core and left many residents in the working-class neighborhood where the attack took place with unanswered questions. Among them is, if the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?

It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.””

Not once in the article is the girl’s welfare even mentioned.  Nowhere do we hear about the pain and trauma that an innocent 11 year old girl endured at the hand of 18 males.  That is 1.6 males violating her for every year of her life.  Where is the community outrage and concern for this poor girl?  Who there is talking about how she will have to live with this the reset of her life?  There is something seriously wrong with a society  that has more concern for the male perpetrators than the female victim.

Change.org has a site where you can sign your name to a letter that will be sent to the NY Times protesting their editorial decision to publish this sexist perpetuating article.

 

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Feminism, Humanism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Little Assumptions

I’m stealing my title from Jen McCreight over at Blag Hag. She links to a picture of a public transit advertisement at Geek Feminism Blog.

wpid-mymom-2011-02-26-09-43.jpg

It’s hard to see, but the Post-It note to the lower right of the yellow box says, “My mom has a PhD in Math”.

Stereotypes are insidious. They are woven into the very fabric of our society. In this case, it is the idea that your mom (or grandma, as is often the case) is an uneducated stay-at-home type who only knows house keeping, raising children and organizing church bake sales and Girl Scout cookie sales. The truth, of course, is much different.

Most women I know, including mothers and grandmothers, are well educated, well informed, working (or retired) women. Most of them have been to college and those who haven’t have moved up in the workforce to positions of responsibility that require technical and/or analytical skills. In many cases, these “moms” would be the ones explaining how to solve the puzzle to the younglings.

We see ads like this all the time. We hear the same theme echoed in the media daily and think nothing of it. It is subtle prejudices like this that continue to undermine women’s progress in society.

What can we do about it? Every time we see something like this ad, we need to contact whoever placed it and let them know why it is wrong. We need to raise awareness with advertisers, media outlets, and anywhere else we see these “little assumptions” and let them know that they offend and that they are unintentionally perpetuating stereotypical prejudices against women.

I went to the ITA website, but couldn’t find an email address to send my concerns to, so I had to do it the old fashioned way. Here is a copy of the letter I wrote to them to raise their awareness about the stereotype they perpetuate in their ad.

wpid-itasoftwareletterpic-2011-02-26-09-43.jpg

For those of you who would like to share their concern with ITA Software, you can download a Word doc of my letter. Just add your name and address and mail it to the address at the top.

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Humanism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Comments on Atheism and Gender Equality

Here is an illuminating comment on my earlier post from a reader, Sas, and my reply:

  1. Thanks for this . I have been appalled by some men’s attitudes – I left Christianity hoping for an equal world and was horrified to see the same old crap in the atheist camp. ” girls are naturally less intelligent that’s why they go to church ” No you twat, church has free childcare and you don’t get touched up.Treat women right and they’ll join you.Also try to understand that liking men and sex doesn’t mean they will sleep with any man – ESP not the older ones who think we are gagging for a father figure…wpid-94fe68a35b9b4a2c0ba2445621a62470-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Sas | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
  2. Ps lots of men don’t like sex and will make you feel bad for asking for it. Strangely they lie about that to their male friends.wpid-6f2daef3a2c555a4bdb80036526e0f36-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Sas | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
  3. Sas, I agree with you completely. Men need to understand that just because a woman is sexually liberated doesn’t mean she will sleep with everyone, especially them. Yes, biology is powerful. Yes, males evolved to try to have sex with as many females as possible in order to pass on their genes. But to use this as an excuse to treat women solely as sexual objects is disingenuous and wrong. This only supports the theists’ contention that atheists are all amoral darwinists. We are moral creatures who have the benefit of intelligence and rational thought to rise above our evolutionary imperatives, especially when they interfere with our ability to responsibly interact with each other.wpid-402c429e71fcb15b380d58cd3ca72867-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Jay Walker | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Atheism, Humanism, Skeptical | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Atheism and Gender Equality (or lack thereof)

I read a guest blog post at Blag Hag by Sharon Moss, President of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio with Lyz Liddell, Director of Campus Organizing at the Secular Student Alliance, about their experience at the American Atheists’ Southeast Regional Atheist Meet in Huntsville, Alabama. In it, they explain the sexism they encounter while there.

What is ironic is that the sexist attitudes were most evident at a panel about how atheist organizations can attract more women. I’ll let them explain in their own words:

A panel of five guys and one woman discussed what an atheist group should do to attract more women. The all-too-common problem came up of a woman showing up to a meeting and every dude there hitting on her. First, the panelists grabbed a theme that had been floating around all weekend: that men hitting on women is just biological (therefore excusable), making it sound like a woman in that kind of situation should just STFU and get over it.

Then the moderator asked the women in the audience, as if it were a rewording of the same question, whether they would feel harassed or flattered if they showed up to an event and a few guys started flirting with them. We women in the audience, pressured to respond to the question at hand but feeling duped because we knew it wasn’t the same thing, gave an honest response. Sure, a few guys flirting with us is sexy. BUT!!! (we all screamed in our heads, even though the panel never let us say it out loud) 20 guys our father’s age blatantly staring at and talking to our cleavage is a totally different situation! It’s not sexy, it’s gross and creepy.

It was extremely frustrating. So I wasn’t surprised when the young woman who finally stood up and started challenging the panel snapped. First, despite her having her hand raised for most of the discussion, the panel never even acknowledged her or invited her opinion (despite soliciting the opinion of several guys both on and off the panel. Finally, she just stood up and started shouting to make her voice heard. Her question focused on the language the panel had been using – “female” instead of “woman,” and pointed out that it made us sound like livestock rather than people.

But did the panel address the question, perhaps looking for the point at which the discussion took on the word “female” so universally? Did they take the opportunity to discuss how things like language can make a group uncomfortable for women, and what we could do to make it better? No! The woman asking the question was viciously torn apart and ridiculed for even bringing it up. First, a combination of panelists and audience members tried to defend themselves by saying that feminists won’t let men use the word “women” off-limits because it has “men” in it. Then a commotion of everyone talking at once, which was cut off by one panelist’s definitive comment: “What do you want us to say, ‘the weaker sex?”

She got upset (and who wouldn’t be?) and left the room. I – a member of the audience, not one of the event organizers – went after her. While there were a few odd calls from the audience for the panelist to apologize, the moderator sort of awkwardly pushed the discussion on to a new topic, with an embarrassed air of “Sorry for the disturbance.” No apology, no discussing a better way it could have been handled. Not even a joking “This is how *not* to be welcoming” comment. Just “nothing to see here, move along.”
From there, the conversation wandered into a weird discussion about how men’s biology drives them to frequently (if not constantly) pursue sex, and since it’s biology, no one should get upset at, judge, or think less of men for any skirt-chasing they might engage in. (Because we never intellectually overcome our animal instincts in other areas of our biology, right?) The attitude in the room shifted: suddenly women were the bad guys for saying no to men’s propositions because it denies the men’s innate biology. Most of the guys in the room loved it, but as a woman in the audience – it was really uncomfortable. It was demeaning, frustrating, and not what you want to say to attract more women into this movement. And the attitude stuck around.

All these people got presented with a totally skewed perspective on our movement’s views on gender equality and sexuality. The message was loud and clear: it’s totally ok for guys to be assholes. Women should just STFU when men treat them like sex objects. The appropriate way to solve the problem of gender imbalance is to ask a bunch of guys about it (oh, and the entire problem is just because women won’t let men have sex with them whenever they want to). The way to handle women’s input is to ridicule them.

This whole experience would be laughable, like something from a bad Saturday Night Live skit, if it weren’t for the fact that it really happened, and happened in the context of a discussion of how to attract more women to the atheist movement.

This sort of thing makes me ashamed to be a man, not to mention a white, middle-aged, male atheist, and rightly so. The insufferable sense of male privilege permeates the description of the conference and I can only imagine what it must have been like to be a woman in attendance. I can tell you that had I been there I certainly would have, for one, apologized for my insensitive and idiotic fellow white males, and then I would have ripped them a new one for being to fatuously insensitive to 30% of the audience present.

I believe that if atheist organizations want to make their organizations more open and welcoming to women, they need to, first and foremost, actively seek out women to be, not just members, but organizers. I know, that is putting the cart before then horse, but they must at lease try to truly understand the discrimination and sexism that woman face in our society. They need to educate themselves on this subject and take what they learn to heart.

There is no excuse for these kinds of sexist attitudes or behavior at an atheist conference, unless these are some kind of male only atheist organizations, in which case, who needs them?

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Humanism, Skeptical | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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