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15 August, 2012

This is Getting Ridiculous

I am so tired of seeing extreme straw men made out of the opposition to people like Surly Amy and Rebecca Watson. The latest can be found in Surly Amy's series of asking white guys to condemn sexism and harassment of women (as if anyone denies sexism exists. The problem all along has been that not everyone agrees with what constitutes harassment and how we should police behavior, but the straw man is much easier for them to attack).

From Paul Fidalgo's contribution:
"What is so deeply saddening to me is that for many who consider themselves part of this community, the enemy is women. And why? Because they’d like you to stop threatening them with rape and violence and treating them like chattel..."

Really? There are actually "many" in the community who have said these very things? That they'd rather treat women poorly? Citation fucking needed.

It's almost automatic to be told that a woman is a trader to their sex taking advantage of Male Privilege to say requiring verbal permission to hug your friends at conferences is a bit much.

You're a misogynist and will be painted as such in front of a large conference audience if you are a women who actually likes male attention and you say so on YouTube.

If your twitter handle doesn't show your gender, people automatically assume you are a male MRA if you think that elevator guy is actually a good example of not raping women when he accepted Rebecca Watson's "No" for an answer.

If you are female and you disagree with something said by a panel of women, you suddenly have a giant backlash from these pseudo-feminists. If you admit that because of that backlash you are now scared to post your opinion, you are told "good," because they want to shut you up. (It's only okay to fight for a woman's right to speak her mind if it echoes the hive-mind of the pseudo-intellectual bloggers with formidable communications degrees).

Now, it's even okay to DMCA people you don't agree with. To those of you around a few years ago to witness the Christian attack and subsequent suspension of YouTube users, this last bit is particularly telling of the mindset of these people.

What is really, really sad is that the examples I've listed are also cases where sexism and harassment have been involved. What is really sad is that they haven't just made women their enemy, they've made anyone with honest questions to their deplorable behavior their enemy.

Do I dislike people like Surly Amy, Rebecca Watson, etc? Absolutely. Because they're divisive, attacking, insulting and attention seeking behavior is bad for the atheist movement. If they had dicks, I'd still be saying the same thing. They are just shitty people.

Privileged Male playing Cap'n Save-a-blogger #14 (or is it 13? 15? Who cares, it could be thirty and it would still be irrelevant), also says this about the Enemy of people asking for clarity or civility:

"I don’t think you can be part of this movement."

If by "this movement" he means the pseudo-feminist attempt to prevent harassment by policing behavior so harshly that even offending someone warrants a ban and a list of new rules, then so be it. But if he's talking about the movement to get atheists and skeptics accepted into the wider majority and to fight back against religious oppression, then he needs to check himself. He has neither the power nor the privilege to tell anyone that they don't belong here just because they have a different brand of feminism or different ideals about flirting or sex.


  1. Thanks for speaking up. Bright side is today you're nowhere near as alone as you would have been even 3 months ago. Myers and his baboons will notice and no doubt cause some unpleasantness. Don't worry about it, the tide has turned. The silent majority look like they've finally had enough. Their territory is shrinking and they don't have many bridges they haven't burned.

  2. Count me in as a woman who is more worried about blow-back from other women (and men acting as white knights) than any trolly man.

    I can talk freely with friends and they agree on the extreme hyperbole used by some FTBers and Skepchicks regarding this issue. And if I worry about walking on eggshells in cyberspace, my male friends have it worse. They of course are against sexual harassment and worse, and want women more involved in skepticism. But if they dare question extreme statements and people making claims without proof of any kind...they know it will not end well.

    Terms like rape apologist, MRA, etc are trotted out to not continue valid debate, but to end it. And any request for more facts is treated like a statement that the accuser is a liar.

    I see trolls going after people like Amy and RW. But their reactions to the trolls frankly are what feeds trolls. There are several troll twitter accounts I would not even be aware of except for the reactions they get. That is how trolls win. They lose when you ignore them.

    I do not consider threats of violence to be trolls, but things that should be reported to authorities and possibly published for all to see. So when statements are made about threats via email, but it appears that no reports were made, that makes matters worse. It lets people doubt the claims you made and allows for potential violent people to get away with it.

    In a recent conference video, one woman in the panel complained about certain prominent men that go to conferences as speakers and hit on women, and that women speakers are warned to be wary of them by other women. And this speaker was mad that this occurs. I saw no resolution on the panel, like a suggestion for women that felt harassed by these men to complain to conference organizers. One could claim that in the past, female complainers would be ignored, but is that really the case now? Every guy I know would have my back if I went public with such a complaint. And when claims like these are made, all men at conferences are partially guilty by default because no name was named. being passive-aggressive will not fix problems with harassment. Just like pablum statements calling for men not to be OK with harassment or rape will do anything. If a person threatens you, report it. Duh.


  3. Thank you, and thanks especially for mentioning that often, it's about having a different brand of feminism. Skepchick and FTB keep trying to position themselves as the spokespeople for feminism (even though few if any of them have any background in sociology, gender studies or another related field). And they try to brand everyone who disagrees with them - including other liberals, feminists, women, LGBT people, people of color, anybody - as having majority privilege and being part of an evil misogynist movement.

    It's absurd. Thanks for speaking out.

    1. Ryan, that was one of the most effective and concise summaries of what is going on as anything I've seen. The brand of feminism some of these bloggers are pushing seems as alien to everything I've learned from legitimate feminist theorists as could be.

  4. Thanks for speaking up! More of us should do so. :)