May 22 2011

We’re not here for eye candy

I’m sitting in the Oakland airport, about to head home from the American Atheist Rapture RAM. Overall, I had a great time. I really enjoyed the talks by Rebecca Watson, Greta Christina, and Matt Dillahunty – who I finally got to meet in person, and who was promptly added to my List of Awesome People. And like always, I enjoyed meeting a bunch of the attendees and some of my blog readers. Kudos to the organizers for a great conference.
But (from the title you knew there had to be a “but”) there was one incident that served as such a good example of the subtle sexism that’s common in the atheist movement, I have to bring it up.

During a talk on how we need to make the atheist movement less about arguing and more of a community, David Eller brought up bloggers and videobloggers as an example of a good aspect of community. With photos of popular atheist videobloggers Laci Green and Cristina Rad (ZOMGitsCriss) on the screen, he quipped that it was so helpful that they’re “pretty” and that we have a “pretty blonde Romanian” on our side. Without any mention of their intellect, wit, or content.

My patience was gone. I had three very inappropriate remarks made during the conference about my chest, and another woman confided in me that a male attendee made an astoundingly inappropriate remark about her appearance. When there was time for Q&A, I purposefully raised my hand. Eventually the mic made it back to me, and I said (paraphrased to the best of my ability):

“I have a brief comment. If you want to make the atheist movement more social, we have to be aware of the concerns of minorities, not insinuating they’re only helpful because they’re pretty and blonde. There are plenty of pretty blondes people can watch – these people are popular because they’re intelligent and witty.”

I barely got the whole statement out because people started applauding and cries of “Thank you!” sprung up across the audience.

Eller then offered a not-pology – saying he obviously knew how witty and intelligent Criss was, but being pretty doesn’t hurt because it can still attract more guys to the movement.

One, when someone calls you out on something stupid you said that obviously upset the majority of the audience, stop at “but” before embarrassing yourself further.

Two, if you are using popular videobloggers as examples because you think they’re intelligent, don’t reduce them to their looks. It blows my mind people need this spelled out for them. It perpetuates the idea that we’re just keeping atheist women around as trophies or booth babes, not because we appreciate their input. Sure, Criss is attractive – but that is irrelevant and inappropriate for a talk on community building at a conference.

Three, the atheist community doesn’t exactly have a problem recruiting men. Nor would I stoop to suggesting we need to recruit hot guys to lure in the ladies to solve our gender problem. It’s insulting, and not to mention heteronormative.

Yep, someone giving a talk on how to improve our community was horrendously out of touch with one of the most important and commonly discussed issues in said community. The irony has not escaped me.

Part of me hates blogging about stuff like this, because I don’t want to promote in-fighting or tarnish an otherwise successful conference with this issue. But the more we let crap like this slide, the more it’s going to get perpetuated. And I don’t want the atheist movement of 2021 to be a room full of white men scratching their heads, wondering what went wrong.

EDIT: Eller has offered an apology. More here.

EDIT 2: For people wondering about tone and exact wording, audio clips of Eller’s statement, my comment, and his reply are up here.


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  1. 1

    Bravo, Jen. The women in the atheist movement are not arm candy.

  2. 2

    I love you for writing this.

  3. 3
    Rocky Salit

    Well said, Jen, as always. Keep standing up and keep speaking out, the community needs more people like you.And yes Matt Dillahunty is awesome, I love living semi-close to Austin.

  4. 4
    Derek Bartholomaus

    Well done.

  5. 5

    Jen, have you noticed all the hot smart women are brunettes?  Brunette is the new Blonde.   I love your views regardless.  Don’t let up!

  6. 6

    These kinds of things really should go without saying.  I don’t understand how people (well, men) can be so clueless so often.It would never even have occurred to me to consider these women’s appearances as affecting whether or not people would be interested in their arguments.  How could it have anything to do with it?  (I might have been slightly more sympathetic if he’d said something about the sound of Cristina’s voice and accent making people more willing to listen to her talk… but only slightly, and that’s really beside the point).How is it that even in this day and age, people still struggle with the idea that women are people?  I honestly can’t frame this issue any other way – that’s what I hear from those comments.

  7. 7
    Barry Galef

    Hear, hear!

  8. 8
    Jeffrey Eldred

    I am a male atheist. I feel like you are exactly on point with this one.Criss is very pretty. The fact that she is very pretty helps attract (especially male) viewers. But what is valuable and unique about Criss is not that she is very pretty, its that she says intelligent and witty things to people who stumble upon her page. This keeps them coming back and it is what has a real influence on the discussion. As atheists & skeptics, we not only want to win with intelligent commentary, but it is in fact the only way we can hope to win.

  9. 9

    I second the “Bravo!” with a hearty round of applause and a genuine “thank you!”. It is so important that we bring the issues up amongst ourselves.

  10. 10

    Me too!  Thanks, Jen. <3

  11. 11
    Ani Sharmin

    Jen, you are awesome for saying that.  I would probably not have been brave enough to do so.I just wanted to add that I find the comment by David Eller doubly insulting.  First, it’s insulting to women just judge us based on looks and ignore any contributions we make.  Second, it’s insulting to anyone (of any gender) who’s attracted to women, because it’s assuming that people who are attracted to women would judge them based on looks and not care about anything else.

  12. 12

    Yep, someone giving a talk on how to improve our community was horrendously out of touch with one of the most important and commonly discussed issues in said community. The irony has not escaped me.

    I think ever since the framing wars, that’s become pretty much the expected norm, so that its subversion would be more (classically) “ironic.”On that note, a milder but possibly more pervasive note about sexist behavior at the conference: I’m not naming names, but the night before, I happened to be chatting with an older man from the same group in Sacramento I attended with.   He mentioned wanting to talk to one of the organizers, who he noticed was chatting with a woman about ten feet away, and quickly walked over, butted in, and started his conversation with the organizer, who was a bit taken aback.  The woman didn’t say anything directly but got up to walk away after a moment.  He asked her what that was about and she indicated that she had been enjoying the conversation she and the organizer had been having, and he indicated that she should go ahead and resume it, but she replied that it had already been interrupted.  He didn’t seem too fazed by this. I didn’t say anything at the time but apologized to her for his behavior later.  Was there a better way to handle it? :/

  13. 13

    Not only is it insulting, it’s obviously not true.  While it’s possible to be thinking about how good looking someone is while listening to them, it certainly doesn’t aid the process in any way. I don’t really want to be associated with anyone who would consider the appearance of the person making an argument over the merits of the argument being made. Frankly, I’d be happier if such people remained theistic.

  14. 14
    Ryan Hacunda

    I’m sad that this happened, but I’m glad that you both said something at the event and made this post. This is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be pointed out and fixed. As a white heterosexual male I can kind of understand his nonpology, which I think makes it bother me more. Sometimes I’ll say something privileged or sexist or heteronormative and my first instinct is to think that since I’m not racist or sexist then I obviously couldn’t have meant that, so I must have been misunderstood or misinterpreted. But I’ve been learning to put that on hold, look at what actually happened and anything someone may have said about it, and try my best to objectively weigh it, often deciding that I was in the wrong and correcting my actions, thoughts or assumptions accordingly. And I really think doing that is improving me as a person, so it really annoys me when someone has that opportunity to actually learn from their mistake and they just try to rationalize it to protect their internal self image as a non-sexist (or whatever term applies in the particular situation).

  15. 15

    Thanks so much for pointing this out and not letting sexist comments slide, even though you enjoyed the conference. If outspokenness about sexism becomes the norm at these conferences it will happen less and less. :)

  16. 16

    If I was that woman, it would have meant a lot to me that you recognized what someone else did was inappropriate and went out of your way to apologize. It would make me feel a little less crazy.I’m not sure what more you could have done – maybe explaining to him why what he did wasn’t cool?

  17. 17
    Julie Lada

    Who *wants* men in the movement who are only there because they want to fuck Criss? What does Eller think they would have to contribute? Does he even realize that a major issue right now in the atheist community is that women feel objectified at conferences already, let alone if we get an influx of members who only value us for our mammaries?I’m awaiting the tide of comments from posters defending him. “He said it was *helpful* that they’re hot, not that it’s their only contribution!” Yeah, but which attribute was actually mentioned without arm-twisting from the audience? That’s right.

  18. 18

    Here-here!  I’ve been following ZOMGitsCriss for quite a while and Laci for only a couple of months.  In both cases I have been so impressed with their ability to succinctly and intelligently argue a point with wit and verve.  THAT is what we need more of in the movement.

  19. 19

    Me too, but in a friendly way.  :)

  20. 20
    Casimir Fornalski

    I know what you mean. Realizing that marginalization occurs not just because privileged people make intentional efforts to put people down, but rather do so unconsciously and out of force of habit, has been both incredibly humbling and illuminating, especially for white dudes like me. People like David Eller really need to learn to stop being defensive and think for two seconds about how someone else might interpret their behavior and not just expect to be able to rationalize and explain (or, a lot of times, mansplain) to another person why they shouldn’t be offended.

  21. 21

    It takes a huge amount of self discipline and courage to react correctly when called out in public. The overwhelming human instinct is to rationalize the mistake rather than back away from it.

  22. 22

    “I’m sorry, but…”and“I’m sorry you were offended, but…”Is not the beginning of an apology. If you are qualifying your apology with something like “I’m sorry but you’re wrong,” You’re not sorry. You’re sounding condescending. If you’re qualifying your apology with “I’m sorry you were offended, but…” you’re not actually sorry about what you did at all. Even if you think you’re in the right. Even if you think offering a hollow apology is better than nothing. Guess what? It’s not. Because you’re not acknowledging anything that you may have done to cause pain to another person, and you’re not accepting that your actions have consequences.Good job, Jen, with the calling-out. I always thought that feminism was sort of the rationalist position – y’know, rejecting the norms that religion set about how women aren’t equals, and they’re there to be seen and not heard. It’s painfully evident that this is not the case.

  23. 23
    Andrew Hall

    You know, I’m white and a guy. I’m also bi and an atheist. None of that should have anything to do with the validity of what I’m saying. Period. We need to get around that midbrain level of  perceiving the “other” and understand the content of what the other person is saying.

  24. 24

    huh. Sorry about the weird formatting – not sure what happened there.

  25. 25

    Out of curiosity, if someone takes you to task for something and you believe yourself to be absolutely in the right which is the better reaction: a sincere explanation of your belief that their complaint is unwarranted, or a dishonest unqualified apology?

  26. 26

    Personally, I’ve noticed being smart (along with independence, ovarity, human decency, and sex-positivity) is the vast majority of what MAKES a woman “hot” to me.  Given this, I emphatically agree that the atheist movement needs more “hot” women.   For reasons that have nothing to do with body part candy. >.>[EDIT]Freudian slip? O.o

  27. 27
    Pieter B

    It makes me crazy that so many men who pride themselves on their supposed rationality and good sense just don’t get it, despite regular reminders. Is there a dearth of men with sisters in the movement? Does rationality come at the expense of empathy? I sure as hell hope not.

  28. 28

    I would say in that case the appropriate response would be a statement of regret, if such a statement is sincere, that the person now has these negative feelings, but the applicable combination of: 1) that you stand by your statement and why, 2) that you stand by what you meant and sincerely don’t see how the person could reasonably respond that way to it and why not, or 3) that you stand by what you meant but realize you chose your words poorly.Of course, in the first two cases you can’t claim to be apologizing for your statement, and the third is marginal at best.  And you can’t claim later, on the basis of them, that you did apologize, if it comes back to haunt you.

  29. 29
    Pieter B

    [intended as a reply to Tony above - never mind]

  30. 30

    Wandering around the internet. Stumbled on this. Night made. Thanks!

  31. 31
    Pieter B

    c) A sincere effort to understand why the person “taking you to task” was offended.

  32. 32

    I have to agree with you on this one. I’ve made comments on this blog in the past that I think were more emotional than rational – its hard to break free of this male privilege perspective without seriously evaluating the subtle ways women are treated differently. You’ve slowly raised my awareness about this. Keep doing what you do, Jen.

  33. 33
    Matt Foss

    Objectively speaking, an attractive face is better at getting people’s attention in our superficial culture.  Duh.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize that, and you aren’t being clever or profound or anything by pointing out that “it helps” that someone is pretty when you should be commenting on what they have to say and how they went about saying it.Even rational-minded men have a tendency to slip in to sexist thoughts on occasion.  We need people like you, Jen, to diligently call us out on it so that it doesn’t define our behavior toward women in the movement.

  34. 34

    “Part of me hates blogging about stuff like this, because I don’t want to promote in-fighting or tarnish an otherwise successful conference with this issue. “I’m going to borrow a quote from Gould. It’s about science, but it can be applied in this context, too:“If we ever begin to suppress our search to understand nature, to quench our own intellectual excitement in a misguided effort to present a united front where it does not and should not exist, then we are truly lost.”Open discussion and sincerity strengthen the foundations of any movement. Silencing criticism just to look compact from the outside will create a giant with feet of clay.

  35. 35

    You’re not “promoting infighting” or “tarnishing” anything by pointing out a problem; the infighting and tarnish-ment were already present–pointing it out says “we need to fix this”, not “hey I want to interrupt all the [sexist] fun you [men] are having”. Their fun, of course, being them stomping on the rest of us.And, as Julie said, the sub-point is that the only attribute mentioned was that they were hot, which tells everyone that “women are only useful for their looks, and awww lookie they’re trying to be intellectual like us, how cute”. Can anyone point to where a serious discussion about recruiting more members used the men in the group in this way, as mere poster boys? Unless you’re having a “hot or not” contest **coughHETERNORMATIVE STANDARDSchoke**, looks are not relevant and should not be in the discussion. Nor should they be brought up as justification for a mistake, nor as the primary thought in an intellectual debate. It’s quite simple, really.

  36. 36

    Don’t you know? A woman has the most valuable when she’s smart *and* pretty. Why should we care about diversity if it isn’t good to look at?

  37. 37

    This “I had three very inappropriate remarks made during the conference about my chest” blows my mind. I just cannot fathom me or any of my mates (or colleagues for that matter) making a remark to a women’s face about her chest in public at any sort event – short of a strip club. In fact, I am not even sure I have even seen an event such as this since high school.

  38. 38
    Luke Edwards

    That is aggravating, and mind boggling so if he refused a real apology.Stating the obvious here but I have always found odd issues in the community because all that identifies us is that we don’t accept proposition x. Being an atheist does little to tell others what you do value so when we try to get together we sometimes only have that one thing in common. Not every atheist values reason, skepticism, logic or critical thinking. Some in the community you can educate and others refuse to listen.Everyone keep up the good fight because *someone* in the crowd might listen.

  39. 39
    Joe Mama

    Titties.That said, your writing brought me to this site. Specifically the great creation museum field trip. Awesome.

  40. 40
    Matt Dillahunty

    Briefly – you quickly made my list of awesome people as well. It was great to finally get to spend some time with you.Thank you for posting this. I was talking to Greta as this went down and we were all pretty shocked. I had enjoyed David’s previous talk and was looking forward to this one. I spent the first half of the talk thinking… yes, that’s right; um, no, that’s wrong; that’s really wrong; yup, that’s right; um, I don’t buy that….and I was sitting there desperately trying to give him the benefit of the doubt – because I think he’s got some great ideas and his heart seems to be in the right place.And then came the comments about boobs and pretty blondes and I just wanted to get up and walk out. I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the sexism issues (and spent quite a bit of time on it this weekend as well) and even when I was at my most obtuse, I’d have realized that this was just an incredibly stupid thing to say.When I heard his response to you, a lot of things that had been mentioned to me over the weekend made a lot more sense.So thanks for saying it. Hope to see you again, soon.

  41. 41

    Exactly. Especially when the other side has Ann Coulter :P

  42. 42

    Ug, I feel dirty just for typing that.

  43. 43
    Ed Hall

    Well said Jen–thank you for posting this.It’s amazing how some people, when they need to make an apology, try and fail so spectacularly to make a real, meaningful one.

  44. 44
    Deepak Shetty


    Part of me hates blogging about stuff like this, because I don’t want to promote in-fighting or tarnish an otherwise successful conference with this issue.

    What’s right is right – don’t worry about the infighting if any.

  45. 45
    Liz C

    *sigh* Can we please not play this game where we abuse our opponents through the same sexist schtick we are trying to drive out of our own community? In the same way that we don’t want Greta or Jen judged on their socially derived, subjective beauty standards, we should not be throwing juvenile abuse at people even as vile as Coulter. She’s vile because of her beliefs, not because of her supposed “ugliness.”

  46. 46
    Tim Otis

    actually I would stoop to suggesting they use attractive male athiests to draw in more people. as far as advertising goes. I don’t have an issue with attractiveness being AN issue in the very visible and public aspect of forwarding the movement. I do, however have issues with it being the only issue…especially when it is directed as though it’s the only contribution a female can make (you got phd’s in physics, astronomy, and biology…yeah yeah..thats cool and all…but how do you look in a bikini?) while men get a total pass (sure he’s bald, fat, he rarely bathes, and we have to have his talks in the big auditorium because his breath can raise the dead just enough to kill them all over again…but he’s got a masters degree in archeology and english!) I say if you want to do the whole “attractive people to draw more people in” than do it equitablythough in truth, I’m more attracted to intelligence and knowledge than I am to bikini models and thongs…and I find it both sad, and pathetic that it seems the only way Danica Patrick can be a “prominent” figure in the racing scene is by go-daddy putting her in skanktastic commercials where she’s reduced to nothing more than a brainless sack of tits and innuendo. and I hope we’re moving in the direction that eventually being attracted to a public figure has every bit as much to do whats inside their head than out

  47. 47
    Christina Taylor

    Indeed, it seems to me that MOST marginalization occurs “by habit”.  Relatively few people explicitly intend to keep women, or racial minorities, or gays, or other groups, down. And to pretend like only intentional discrimination counts therefore makes invisible the vast majority of discrimination.

  48. 48
    Michael Brown

    Is it okay to observe that the Coultergeist is ugly on the inside?Or to paraphrase Orwell, “At age 50, every person has the face he or she deserves.”

  49. 49

    I took the word right out of my mouth. Criss is the almost exact opposite of Ann Coulter. When I stumpled upon Criss for the first time, I was amazed and felt as if I was watching  the Seinfeld episode, “The Bizarro Jerry.” So, I think Criss just earned a nickname “Bizarro Ann Coulter.” ;-)

  50. 50

    We all love to pretend that religion is the source of sexism and patriarchy……..but the chicken/egg argument on that has clearly been determined.  I find, even in the atheist groups, that men interrupt me all the time, talk over me, insult me, expect hard real scientific data to back up even mere speculative opinion, and act like the same bunch of general pricks I’d expect to exist in a Baptist social.  I’ve been told that it’s b/c I’m “cute and sparkly (other people’s words, not mine)” and so men think I’m easy to overpower or overlook or just refuse to take seriously.   Then, if I point this out, I’m just attacked further.  Sometimes, it makes me not want to be a part of the “movement” and just sit at home and be a lonely atheist.

  51. 51
    Mos Chops

    Clearly I wasn’t the only male in the audience who mentally winced when David talked about that slide and made the “Boobs are good” comment.  I thought it was going to be ignored as had some other comments about “boobs” and apropos nothing opinion about porn by another speaker the day before.  Yes, it is definitely very unfortunate that it was necessary for Jen to speak up but I was very happy that she felt this was a venue where this was not only possible, but that she found the support of other people, men included, who clapped and cheered to support her comment.  No one was lining up to stone the victim(s) as we have seen literally in some countries or metaphorically in Damon’s case.I would have hoped that David as a teacher and anthropologist, would have sought Jen out after the meeting and made a sincere apology and if there really was a genuine failure to communicate an idea he was trying, but failed to get across, try to sort that out.  Reflecting on what he said myself I had two thoughts on what he *should* have tried to communicate:1) as atheists we don’t have a religiously inspired problem with people expressing their personality, femininity or sexuality in any way they want (and we definitely don’t think it causes earthquakes which might possibly have been the real reason for David to say “Boobs are good” but it was too distant and out of context a reference to just slide in there).  So literally seeing the diversity of atheists expressing their opinions via video is good and shows that we atheists are not all angry old white men speaking from the bully pulpit.  The converse can also be true – sometimes what you see can really affect your judgement and I don’t think anyone is immune from this, our entire culture is based around seeing differences between people.  When I sat down at my table almost the first thing I heard was “I’m so glad this didn’t turn out to be a room full of grey haired old people”.  I caught myself about to say “I’m glad I shaved my head yesterday so you couldn’t see my grey hair”. I bit my tongue, but the same point applies.2) since so many religions go out of their way to control and silence women and their free expression (as Rebecca and Greta so eloquently described) the particular examples David called out provide a very strong counter examples that might, just possibly, cause some of our theists friends to do a mental gut check and start rethinking how they think about women and religion.  Of course the same could be said about having gay atheist bloggers (video or otherwise), or people of color or young people… really this is just a continuation of 1) I guess. Overall I’d like to say as my first ever atheist conference (I’ve only been to a few local meetups so far) this was an overwhelmingly positive experience and I’ve learn a lot and been inspired to do more as a consequence, which is exactly the point.

  52. 52
    Barbara Kalister

    Yeah, I was pretty shocked when Eller made that comment, and was even more uncomfortable with the cheering of some people in the audience.  I find it very difficult to respond to those situations and greatly appreciated your comment.   I thanked Rebecca for her presentation but would like to also thank you for speaking up.  With your response to his comments, Rebecca’s awesome presentation on the religious right’s war on women’s rights, Donna Warnock’s following comment about the lack of attention given by secular organizations to the recent escalation in that war, and Greta’s speech on atheist anger, today was my favorite of the two days at the conference and I hope that women in the audience will feel encouraged to attend and participate in future events.

  53. 53
    Mike De Fleuriot

    You got to be joking right?

  54. 54
    Xuncu Morton

    Hi, I’m Xuncu, Member of SURE (UCSB– apprently, we’re the largest University-based Atheist/Skeptic group in the country– and thus, potentially, the world (but dunno how’d I go confirm that that)); most of our officers are seniors, and are graduating, so we had officer elections this past month; of the few women we had running for office (ie: almost all of the few women we have at all), it was a talking point the girls made; that they wanted to beofficers so they could help draw in more female members. Your thoughts?

  55. 55
    Hamilton Jacobi

    As a male atheist, there is nothing that would make me avoid an atheist conference more than it being overrun with guys who only come there because “that’s where all the hot chicks are.”   Do we really need to try to attract more dimwits just to swell our numbers?  I think we’re all better off if the rolls of self-identified atheists do not include anyone whose choice hinges on how good-looking atheists are perceived to be in comparison to the rest of society.

  56. 56

    It’s frustrating that most “progressive” organizations still have the “arm candy” view of women.  I joke about it as part of my role as a pastor’s wife but part of the joking is meant to draw attention to the fact that duuuuuude… I have just as much education as he does and have a brain of my own.I’m lucky though… my husband’s current parish has a number of women in leadership and the council president is female so it’s not totally weird that I have a brain.

  57. 57

    Thank you for bringing this up Jen.I recently started up a YouTube channel with videos of me talking about atheism, secularism and science. And the amount of times people have said ‘Oh you’re only popular because you’re a pretty girl’ has made me want to rage.Sure, Laci and Kriss are good looking, but they’re also intelligent and entertaining. Their looks should have nothing to do with the calibre of their content.

  58. 58
    Mos Chops

    I found it ironic that our meeting was held in the Masonic Lodge which is still a strictly male organization and as someone told me at the meeting, they refer to female partners as “Lodge Hunnies”.  Time’s must be hard when they let their building be overrun by atheists of all persuasions for the weekend!   Hopefully they found that we were good friendly atheists.

  59. 59

    Laci and Criss are both hilarious! I know they *are* both pretty, but since, I often listen to their videos while browsing in another tab, I know their ideas and style is more important. They make me laugh, make me think, and make some damn good points!

  60. 60
    Larry Meredith

    I disagree with you a lot when it comes to your feminism Jen, but you’re absolutely right about the inappropriateness of David Eller in this situation. What he did was clearly stupid. If he wanted to recognize activists for their work then commenting only on their appearance is a complete failure.I think you need to settle down about the chest comments though. You always seem to want to tediously count how many people will mention your breasts. Yes, it’s inappropriate, I agree, but those people are often not in an authoritative position when they do it so it doesn’t matter. I’ve made inappropriate comments before. Are you saying you never say anything inappropriate? I think it matters when it’s someone in Eller’s position. He was on stage talking specifically about unifying our community to be less argumentative with each other and then points out the prettiness of women in the community while ignoring their intellect. He must have known that was a provocative thing to say and he didn’t even apologize for it when confronted. He should have said “I’m sorry. While these women are pretty they are more important for what they say and I should have mentioned it. It was wrong and sexist of me to gloss over that. I was presenting the idea of unifying and working together, and what I said completely diminishes my message and I hope for all of your forgiveness for that mistake.”

  61. 61

    Both my girlfriend and I loved what you had to say. I love reading your blogs :) Thank you for being voice for equality in the atheist community AND the world abroad :)

  62. 62

    It was a great conference — thanks for your talk. As a feminist male, I was also amazed at the ignorance of a few comments made by clueless men in our midst. For a white straight male, being an atheist most likely is a reaction to something that affected them personally. It’s not a given that someone in that position has made the leap to considering the rights and justice of others. It is just as likely that such a male is entirely ignorant of his own ignorance of this too — a la the Dunning-Kruger effect. Sexuality is a subject of entitlement and power in the default cultural context for hetero men, so most have had little direct incentive to bother to examine this state of affairs. Nothing drives awareness faster than being persecuted yourself.

  63. 63

    And in case it’s not clear, I’m not trying to excuse sexism — just attempting to share my perspectives on how things came to be, as a male who’s been analyzing this phenomenon for a long time.

  64. 64
    Erin Winslow

    Good for you for speaking-out!!!

  65. 65
    Ola Rozenfeld

    It would never even have occurred to me to consider these women’s appearances as affecting whether or not people would be interested in their arguments. How could it have anything to do with it?But it does. I’m not saying it *should* — but it does. There are many cognitive biases based on looks — and they exist in all of us, women and men equally. There’s a range of studies on that. A summary from Cialdini’s “Influence”: “Research has shown that we automatically assign to good-looking individuals such favorable traits as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence [...]. Furthermore, we make these judgements without being aware that physical attractiveness plays a role in the process.”So, yes, we all are much more willing to listen to attractive people. The problem was that this is NOT how that guy put it. He didn’t say *anything* about these atheist bloggers other than admiring their looks — and that was just gross! His not-pology didn’t help at all there.

  66. 66
    Ola Rozenfeld

    My guess is that they were all trying to make some boobquake jokes, which didn’t turn out well. I really can’t think of any other explanation.

  67. 67
    Ola Rozenfeld

    When Jen says something that offends someone, she wants to be called out on that! So that she could, you know, think about it and maybe decide that the person was right and then apologize and try not to say such things again…And yes, these things matter a lot, even from people not in “authoritative position”. What Jen does is raising awareness, in everyone. So, um, no, she definitely shouldn’t “settle down” about people making innapropriate comments on her boobs! I sure wouldn’t. Frankly, the suggestion is quite offensive.

  68. 68

    I would say it’s fair-er with Coulter because she’s explicitly and generally promoted herself on the basis of supposedly being more attractive than various liberal figures.  We didn’t drag appearance into it; she put it on the table (and thus, it’s in some meaningful sense not-off-topic for me to note that the impression I have of her appearance is that it’s as though a “starfish alien” came to earth, studied general human anatomy, asked a few Caucasian American men about the traits they find physically attractive in females of their species, and tried to assemble a human body that fit that collective description. From scratch).  On the other hand…well, there’s really no reason for it to even BE on the table.  And we don’t want her side to define the terms of the debate.(Though I think the point of the commenter you were responding to is that Coulter is blonde and, on paper, “pretty,” and yet still unappealing due to the utter absence of intelligence or wit in her public persona).

  69. 69
    Julie Lada

    Good to know that sexual harassment only counts when it comes from someone in a position of authority!

  70. 70

    I’d like to get something off my chest here: I really hate this automatic, knee-jerk assumption that when a man mentions or otherwise alludes to a woman’s good looks, that *must* mean that they are sexist jerks who think her looks are the *only* worthwhile thing about her.You do that a lot, Jen, and you do it again in this article. Throughout it there is the unspoken (and therefore unfair) assumption that because someone has referred to someone as a pretty blonde they must therefore think that she is a dumb blonde…People are perfectly capable of holding favourable opinions about many different aspects of someone’s looks and personality, and they shouldn’t have to rattle of the entire list every time they mention one of them, lest someone think that that is their *only* opinion about someone.It’s perfectly reasonable to comment on the fact that someone looks pretty, and that that might be an asset in some circumstances. That doesn’t mean they can’t *also* be intelligent, and to assume that the commenter must think so and then attacking them on it is unfair.I guess my point is that if there is a problem here, it lies at least partly with the audience, who are making all kinds of unwarranted assumptions about the speaker’s motives and opinions, and it’s unfair to attack only the speaker about it.Jokes about someone’s good looks would be perfectly fine if there was the understanding among all participants that it’s just a joke, and nobody actually thinks the persons in question don’t have other positive attributes. And I think most people do have that understanding.OK, I’m rambling and putting this badly. Hopefully someone will understand what I’m trying to say…

  71. 71
    Thomas Johnsin

    Why is it always the ugly women that complain about this stuff? You never hear Lavish complain about being pretty.

  72. 72

    You’re a douche. Yeah, it’s inappropriate, but I’m not in a position of authority, so it doesn’t matter. Right?

  73. 73

    This isn’t about “people” though — it’s about women, and women have a very long history of being treated as objects which are valued solely for their appearance and excluded from realms of thought. Men do not. Hence: sexism.And to be honest, I didn’t even get the dumb blonde implication from the original post. Rather it seems that Jen was irritated that Eller even mentioned that she is pretty and blonde because it’s irrelevant in a discussion on one’s system of beliefs.

  74. 74

    It’s not that he assumes that because somebody’s a pretty blonde she must be dumb. Jen hasn’t said that, nor has anyone here. It’s that he presented her looks as her defining characteristic, when actually what matters to the atheist movement about her—the only thing that matters—is what she’s got to say.If he knows her videos are intelligent and relevant, why did he choose to allude to the fact that she is blonde as the main and only thing to say about her, instead of browsing her videos and picking a particularly witty line? Would you like it if you had been doing videos for years, defending good arguments, having relevant points, gradually becoming one of the places to go when you want fine rebuttals and, occasionally, a good laugh…and the only mention you got were about your haircut? Would you feel you got the recognition you deserve?

  75. 75

    On a first reading, you don’t appear to have made an effort to understand Jen’s point. Why should we put in the effort to understand your admitted rambling?

  76. 76

    You know, as a guy my first reaction was to feel insulted by the insinuation that my main reason for being an atheist might be the ladies; then you show me how women were insulted in a way that is much worse and I realize that I was wrong too. Thank you, and I’m sorry. Please keep them coming, this helps us all grow.

  77. 77
    Christian Steenhorst-Baker

    Like Melissa MacEwen said over at Shakesville, you can’t give representatives of your side a free pass when it comes to sexism because you don’t want to rock the boat. When someone on your side says something outrageously sexist, racist, homophobic, etc., you have to call them out on it or else you’re tacitly letting something slide and possibly participating in your own oppression and marginalization.Love your blog.:)

  78. 78
    Larry Meredith

    Yeah it is offensive. Inappropriate and offensive. But is it so horrible if some of us in our community don’t want to be perfectly civil 24/7? Sometimes offensive shit is just fun and it’s not meant to hurt anyone. I can’t believe people think we need to behave ourselves and be so upstanding and respectful and compassionate all day, every day, in every situation. I am respectful most of the time. Sometimes I want to say I like boobs. I’m not going to justify it as a perfectly moral behavior but I don’t mean to demean or harass anyone by making that comment.  I’m sorry if people get upset about it, but I’d tell them not to give a fuck about what I said. Jen seems to crave pointing out and meticulously counting every instance of immaturity. Sometimes people just want to be immature. It’s not that big a deal.

  79. 79
    Larry Meredith

    Nice twist. See my reply to Ola.Sometimes people just want to be immature. It’s just for fun and most of the time we don’t really mean. It’s not going to do any good to sit there with a stick up your ass counting and complaining about EVERY instance of someone immaturely making a comment about Jen’s breasts. When you have a big community gathering of any people, there’s bound to be some that want to fool around a bit. They aren’t important though. There’s a big difference between someone just fooling around and making immature comments and a guy like Eller who was giving a serious speech.

  80. 80

    Give up, you whiny little shit.  You’re never going to have the days when you could push women around by disparaging their looks, and never have to face up to reality or answer arguments, back.

  81. 81
    Ola Rozenfeld

    Pepijn, I understand very well what you’re trying to say, because I’m normally the one to jump up with this! But not this time. Here’s why:There’s this simple test on whether something is discriminatory (sexist, racist, etc.) or not — FLIP THE GENDERS. It’s a great way to assess the situation objectively, to check that your judgement is consistent. For example, imagine me giving an atheism talk and mentioning some young video blogger. I’m showing a screenshot of him and the *only* thing I’m saying besides his name is “Wow, it sure is great to have this Brazilian hottie on our side!” How would that sound? Imagine also that when people react negatively, I’d say “Well, a tanned stud like him is certainly going to lure more women into the community!”You understand that now, Pepijn? In the best case, people would think I’m trying to joke (in a lameass way). But if I were serious? Everyone would cringe, exchange weirded out looks, and think that I’m a total stupid bimbo. And guess what — that’s exactly how Eller made himself look.I always use the flip-the-genders test, and sometimes what Jen says doesn’t pass it, and then I call her out. But this time I’m with her 100%.

  82. 82

    I figured someone should link to Greta Christina’s take on this as well, in case there are folks here who don’t read in both places.http://gretachristina.typepad….

  83. 83
    Larry Meredith

    Actually yeah, that’s right. It’s just general immaturity most of the time. Sometimes people want to push that button on Jen SPECIFICALLY because she makes such a big deal about it. It’s called trolling. And you shouldn’t feed the trolls. Jen feeds the trolls. She feeds them big buckets of attention, which encourages more trolling.

  84. 84

    We should start a bingo on this guy. I already have a “It’s all in good fun”, “I don’t mean what I say (and you should magically know that)”, “I’m sorry, but…” and “It’s not a big deal”. Newsflash, Larry: you don’t get to tell women what is and isn’t a “big deal” for them - especially not about something that you have never been on the receiving end of.

  85. 85
    Ola Rozenfeld

    Hmm… Where is the “Fuck you”  button when you need one?

  86. 86

    Other people shouldn’t feel obliged to be props in someone else’s own personal puppet show.  Especially not when the particular script has the weight of so much discriminatory history behind it.

  87. 87

    That’s funny, because just shutting up about this kind of behavior from males in social settings over the past, oh, forever hundred years or so, noticeably failed to eliminate it. [EDIT]Incidentally, the way you’re talking down to Jen is inexcusable. Knock it fucking off.

  88. 88

    I’m sure Thomas is wondering the same thing. ;/

  89. 89

    Well, you should feel insulted.  Just don’t try to focus on that dimension of the conversation at the expense of the broader harm.

  90. 90

    Wait, did you just imply that feeding the trolls is worse than trolling? Why are you  defending trolling?Oh, never mind, there’s an easy answer to that one.

  91. 91

    I have a wonderful idea.Why don’t you do a poll and find everyone in the community who actually WANTS to participate in “offensive shit just for fun” and is mortified at the idea of being perfectly civil 24/7.If you can FIND enough of them, go off and inflict this shit on EACH OTHER instead of non-consenting bystanders.And why would you just want to say you like boobs?  Society’s still heteronormative enough that unless people feel they have some reason to expect you’re gay they’re likely to assume you like boobs; it’s homophobic enough that it’s likely to be seen as protesting too much; and there’s already the weight of millenia of abject sex discrimination and devaluation of everything about women except their boobs that announcing you like them is just more of the same old shit.  It’s the additive inverse of clever or funny.Seriously.  Masturbating, including figuratively, in private or in groups of like-minded people is FINE.  Trying to FORCE people to watch you is not.  What’s so fucking hard about this?

  92. 92
    Julie Lada

    It’s okay, Azkyroth. I’ve totally been put in my place. From now on I’ll just accept my lot as a passive outlet for someone else’s need to act like a d-bag.

  93. 93
    Svlad Cjelli

    What kind of “older” was he? Not the “screw everybody, I am the king” kind?

  94. 94

    Shorter Pepijn: Attractive women are a useful asset for the purpose of bringing into the movement those men whose criteria for listening to a woman is first evaluating whether she is worth fucking and therefore we should employ the bright ones to say the right things from behind a pair of breasts.

  95. 95
    Julie Lada

    The funny thing is, I can tell you for a fact that Jen is hardly PC all the time or expects everyone to follow Miss Manners Guide for Proper Young Men and Ladies 24/7. Jen’s one of the most perverted, raunchy people I know *in the appropriate context*. There’s a difference between using coarse, smutty humor in a group of close friends or when the topic is relevant, and making a highly personal comment about a specific person’s body apropos of nothing.

  96. 96
    Svlad Cjelli

    I don’t want to foster an image of myself as an empathic person, so I’ll just ask this.What are we supposed to use people who only join us to be closer to yellow hair for?For what purpose do we want to recruit these?

  97. 97

    Yeah, really.  We spent at least five minutes snickering about “The Saddleback Brownie” sundae on the Fenton’s ice cream menu. :3Thing is, that wasn’t at the expense of anyone present, and it wasn’t playing into a common pattern of discriminatory behavior that’s been incredibly destructive and marginalizing for years.

  98. 98

    Spare parts?

  99. 99

    I’m not sure I follow.  I don’t think it was ageism per se; everyone involved in this conversation except me was middle-aged, more or less.  I’m not necessarily sure he felt comfortable interrupting specifically because she was a woman, either, though I’m pretty sure she got that impression.

  100. 100

    Jokes about someone’s good looks would be perfectly fine if there was the understanding among all participants that it’s just a joke, and nobody actually thinks the persons in question don’t have other positive attributes.  

    And if the world weren’t riddled with people who actually do think that, and if there wasn’t an extensive history of women being discriminated against and marginalized on precisely those grounds, and…It’s those damned “ifs”, isn’t it?

  101. 101
    Sam Barnett-Cormack

    Absolutely right to raise the point. Ideally, people wouldn’t even mention such factors as a jocular ‘plus’ after actually praising the substantive contribution.

  102. 102

    Oh, I thought the idea of bringing up Coulter was because a number of conservatives  find her to be a “pretty blonde.”  I would also say that I find Coulter “ugly” because of her vileness.  Honestly, if she was an atheist that had witty, intellectual things to say, I maybe would find Coulter slightly attractive. So, those are my observations.  As for the blog post, I agree it is not appropriate to bring up looks, except perhaps as a side note at the most (and probably shouldn’t even be mentioned that way)!  (I.e., “Laci and Criss are not only smart, they are pretty, too!”)

  103. 103

    Well, it is unfortunate that you have had that experience.  I would apologize, but I don’t think I can (or should) be held responsible for what other males do.  I, though, have actually had a bit of the opposite experience in that I’ve found one of the women in a group I hang out with to be rude.  The first time we clashed was when she wanted to go to a local strip club and was asking others if they wanted to go along.  I said (paraphrasing), “I really don’t enjoy going to strip clubs.”  OMG! I got the 20-questions routine, and it was painful.  I was treated like there must be something physically or psychologically for not enjoying strip clubs!  I’m not trying to downplay your experience at all, but it does go both ways, though I do suspect men are worse toward women.

  104. 104
    Andy The Nerd

    If we really believe that we need to resort to “come for the boobs, stay for the atheism”, then we don’t really believe that the atheism itself is worth joining for.

  105. 105

    Hey Larry, next time three people you don’t know make specific comments about their perception of your penis and/or scrotum, you can tell the ladies how we should feel when people make personal, specific remarks about our chests. This shouldn’t even be an issue. It should not be said. A raunchy remark about boobs, the general concept, is a very different thing from a specific, targeted remark about an ACTUAL person’s ACTUAL breasts. This is NOT all in good fun when you are on the receiving end, and I have to wonder why you need so badly to defend your desire to be “immature.” Do you really feel strongly compelled to remark on your perception of women’s bodies in your daily life? If so, I think you should consider what effect those statements may have on the women who hear them. Empathy: not just for the ladies!

  106. 106

    Glad you got to ask your question, Jen, and keep us moving forward, I hope.Your post reminded me of something else.A few days ago I had a discussion about Ralph Nader; I heard him speak at Portland State Univ. around 1990 (so before any controversy about helping make GW Bush President) and he commented more generally about this problem in society -he asked if it was accidental that the “unbeautiful” people in society end up with the crap jobs – both sexes. This still goes on today.My wife likes the new show “The Voice” -because the judges don’t see the performer, just hear the voice. Something to think about.

  107. 107

    When Eller said “cute Romanian blonde” I cringed. Like Matt’s comment above I found that much of his talk was doubtful and virtually all of it was assertions without data to back it up. Then he, supposedly a finely honed observer of humanity, spouts a comment that was both inappropriate and worthless.Thanks for your comment and your talk.

  108. 108

    Our main purpose for living is to pass on our genes to a viable next generation. Part of that process is mate selection. To that end, men like looking at attractive females. That’s why human women’s mammary glands are engorged even when they aren’t lactating. Men also like an optimal waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7, which implies to the male that the woman is capable of bearing children (it is also an indicator of intelligence). The list goes on: lighter color hair implies youth, the labia are lighter before bearing a child, lip stick, makeup, etc. All of which, like it or not, signal to men that the woman is a good candidate for mating.Women have their preferences too: the shoulder to waist ratio of a man indicates their strength (ability to provide). Facial symmetry in men is an indicator of being free of disease.So is it so astounding that someone verbalized this?I doubt if anyone would have complained if someone complemented Sam Harris (who a female friend tells me is attractive).There is also the matter of the bloggers/vloggers being public figures. Once they become a public figure, they are open to public complements and criticism. So, for instance, if the speaker says that Cristina Rad is pretty, that is acceptable because she is a public figure, where as if he pointed to a woman in the audience and said, “She’s pretty,” that would not be acceptable.

  109. 109

    I’m sure someone has already made a comment like this, but I don’t have the time to read them all. What pissed me off the most was not that he made the comments in the first place, although that is quite irritating. What pissed me off is that the whole reason we as secularists claim morality is the ability to admit when we are wrong. The “yeah, but…” part of what he did just pissed me off. I know it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong. I have trouble with that all the time. But when someone clearly states that you are being sexist and are hurting people needlessly, you say “You are right. My comment about that was minimizing and completely missed the point. I apologize.” Anything less is harmful to the very movement you are trying to help.Jen, I know you don’t like posting things like this, but it helps privileged white males, like me, understand when we are stepping out of line. Most of us are not sexist or racist people, but we do and say sexist and racist things. Blogs like yours help us be more mindful of how we act. Thank you. You do us all a great service.~Rubbs

  110. 110
    Allen Gould

    That was my thought as well. Which in no way makes it right (by this point, I’m going to guess that not only has Jen heard *every* *possible* joke, unless you know her reasonably well, those jokes just aren’t appropriate anyway.)

  111. 111
    Allen Gould

    “Sometimes I want to say I like boobs.”There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. As a healthy hetero male, I think people would be concerned if I didn’t like boobs. Boobs are nice.But there’s a very, very wide gulf between “I like boobs” and “This person is a good athiest/blogger/person because she has boobs” (or worse “I like this blogger/athiest because she has boobs”)Also, I would suggest that unless the topic of your speech is “I like big body parts (and I can not lie)”, it’s probably the wrong venue in the first place.

  112. 112

    It’s not the attraction that’s the problem — it’s minimizing someone to your attraction first and foremost that’s awful — it’s basically the same act as seeing someone only as their skin color.

  113. 113

    One other point about this is that I don’t know of anyone who de-converted because they were drawn in by a good looking woman. The scores of people I know, and many more stories online, all seem to be a long and intellectual journey, mostly taken independently. Only after they’ve achieved atheism–or damn close–do they seek out others like us. There may be exceptions, of course, but they would be an extreme minority.This is in contrast to believer groups who do put forward pastors and preachers who could be said to be closer to the good looking side of the scale. Add that to practiced charm and you get people joining up without ever checking out their claims.  To even joke about that being a valid point for atheists is a waste of time.We are burdened with the fact that atheists create themselves, in a sense. Unless born into a non-believing family or community, an atheist is almost always self-made. We eventually see the garbage that’s molded into religion and decide to take a trip into the grime to find out what’s really going on. We don’t recruit because it doesn’t work that way. We can only offer a soft sell approach where we’re simply public about who we are without hesitation or embarrassment so that others can see, peripherally, and it can help raise internal questions to be explored.

  114. 114
    Tugs N. McCowan

    Arm candy versus arm feast.When was the last time anyone remembers a eating a piece of candy?How about a meal with friends and family? Even the simplest fair is remembered as remarkable because of the emotional connection it reminds us of.While we will always stop and glance at a candy store window, no one will say, “Hmm. I think I will have a pound of humbugs in maple syrop this evening”. Although colourful, I bet no one would be able to remember more than a single item in a candy store window.If you asked any of us who we would like seen at our side for an evening? An attractive yet no so interesting model (male or female)or Jen, Rebecca, Greta, Maude Barlow, Mr. Deity or indeed any Skepchik? (I did not include Jane Jacobs because she is a distant relative and there would be “talk” in my family and also she is dead). The answer is obvious to us all.It would be Surly Amy dressed as a Rohan shieldmaiden blowing Sterno-Sambuka fireballs at Westboro Baptist “God Hates Fags” signs while waving her sword and screaming “I’ve got blog money! Now bring me the head of Fettuccine Alfredo!”Our dumb male testicle switch will always fuck with us. Thank you Jen and all other ladies for reminding us that we said something stupid or distasteful or sexist. And as men we always should say, “I am sorry. I was not aware that what I said was hurtful to someone. Thank you very much for bringing it to my attention and I will try to be more aware of my language in the future.”I am sorry that it takes such a part of your time and emotional energy to address the problem when our fight against the darkness is all around us. I am not sure what I can do. I seldom have contact with a large group of atheists. So I am writing to offer you my support. Secondly. What would you like us to do if we was there beside you if this happens again?You kick ass Jen.tnm

  115. 115

    Bingo! Hey, I won! http://boingboing.net/2010/04/

  116. 116

    As one of those “pretty atheist girls” on YouTube THANK YOU. Criss, Laci and other female atheist vloggers put up with a ridiculous degree of sexism from theists (many of whom used misogynstic terms to belittle us so they can ignore our arguments or points.) When we ALSO get it from the atheists, well, it’s times like those I wanna get some steel-capped boots and go on a kicking spree.http://www.youtube.com/user/an… (Jen, please delete my link/comment if you don’t want the URL here.)

  117. 117

    Not if they can afford better.

  118. 118
    Steve Thoms

    So, basically men and women are little more than physical beings who should expect nothing better then to be judged on their physical attributes.  Gotcha. John: any perceived concept of veracity is not a contributing factor to what is/isn’t sexism.   Sexism is (partially) when a person chooses to resort to stereotypical aspects of a person and use them as data points.  It is similar to saying “Well, there ARE Jewish bakeries that specialize in bagels, so how is it racist to assume that this Jewish guy would like it if I offered him a bagel?”Furthermore: that Christina is “pretty” is irrelevant in the context of an atheism conference.   Atheism is an intellectual position and a political movement.  If Christina were doing a podcast about makeup, modeling, or fashion, you *might* have an arguable point.

  119. 119

    Masons are also required to believe in some form of god, so a mason friend tells me.   You can be a deist mason, but not an atheist one.  Heh.

  120. 120

    Well said. Disappointing that the speaker decided not to apologise.

  121. 121
    Casimir Fornalski

    There’s a big difference between someone just fooling around and making immature comments and a guy like Eller who was giving a serious speech.

    I think it’s rather telling that you feel you get to decide what that difference is, as opposed to the person who’s actually hurt by it.

  122. 122

    Writing comments in blogs doesn’t boost your chances of survival/reproduction. What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be out in the woods, hunting dinosaurs or something?

  123. 123
    Casimir Fornalski

    You’re basically advocating the “Offense/defense” model of human interaction, which as a humanist, I roundly reject. Offense/defense says that “people are naturally, uncontrollably going to hurt each other, so the responsibility lies on the potential victim to avoid getting hurt.” Problem is, this model almost always works out in favor of the perpetrator, and makes things worse for the victim. To quote Melissa over at Shakesville, I expect more out of people. I expect people to make an effort not to hurt other people. And when they do so unconsciously, I expect them to be mature enough to understand what they did wrong and make an effort not to do it again. Furthermore, I don’t really understand why you keep using “it’s just immaturity” as some sort of fail-safe defense of hurtful, stupid behavior.  If you can’t act like an adult, don’t be shocked when other adults call you out on it.

  124. 124

    I’m not the original author, but I can certainly add some perspective to the point. There is a vast difference between, “these women are attractive and therefore draw in more people who are attracted to them,” and “these women are visibly involved in the movement, and therefore lend plausibility to the idea that women in this movement exist, are effective, visible, valued, and influential.”It’s the difference between a role model and eye candy, IMO. One is aspirational-as-in-to-have, the other is aspirational-as-in-to-be.

  125. 125
    Casimir Fornalski

    When someone says something like “…and it helps that they’re so good looking”, they may as well say “I’m so glad we finally have some hot ass to look at in this group. I was really getting depressed wot wif all theeze fugly folks in here.” It does not “help” that someone is attractive, particularly when their physical appearance is completely unrelated to the task they’re trying to accomplish. Playing that game is playing into old-world models of social hierarchy, and it doesn’t matter whether you intend to do that or not. Progressive movements are about inclusiveness, and atheism is no different. If people within a movement achieve recognition or status, it should be because they accomplished something meaningful to the movement, not because they live up to a standard established (largely) by the same system the movement is fighting against.

  126. 126
    Casimir Fornalski

    Why is it always morons who complain about having to be a decent person?

  127. 127

    Real eye candyhttp://scienceblogs.com/pharyn

  128. 128
    Casimir Fornalski

    Our main purpose for living…

    Will be defined by each individual, thank you very much.

  129. 129

    Way to discriminate against the visually challenged atheists!

  130. 130

    I want to hug this post.

  131. 131

    “I don’t think I can (or should) be held responsible for what other males do. “Ah, the privilege of being in an unmarked sociological group. Welcome to the club. The rest of us are held responsible for what other people in our groups do, all the time.

  132. 132

    “I think you need to settle down…”Yeah, she’s being so emotional, isn’t she? Just like a gurl

  133. 133

    I could point you to any number of women online who were glad when they gained weight or got older, or who started concealing their looks in some manner, because they got tired of assholes like you assuming that the women existed for their amusement.

  134. 134

    Ev psych: Science for Choads™.

  135. 135

    A/K/A the evo-psych “sexism is just biology!” defenses for douchebaggery.

  136. 136
    David Eller

    This is David Eller.  I realized soon after the incident that I had violated one of my own most valued principles: just as I ask atheists to stop “speaking Christian,” so I realized that I had as a male unreflectively “spoken male.”  It is exceptionally difficult, as anyone will admit, to see one’s own prejudices and failings.  I recognize the male privilege on which my reference was founded, and I learned something from the occasion.  Actually, I learned two things during the weekend: a Jewish man reminded me that “Judeo-Christian” is a Christian-privileged way of speaking about religion, since Judaism and Christianity are really quite different.  So I am more aware now of both the Christian privilege and the male privilege in my speech and thought, and I will try to overcome and eject both.

  137. 137

    David, thank you.

  138. 138
    Thomas Johnsin

    I don’t know but I want one on tor post. Since when are individuals not entitled to their opinions?

  139. 139
    Thomas Johnsin

    Whoa now… I am not the one whining… that’s Jen this time. And I have never pushed a woman around. I am not trying to discourage her misplaced angst, I am just calling it like I see it.

  140. 140

    Maybe it’s my “things are better off said than unsaid” bias talking, but it looks to me like Eller saying what he said was a good thing because it gave you a public and concrete example of the sexism you’ve been talking about in previous posts.So it’s hard for me to condemn Eller for opening his mouth. Wrong or not, he got it out into the open instead of boob jokes and cheers from the back of the room where people can deny it’s happening or write it off as a few bad apples.Eller saying what he said and Jen having teh courage to  publicly denounce it  gets a dialogue going, and in my experience, that’s a positive step forward even if it’s painful and uncomfortable at the time.Your movement will be stronger for it.

  141. 141

    Thank you for your self-reflection and resulting apology!!  Also, thanks for the tip on how “Judeo-Christian” is perceived (makes perfect sense, but I never knew either).

  142. 142
    David Eller

    You’re welcome, Jen, and I regret that I handled the situation badly when it occurred. I realized immediately that I was in trouble and wanted to avoid an escalation, but I did so in the wrong way.  I think I even misrepresented and undermined my own point: what I was trying to say is that pleasant presentable people (not necessarily “sexy” or “beautiful”) are a boon to the movement–in the same way that, say, Joel Osteen is to evangelicalism.  Nobody would call him sexy, but he is certainly affable and smiley.    It is the angry name-calling types–most of whom are male, by the way!–that I do not advocate.  The red-faced shouting evangelicals are a detriment to their cause, as is the caustic meanness of Anne Coulter to hers.  I also regret that my mention of “Boobquake” was misconstrued: I was hardly meaning to suggest that we should repeat that event or even make it about breasts.  What I meant to suggest was that, since you had established a historic date, we could institutionalize the DATE but not the specific event for the date.  I meant something along the lines of Labor Day or Mother’s Day–perhaps a “Women’s Day” or a “Women in Reason Day.”  I would be happy and proud as a rationalist to celebrate women, without in any way making it about their bodies.  I also meant something similar about Rapture Day–not an annual celebration of the rapture, for pete’s sake, but having acquired the date, an annual celebration of the existence of the universe–perhaps a “Universe Day” or “Existence Day.”

  143. 143

    Yeah, because smart, pretty chicks are so rare! That would be a great non-sexist side note.

  144. 144
    Thomas Johnsin

    By the way, Lavish = Laci, Damn autocorrect… I have to use my phone to read this blog. Here is the part you all should find interesting… I am in the Navy, and the Navy blocks this site because it is filtered as “atheist”. So I am relegated to my phone. I found this site on QuixoticJourney.com, which the navy also blocks as atheist. So I am relegated to my phone. I love 99% of what Jen has to say, so I visit a lot, but it sucks on the phone. So maybe when you all are done hating men, you can try discussing, or doing something about that shit!

  145. 145

    Totes with you on this.

  146. 146

    Xuncu – I agree with Erica’s response

  147. 147
    Ewan Macdonald

    Excellent post.

  148. 148
    Ewan Macdonald

    First sex, now tone… what’s next?

  149. 149
    Casimir Fornalski

    While I would never stoop to referring to another human being as “ugly”, I will say that it should not be surprising in the least that, yes, people who are often called that quite naturally would be the loudest to speak out against it, in the same way that: Poor people speak out against povertyRape victims speak out against sexual violenceMinority races speak out against racismVictims of police brutality speak out against police brutalityPeople dealing with abysmal health insurance laws speak out against an abysmal health insurance industry…and so on. Obviously, people who’ve been kicked around the most as the result of a backwards, oppressive system would naturally have a vested interest in working to, you know, stop that sort of thing. Also, I would add that it’s incredibly insulting and arrogant when privileged people act like a problem isn’t really a problem until they decide it is.

  150. 150
    David Eller

    One last comment: I also regret that your major point was largely lost on the audience, Jen.  The point of your exercise was not breasts but rather refuting a foolish attitude in a religion.  The religion claimed that “female immodesty” causes natural disaster, and your event could just as well have been “kneequake” or “facequake” and made the same point: showing a knee or a face is immodest female behavior in some Islamic cultures.  That the audience got obsessed with the breast aspect of your event shows that they misconstrued your message and that we atheists have a long way to go too before we shake off our assumptions and obsessions.

  151. 151
    David Marjanović


  152. 152
    David Marjanović

    I wonder if education, cultural expectations, play a role in addition to your “own prejudices and failings”. I mean, the 19th and even the 20th centuries are over, but traditionally, Western culture expects men to compliment women for their appearance (beauty, youth, and clothes) all the time, as a matter of pointless smalltalk rather than communication, and expects women to feel flattered every time (while they, at the same time, understand that the compliment isn’t meant to communicate anything).To which degree are you, Mr. Eller, an old-school gentleman? :-)

  153. 153
    Michael Watts

    Thanks for keeping us middle-aged white males on track.  I can’t speak for anyone else but I certainly have no problem with being given a little nudge, or a boot to the head, if I say something that offends. I’d rather that than have someone just let it slide and get more and more upset.As for guys making intimate remarks in non-intimate situations, again I can only speak for myself, but as the comments here seem to show most of us (males) do consider that unacceptable behavior. Mike.

  154. 154

    Pics or it didn’t happen

  155. 155
    Mike Mixer

    “Part of me hates blogging about stuff like this, because I don’t want to promote in-fighting or tarnish an otherwise successful conference with this issue.”>I believe that successful turns into a rather relative term if you have to cringe through part of it. The privileged behavior displayed in someone forcing their opinion of your looks on you unbidden is not altogether dissimilar from behaviors demonstrated in abusive relationships. It is the same absence of respect that drives both behaviors.

  156. 156
    Pieter Breitner

    Thank you. I hope that more than a few others learn from this as well as you have.

  157. 157
    Scott V

    Playing devil’s advocate, and judging by what Jen described that Eller said, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he was disrespecting the intellects of Christina Rad and Laci Green. Just because he didn’t specifically point out that they are intelligent when he commented on their looks, does not mean that he was discounting their minds.In most of the Atheist gatherings I have attended or seen, the majority of the attendees are men, and a large percentage of the females are gay. Also the vast majority of them are white. I’m guessing (since I wasn’t there) that his point is that it is nice to have, with the mix, some outspoken, obviously intelligent, and physically attractive ladies as representative faces of our community.I think it is important that ALL types of people are represented in the Atheist community. We need the beautiful people, and the “regular” people. We need the youth, the middle aged, and the elderly. We need the easy-going gentle Atheists, and the aggressive, outspoken Atheists unafraid to step on the occasional toe. We need the straight and the gay, male and female, black, white, Asian, Hispanic. We need top scientists like Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Lawrence Krause, the celebrity comedians like Ricky Gervais and Julia Sweeney, and the mix of just “regular” intelligent people like on the Atheist Experience.Anyway, my point is, I don’t think we should assume that just because Eller said those two ladies are beautiful that he in any way suggested that they are not extremely intelligent. They just add to the overall mix of our group in a positive way.

  158. 158

    I think it’s slightly hypocritical of you to chastise  someone for remarking upon a couple women for being pretty a month after you post your look-at-me-I-just-lost-weight-so-now-I can-post-a-pic-of-myself-showing-lots-of-cleavage photo.http://www.blaghag.com/2011/04…You give ammunition to Eller when you intimate that the 186# you in jeans and a t-shirt is inferior to the 169# you in a dress revealing much more skin, including lots of cleavage to boot. If you’re going to present yourself as eye candy then stop throwing stones in a glass house.

  159. 159
    John D.

    Nice… ha ha… here we go.  All the fems are butt hurt again so it is once again time to write a blog so all the leftist atheist can rag on white men as a class.  It has been about a month since Jen pissed on someones head in public so she decided now was the time.I have a suggestion.  If someone is out of line socially you should go tell them to their face.  If they disagree you, then feel free to report them to the organization they represent.  It is not a good idea to personally attack people on your blog space. Public executions have been outlawed for good reason.  It is complete bullshit to blame the ills of the world on white men who like to talk about pretty women.And to poor David Eller.  Yes… you have had your moment just like so many others.  The real lesson here is that no one will be given any slack for their social errors.  The fems are here to enforce their politeness rules and they are gleeful to do so in a public forum.  If it makes you feel any better, I am rooting for you.

  160. 160

    ” If someone is out of line socially you should go tell them to their face.”OK…Go Fuck Yourself…

  161. 161

    Damn straight! I know I do the latter.

  162. 162

    Are you saying that’s right?

  163. 163

    The “testicle switch” isn’t just a male problem, either. It’s just a matter of whether or not you feel it’s appropriate to tell people what your gonads are saying.

  164. 164

    Problem is, this model almost always works out in favor of the perpetrator, and makes things worse for the victim.

    What’s with the “almost?”And on that note, I want to add an apropos-of-nothing-else “FUCK YOU” to every K-12 school employee I’ve ever encountered, and FUCK have there been a lot of them, who’s less intelligent and compassionate than Casimir.And it’s not really apropos of nothing because what I’m alluding to really is the same fucking phenomenon, played out on a different stage by people who haven’t gotten as good at dissembling yet.

  165. 165

    Who has said you’re not entitled to your opinion?

  166. 166

    There is a big difference in how men and women are treated in this world; it appears you are not aware of this. So, here’s a question for you:If I call someone a nasty racist name, does it not matter because I am not in authority over them? Even at my age, and with my added weight over the past few years, I still find men talking to my chest. I still have to deal with sexism every day; very little of that comes from men who are in authority over me; the problem is, almost all of them assume they are in authority over me…because I have no Y chromosome…or to put it bluntly, because I have “boobs”. At a recent atheist conference in Des Moines, I was ignored and treated like a second class citizen by some of the men present, even when they were officially invading my space and interrupting my ability to interact with those visiting my booth. Was this because of my sex? Almost certainly. We’ve set up a social meme that allows women to be regarded as lesser, and it permeates all our reactions. In short, the idea that men who act that way have is that they ARE in some manner in authority over women (man is the head of woman?) and that they have the right to act like juvenile jerks whenever a woman is around, because they’re just having fun.

  167. 167

    We should start a bingo card for this guy, too.Few if any posters here actually hate men.  If they did, it would only be because idiots like you account for the vast majority of their experience with men.  So why don’t you put away the tiresome, bullshit, defensive cliches and the protesting-too-much insecure bravado, and pull your head out of your ass and learn something?  It won’t kill you.  Not that it’d be much loss if it did.

  168. 168

    Another good test is to change it to “black” and “white”. If it won’t stand the racist smell test, it won’t stand the sexist smell test.

  169. 169

    Go back and read the fucking post.

  170. 170
    Casimir Fornalski

    I guess you’re right, there shouldn’t be an “almost.”

  171. 171

    Wait, bagels are racist?  I thought everyone liked them. :(

  172. 172

    I’m sorry, exactly what was there about this post that counts as hating men?

  173. 173
    Cameron Brown

    Being forced to keep others in mind /= censorship. Kindly fuck off.

  174. 174
    John D.

    Haha.. see… this works just fine.  By the way… I am impressed by Davids quick and thorough contrition.  I am sure you are back in the club David… but you will now always be a junior member for life (fems never recover from butt hurt comments… it is more offensive than women being stoned to death by Muslims)

  175. 175

    It was a public blog post about a public problem, illustrated in jen’s example by a public comment made by a public figure. Why exactly should this be private?If you feel emasculated by a public criticism of a public figure, I think you should ponder why a rebuke against a white male makes you feel anger towards women. Should they not talk back? or is it that white males should be immune to criticism?

  176. 176

    Sure you’re entitled  to your opinion – but so are we, and the general consensus is that you’re a douche.

  177. 177

    I can’t speak for all men, and maybe I’ll just be embarrassing myself with what I say next, but the more I sympathize with feminist writers, the more I understand that what they’re asking of men is a change in perspective so pervasive, and yet so subtle, that it’s difficult for us to conceptualize, let alone carry out. This is not because of a special limitation of our gender (or sex, or whatever you insist that the biological, as opposed to cultural, component of our gendered behavioral profile should be called), but rather, as I think most feminists would be quick to point out, because we have been brought up with privilege and we simply don’t notice it.For some recalcintrant asshats, including yours truly, this has to be hammered home again and again because, much like other habits, that of taking privilege for granted is so easy to fall back into. It’s a habit that we resist understanding, because it is difficult to understand, because such an understanding forces us to confront our own shortcomings, and because, frankly, it is much easier to make fun of feminists, or fall back on flimsy arguments about human nature and evolutionary psychology (My eyes are programmed to gravitate toward boobs at the expense of my being able to listen!), than to learn the lessons that feminism can teach us. In time, I hope the tables will turn, and it will become more and more embarrassing and inconvenient to unreflectively assume privilege. Fortunately, I think that table’s been turning for a long time already, and will continue to do so, if only very slowly.Anyone who wants men (and not just men) to understand male privilege, and how it still makes life more difficult than it has to be for women (and in some important ways for men as well), has a long, hard fight ahead of them- the kind of fight in which one simply has to outlive many of one’s opponents (I shouldn’t say enemies; even some our loved ones may never catch on). I may be exaggerating the difficulty of it here, but even if I’m not, it’s a fight worth fighting.If you’re open to achieving a better understanding of this sort of thing, or want to help someone else too, I recommend this outstanding blog:http://shakespearessister.blog

  178. 178
    Anne Sauer

    Did you not read the part where she says she called him on it during the Q&A?

  179. 179
    John D.

    Hey Paul – I am just saying it is not polite to attack someone in public for being impolite.  Is it more impolite to regurgitate this story for the universe to gloat over than to simply talk to the impolite person and discuss the topic?…. I think so.  This is getting very tired.So many people who pretend to hold a degree in psychology and took some womens studies course are on this blog I feel it is only fair to make an observation from outside the group-think.  There is a nasty group-think with some feminist atheists which is quite destructive.I love how this group tries to deny that good looking women make a difference.  I also find it quite amazing that people on this blog deny that a good looking woman spokesperson would be a good way to get more women to join.  Most women prefer to follow a good looking woman.  Just watch American Idol.  Only good looking women get votes… and who votes for them… women (men don’t vote on Idol in large numbers)If women need atheism to be more like a clubby social group they should recruit some cute well spoken ladies to promote this.  Just a thought.

  180. 180

    Tone is set at the top: when your leaders are so willing be douchy to huge groups of people, don’t be surprised when the rank and file are douchy to each other.

  181. 181
    John D.

    This just further reinforces my point.  Why did Jen assume David was being intentionally rude?  Why was it important to go on the attack publicly?  Why was it then important to post the persons name here so he could be belittled in public?I think this is rude.  Most of us are mature enough to try to understand what a person really means rather than nit pick their speech.Feminists are in love with the war of language.  They are under the false impression that changing language is key to changing their status.  Tell me… how much was gained from the fight we had to call people “letter carriers” rather than “mail men”?  Not much ladies.  Not much.Fight your fight how ever you want… but I will have no part of the language wars.

  182. 182
    Lul Athiest

    Dont know if it’s been mentioned yet, but this is pretty insulting to us guys, too, suggesting that the reason we join these groups is for the “hot babes.”

  183. 183

    If you can’t tell the difference between a man reducing women to eye candy during an intellectual talk at a conference, and a single post on my personal blog about my weight loss (with a 1000+ posts without cleavage), then you have Missed The Fucking Point.I’m not wearing a bag over my head for you.

  184. 184
    John D.

    Haha – two people just told me to “fuck off” in the last hour.  This blog wins the rudeness award.  It usually takes much longer before someone swears at me.  All I do here if give a different opinion and BLAM!  And I thought this group was against violence.

  185. 185

    Thanks for posting! Loved it and look forward to reading much more.

  186. 186

    I think their attractiveness does increase their viewership, but if you’ve ever been in one of Laci’s live chats it’s horrible how sexist and ignorant it is. Their beauty is a gift and a curse, since I’m guessing less attractive women wouldn’t bring in as many pigheaded idiots.

  187. 187

    You refuse to consider anything outside of your narrative that “the fems are butthurt again” and “the liberals will help them out” with some version of “stupid white male guilt” that you can’t see legitimate issues. That’s why they say for you to fuck off. Go ahead, fit everything into your little narrative.

  188. 188
    Joe Fulgham

    “Confront them to their face.””She did.””That just reinforces my point.””I will have no part of the language wars”(keeps fighting in the language wars)(sexism in atheist groups)(proclaims women complaining about sexism are RUDE)(doesn’t realize or give-a-shit how rude he is to argue this and ignore the bigger issue)Well trolled, sir.

  189. 189
    Joé McKen

    Hmm. Your spelling is good and your grammar is adequate, so you are obviously not a complete dunce. Perhaps you should next work on improving your logical skills and reading comprehension.Jen said it perfectly, above me. There are different ways of talking about a woman’s appearance/physical attractiveness. Commenting on a picture she posted showing her weight loss progression is one thing. Ignoring all her intellectual accomplishments to just point out that she looks good is another.

  190. 190

    Done fucking yourself already? You must disappoint a lot of people.

  191. 191
    Kevin Jones

    So is the Atheist movements new motto, according to Eller:”Come for the hot women, stay for the Atheism.”??It is good that Eller has realized his mistake and apologized. Such a display of critical thinking is largely missing from faith and discussions about faith.

  192. 192

    Hear, hear! Sheesh … not just eye candy, we get to be walking incubators too.

  193. 193
    Anne Sauer

    Were you there at the conference? Dr. Eller’s speech was in large part about language (specifically, how much influence Christianity has had on English language and American culture). Jen’s comment wasn’ t an attack, and it wasn’t belittling. She didn’t assume that he was being intentionally rude; she figured that he was unaware of harm his comments were causing and wanted to address that–and address it in a way that let other individuals who may have been struck by those comments know that they were not alone. And Dr. Eller, as an intelligent, thoughtful member of our community, was glad to be made aware of his error, especially in light of the rest of his talk: http://www.blaghag.com/2011/05…Women aren’t the only ones who care about, or who benefit from, equal rights and respect for both genders.

  194. 194
    Lennon Folk

    oh look, internet troll is trolling. how cute.look, jen’s point is completely valid. changing language does change perceptions. look at the language of sports vs. the language of war. as american became more militaristic post-WWII, so too did the way that we described sports. football became especially bad at this. (note: there is plenty of scholarly research on this that is easily google-able. i wont waste time linking it here.)making militaristic language commonplace reinforced such ideals in th populace and thereby effected mindsets. as a news editor, i see it all the time in the stories that I write and edit.for jen to respectfully ask that Eller stop focusing on the merits of her and others’ beauty and instead focus on their accomplishments and smarts is a totally acceptable response.yours and others on here is not. in effect, you might as well be telling her to be barefoot pregnant and in the kitchen because atheism is “man time.”as a man, your response shames me. it saddens me to no end that we continually make the Atheist community less inviting by continuing old stereotypes and misogyny like this.

  195. 195

    Thank you, that sounds like much better response.  Just wondering: what would you say to those who have tried to defend you, who have implied Jen has been overreacting, and that it’s “no big deal”?

  196. 196

    Love your response! I’m going to have to remember that one…. :D

  197. 197

    You just posted a public comment rebuking a public blog post. Why should you be allowed to do this, when you forbid other people to do the same.Why do you have a special exemption to your own rules?I ask again, is it that women should be silent? or is it that white men are above criticism?

  198. 198

    I have a suggestion. If someone is out of line socially you should go tell them to their face.

    She did, dipshit.Next.

  199. 199
    Anthony McCloskey

    I find it deeply concerning that the Navy is filtering content based on the fact that it is atheist. I mean, I never like to hear that my content is being blocked by a web filter, but if the reason given is that the site is an atheist site, this should be reported to your Command Master Chief and to your CMEO. That’s really not cool.

  200. 200

    It bears repeating.

  201. 201
    Anthony McCloskey

    By the way, Jen is not ugly. I think the real dis-service is that she was not listed among the attractive female atheists! (NOTE: This is intended to be complimentary to Jen, humorous and a wee bit snarky please refrain from allowing your undergarments to become bunched upon reading this, whoever you are!)

  202. 202

    What you’re seeing is the lining of your own colon and not worth calling.

  203. 203
    Anthony McCloskey

    In all fairness, sexy people, regardless of gender, always help a cause. That’s advertising 101.

  204. 204

    I don’t think the point here is that men are collectively responsible for what David Eller said at the conference, I think the point here is that it’s part of a broader pattern of mostly unintentional (people like the handful of dipshits downthread who are working very hard to miss the point can’t really claim to be clueless – rejecting a clue is different from lacking one) but very real harmful, marginalizing, dehumanizing behavior to which men, as a group, are statistically prone and which stems from (possibly-biologically-grounded but in their present form emphatically learned) ways of thinking that are prevalent in men as a group, into which men as a group are enculturated, and out of which many men still have yet to inculturate themselves.So it’s not so much “this is all of your fault” as “this is what I’m talking about.”

  205. 205

    Despite your stupidity, I do want to thank you for reminding me of the existence of that picture. DAAAAAAAMMMMNNNNNN. I’ll be in my bunk.

  206. 206
    Owen Christy

    “Tell me… how much was gained from the fight we had to call people “letter carriers” rather than “mail men”?  Not much ladies.  Not much.Fight your fight how ever you want… but I will have no part of the language wars.”This is you entering the language wars. You are telling women that their efforts to change the way we speak are useless. Furthermore, you claim that “not much” is gained from such attempts. I am interested to know, how did you study this issue before making this claim? How do you know that “not much” has been gained from this? You are saying Jen assumed David was being rude, without any evidence on your side for that OR this. Where is your evidence that changing the way we speak has changed “not much”? Are you just assuming this?

  207. 207
    Anthony McCloskey

    THANK YOU!!! I am glad someone gets the point! The thing that bothers me about this entire crusade is that this poor man was forced into making an apology basically because he spoke the truth, said what was on his mind and what most people think. That does not make ANY of it right. But that does not mean he should have to apologize, nor should he have to change his speech (unless he really wants to).Free Speech is incredibly important. It’s also important that we all understand that we do not have the right to be NOT offended. I hate the KKK and what they preach, but I would NEVER stop them from preaching it. Same rule applies here. Jen was also well within her rights to respond-in-kind, as she did, using her own words, and for that she should be applauded. But the fact is, There are a lot of Militant Fems on here responding to posts they don’t like with very hostile responses like “Fuck You”. That doesn’t win you any respect. You have to EARN respect. If you cannot state the case for your side amicably and rationally, all you do is hurt your side.Now please, go ahead and prove my point with the barrage of irate “fuck you”s and such.

  208. 208
    Anthony McCloskey

    I love it!

  209. 209

    “It’s all the fault of the vagina hive-mind.”Fuck off, concern troll.

  210. 210
    Justin Casey

    I’ve posted the actual audio of what was said here: http://www.justincasey.com/sex

  211. 211

    Being told to fuck off is not violence.  That it happened within one hour doesn’t even make this blog more rude than usual – it just makes it quicker on the uptake.

  212. 212
    C R Bigelow

    You don’t get it.

  213. 213

    Well said.  And you should not feel bad for bringing this issue up and potentially tarnishing the movement.  The movement needs to be set right before it proceeds.

  214. 214

    Ugly women are just mad because they are ugly. Jen’s a hypocrite. In one post she’s talking about how she’s losing weight and wants to look better, and she’s flashing cleavage, in the next post she’s whining because Laci Green is WAY hotter. She’ll get over it and move on to better shit soon. Jen usually posts some good shit, but she often goes off on these crackpot feminist rants, and thats when you just sit back and chuckle and laugh. When I was done reading this post, I thought she should have made Dr. Eller a Sandwhich before bothering him with this drivel… ;-)

  215. 215
    Casimir Fornalski

    Really? What don’t I get?

  216. 216
    Anthony McCloskey

    Good god… You just completely proved Jen’s point in one post.

  217. 217
    Anthony McCloskey

    How can a bagel hate anyone? How can anyone hate a bagel?

  218. 218

    That’s all well and good but it doesn’t apply at all to this situation.

  219. 219
    Back Up

    That’s messed up. What ship are you on?

  220. 220

    Try living it.

  221. 221

    What’s “amicable” about blowing off criticism of thoughtless, divisive, insulting commentary as “butthurt fems?”Oh, right, it’s only the minority that has to EARN respect.

  222. 222

    O.oWhere might this hive be located?

  223. 223
    Owen Christy

    Something I keep thinking about is, even if there were a bunch of good-looking male atheist bloggers out there (and I’m not saying there aren’t, I’m new to the community) they would not get this same reaction. Sure, when someone stumbles upon their work there might be the same initial effect of “Ooh,they’re pretty, I want to watch them,”  but that effect can only hold someone’s attention for so long, just as with the women.  They would not, however, be plastered onto a presentation slide with the idea of, “Aren’t we lucky we have these hot guys attracting women to the atheist community?” Such a thought would never enter most people’s minds. That the opposite thought (“Let’s throw up some good looking women”) occurs doesn’t inherently mean that the presenter is out and out sexist. Quite probably the presenter grew up in a sexist environment as is not even aware of the problem. What it does mean, however, is that we need to be mindful of what we’re doing, especially in a community such as this that is specifically trying to branch out it’s membership.

  224. 224

    Subverting bag-wearing could be our next event.

  225. 225
    Casimir Fornalski

    First: I’m pretty sure Cameron was typing the “does not equal” sign, as in:Being forced to keep others in mind ≠ censorship. Second: The man was not “speaking the truth”, he was speaking his opinion, and was called out to recognize that in this setting his opinion was not productive and may, in fact, do more to hurt the movement than help it. Third: Eller was not “forced” to apologize. He was asked to apologize and responded in kind. If he valued the rest of his peers so little that he felt it more important to be a jerk in the name of some sort of self-styled behavioral autonomy, then he would have done so. Clearly, Eller respects the people he works with enough to humble himself and make amends. It shows character—not weakness—to do that.Fourth: Free Speech is incredibly important, and you obviously need to learn what it actually means. Nobody has advocated that Eller be arrested for what he said. The First Amendment does not grant you the right to say what you want without criticism. That’s high school government 101. I would not stop the KKK from espousing their hate-o-ric either, but I would sure as hell yell back and tell them how stupid and flat out wrong they are. Free speech affords me that ability as well. Finally, as far as this notion of “earning” respect, I don’t know about you but I respect everybody equally until they demonstrate they don’t respect me or others. I’m pretty sure nobody on here is a militant fascist trying to sew shut the mouths of all who speak disagreeable things. But we do value decent human behavior, and have little patience for those who don’t.

  226. 226
    Static Motion

    “Judeo-Christian” feels also kinda sick, considering all the historic progroms in Europe. Strangly enough, here in Germany/Austria the term “Judeo-Christian” has been imported only during the last decade to position the “(Judeo-) Christian occident” against the oh so scary Muslim immigrants.

  227. 227
    Anthony McCloskey

    I am NOT agreeing with Thomas… Let me distance myself from him now… But he IS as entitled to his own opinion as you or I or anyone else.

  228. 228
    Anthony McCloskey

    That’s a more correct response.

  229. 229

    Did you just compare women perpetuating the patriarchal gender binary to men doing it to a woman? Do you also believe in “reverse racism?”

  230. 230

    It still would have been a disservice to emphasize it because the attractiveness shouldn’t be the point.  I don’t read Jen’s posts because she’s healthy and well-proportioned with a nice rack and a winning smile.  I doubt anyone does, even the people whose attention was originally piqued by Boobquake.  I read her blog because she’s engaging, and intelligent, and is fair-minded and intellectually honest and unapologetically and incisively critical where it’s warranted (though I’ll admit that the sex-positivity and similar taste in dirty jokes are part of why I gravitated to this blog, and Greta’s, more than some other bold, intelligent female atheists).  So, even though these things are true, and nominally positive, they’re irrelevant and focusing on them at the expense of what Jen is working toward and focusing on is insulting.  The subtext is that you’re entitled to determine for her what the point of her efforts is – that you’re entitled to decide what’s important and what matters about her, and what she brings to the movement.

  231. 231
    Anthony McCloskey

    No, everyone has to earn respect. But when people resort to being blow hards, they disprove the point they are trying to make and only strengthen the resolve of those they are trying to convince.  You get more flies with honey…

  232. 232
    Anthony McCloskey

    When I said speak the truth, I was referring the fact that, like it or not, it is an undeniable, absolute truth that attractive females  supporting a cause ALWAYS benefit that cause, even if the benefit is minimal. No one, not even women has ever said, “I don’t like that group, there are too many pretty women”.Your fourth point is nothing more than a reiteration of my own point about free speech, but I thank you for reinforcing that which I already stated.As for your lack of patience for those who you perceive as not valuing decent human behavior, there in lies the issue… Everyone values decent human behavior. They simply define that behavior differently, and that is okay.All the problems discussed herein are due to one simple fact of human nature… People tend to listen to respond, rather than listening to understand. When you listen to someone, or read their work, you should try to see the point from their perspective. This does not mean that you should accept their perspective. But it will give you insight on where they are coming from. When people in your life who you respect (which you seem to give out willy-nilly) say something hurtful or offensive, since you respect them, you cannot just lambaste them, you should step back and ask yourself, “why would this person say such a thing?” Could you be mis-understanding? Could there be an altenative meaning? Could they have mis-spoken? Is your respect misplaced?When we listen to understand, rather than listen to respond, we all learn, we all expand our minds and we all become better at defending our points with arguments that are more intelligent and compelling than telling people to “fuck off”.

  233. 233
    Tugs N. McCowan

    You are right. Thank you.

  234. 234
    Anthony McCloskey

    Ahhh… I missed a point. In response to your third point, I concede the point that Dr. Ellers was not “forced” to aplogize, however, had he felt strongly that he wanted to stick to what he said, he would not have been a jerk either. Nor would he have been uncaring to his peers. The exercise of ones rights does not automatically make you a jerk because others mis-understand you.Furthermore, I never implied that an apology demonstrates weakness. You interjected that notion, not I.

  235. 235

    Agree completely with your point, but one issue – no one called Eller sexist, just that he engaged in sexism. Here’s a helpful video:http://www.illdoctrine.com/200

  236. 236
    John D.

    If you must know I just went shopping and cooked dinner for my wife and kids…. but that’s just the kind of guy I am.

  237. 237
    John D.

    Indeed… I agree!

  238. 238
    Steven Ree Worley

    I read the article before giving in to my knee-jerk desire to take the ‘man’s side’ in this. Jen is spot-on in calling attention to the in-eloquence of Eller’s remarks, as painful as it may be to have to take a fellow community member to task. At a time when the atheist movement is just starting to really get off the ground and go mainstream, it is critical that everyone who wants to be involved feel welcome to express their minds and feel respected for their valuable contributions to the effort. At this stage in the game a female atheist probably feels especially marginalized as a woman and as an atheist in society. Not to mention having to speak out in a room full of horny males who may not hear anything beyond their internal thoughts of T&A. As a male atheist, I speak for many when I say that much greater input and participation by women is sorely needed in the movement. We sorely need their minds, as well as their bodies (no sexual innuendo intended), in order to advance our cause further. For those idiots who felt compelled to comment to Jen about her ‘nice rack’ or whatever, shame on you for making an intelligent woman and valuable member of the community to feel extremely uncomfortable at the conference. You do want her to come back, don’t you? At a time when the atheist movement is just beginning to shake its ‘creepy weirdo guy’ image, we really can’t afford to countenance such juvenile crap. Well said Jen, you captured the essence of the moment perfectly, and you are perfectly justified to put the microscope on it.

  239. 239
    John D.

    I was not at the conference,but I do not trust the accuracy of Jen’s reporting as she has been know to exaggerate in the past.  You know what they say… once hyperbolic… always hyperbolic.In any case, I find it revolting that Jen serves up some poor sap about once a month who made some kind of speech error.  It is always some comment about sex and women or this sort of thing.The individual gets publicly flogged for their obvious insensitivity (because we know how sensitive Jen is).  They are then served up as public fodder until they appologize just right and sound contrite.  I didn’t expect some sort of Spanish Inquisition.Do you guys actually think it is men’s fault that there are not more women atheists?  This is really stupid.  Twice as many men report that they are atheists than women.  A typical atheist meeting is about free speech or evolution (not that this is total uninteresting to women… but it is totally uninteresting to 90% of women).I am sick of the assumption that atheist men are somehow a big problem.  This is the lamest of lame shit.  Atheist men are by far more open and egalitarian than men in any other religious (or non-religious) group.If you want more women, talk to women.  Instead you insist on blaming the problem on men.  Complete crap… as usual.

  240. 240
    John D.

    Hey dipshit yourself.  I am sick of the public flogging.  Jen is rude and should stop her revolting abuse.

  241. 241

    Which bit do you object to specifically? The original quip or “I feel dirty”? Because the first bit was just that – as Azkyroth pointed out – Coulter has set herself up as the pretty blonde poster girl for conservatism and would therefore be the nemesis of any “eye candy” our movement were to thrust forward like misogynistic knuckle-draggers. Which we’re obviously not doing. Which was the joke.The “I feel dirty” line was because after typing my original comment, I really did feel dirty. Your last line is exactly right – she’s vile because of how she is, not what she looks like, and it was to this that I was referring. I can see how that wouldn’t come across and I apologise for the poorly-written line – it was self-evidently a last minute tack-on. But in neither case was I deriding, demeaning or otherwise taking the piss out of Ann Coulter’s appearance – or indeed, woman-ness. I made a joke about the *public perception* of her attractiveness (which she herself cultivates) and then voiced my disgust at her beliefs and attitudes (poorly, I will certainly admit). There was no sexism here.

  242. 242
    Zachary Alex Stern

    But they are kind of cute :-P

  243. 243

    I know this is an exceedingly difficult claim to back up on the internet – but I try very very hard not to judge people on their appearance. I’m depressed it hasn’t come across that way.

  244. 244
    Anthony McCloskey

    Ahh… You failed to read my note…

  245. 245
    Paul Murray

    IOW “We need to have *pretty women* so as to attract more *real people*” – real people, of course, being men.Weird, you know. Considering the history of religion, atheism is a terribly important feminist issue.

  246. 246
    Ophelia Benson

    Yeah well I’m totally ugly so if women get to be part of the atheist movement only if they’re hot, I’m fucked. I say be inclusive to ugly people. We can always wear big hats or something.

  247. 247

    The list goes on: lighter color hair implies youth, the labia are lighter before bearing a child, lip stick, makeup, etc. All of which, like it or not, signal to men that the woman is a good candidate for mating “the labia are lighter before bearing a child… (which) signal(s) to men that the woman is a good candidate for mating.”  O-oThis makes sense to you somehow? You know that women have been wearing clothes for several years now, right? How often do you get a glimpse of the labia before the first date? And does it involve bathrooms and open windows?Once they become a public figure, they are open to public complements and criticism.a. The word you’re looking for is “compliments.” b. So, in a discussion about sexism, you actually believe that “She was askin’ fer it!” is an appropriate response? Wow.I think George Takei says it best.

  248. 248
    Casimir Fornalski

    Your fourth point is nothing more than a reiteration of my own point about free speech, but I thank you for reinforcing that which I already stated.

    No, it’s not. Your original post made the point that people don’t have the right to be offended and was content to leave it at that. You are conflating criticism with censorship. The first amendment does not guarantee you, me, or anyone else the right not to be taken to task for what we say. So when people jump on somebody for saying something sexist and hurtful (whether intentional or not) and then ask for an apology, it is not a free speech issue. When someone criticizes an idea, it is not infringing on the right of a person to state that idea. And that applies whether the criticism is a long, nuanced rebuttal or a simple “fuck you.” Now, we can argue as to the effectiveness of the latter, but until someone throws you in jail or physically tries to stifle you for saying something unpopular, your first amendment rights have not been violated. Also, I don’t buy this business of “everyone has their own definition of what constitutes decent behavior”. Obviously, if I walked up to you or someone you cared about and started to insult and demean you, you would get upset, and rightfully so. I would just be an asshat to hide behind that kind of behavior as falling within “my own definition of decency.” There are plenty of people out there who, in fact, do not give a shit about how other people feel, and are happy to go about exploiting, abusing and dehumanizing them for their own gain. In no universe does this fall under any definition of “decency.” If you don’t feel this way, then I’m sorry, but you’re not a humanist. (And you may not be, I don’t know.) As far as it being an “undeniable, absolute truth that attractive females  supporting a cause ALWAYS benefit that cause, even if the benefit is minimal”, well, this is also woefully off the mark.Yes, it’s true that sex sells, and that’s the problem. I certainly know when I think of an organization that promotes positive self-image and socially progressive action, I think of the Advertising Industry. Or are we to assume that because Axe Body Spray has such a large market share, they must be doing something right? It does us no good to identify a harmful practice (which objectification of women is) and then exploit that same practice for personal gain. That is hypocritical, counterproductive, and ultimately validates the very things we’re fighting to dismantle.  

  249. 249

    So you are presuming that his willingness to interrupt would not have been there if the organizer were speaking to another male? Given the number of conversations I’ve been a part of with other men and women that were rudely interrupted by other men and women I can’t say I agree. I’m also wondering why you feel it was up to you to apologize for him. Were you responsible for him in some way? Are the the de facto representative of assholes?

  250. 250

    I got that from Eller’s comments, too (from this blog and the audio – I wasn’t there). In a talk about building community he gave the impression that these two women are not part of the community, only tools that may be useful in attracting actual people to the community.

  251. 251

    “Would you like a bagel?” isn’t racist. “Oh. You’re Jewish. Would you like a bagel?” most certainly is..

  252. 252

    That’s got to be a record. Second reply in the thread. *Headdesk*

  253. 253

    It is awesome that you posted this. Thank you for being honest and admitting your own complicity in the patriarchy.

  254. 254
    John D.

    I have now listened to the audio and have concluded that my initial point was correct.  Anyone complaining about David’s words is likely simply promoting their radical feminism on the back of atheism.I stand by my words.

  255. 255

    Yep. I took a Religions class in Judaism focusing on the philosophical/theological impact of the Shoah and one of the things a lot of the authors addressed was the sudden and nonsensical conflation of Judeo-Christianity. Many of the writers thought it was a bunch of knee-jerk guilt of the Holocaust–ie, a way of denying their own complicity in it by denying the Christian roots of Jew-hatred. That’s why I never use the term anymore.

  256. 256

    Douchecanoe, ROFL, she dressed like a slut so she was asking for it, right? /sexism

  257. 257
    John D.

    I’m no troll.  I say what I mean.  I am sick of radical feminist atheism already.I used to call myself a feminist since I did what I could to treat woman as an equal.  Equal pay, equal rights etc.  I no longer call myself a feminist becasue the only women left calling themselves feminists are radical and unthinking.  Any joke or bit of talk involving sexuality instantly becomes some kind of misogyny.  Ridiculous.I do not look forward to people who claim they are “leaders” in atheism while promoting radical feminism.  This blog is the ultimate in this political framing and posturing.  Unthinking drivel.  Shame on you all and your political correctness blather.

  258. 258

    “If someone is out of line socially you should go tell them to their face.”   But she did this at the conference. Or did you just skip over that part?”And to poor David Eller.  Yes… you have had your moment just like so many others.  The real lesson here is that no one will be given any slack for their social errors.”  Read the posts above yours, genius. Eller APOLOGIZED and admitted that he was sexist in his language. “The fems are here to enforce their politeness rules and they are gleeful to do so in a public forum.”  LOL, because not being subjected to misogyny is us forcing politeness. Alternately, it is YOU doing US a favor. It’s you giving something to us. EXAMINE YOUR FUCKING PRIVILEGE.  

  259. 259

    “Free speech” does not shield the person who exercises it from it’s effects. If someone says something douchey,  sexist, racist or offensive, everyone else has a right to call them on the carpet for it. Such is the nature of free speech. It sounds like you want is free speech for SOME PEOPLE. Jen didn’t demand an apology. She did call Eller out, rightly, for his fauxpology. Again–her fair exercise of the free speech you want to extend to Eller….but not to Jen, for some (sexist) reason.

  260. 260
    Steve Caldwell

    Subverting bag wearing has already been done:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T

  261. 261

    QQ dude.

  262. 262
    Owen Christy

    Ok, I didn’t mean to imply that a) Eller was sexist, or b) that anyone outright said he was. Oops. Looking back over my post I totally see where you got that.This is what I get for trying to post in those fleeting moments where my boss is out of the room >_<

  263. 263

    A misogynist who expects a reward for doing simple grown-up things?

  264. 264

    Well said, Mr. Eller, and thank you.  Given that it’s incidents like these that have made me wary of becoming involved with the “movement” as such, it’s heartening to see someone who’s participated in that hostile-ish environment (however unintentionally!) recognize it and make amends.  If I might offer some unrequested advice, what I’ve found when I’m speaking and someone calls me out on something, I try to answer respectfully at first, and ask for a few minutes to consider my response – allow myself time to climb down from the immediate defensive reaction, and examine what my interlocutor is trying to communicate.  I’ve found it gives me a much better chance of responding with empathy and in keeping with my principles, if I make allowances for the fact that as a human being I have some flaws, one of them being the knee-jerk defensive response.  Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to apologize.  It really does help.

  265. 265


  266. 266
    John D.

    Well… I do come here to try to teach you liberal feminists how to do simple grown up things.  Things like not executing your friends in public.  I guess they didn’t teach that in womans studies class.  Alas.

  267. 267

    How many sharp blows to the head did it take to convince you this criticism was appropriately directed not at the sneering proud misogynist showing up to ooze entitlement and condescension and leave goopy footprints of it all over the blog, but rather at the people who’ve entirely reasonably fucking HAD IT with that shit and call him out for it?

  268. 268

    Replying to Mario. I think it’s important that he realized that, however much this insulting him as a male, his privilege shields him from the effects in a way that it doesn’t for women. As he said, “you show me how women were insulted in a way that is much worse and I realize that I was wrong too.” I like that he was big enough to admit this.

  269. 269

    Then go flog yourself in private.  As was suggested upthread.Seriously.  Who do you think you ARE, that could possibly entitle you to just walk in here and sneer at the concerns of women and those who actually give a fuck about them in the most condescending manner imaginable?  Who do you think you ARE that you figure you’re being wronged by being bluntly called on your misogynist, mean-spirited, privilege-oozing trolling? Who do you think you ARE, that your proudly uninformed, caricatured, bingo-card opinion should just automatically be treated as though it’s valuable or interesting?Who.  Do.  You. Think. You. ARE?

  270. 270
    John D.

    Ah Cyranoth2nd – I really should not even try to correct your abuse and those of your clones.  I was afraid that the feminist agenda would ruin the organizations I am a part of as an atheist.  I have just changed my mind.  Most of you are such demagogic lunatics that you will never find yourselves as real leaders.  People in respectable organizations will not touch you hornets with a ten foot pole.  haha.  Enjoy your rage ladies!

  271. 271

    I repeat.  Who has said otherwise?

  272. 272
    Mr Heteronormative

    “Bravo, Jen. The women in the atheist movement are not arm candy.”Unfortunately, that’s true.

  273. 273


  274. 274
    John D.

    Who. do. I. think. I. am? (wow – it takes a long time to type periods after every word).  I like your rant Azky.  Very classy.I think Jen is rude… and I think you are too.  And Jen and your type of rude is especially malicious.  You see… you are obsessed with the detail of what someone says rather than what they mean.  If they do not use language that suits you you get all butt hurt and demand an apology.  The “offending person” thinks to themselves… “Oh shit… I didn’t think they would be so butt hurt… I had better apologize.  I also better not say exactly what I mean because that will make them butt hurt again.  Gee wizz… I had better not say anything they don’t want to hear or they will attack me on the interblogs.  Wow these fems are hard core killer b’s.”Isn’t it possible that this is what is really happening?  I think so.

  275. 275

    How about, rather than falling over yourself to describe what a mensch you are, you just leave appearance out of it entirely? Seriously, your best argument here is because Ann Coulter makes the dialog about her looks, that we should be willing to stoop to that level? There’s about a billion things to call her out on without taking her looks into account.

  276. 276

    Provided she’s still alive, it’s “possible” that your mother is having sex with a donkey right at this minute.Somehow, I don’t think you’ll accept “it’s possible” as the minimum standard for declaring something true in that case.As the only evidence you’ve provided for your ignorant assertions is another ignorant assertion, essentially that “butthurt fems” and “radical feminists” are wrong about everything, and as both your “evidence” and reasoning has been contradicted by the entire discussion about this, numerous links, and the statements of the people involved, don’t you think it’s possible that “radical feminists are never right or worth talking to like fellow adults” might be a…questionable…axiom on which to base a position?  I mean, it’s POSSIBLE, which according to you is all it takes to make something true, right.And it’s too bad that you’re too damn stupid to see why sneering condesplaining is ruder than telling a sneering condesplainer to fuck off.  It’s really too bad.

  277. 277

    Jen, I saw your awesome talk at the Imagine No Religion conference in Kamloops. Keep pushing it (sexism) in their faces.  You are helping to “raise consciousness” as Dawkins says, and you have my full support.  For those guys out there who feel the same way, when you see harassement happening, grab some courage, stand, up and call the perp on it.  And for those perps who think it is fine to harass, imagine your grandmother, mother, sister, wife, or daughter being talked to and treated that way, ’cause that is who you are hurting with your stupidity.  Go Jen, go!

  278. 278

    That’s funny, because 80+% of the people in attendance at that “respectable organization”‘s conference applauded when Jen called David Eller out.Oh, right, by “respectable” you mean “ones that I, John D, He Whose Uninformed and Ungracious Opinion Must Nevertheless Be Given Weight Apropos of Nothing, have blessed with my penis.”Somehow, I think American Atheists and Jen’s Blog both will do just fine without your penis.

  279. 279

    It’s unfortunate they didn’t teach you the meaning of “execution” in either History or English.And you’re not a friend.

  280. 280
    Tim Rowledge

    I suspect that at least part of the raison d’être for this ‘judeo-christian’ thing is a stealth attempt to fake up a more inclusive seeming cultural milieu whilst not actually changing a damn thing. The logic would perhaps be something like “old testament, new testament, hey they’re both in the bible so obviously jews and christians are god’s favourites and besides it makes us sound like we actually tolerate those terrible god-killers”. I guess I agree with cyranothe2nd on this.Imagine if there were a move to refer to ‘chrislamist’. How comfortable would christians be with that?

  281. 281

    Are you seriously comparing harsh language to public flogging and execution?Seriously?That is perhaps the height of overweening privilege.  Good heavens.

  282. 282
    John D.

    Oh my Azkyroth.  I must be giving you a real butt hurting if you would attempt to insult my mother.  If you must know, the donkey answers to Bruce and will fuck your brains out too.  We charge $45 per hour and we provide lubrication.  Bruce likes it, and he is always ready.I hope you enjoy your feminist fantasy life.  I called myself a feminist when it meant something decades ago.  Too bad you are fucking it up for all the men and women who worked so hard to fix real problems.  Now all you do is whine about sex talk.  Don’t forget about Bruce.  He may make you feel better.

  283. 283
    John D.

    I did not say I was a friend.  I assumed that David was your friend.  He is the one Jen executed publicly.  I am not your friend… but Bruce would be.

  284. 284
    Justin Casey

    I’ve updated my post to include transcriptions of what was said to clarify some of the audio.

  285. 285

    An unfortunately necessary post. Well done Jen. This sort of thing always needs to be pointed out because us guys don’t always catch it on our own. Thanks for pointing this out and keep up the good work.I’m very glad and relieved that David apologized. My respect for him remains intact.

  286. 286

    I don’t doubt that Cristina Rad is witty and talented, but it would be naive to think that her looks haven’t contributed to her popularity.  If looks didn’t matter, I’d have the same chance of being a movie star as Brad Pitt.  Eller’s comments merely acknowledged those facts. Attractive people,whether men or women, have a gentler slope to climb to prominence. One of the things that makes the grinding injustice of it all tolerable is that us plain folks get to make lame little jokes about it. The ideal of political correctness that McCreight is enforcing here does real harm by choking off the social release valve a sense of humor provides. I get that some jokes can cross the line, but it’s impossible to tell jokes without taking that risk. I think some latitude is in order for the jokes that aren’t maliciously bigoted, which was surely the case for Eller’s comments.

  287. 287
    Anne Sauer

    ” A typical atheist meeting is about free speech or evolution (not that this is total uninteresting to women… but it is totally uninteresting to 90% of women).”Where does that number come from? What makes you an expert (since you obviously are) on women and their interests and why they go to such events or not?

  288. 288
    Pieter B

    You have to EARN respect. If you cannot state the case for your side amicably and rationally, all you do is hurt your side.

    That you follow this with

    The thing that bothers me about this entire crusade is that this poor man was forced into making an apology basically because he spoke the truth, said what was on his mind and what most people think

    displays a stunning lack of awareness.

  289. 289
    Paul Murray

    “If someone is out of line socially you should go tell them to their face.”By all means. But this was not a social event – the guy was a speaker at a conference. Likewise: sexism at work is not a social affair. It’s not easy to simply tell your boss off for being a dick, as you would do at a bar.Get it right dude. people will respect you more.

  290. 290
    Paul Murray

    “this poor man was forced into making an apology basically because he spoke the truth, said what was on his mind and what most people think.”He is not being castigated (look it up) for speaking what was on his mind, but for what was on his mind. The problem with racists is not that they spew racism, its that they are racist in the first place – whether they talk about it or not.This is not a free speech issue.

  291. 291

    Read the fucking post, then comment.

  292. 292
    Dag-Erling Smørgrav


  293. 293
    Pieter B

    About a month ago, Elyse Anders tweeted (twote?)

    My favorite thing about discussing sexism is that the conversation always turns into how girls are too stupid to get that it’s not sexist.


  294. 294
    Dag-Erling Smørgrav


  295. 295

    I don’t think that’s particularly “big,” I think that’s bargain-basement intellectual honesty.  I’m very disturbed by your phrasing, though.  Being male or otherwise having privilege is radically different from “being complicit in the patriarchy.”

  296. 296

    Um, it seems to me that anyone perpetuating the patriarchal gender binary is a problem.  I would agree that an implication of equal weight is inappropriate…and in fact, the poster acknowledged this, although perhaps not as strongly as he should have.

  297. 297

    Any advice for handling people who don’t believe you made a sincere effort to understand them unless you agree with them?

  298. 298

    Really?  If his lack of awareness weren’t stunning with the fact that he’s defending a condesplaining, sneering misogynist’s unsupported assertions and arrogant certainty that his ignorant opinion was actually contributing something, with blithering about “[stating] the case for your side amicably and rationally,” I wouldn’t think this would push him over the edge.Anthony: the poster you are defending was neither amicable nor rational and has earned no respect.  Your tone trolling is not only misguided, it is misdirected by exactly 180 degrees.  Until you make an effort to understand why this is so, you’re no better than he is.

  299. 299

    He never said “they are only valued for their cuteness”. Stop always assuming the worst about people.

  300. 300

    That was a truly impressive example of missing the point.  You’ve raised the bar for self-fellating douchebags everywhere.

  301. 301

    No, I didn’t.

  302. 302

    You would prefer it were only the intelligent people?

  303. 303

    @Liz C Whoosh!  You seem to have completely missed the point and instead attacked something from your own imagination — no one said anything about Coulter’s “ugliness”, quite the opposite. Given Coulter’s carefully crafted image as “an attractive blond in a black slinky dress” who attacks liberal women by referring to them as big-boned, horse-faced, with unshaven underarms, etc., a play on physical appearance that her followers lap up, it’s important to note the vast gap between this purported attractiveness and the quality of her arguments — which gives all the more emphasis to “As atheists & skeptics, we not only want to win with intelligent commentary, but it is in fact the only way we can hope to win”. If looks don’t matter, then Coulter ‘s got nothing and no one her would have paid any attention to her.

  304. 304

    Yes, I thought it rather obvious that that was the commenter’s point, but Liz reacted as if it were the opposite — as if, instead, someone had called her “Mann Coulter” and commented on her adam’s apple. It’s useful to consider what people actually say about a subject, not project on them something that one has heard others say.

  305. 305

    “I have a suggestion.  If someone is out of line socially you should go tell them to their face. “I have a suggestion myself. Read the whole post again, this time for comprehension. She did tell him to his face.

  306. 306

    “When I said speak the truth, I was referring the fact that, like it or not, it is an undeniable, absolute truth that attractive females  supporting a cause ALWAYS benefit that cause, even if the benefit is minimal. No one, not even women has ever said, “I don’t like that group, there are too many pretty women”.”Um, no. There are quite likely a number of males who would show up at certain events if they know attractive atheist females are there. The effect is likely largely unconscious. The effect likely works in reverse as well. It likely didn’t hurt Obama’s campaign that he’s a hotty. But no one is ever convinced to abandon their religion due to a pretty face. You want ticket sales or do you want members?There are attractive females in almost every cause of large enough size. To call special attention to that gives weight to the notion that their value is measured in large part due to their looks. To advance women in the movement on that basis would detract from the seriousness of the movement and drive away the women that the movement needs.

  307. 307

    Congratulations on vanquishing that strawman, but TMA neither said nor implied that smart pretty chicks are rare.As for merely pointing out that women are pretty, it is often inappropriate, and insensitive to women who are sick and tired of being judged on their looks, but is *not* sexist, as it in no way implies any superiority of men over women.There’s another issue here that no one seems able to consider. If talking about looks is so inappropriate, why is talking about intelligence? What about people who, through no fault of their own, have rather ordinary levels of intelligence? Aren’t they welcome as atheists? Perhaps they are unusually brave, or hardworking, or generous, or decent … intelligence is not the only, or even the most relevant, positive trait.

  308. 308

    After reading the transcript, I think that Jen does have a point. I think the entire problem is that he added the word “especially”. Saying that we “especially [need] the funny ones and the pretty ones” takes the attention away from intelligence and logic, which is where it belongs. We need to be respected for being smart, not for being a bunch of comedians or models. That being said, I do disagree with a good deal of what Jen said at the bottom of the post and I feel that they should be pointed out. Jen numbered hers, so my numbers will match hers.1.    Just because someone was offended by something and even if the majority of the audience was offended, that does not make the offended person necessarily right. We need to think on logic, not emotion. Eller had a right to make his case after Jen’s comment. I think Jen is a good person, but she has the bad habit of being disgusted at the idea that people might disagree with her and feel that they are wrong to even respond to her. 2.    Mostly a good point except that Eller also mentioned that we should focus on supporting funny bloggers. Being a funny person is not the same thing as being an intelligent person. Yet the suggestion that we support funny bloggers does not seem to anger people as much as the suggestion that we support attractive people. Why the discrepancy? 3.    Yes, actually Atheism DOES have a problem attracting men. When less than 3% of the male population refers to themselves as Atheists, then our movement does need to expand greatly among males. Just because we have even less females does not mean that we should limit the focus of our expansion to just the gender we have less of. No, we shouldn’t give special privileges to beautiful bloggers, but the fact of the matter is that attractive people attract attention, however unfair that might be. Personally, I would never be chosen to be a model, but I will admit that they have an easier time being popular and that that can assist Atheism. Again, don’t give them special privileges, but don’t be afraid to admit that their looks might help them attract followers who will stay to hear the intelligence of what they have to say. Jen says that Eller offered a “not-pology” but from the transcript it shows that he actually did apologize and said that he thinks that bloggers should be respected for their intelligence. He adds praise after praise about how smart the girl in question is. However, he was right to state the fact that having beautiful bloggers does attract attention to the movement and he shouldn’t have to apologize for that. He isn’t making a values judgment, just stating the situation.

  309. 309

    You were misunderstood by a sloppy reader.

  310. 310

    How about, instead of attacking G.Syne with a dishonest ad hominem, you address hsr actual point, which was about how hsr statement was misinterpreted?

  311. 311

    You posted a hostile comment on the blog and only two people told you to fuck off and this merits a rudeness award? What g-rated corner of the internet do you hide out in?

  312. 312
    Ola Rozenfeld

    Yes, an interesting idea, but to me it seems that the racist smell test is a hell of a lot more restrictive, in general — especially if the question is about the appropriateness of some remark. Typical example: saying “Wow, great arms, man!” is not the same as saying “Great skin color!”  (even if you happen to totally love the fact he’s black, you better hold that remark). You have to treat on eggshells much more there. And more importantly, the “black and white” reduction usually just won’t exist. The issues involved are too different.

  313. 313

    I don’t see any reason to assume that gender had anything to do with it.  This is actually quite common behavior regardless of the gender of the people talking, and is often cultural in basis — some good work has been done on styles of conversation and “personal space” and how they differ by region.

  314. 314

    When someone says they “await” something and then it doesn’t come, do they reevaluate their own beliefs and expectations? Many, like Harold Camping, blithely continue on without concern for disconfirming evidence.

  315. 315

    “No one, not even women has ever said, ‘I don’t like that group, there are too many pretty women’.”That’s not even true. Plenty of women feel unwelcome where it seems beauty is a requirement, and/or they feel they will always be unfavorably compared to those pretty women. In fact, i’m pretty sure that fact is the business-model for places like “curves”

  316. 316

    Considering this and your comment about studies of bias toward attractiveness, I find you remarkably intellectually honest.

  317. 317

    she did? how amazing then, that he’s still able to comment from beyond the grave.

  318. 318
    Tim Fuller

    I dunno.  Torn on this one.  At my age, I can only that wish someone would find me attractive enough to make a public comment about my appearance.

  319. 319
    Tim Fuller

    FWIW, I’ll  GLADLY go full frontal nudity if it helps the progressive cause.  Given my exceedingly gaunt physique I’m pretty sure such a move would be a recipe for disaster however.

  320. 320

    You’re an asshole and a moron — saying what you mean doesn’t redeem you.

  321. 321

    I can’t understand the appeal of thinking of women as candy anyway.  Aside from the whole “people” thing, candy’s well-known for being empty calories, causing tooth decay, and straight-up dissolving if you get it more than slightly wet. ;/

  322. 322

    “this poor man was forced into making an apology”, no he wasn’t, dumbfuck.  “nor should he have to change his speech (unless he really wants to)”, which he did, asshole.

  323. 323

    “when people resort to being blow hards, they disprove the point they are trying to make”Oh the irony.

  324. 324

    ‘ No one, not even women has ever said, “I don’t like that group, there are too many pretty women”.’Do you even *know* any women, Anthony?

  325. 325

    I think it’s mostly that he’s appallingly stupid and non-reflective.

  326. 326

    What many people don’t recognise is that men DO interrupt women more often than women interrupt others. I’ve done a survey on this in a classroom of adults in a post grad course. Despite the class being over 70% women, men still dominated the conversation / class discussion in that they had more time speaking in total, and interruptions of male on female were common, slightly less common was male interruption on male, rare was female interruption on male and slightly less rare female interruption on female.Try it yourself one day when you have the opportunity. It may enlighten you.As women though we feel it more acutely than a man can. If it has not happened to you with at the same rate, so that you notice it’s more commonly done to you, then you probably don’t notice the lack of balance.

  327. 327

    Wow, sexist AND racist in one hit!

  328. 328

    Sadly this is just a reflection of the ongoing sexism in our society.

  329. 329
    Svlad Cjelli

    Nah, I was just curious about if  he could have been one of those rare elderly gentlemen who apply “the grownups are talking” more liberally. :p

  330. 330

    Hold on! Have ANY of you ever seen Laci and Cristina’s videos?!!?Criss often records her comments from her bed.  Her frickin’ bed!!!Laci shows more cleavage than a strip club.They are both very smart and know EXACTLY what they’re doing.  They are using their “attributes”and femininity to increase their subscription and viewer numbers.I’m tired of women continuing to make us men apologize for being human (or for being men).  You can’t come out wearing a bikini and then insist, “you better not objectify me!”Stop already.  We aren’t your enemy.

  331. 331
    Julie Lada

    Perhaps you’re not familiar with how these posts usually go. The way this normally works is:A: Jen points out something that is offensive to women or could promote an unwelcoming environment that would deter women from coming to conferences, joining local groups, etc.B. Male posters fall all over themselves to explain down to the wimmins how we’re being reactionary and hypersensitive. I am pleasantly surprised by how few comments there are defending Eller. However, until subsequent posts reveal a similar statistic, I’m going to consider this post a refreshing outlier in the overall data set.

  332. 332
    John D.

    Thank you for sharing.  He answers to Bruce.  $45 per hour.

  333. 333
    John D.

    $45 per hour.  I recommend the two hour deluxe package discounted to $80.

  334. 334

    Spare me the “two wrongs don’t make a right” whining that the privileged always indulge in when the shoe’s on the other foot. I’ll worry about teh menz being “slurred” when oppressed groups don’t have to worry about it anymore, kthx.

  335. 335

    Waaaah, teh ebyl feminazis are oppressing your penis.Cry harder.

  336. 336

    Boo hoo freakin’ hoo. Try having all sorts of men (or women, in your case) feel entitled to comment on it at any time, no matter the appropriateness. Fat women, ugly women, old women, women with poor hygiene… you know, the ones who are usually “invisible” to men when they claim that they wished women would come up to them in public and make passes at them?

  337. 337

    “We need to think on logic, not emotion.”Ah, the perpetual mantra of the privileged d00ds who think that their precious “reason” is never, ever clouded by biases. Your Point #2 is so ridiculous, I can’t even. Let me know when one gender has been marginalized for millennia for being the “humor class,” the way women have been marginalized as the “sex class.” Then I’ll start wringing my hands about how awful it is that nobody worries about the “objectified” funny people.Also, men who refer to women as “females” fucking creep me out. We’re human beings, not farm animals. And it’s not our job to attract men, any more than it’s the job of hot men to attract women to atheism.

  338. 338

    “Political correctness” = “How dare anybody make me think about the unfair advantages I enjoy in society! I’m want to be a jerk to the people who don’t enjoy those advantages, and, what’s more, i want people to think I’m brave for doing so!”As for the “gentler slope,” no, actually, women get penalized if we’re attractive, and we get penalized if we’re not. That’s how a patriarchy works. It finds pigeonholes for all women.Finally, nothing has to be “maliciously bigoted” in order to be marginalizing. Intent ain’t magic.

  339. 339

    The problem with asking them to imagine their “grandmother, mother,” etc. being spoken to as such is that it reinforces the idea that women only matter if they’re related to the man in question. “Their” women deserve protection. “Other men’s” women, or women who aren’t “owned”? Pfft, they’re fair game.

  340. 340

    Awww, aren’t you special! You get a cookie!

  341. 341

    “Executing your friends in public”? Is that like when xtians claim that atheists are “persecuting” them?

  342. 342
    Jim Hamilton

    Kind of off-topic, but the word “chrislamist” reminds me of the Arthur C. Clarke novel The Hammer of God… The story has a not minuscule contribution from a sect called “Chrislam”.  If you think about it, fundamentalist christians are not that far away from fundamentalist Muslims…Back on topic:I’m late into this thread…as a straight man, I am just as into looks as the next guy, but I also try to be a rational person.  Yes, I am a sexual being, and that fact is always close to the front of my mind, but as a rational being, I try my best to act/think/speak (in no particular order) with respect for those around me.  (More importantly, I’m completely in love with my wife…) What I recognize and appreciate about Criss, Laci, Jen, Greta, Hemant, and many more, is their provacative, intelligent, and diverse ways of speaking/writing about atheism, fairness, and other topics.And, as a straight (married) man, if I’m honest with myself, I will admit that were I single I would be willing to date any of the above (except Hemant, no offense /grin/), because I recognize that the largest and most fun human sex organ is the brain!

  343. 343

    I’m not fond of the term “PC” being used to mean “prim, proper, never cracks a smutty or tasteless joke.” I think that’s right-wing framing. When privileged people object to “political correctness,” they’re objecting to insistence that non-privileged people not be made the butt of jokes due to being different from the privileged. Those of us who dislike sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry aren’t necessarily offended by rude humor. In fact, the “Saddleback Brownie Sundae” sounds like a hilarious joke.

  344. 344

    Asking men not to treat women like second-class citizens = “hating men.”I think my bingo card is full now.

  345. 345

    0/10. Go back to troll school.Also, http://i54.tinypic.com/2iln7tf….

  346. 346

    I didn’t get that ANYONE here has implied that women aren’t people.  This whole argument seems to me to be framed by people being too touchy.  It is a fact that attractive people (male or female) get more attention (initially) and thus are used to sell things.  Ask any advertising exec.  It in no way implies that these people are dumb, but people like to look at people who are more near the ideal of attractiveness.  It will always be that way (as much as I hate to deal in absolutes).  It is not the only way to sell, but it has been studied and is perhaps THE most effective.  Now you can attract a lot of attention wearing bright tie-dyed t-shirts as well, but I think the guy was just saying lets use the resources that we are given.  As much as I agree with Feminism, its failure to acknowledge that we are sexual beings is ludicrous.

  347. 347

    Also, you do know that in many cultures, large breasts were considered unattractive, because they were associated with maternity and wet nurses? And that men preferred large butts instead, much larger than what are fashionable today?Nah, you probably don’t. You don’t strike me as someone who bothers to learn much about any other culture besides your own, then universalizes your own enculturaaion.What’s funny is that you probably think sociology is “nonsense,” too.

  348. 348
    John D.

    Haha star9 – Your saying that no matter what women are penalized…  you actually wrote this “women get penalized if we’re attractive, and we get penalized if we’re not”Ummmmmmmmm.Do you think looks don’t matter?  Perhaps you wish you lived in a world where looks don’t matter, but they do.  They matter if you are a man and the matter if you are a woman.You see…. men have understood that the world isn’t fair for some time now.  Many women think nerdy caring thoughtful men make for good husbands but not always good lovers.  You see… I have decided to live with this.  This little quirk in human behavior is not likely to change.  Looks matter.  Wealth matters.  Intelligence matters.  Yep… the world isn’t fair.No matter how much feminists try to castrate men they will not succeed.  Men will simply keep their thoughts to themselves to escape the wrath of the butt hurt fems who are convinced they can make the world a better place through correct speech.Feminism has turned into a comic sub-culture that promotes some kind of utopian fantasy world where men use ESP to understand women and behave properly.  (ah… I can see the brave new world now… where the men think “Gee Wizz she looks cute in that skirt… should I tell her she looks cute… or will she think I am creepy… or will she want me to say something because if I don’t she will think I don’t care… and if I say something will she think I am acting like a stalker…. and if I don’t say something she will think I don’t like her… but I do like her.  Alas… I think I will just stick to porn.”)

  349. 349

    This is really sad. Can’t you do better than a plateful of Nice Guy Syndrome with a side order of castration anxiety and “How am I supposed to tell when I’m behaving like an asshole?!” for dessert?

  350. 350

    Indeed. Women do have libidos. However, socialization puts limits on how we feel we can express them, and express ourselves in general. Men tend not to be raised with such limits.

  351. 351

    If I weren’t already going to “Like” that for “You know that women have been wearing clothes for several years now, right?”, I was going to like it for the Takei video. That never gets old.

  352. 352

    Intelligence, common sense, and basic human decency — these are some of the traits that (should) make a person desirable.  I’d rather be with someone like this than someone who’s traditionally gorgeous but ignorant, vain, or selfish.

  353. 353
    John D.

    A comic subculture could be the only thing that can explain your initial comment of “women get penalized if we’re attractive, and we get penalized if we’re not.”

  354. 354
    John D.

    It’s called a metaphor.  Look it up.  Don’t they teach metaphors in womens studies class?

  355. 355
    John D.

    It’s called a metaphor.  Look it up.  Don’t they teach metaphors in womens studies class?

  356. 356

    “If you can’t tell the difference between a man reducing women to eye candy during an intellectual talk at a conference, and a single post on my personal blog about my weight loss (with a 1000+ posts without cleavage), then you have Missed The Fucking Point.”That’s pretty rich coming from someone whose claim to fame is summarized in a Wikipedia entry entitled “Boobquake”.Now, where did I say you should wear a bag over your head? Indeed, where did I say a single word about dictating how should should or should not look?What’s the difference between Eller saying “Yay! We’ve got women who conform to common standards of female beauty on our side!” once at a conference and you essentially saying “Yay! I’ve lost weight so now I conform to common standards of female beauty!” once on your personal blog which is available to the 2 billion or so people with access to the Internet to see and which shall be cached by Google for as long as their servers shall live?

  357. 357

    Hmmm. Thanks for the ad hominem and the use of asteism. Yes, your logical skills are right up there with the best.

  358. 358

    Where did I say anything about dressing like a slut and thusly deserving some set of consequences?

  359. 359

    What?!?The least you could do is “try” to present a cogent  argument, instead of brining in your preconceived, prejudicial gender (men) issues.

  360. 360

    No, the thanks is all yours, Andrea, for really putting the refulgent “intellect, wit, or content” that Ms. McCreight laments was beyond Eller’s field of vision on shining display here. And a hearty thanks to Joé McKen and Cyranothe2nd as well for their brilliant repartee steeped in logic.

  361. 361

    Playing devil’s advocate, and judging by what Jen described that Eller said, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he was disrespecting the intellects of Christina Rad and Laci Green. Just because he didn’t specifically point out that they are intelligent when he commented on their looks, does not mean that he was discounting their minds.

    I’m sorry, you were saying?

  362. 362

    “Penalized” doesn’t mean what you think it does, apparently. :P

  363. 363
    John D.

    Haha… well played!

  364. 364
    Polina Malamud

    Can we please keep the transphobia out of this? Some women have adam’s apples. It’s really not a big deal.

  365. 365
    John D.

    I just thought people on this blog were well educated and could at least insult me in clever new ways.  Fuck off and go fuck yourself is so middle school.  These insults imply that fucking is either “bad” or inherently violent.  Very strange it is popular amongst liberal feminists.  In fact… maybe you ladies should start a blog about what it means when a feminist tells you to ‘fuck off.”  Is this a reference to masturbation?  I think this would be a good doctoral thesis for a womans studies program…. don’t you?

  366. 366

    “it’s not meant to hurt anyone”And so, when someone tells you it hurt them, you apologize and don’t do it again!

  367. 367
    Casimir Fornalski

    Unlike intelligence, attractiveness is entirely subjective. There is a big difference between the phrases “I think you’re attractive” and “You are attractive.” The latter implies an objective standard that is entirely non-existent. I don’t think the atheist movement demands that everybody in it be a certified genius, just that everyone possess the ability to think critically.

  368. 368
    Pieter B

    Excellent question. Apologize, explain your position in a non-condesplaining fashion, and if that’s not acceptable to the other person, you’ve done all you can. A couple of years ago my s/o was confronted at a conference she organizes by two people who were upset that a conference CD-ROM was not compatible with their Windows 98 PC. [I am not making this up.] After attempting to placate them in every way possible, she finally asked “Is there anything I can do to make you happy?””Frankly, I don’t think so.”She stood up, said “Well, I guess we’re done then,” and left. I love her.

  369. 369

    So do we all need to walk around in a full-length cardboard box before you can talk to us as human beings?

  370. 370
    John D.

    Neat… it’s good to see that some women can still bake.  Can I eat the cookie that says “cunt” on it… haha.

  371. 371

    Unfortunately, having read “That’s not what I meant” and “You just don’t understand”, I think I’m safe in saying that part of the problem is that women on average don’t interrupt ENOUGH.  Yes, there is a subgroup of men who are genuinely interrupting to stifle, and I’ve seen it.  But well over half of “interrupting” is not: it’s normal conversational tactics within a group.  It’s not reasonable to expect the high-interrupters to slow down and not expect the low-interrupters to speed up.

  372. 372

    What seriously makes me groan about Eller’s sexist comments is howblatantly sexist they were.  If he’d also talked about how helpful itwas to have more hot young muscled studs, it would have beenobjectifying and problematic, but in a more subtle and non-sexist way.  Of course he*didn’t*.  I really had hoped we were beyond this most blatant form of sexism.

  373. 373

    And frankly if he had managed to simultaneously name some hot young male atheist studs he would have a better argument with the “we need more pretty”.   But noooo, he only mentions pretty when it comes to women, and the sexism reeks.

  374. 374
    Joé McKen

    So, you respond to my supposed ad hominem – an argument that’s dispelled by the very existence and nature of my second paragraph, mind you – with your own silly ad hominem.Funny, how those who try to attack others’ logical skills are so often the ones with a complete dearth of them. (Or perhaps they’re simply immune to irony. Who knows.)

  375. 375

    Bollocks.http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/h…The answer is NOT for women to be as rude as men and interrupt more.This is the same old bullshit “you’re experiencing sexism and it’s all your own fault because you’re not more like men”.And you also have that tired old “it’s only a sub group, it’s not all men”.If you’ve never experienced it for yourself you have no idea what it’s like. It’s called empathy. Try it.And if my response comes across as “rude” or “uppity” then you’re damn right I’m pissed off. Sexism pisses me off because I have to deal with it in a way you don’t. When those from the dominant group tell me it’s my own fault and I should be more like them, or that it’s really not that bad because it’s only a sub group of the dominant group who perpetuate it, I get even more pissed off. What bollocks.I think it is entirely reasonable for the high interrupters to learn some manners.Just because that is the way the dominant group dominate conversation does not mean it is the best way or the right way to conduct conversation. If you’re interrupting you’re not listening, and if you don’t listen you won’t learn anything.And when women point out that others are interrupting? We get called “uppity” or told our hormones are making us unreasonable. Or some such other bullshit.

  376. 376

    He mentioned a hot woman because that is what he is attracted to. I’m sure he would have had no problem with a woman atheist mentioning a hot guy atheist blogger (Hemant at Friendly Atheist for example). Like I said, it is wrong to focus on beauty over intelligence, but saying that just because he talked about beauty therefore he hates women is huge leap for which there is no evidence.

  377. 377

    Sorry, my last response to you, which I’ve since deleted, was written when I read your post but missed the word “also” in it and thus misunderstood your meaning. See my response to you a few posts up for my answer to this idea you raise.

  378. 378

    You can’t take one example and say it represents all of society. That’s bad science.

  379. 379

    So rather than try to respond to what he actually said, you just decided to act like an asshole. I don’t entirely agree with what he said, but Morningstar9, you need to grow up.

  380. 380

    Okay, I assume this post is in response to mine even though Morningstar9 chose not to replay to my post directly for some reason.Morningstar9, you need to reread what I wrote. NOWHERE did I say that logic or emotion is connected with the gender of the speaker. Nowhere did I even say I was male. Instead you just assumed I was male and therefore you decided to attach negative ideas that you associate with males rather than respond to what I actually wrote. If you don’t see why that’s sexist then you have a problem.  What I said was that he was wrong to focus so much on the beauty of the person, but right to point out that people are attracted to beauty, however unfair that may be. Why don’t you try responding to that instead of making up fairy tales about me in order to create your perfect little strawman. If I have a bias, then PROVE IT using evidence and logic. But this whole “he’s a male who disagrees with my dogma therefore I can ignore what he wrote and assume the worst” bit is getting really old. Be an adult and respond to what I actually said. Also, I used the term “male” in the post several times, but you didn’t have a problem with that. You are such a hypocrite. Maybe I should use the terms “male” and “female” more often just to piss off people like you who have sexist double standards about these terms.

  381. 381

    No, just take responsibility. Men are simple  and, when it comes to sex, easily led.  You know this.

  382. 382
    Huge Heffner

    Ah, you can’t deny 100,000 years of human evolution.  Men like comely women.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Sheez.

  383. 383

    I’m not sure it’s transphobic to note that some people have that habit, in a way that would be very hard to interpret as approving…

  384. 384

    Read the fucking post, then comment.

  385. 385

    So because you believe men are easily led, you believe women have to take responsibility for that?  How about men taking responsibility for their own behaviour and learning that women are not there for men’s sexual pleasure?  It’s actually really irritating when a significant number of men treat us as part of the entertainment package at events rather than as fellow delegates, or even as fellow humans.As for your ‘bikini’ comment, how ever do you manage not to go berserk in public swimming pools?  Could it be that men can actually control their sexual desires when they want to after all and are not really ‘easily led’?

  386. 386

    There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to women.  There is something wrong with seeing them as nothing more than penis-magnets for the cause.Can you see that?

  387. 387
    Static Motion

    Speak for yourself, cupcake. If I were that simple, I wouldn’t be able to differentiate between appearance and content. Are you really so shallow that you’re unable to actually listen instead of looking?I guess you should be listening to Laci herself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  388. 388
    Static Motion

    Yeah, like there’s such a thing as an objective beauty standard that appeals to everybody. *facepalm*

  389. 389

    Yes, I do misunderstand why making a joke about Anne Coulter’s appearance is  acceptable as long as you then also criticize her on other grounds, which is G.syme seems to have done (” I made a joke about the *public perception* of her attractiveness (which she herself cultivates) and then voiced my disgust at her beliefs and attitudes”).Is your point that if a women ever trades on her appearance, it then becomes acceptable to attack her based on her appearance?I am neither being dishonest nor relying on ad hominems, but I’m prepared to admit maybe I’m just not getting the point you’re trying to make.

  390. 390

    Just have to add my name to the gigantic list of comments:Great comments and thank you for being persistent about the issue. It’s a great example of applying social pressure. Hopefully you’ll see faster turn-around times in the atheist groups than humanity has seen in other times.

  391. 391

    Excuse me. Maybe you are simple.  Not men. You don’t speak for the rest of the group.If you are indeed as simple as you claim to be, you should try to better yourself a little.

  392. 392

    “…short of a strip club.”HAHAHAHA! Made my night.  “I believe all women are equal…but man when I go to a strip club…”As for this sexist male, it would be one thing if someone like ZOMGitsChris had a video blog where she dressed normally and did a blog, but have you seen her website?  She’s hot, she knows it, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging it.  She doesn’t have over 19,000 followers just using her wit.  There are a lot of ugly guys out there making better points with better videos–and have a fraction of the views.I see too many “enlightened” guys here using the same old “but I’m different” shtick.  Let me be among the first to call b.s. on that one.  Of course, this being the internet and a self-selected group, I’m sure there’s someone without a sex drive who will “prove me wrong”.  The majority of the guys are full of it.I’ll let Chris sort out the rest of this nonsense:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  393. 393

    apparently they don’t teach what a metaphor is in asshole-class, since hyperbole is not a metaphor; analogy is metaphoric, and what Jen did is not analogous to an execution.

  394. 394

    There are better groups for that.

  395. 395

    Yep, the off-handed sexist comments ruined the whole message for me.  This guy should be ashamed.

  396. 396

    And surely his interruption was because he was a MAN!  Only such vile creatures as men would interrupt.  Such bogus bullshit.

  397. 397

    Maybe you should be listening to Criss http://youtu.be/pSdZlPKHpUQ

  398. 398

    First, women are not a minority but a majority. Second, this is a lot of kerfuffle about nothing.  OMG he called someone pretty without at the same time praising the person for other items.  This cannot stand!   Perhaps we could all wear masks so we’d all look the same.  And the smart people could get these headphones that would make loud noises in their ears.  And the atheletic people could wear lots of weights.  Oh wait, where is that from?….

  399. 399

    Whew that was a lot of comments.  I peppered some in here or there but they’ll be buried for sure.  All I have left to say is to the guys.Pretending to be an empathizing kiss-up won’t get you laid by the hot atheist ladies.  Grow a pair and be a man–it’s OK to look at women bits.

  400. 400

    So, judging by your sneer, I take it that you haven’t studied biology much, have you? The fact is that you can show scientifically which characteristics are generally attractive to the members of each gender. Yes there are cultural differences, but there are basic traits of attractiveness that hold across the world. It is called sexual selection and it is very important in evolution.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P

  401. 401
    Jonathan Ray

    There’s nothing more to what he actually said than the fact that all else being equal being pretty draws a wider audience.   That’s a fact.  There was no insinuation whatsoever that ZOMGItsCriss was lacking in any other qualities.   If just mentioning someone’s looks counts as persecution, you need to get over your martyr complex.

  402. 402
    Jonathan Ray

    There is nothing in Eller’s comments to even insinuate that that’s the only value of ZomgItsCriss.   All he did was MENTION her attractiveness and how it helps draw additional viewers.

  403. 403

    You’re assuming here that “human being” doesn’t include a component “sexually attractive”. Taking a person’s sexuality into account is for me part of treating them as human beings.Laci and Criss make purposefully sexy videos, but that doesn’t mean I as a male viewer will focus ONLY on the sexy part. The sexiness makes it more attractive to watch – that’s all – it’s extra colour. It’s like humour. Making sexy videos and expecting the men not to be mildly aroused is like making jokes and expecting people not to laugh – because that might mean they’re not noticing the actual points you’re making.

  404. 404
    Larry Meredith

    actually I do. I can tell whoever I want what is and isn’t a big deal.

  405. 405
    Larry Meredith

    lol no. Clearly you don’t understand trolling. When someone tells you it hurt them, you do it again with even more viciousness. Because it’s funny that they got so hurt by some petty words.

  406. 406
    Larry Meredith

    everyone is a passive outlet. don’t pretend you’re privileged

  407. 407

    Answer me this: Why is it that these two vloggers deem it necessary to wear excessive makeup and figure accentuating clothing if it’s their “point” that they are trying to get across?  Do they fear that they won’t be heard unless they look pretty?Where does that come from?  Not from me. In fact I subscribe to quite a few atheist video bloggers on Youtube and some of the most popular are rather unattractive men.

  408. 408
    Larry Meredith

    I honestly wouldn’t give a damn if 300 people make specific comments about their perception of my junk, let alone 3. I’m not really effected by crap people spew about me.It is in good fun. Just because it’s discriminating doesn’t mean it’s not fun.I feel strongly compelled to remark on whatever the fuck I want in my daily life. It’s not often about women’s bodies, but when it is, I’ll be making sure to make it as specific as possible from now on because now I know people like you get really pissed off about it. Mmmm yeah. That’s good stuff.

  409. 409

    How easy you jump into hyperbole.

  410. 410
    Larry Meredith

    It’s not supposed to eliminate it. It will never be eliminated. You can’t eliminate something from free speech. Everyone and every thing is open to being mocked forever, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.

  411. 411
    Larry Meredith

    because trolling is an art form, dumbass. An art form I particularly enjoy. Do you have a problem with that?

  412. 412
    Larry Meredith

    I’m not shocked others call me out on it. I just think they’re stupid for doing so. Because that only brings more attention to it, and thus creates motive for more offense to be dealt.

  413. 413

    You’ve picked a fine way to ensure that takes longer.

  414. 414

    So when would you admit you were wrong about it being a big deal? Would it be when it costs you something? If so, then how about when it costs someone else something another person values highly, even if it’s something you don’t value at all?

  415. 415

    Ah, the Sociopath’s Motto: hurting other people is fun.

  416. 416

    You don’t see the difference between self-presentation and how you present others?

  417. 417

    as usual, Jen all of the male commenters on your blog continue to affirm my life choices and make my progressive-Christian lifestyle seem more and more utopian in comparison to the sexist circles of New Atheism. Don’t you at least have gender parity or anti-oppression training at these things?

  418. 418

    You might give a damn if that 300′s perception of your junk impacted your day to day life.”And here’s someone who will add to the group because of his 9″ cut penis! We need more like him!”Valid comment on a porn set. Otherwise, irrelevant.(Mind you, with a name like that, I’d want to be laughing too…)(And if you’re going to claim that that guy is, in fact, you- pics or it didn’t happen).  

  419. 419

    My nephew used to enjoy a similar form of art, as well. Then he got the hang of potty training.

  420. 420

    Funny, isn’t it, that only after Eller rightly, and graciously, apologized, do the mansplaining douchebags show up to excuse, justify, and pontificate about how it was no big deal, what’s your problem, silly woman-creature?!Oy gevalt.

  421. 421

    Yep, oppression is totally the fault of one oppressed person with an ~~attitude~~.

  422. 422

    Right, Kate, there are absolutely no sexist liberal men, including liberal xtians.Given how much smugness I see emanating out of those circles, including from yourself, I kind of doubt it.

  423. 423

    Another sexist asshole who doesn’t understand the difference between looking and commenting. Asking you to behave like a civilized person = cutting off your nutsack. Wah.And this “hot atheist lady” doesn’t give sexist assholes the time of day.

  424. 424

    Right, and you and the other d00dz here are totally speaking objectively. Oh, wait, I forgot, your peen makes you “rational,” and everything you can never personally experience is “subjective.”I don’t see why the fuck I should waste my time catering to that mindset.

  425. 425

    I know plenty of complex, intelligent, compassionate, and fun-to-be-around men. Their complexity is part of what makes them fun to be around. I’m sorry that you don’t rise to their intellectual or emotional level, but try not to universalize from you to everyone else.

  426. 426

    No, cupcake, I’m simply refusing to give a bullshit argument any credence and mocking it. If that makes your pee-pee shrivel up, that ain’t my problem.

  427. 427

    Do you understand that women dress to suit themselves and not to please you?  Again, do you need them to cover themselves from head to foot before you are able to treat them the same way you would treat a man?

  428. 428

    Again, “mansplaining” in this conversation seems to be defined as “man who would dare disagree with a woman”. Rather than, I don’t know, actually putting something in your comment that supported your position, you rage about how the evil men aren’t bowing to your word. I feel like we need to have a serious discussion, not these rants about how horrible anyone who disagrees with us is.

  429. 429

    So you think you are some sort of Goddess who everyone should accept on blind faith and that you don’t need to actually explain your views, you can just throw nasty comments at people? I hope someday you learn how arrogant that is.And what is your obsession with male genitalia? It’s almost Freudian.

  430. 430
    Pieter B

    make that “self-awareness”

  431. 431
    Pieter B

    Azkyroth used the term “condesplaining,” which I like much better because it’s sex-neutral. AZky, if you coined the term I thank you, and even if you didn’t I thank you for adding it to my vocabulary.

  432. 432
    Larry Meredith

    what could it possibly cost me?I’ve already said I don’t care what people say to me.

  433. 433
    Larry Meredith

    only because words shouldn’t hurt you. Sticks and stones my friend.

  434. 434
    Larry Meredith

    who is “that guy” ?You’re questioning whether or not my name is Larry Meredith?

  435. 435
    Larry Meredith

    lol. Good one. I still haven’t got the hang of that one yet.

  436. 436

    A puerile retort. Of course words can be hurtful. From “faggot” to “Idon’t love you anymore,” there are many ways to hurt with words. Claimingit’s the other person’s fault for being hurt by them is the justification ofa bully.

  437. 437

    As it happens, I’m male.  I just happen to understand that being male does not mean that I know better than women about sexism.Here’s a hint: if you are looking for knowledge about whether or not something is bigoted along a particular axis of privilege, the people who you should be asking are those who are oppressed by that bigotry, not those who benefit from it.  You don’t ask clueless whites about racism, you don’t ask clueless straights about homophobia, and you certainly don’t ask clueless men about sexism.

  438. 438
    Jonathan Ray

    In a speech essentially about advertising/PR for the atheist cause, he would be negligent if he DIDN’T mention beauty.  It’s an immutable fact of human nature that beauty (whether of artwork, architecture, or people) draws more eyeballs to look at a message.  Advertising campaigns everywhere leverage that fact — and it’s not just exploiting the beauty of women — look at old spice commercials, calvin klein commercials, or half of the billboards on the street.  Female beauty is just one of the many kinds of beauty they exploit to glue more eyeballs to the message.His choice of words was poor, and he didn’t express that very clearly, but I think that’s what he had in mind.

  439. 439
    Casimir Fornalski

    Speaking as a man, you have no right to make this brash generalization. You may enjoy associating only with imbecilic shaved apes who embody a cursory definition of “manhood”, but please don’t speak for all of us. Thank you.

  440. 440
    Julie Lada


  441. 441
    Rystefn K'ryll

    Funny, when I read what you said about interrupting, it sure looked a lot like gender determines who is interrupting more a lot more than it does who is interrupted. That doesn’t imply sexism as the major reason for interrupting to me. Men are interrupted only slightly less than women, by your own report. The divergence is that women are sitting quietly while the mean speak. The response is to fucking well speak your damned mind, not to complain about men keeping you down by treating you pretty much the same way they treat each other.People interrupt you if you let them. Look closer and see if the men who interrupt less also get interrupted more. I bet you do.Stop pointing out that people are interrupting like your own ideas of proper manners are objective rules of conversation, and start telling people what you think, even if you have to jump in and say it while they’re still talking. If no one interrupts, then it’s trivial for one person to ride roughshod all over the whole conversation until it’s not a conversation but a speech. Interrupting that person isn’t getting in the way of learning anything. It’s the only way you get to have a say.

  442. 442

    Larry, you are creepy. Don’t pretend you are a ‘normal hetero male.’

  443. 443

    okay, rather than my old anecdote from memory, here’s something from Harvard. http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/h…specifically this bit: “Why don’t women students talk as much as men? One explanation is that women prove to be exrremebly vulnerable to interruption. Numerous studies have demonstrated that in mixed-sex conversations, women are interrupted far more frequently than men are. This was remarkably visible in the Video Lab’s sample: the comments of women students often were confined to “bursts” lasting only a few seconds, while male students typically kept on talking until they had finished. Moreover, once interrupted, women sometimes stayed out of the discussion for the remainder of the class hour. Thus there were considerably more one-time contributors among women than men.”Men just DO interrupt women MORE than they interrupt other men. It’s a repeatedly observed fact.

  444. 444

    HA! I imagine from having read your vitriolic comments that there aren’t any men asking you for the time.Is that why you’re so angry?  And don’t say it’s because of these sexist ass’s needed to be put in their place.You went from 0 to pissed off in a blink; which makes me think you have serious issues. If anyone is sexist in this comment section it’s you.  Go back and look at some of the awful shit you wrote.  You’re a mean and horrible human being.

  445. 445
    Rystefn K'ryll

    That’s some nice cherry-picking there… I followed the link and found this right after the bit you quoted: “Our discovery that women students are interrupted more frequently than their male counterparts differed from the results of other studies in one surprising respect: although other research has repeatedly shown that women’s speech is most often cut off by men and/or “authority figures” (instructors, for example), our video tapes reveal that female students were interrupted almost exclusively by one another.” It is the very next sentence, in fact.Let me repeat the important bit: “our video tapes reveal that female students were interrupted almost exclusively by one another.”That’s right – it’s not men interrupting women. It’s women interrupting women. I find that very interesting.

  446. 446

    Jen, thanks for your important challenge to David Eller. Just minutes before he spoke Sunday I told David how much I appreciated his work on women, so his thoughtful response here wasn’t a surprise me. David Eller has been as eloquent as any ardent feminist in articulating the importance of the battle against women’s oppression, to give one example,Arguably no cultural issue other than all-out nuclear war or the complete destruction of the environment impacts and threatens more of the human race than the status and treatment of women: one could claim that fully half of the species is affected by the cross-cultural condition of women, while in a sense all of the species—if one counts sons, husbands, and fathers—is affected.David has spent much of his career as an anthropologist and activist addressing the oppression of women globally. He advocates for abortion rights and LGBTs, challenges heteronormative assumptions, and cites feminist authors such as Barbara Ehrenreich and Judith Butler. That he was guilty of subtle sexism only illustrates how insidious it is.Thank you for providing a forum to discuss this issue. Cleaning up such messes is an integral part of social change work and arguably one of its most important aspects, for this is how consciousness matures, how we become who we want to be, and how we grow together by working out thorny emotionally charged issues . . . and weathering the storm.

  447. 447

    And the Harvard study notes that this differs from other studies in that respect (same paragraph) and you also are guilty of cherry picking. My point I’m trying to make is men DO interrupt, and although the wee survey I did showed men interrupting women slightly more than men the Harvard study does not find this, true.But it DOES find that men dominate the conversation. Women don’t bother interrupting them because when they do men just talk louder, not stop and listen. If you had kept reading further you would have found this:”Close observation shows how this comes about. Like male students, female students often tend to cluster their talk in “runs.” A run means that during a given period, the conversation is dominated by one gender or another. We found gender runs in about half of the Harvard classes that we observed. A gender run usually operates so that long periods of predominantly male talk are followed by short bursts of all-female talk, which is characterized by a relatively high proportion of overlapping comments. Over the course of a class hour the tendency of men to speak at length (and the lesser likelihood that they will be interrupted) leads, in the case of male-majority classes with male teachers, to a male-dominated hour — a phenomenon that is reinforced by the tendency of women to speak less frequently, more briefly, and to overlap one another’s comments.”So even though the Harvard study does show a difference in that women were more often interrupted by women and not men, the conversations were STILL DOMINATED BY MEN particularly when the instructor was male.But if you want some more evidence try this:http://www.linguistik-online.d…and because you don’t like me choosing a relevant bit and may accuse me of cherry picking, read the whole thing yourself.Or this:http://www9.georgetown.edu/fac…Unfortunately many of the papers to do with these subjects are paid content only. The basic idea is that many studies show men interrupt women (with the exception of the Harvard study) and men dominate conversation (including Harvard study) with a competitive conversational style which established hierarchy. Women have a more egalitarian conversational style.My basic point remains that if you are interrupting and talking loudly, establishing your dominance, then you’re not listening. If you don’t listen you’ll never learn anything new and you’ll just reinforce your prior assumptions.

  448. 448

    No, if you think there is discrimination against a specific group, you analyze the society to see if that group is actually treated differently. You don’t just trust the word of whatever group says they are being discriminated against. They might mean well, but every group has its biases and just because a group says that they are being discriminated against doesn’t mean they have an absolutely accurate grasp on the situation (think about Bill Donohue and the Catholic League which always goes on about how horrible things are for Catholics nowadays. That was true in the past, but that doesn’t mean we should just take his word for it when it comes to the present unless he provides proof. We should treat the issue of gender in the same way).  Take this case for example. I agree that it was wrong of Eller to focus so much on beauty, but nowhere did he say that a woman is only valued for her beauty and nowhere did he say that we should only pay attention to beauty when it comes to women. Those where nasty assumptions that some on this thread put on him because they saw he was a man. If a woman had said the exact same thing as him, she would have been given more slack because everyone would assume that she cared about the intellect of the other women. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t be making assumptions about people based on their gender like that. P.S. Thank you for the polite response. They are depressingly rare in discussions about gender.

  449. 449
    Donna W.

    Jen, this is Donna W.. The above comment under “Calabrese” was my first comment to a blog ever and I didn’t log in properly so it came up under Calabrese. Oops! Anyway, it was great meeting you this weekend and getting to spend some time with. Thanks for being a big part of making the weekend such a success!

  450. 450

    Interesting. I hadn’t heard that before.

  451. 451
    Rystefn K'ryll

    Apparently I can’t reply to the post I’m actually replying to, so I backed up a post. This is actually directed to kiwi-surfer.I’m pretty sure that showing that the study you referred to actually said something completely different than the point you were making isn’t actually cherry-picking. Now, if I was trying to say say that in general women interrupt other women far more than men interrupt women, you’d be right… but I never said anything of the sort, so it doesn’t apply.See, I did keep reading, and when I see the following paragraph, it looks like it says that when a woman gets interrupted, she shuts up and that’s why men dominate the conversation. To that, I say again: “People interrupt you if you let them. Look closer and see if the men who interrupt less also get interrupted more. I bet you do.”I’ll follow it by saying that if you don’t care enough about what you’re saying to talk over people, then why the Hell should I care enough to listen? It’s obviously just not that important to you. As to your comment that interrupting means not listening… well, that’s stupid. If you interrupt someone in response to what they are saying, then you are obviously listening to what they’re saying, aren’t you? Moreover, if you’re not willing to interrupt the person talking, then that person will dominate the conversation. That’s life. You can bitch about it afterwards, or you can speak up and have your say. It’s a very common bullshit debate technique to spew a nonstop stream of bullshit so the other person can’t say anything without interrupting you, and if they fail to refute any single bit of what you said, to declare victory. There is exactly one tactic that works against this: you interrupt the person ON EVERY POINT.Like it or not, we live in a culture where volume equals priority most of the time. If you want to try to change that, best of luck to you, but I highly doubt it’s going to change any time soon. In the meantime, if you want to be heard, then you have to speak. That means you WILL have to interrupt people. Period. You want to talk about societal sexism reflected in male conversational dominance? Ok, let’s talk about it. Women are discouraged from interrupting men. That’s fucked up, because if you want to have your say, you have to interrupt people. If you want to effectively call someone out on their bullshit, you have to interrupt. You want to tell someone to stop interrupting? YOU HAVE TO INTERRUPT THEM TO SAY THAT. Do you get my point? It has nothing to do with telling people to stop interrupting. The people who listen to you will be silent in the face of the people who don’t. The people currently dominating conversations wind up dominating them even more. My basic point remains – that if you want to balance speaking time, then you have to get women to start interrupting.

  452. 452
    Larry Meredith

    If it’s coming from someone unimportant to you, who gives a damn?I don’t care if a stranger calls me a faggot or nigger or any other hateful word. It’s just a damn word. Loreleion, I don’t love you anymore.No go cry about it.

  453. 453
    Larry Meredith

    I never claimed to be normal or hetero.

  454. 454
    Larry Meredith

    yeah yeah come up with all the little insults about trolls you want. You still can’t deny trolling is an art form. David Thorne and Daniel Tosh make a living off it.

  455. 455

    To my knowledge, I did. ^.^  Partly because I’ve noticed that while men addressing women on matters of gender equity or matters related to traditional gender roles can be really, really horrible about it, there’s a lot of behavior that is basically the same that crops up in other relations and situations, and using the gendered and topical term “mansplaining” that broadly needlessly loads the situation, and partly because I find the concept useful to characterize and call out, but gained a significant antipathy towards the term due to its occasional but jarring misuse (the tipping point being a commenter with an unambiguously female handle, on either Zuska’s or Isis’s blog – I forget which and wish I’d bookmarked the thread, now – being blown off by the regulars as “mansplaining” when she attempted to engage and critique the OP on its merits).

  456. 456

    Also, the proper abbreviation of my handle is “Azzy.” ^.^  I need a FAQ, I fear… O.o

  457. 457

    Do you seriously think only the condesplaining trolls are male?

  458. 458

    More importantly, not being raised with the sense that others’ comfort or dignity represents a valid boundary for the expression of our libidos, not the male libido itself, is the driving force behind this kind of behavior.

  459. 459

    When guys whip out the “YEAH, WELL YOU’RE UGLY” or “WHATEVER, YOU FAT BITCH” tropes, it’s not because they really find the person on the receiving end notably unattractive – it’s because historically, in our culture, women’s worth was defined first and foremost by their looks, and they were taught to accept and embrace this and define their self-worth this way, too.  The idea is that the insult is supposed to be a hit below the belt, a crippling blow to a person’s self-worth.  By attacking a woman’s looks, the insulter imagines he’s not just knocking over her worth as a person but stealing it from her.  Similarly, men who call each other this only rarely actually believe the target to be sexually and romantically interested primarily or solely in other men; the purpose there is to attack their masculinity.  “You’re ugly” or “you’re fat” is the female-targeted version of “faggot!”

  460. 460

    Am I really the only person who’s ever subjected to “Let’s be better than them instead of just a different kind of them” trolling?And two wrongs DON’T make a right. So why don’t we make things right for everyone?

  461. 461

    AHAHAHAHAH. Awwww, did ickle widdle boi have his pweshus fee-fees boo-booed by some mean ol’ feminist who won’t kiss his ass? I guess so, since you’re dragging out the typical “You’re probably ugly” bullshit that butthurt boiz always resort to.

  462. 462

    That’s very true, but women still often hesitate to express desire even when it would not violate the boundaries of others.

  463. 463

    grow a pair, dude.

  464. 464

    Us ladies? Tell me bright eyes, what made you infer that I was female?”Fuck off” popular among liberal feminists? Not a pattern I’ve noticed. I’d consider it fascinating but considering the source I’m just skeptical. I find it odd that someone as evidently hostile to social deconstruction as yourself should be analyzing a simple expletive. I was unaware that it was the responsibility of those refuting your unfounded assertions to also entertain you with clever insults. How clever does it need to be? Should it be a cypher referencing obscure Persian poetry and the donkey someone referenced above? I think the main point was that your are wrong, you seem to have missed that.

  465. 465
    Daniel Schealler

    O_oYou need to find better strip clubs.Or cut back on hyperbole.Po-tae-to/po-tah-to.

  466. 466
    Ari Jarvis

    Wasn’t the problem last time that there aren’t enough women in the movement?!  I’m so confused.  And…not to sound mean, but my fiance is an atheist, and I love him to pieces, but he’s no Timothy Olyphant (sorry baby), but he’s brilliant and well-spoken and witty and reasonable.  That goes for most of our outspoken male atheists.  They may not be smokin’ hot (except PZ, of course), but that doesn’t stop me from listening to them with baited breath and wanting desperately to meet them. I find it a little insulting for the guys that they are trying to be enticed into a freethinking movement via their genitals! Meanwhile, what, are the ladies just here for the food?  This sort of almost catering to men’s baser instincts is not much better than Vox Day’s recent idiocy when saying that the Slut Walk is just carte blanche for men to rape us all.  I guess creationists aren’t the only ones with foot in mouth disease…

  467. 467

    If men are truly as you say, they should all be locked up until they stop being such a criminal risk to society.

  468. 468
    Daniel Collins

    I’m sorry, kiwi, but this is bullshit.  You are making an unfair assumption.  You assume that interrupting someone is intrinsically rude, when that varies from group to group and culture to culture.  To me, conversation is a dynamic entity and without  interruption and counter-point it can quickly become stale.  To me, NOT interrupting a person is rude, because it demonstrates complete disinterest in what the speaker is saying; nothing more frustrating to me than someone who makes me do all the talking.On one hand, you say that women should NOT be expected to change their conversation style to adapt to a “man’s world” but on the other you say that men should adapt their conversion style to suit the desires of females.  Why do we have to do all the changing?  It all depends on context.  There are settings where a dynamic, high-interrupting style is appropriate and there are settings where it is not.  When speaking with my girlfriend, I do my best to limit my interruption because I know it can hurt her feelings.  At the same time, she tries to be more dogmatic and “argumentative” with me because she knows that I view silent listening as disrespectful to my ideas.  This all goes back to women being (on average) more caring of others feelings than men.  They are less likely to interrupt because they don’t want to hurt the speakers feelings while men care more about the specifics being discussed than the act of interruption.  Both sexes have to make sacrifices to treat the other equally.

  469. 469
    nathan lee

    Now if only saying a woman is hot inferred intelligence. If women were introduced with accomplishments that happened to show intelligence, I think it would go a lot further for inferring how hot they are.

  470. 470
    nathan lee

    An analogy. Imagine the most attractive person possible, naked, sitting by an ocean next to a mountain and a waterfall. This person might be able to sell you oceanfront property in illinois. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll move to illinois expecting oceanfront property. Also,  emphasizing the attractiveness of a person doesn’t make them any more persuasive. If you took an attractive person and then emphasized their intelligence, then you’d have a double-wammy because the respect would also attract more women.

  471. 471
    Michael Lindsay

    Your radical suggestion that speakers at a conference shouldbe judged on the content of their presentations and their knowledge undoubtedlywill (has) infuriate(d) sensitive menz all over the interwebz and lead tocharges of calling all menz Schrödinger’s rapists, banning flirtation and generally being nasty and misandrist to sensitive menz.Have you no FEELINGS?

  472. 472

    ……I know this is Irrelvent but I remember her having brown hair…Did she dye it at somepoint?

  473. 473

    You Sir/M’am/Ambagiously Gendered person are creepy as fuck. And this is coming to some one who once wanked watching Dawn of the Dead. Seriously please go away. You are freaking people out by acting like they are things to be plated with. And yes, I know my spelling is bad. That does not make you less creepy.

  474. 474

    Why are you here if this causes you so much but hurt?

  475. 475

    *butt hurtI can not type. I am just going to admit that at this point in time.

  476. 476
    Daniel Schealler

    Did you notice the edit button?That’s not an attempt to be snarky by the way. The edit button looks very much like the ‘Like’ button so it’s reasonable that you might have missed it.

  477. 477

    I like you. A lot. Please Start your own Blog. Or just…put your Snarky qoutes some where?

  478. 478

    What was the point of us you were in the Navy? Are we supposed to stop arguing with you and bow to the all powerful  Sailor Suited Warriors of justice or something?

  479. 479

    I agree with this statement. And I hate the people who say “I agree with this statement but.” So I am going to try to think of how to ask this question with out saying I agree with that but…Is it cool for people to come to Atheist conventions because they want meet more free thinking people (Not for dating, just to you know find people IRL that have similar ideas and have interesting talks ect) even if they are not Atheist?

  480. 480

    Mmmmm,Bagels…now if only some one near me would make a whole wheat oen that didn;t taste nasty….

  481. 481

    I am officaly terrified of starting a blog.

  482. 482

    What…the…fuckCluby Social Group?

  483. 483

    ….Never heard anything about letter carriers. It’s Mail-Men up here. Unless Carrier is a women then it’s…well actually I’m not sure because well I’ve had the same Mail-man since I was four, but It’s probably something like Mail-Woman.

  484. 484
    Eyeglass Frames

    People must not take their eyes for granted. There are no easy cures once these significant components are injured. In Houston, Texas, people are recommended to get regular eye checkups to prevent eye disorders such as cataracts. Eye exam Houston procedures would require an ophthalmologist or optometrists to conduct a series of scans and tests.

  485. 485

    Where was you outrage when Sikivu Hutchinson called Dan Dennett a white supremacist.
    Nod nod nod.

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