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Drama

I have given up on the atheist and skeptical movements, and am starting a new one – the Jennifer McCreight Movement. The headquarters will be my bedroom (not the living room, which is shared with the Roommate Movement). The official dress will be whatever the fuck I feel like. Events will be held every night, consisting of reddit browsing, cute baby animal photos, cookies, and the occasional beer.

I hate to disappoint you, but there is one big rule. Only I am allowed to be in the Jennifer McCreight Movement, thus avoiding all the stupid drama and bullshit inherent in human interaction that has tainted atheism and skepticism for me.

No, I’m not really rage quitting. The overall goals mean too much to me. But I’m frequently reminded more and more why I was so anti- clubs and cliques and organizations when I was a teenager.

When I first started getting involved with atheist activism through reading blogs, I was excited. I wanted to change the world for the better, and I found others who shared my goal. I was so excited to work with these wonderful people who shared my ideals.

And then I became jaded.

Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of good people in these movements, and I’ve made some truly wonderful friends I otherwise wouldn’t have. People I met through my club at Purdue, Greta, JT, Brendan, everyone at the Secular Student Alliance… Those people are good to the core. Their passion doubles mine, and I want to get more and more involved to make a difference.

But getting more involved is precisely what makes me get jaded.

My first time attending a major conference had a dozen women coming to me independently to warn me about certain male speakers that I should be careful around. It was common knowledge to the female veterans who the aggressive and/or distasteful womanizers were, and they wanted to make sure some 22-year-old woman heard the warning. It was unnerving, to say the least. But for all I knew, it could just be gossip.

The more close friends I make, the more that comes out of the woodwork. The more specific examples of men – attendees and famous speakers alike – saying and doing things that cross the line. But they tell me to stay quiet. Because no one will believe them. Because they like the events overall and don’t want to ruin the experience by making people angry at them. Because they don’t want to lose their job or harm their employer. That was unnerving, too.

But before people think I’m a broken record – it’s not just the sexism. Becoming a board member of a secular non-profit and being invited as a speaker to events has really opened my eyes. You start interacting with a diverse group of people who have been in the movement a long time, and you get a behind-the-scenes glimpse. Some organizations (like the SSA) are truly awesome and run by lovely human beings. Some… boy, if you guys only knew.

The people are the same. Some are the most genuinely lovely individuals I have ever met. But some are manipulative, petty, passive aggressive, selfish, sexist, racist, homophobic, ablist, or just downright mean. Yes, I came to the shocking realization that atheists and skeptics are also human. The problem is that without this insider knowledge, it’s incredibly difficult to distinguish the lovely from the loathsome.

The bigger problem is that I see no real solution, and am stuck cringing silently when someone is unwittingly praising a person who’s really a Giant Fucking Asshole. Because the politics involved between people or between organizations is enormous.

I feel gross staying silent and playing the game, but I often have no choice. This isn’t because I’m afraid of losing readers – contrary to popular belief, I don’t just blog For Teh Hitz, and the money I make off blogging is not enough to float in swimming pools full of hundred dollar bills. This isn’t because I’m afraid of losing a potential writing career – my actual job is as a scientist, remember? It’s because there are people and organizations in the movement I genuinely care about, and stirring certain pots would cause them harm.

I’m not sure why I’m even writing this post other than to get it off my chest. It probably comes off as totally vague and pointless to those of you who aren’t privy to the back stories and insider knowledge. But maybe that’s the message. That when some of us insiders rant and rave, and it comes off as vague and pointless…it’s probably because you’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg, and we forget your view. You can’t see under the water to glimpse the private emails, the angry phone calls, and the years of history. So many people think other bloggers and I do anything for controversy because we’ll occasionally speak up against big names.

What should concern you are the things we can’t talk about.

So why don’t I rage quit? Why don’t I stop the blogging, speaking, and board of directors-ing? Because I know what I do matters. Maybe not the most, and maybe not a lot – but it matters. I occasionally get an email saying I helped make a person a skeptic or an atheist. I get twice as many emails saying I’ve inspired someone to take up activism too, whether it be writing or working with their local group or whatnot. I get ten times as many emails saying I’ve made someone a feminist and opened their eyes to sexism. And I get a hundred times as many messages simply saying I brought a bit of joy to their day.

And that makes putting up with the drama worth it.

There is part of me who doesn’t even want to post this, because I know everyone will interpret it however they want. People will insist I’m talking about Person X or Organization Y, while the people who really know what I’m talking about also can’t talk about it. But I blog because being able to express myself brings a little joy to my day, and I’m taking this opportunity to be the selfish one for a moment. Maybe instead of reading the comments I’ll relish in one of the Jennifer McCreight Movement’s fine events.

Comments

  1. PHS Philip says

    For what it’s worth, the work you’ve put into the fights and behind-the-scenes bullshit you have to deal with is appreciated immensely by those of us who don’t have to do it. It’s never fun, dealing with that sort of shit, but thanks to people like you who keep at it anyway, we have incredible organizations and groups of people that are still worth supporting. Thank you.

  2. James Power says

    SPLITTER! :p

    In all seriousness though, you’re one of the women who talks about sexism and actually helps me to see it clearly. Not easy to do when I can’t wear your shoes (body) for a mile as the saying goes. And aside from that your oodles of other topics are great to read, particularly the batshitcrazy biology funzies.

    Thanks for doing what you do.

  3. says

    It’s like high school all over again, another awesome sounding club and I’m not allowed in :P

    I’m glad to hear that you’re not quitting Jen, because what you do makes a difference. You were one of the first bloggers I started following in the atheist/skeptic movement and one of the most influential when it came to me recognising the problems that women face in our society. You also introduced me to some other amazing blogs, like Greta’s and Hemant’s as well as some of the awesome people who frequently comment here. You’re combination of razor sharp wit and the ability to tackle important topics in an engaging way is an awesome boon to the skeptic movement and for every jackass out there who makes you feel jaded, know that there are more that you’ve made an impression on. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  4. says

    Thanks for writing this post. Your blog has been one of the handful that really helped me learn how to be a feminist, and consistently encouraged me to be an activist. I don’t really know how to phrase my gratitude, but I can definitely say that one of the most helpful things about your blog is how honest you are about your personal struggles. Knowing the sorts of things that go through your head make it easier for me to stand up for the things I believe in when the same kinds of things are going through mine. I realize I’m barred from membership from the Jennifer McCreight Movement, but if you’ll allow it, I’d be proud to consider myself a fellow traveler. Thanks again.

  5. benjaminsa says

    It sounds like we need a wiki leaks of atheism, or perhapse someone will write a tell all scandelous book. Hmmmmm, maybe a Gawker atheism blog.

    Glad you aren’t going to rage quit, and I hope we can find a way to weed out as much as possible the loathsim and horrible. I suggest having leaders elected from subordinates within organisations (the US army, apparently, used to do this for promoting generals, as they recognised you can fool your boss, the outside world, but it is very hard to fool those who work for and under you).

  6. says

    This is precisely the reason why I’m not more active in the atheism and skeptic communities – all the bitching, in-fighting and pettiness. Like you, Jen, I believe in what these communities stand for, but these days, it seems the mud-slinging is taking centre stage.
    It is really sad to see these both wonderful communities succumb to this. Maybe one day, we can get back to what is most important and that is educating the world.

  7. says

    Thank you for writing what you do. It’s powerful stuff to confront entrenched privilege in so plumed a group as skeptics. Our movement is so much larger/stronger/better for your efforts.

  8. says

    I picked the wrong time to poke fun at the drama on my blog.

    Please keep blogging. I’ve really enjoyed your blog, and I see you as a voice of reason. I always learn something.

    There’s always going to be drama, no matter what movement you join. I hope you rise above it. :)

  9. Smikey says

    There’s always the blog to come home to, if the public events side of things becomes too shitty. And here, you’re free to delete obnoxious comments and ban IPs before they get you down.

  10. osian.h says

    This infighting, pettiness, sexism etc all sounds pretty rough, and it’s sad to hear of such things going on in a movement which is so admire. However, hopefully things are improving, slow though it may be: the efforts of fine people such as yourself, Greta Christina and Rebecca Watson shows that women can now make a big difference and be an important part of the voice of the movement, more so than at any time in the past. I’ve often read that atheism/skepticism can seem like an old-white-men’s club, but from my perspective at least, that’s no longer entirely true.

    Frustrating though it all is, I’m hoping that every refusal to accept any sort of discrimination/alienation brings us a step closer to the kind of all-inclusive movement we all want. With good people determined to make a difference and not stand for this kind of nonsense, things can only get better.

  11. Mike says

    I’m happy you’re not quitting.

    I definitely fall in the “opened eyes category” when it comes to passive sexism blinded by privilege,and I feel I’m a better person because of it.

    Keep it up, you’re making a difference.

  12. says

    I’d love to have a few drinks and see what we can dream up about this. Maybe the politics are inevitable. But maybe there’s something we/people can do about it. Either way, I know exactly what you mean and you have my total empathy and support.

  13. says

    Thanks for doing what you do.

    A friend of mine told me he was a believer because (this is the short version) of weird coincidences that happened to him. I told him it would be weird if, out of millions of things happening, weird coincidences did not occur.

    It would be equally spooky if there weren’t ginormous assholes and purely political choices to be made in the skeptic movement. Unless our movement were comprised of, I don’t know, robots or something.

    Anyway, thanks for writing. You are appreciated.

  14. mkb says

    I was all ready to sign up until I saw your one rule. I figured it would be a movement that I would like more than the ones you’re “giving up”.

  15. phil zombi says

    (singing) You’re so vain. You probably think this post is about you. You’re soooo vaaaaiiiiin. I bet you think this post is about you. Don’t you? Don’t yoooouuuuu?

    Sorry, I couldn’t stop myself. Like those before me, I am glad that you are not quitting the movement. I would have been really upset if I had missed my chance to see you speak at skepticon(in person).

    As a side note I still have a reluctance to join clubs/groups for many of the reasons that you discussed. I often tell people that “I wouldn’t want to join any group that would have me as a member,” and I am only half joking. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. I(we? I think I can say we here) would miss your blog immensely.

  16. jeffengel says

    “The” atheist/skeptical/freethought/rationalist movement is about discovering and eliminating or at least mitigating the screw-ups any of us can make too easily in our thinking. Joining up doesn’t mean any of us are free of them, and if it’s a genuine commitment for any of us, it’s a commitment that extends to calling it out when it’s close to home too.

    That’s not pleasant work, and it’s a shock when the people we admire and/or have to work with this way show up with gross and persistent failures of skeptical thinking or ethics. You’d think they’d know better, be better, else why are they here? But none of us are perfect, and when we’re not, we need to be called on it so we can get better. (Or at least, so everyone else gets warning signs about our bad spots.)

    Thank you for doing a very good job, Jen, even when it’s uncomfortable and nasty. It needs doing and it’s worth it.

  17. JohnV says

    I think you’ll find this in many organizations. I see it more in volunteer driven organizations. I see it less in ones where couples are encouraged to attend together.

    It will not change until enough people make a point of what’s going on. Do you imagine that the Catholic Church in the U.S. would be dealing with child abuse if the Boston Globe hadn’t been really dogged about reporting the scandal in Boston?

    Mentioning it matters.
    It’s the only way things will change in any organization.

  18. karla says

    I remember so well being little and listening to the adults in the room. How I wanted to understand what they were saying. How I wanted to hold the world in my hand like they did! Except they weren’t. Now I’m old and know that they were only bluffing, petting their egos, playing games to see who could have the last word. And that’s what they’re doing still. And that’s what those who were kids with me are doing now too.
    What a disappointment it has been to realize that the world is run by a bunch of selfish, self absorbed children. And that’s why we so desperately need your voice. Please don’t quit. You’re one of the few real adults in the room.

  19. HerbieTheBeagle says

    Just to add my voice to the gratitude for you sticking it out for the sake of the rest of us. Even with the inevitable restrictions you can still say more than many of us.

  20. Godless Heathen says

    Thanks so much for this, Jen. I’m definitely an outsider and I’ve only become aware of an organized atheism movement in the past 2 years and only become involved in the past 6 months.

    But I’m somewhat jaded as well, although not for the same reasons. I’ve been reading atheist/skeptic/secularist blogs because they’re interesting. But I noticed very early on that much of what comes out on the blogs and in the comments is stuff that isn’t really related to what was actually said in the blogs or comments. It’s clear to me that the much of animosity between some bloggers and leaders of atheist organizations comes from (usually) personal issues that people have with each other behind the scenes.

    It’s frustrating as an outsider and it’s definitely made me extremely ambivalent about getting more involved with atheist/humanist/skeptic organizations beyond the occasional happy hour.

    I’m glad to see I wasn’t wrong on this.

  21. McDanksley says

    And thanks to you, now I’ve learned that too. :D

    Also, /r/projectreddit is a very interesting take on initiating change in one’s life. Just started a couple weeks ago.

    Not all Reddit is bad. But I’ll concur that most of Reddit is covered in a finely misted sticky layer of troll.

  22. Godless Heathen says

    Actually, I’m going to correct myself. I’m jaded for the same reasons, but I didn’t come at it from the same perspective as you.

    Also, I like the idea of forming a personal movement. I’m starting the Godless Heathen movement. I’m the only person allowed in. Although I might let in whoever took the godlessheathen gmail account before I could get to it. Grrr.

  23. says

    Heh.

    This illustrates the fallacy of missionary work.

    Being a believer doesn’t make someone automatically an asshole.

    Being a non-believer doesn’t make someone automatically a saint.

    Believing and assholery are really two independent variables.

  24. says

    Wait, what?

    My first time attending a major conference had a dozen women coming to me independently to warn me about certain male speakers that I should be careful around.

    I’ve been going to these things for years, and no one has taken me aside to tell me these things.

    Therefore, they don’t exist.

    Wait, no, that’s not right — it’s more like there are two parallel universes making contact at these meetings, and I’m in one and oblivious to the other.

  25. sunsangnim says

    Just thought I’d give another message of support. I don’t know the specifics you’re referring to since I’m sort of outside the “movement.” But I’m glad you do what you do!

  26. kaorunegisa says

    I’m not sure if this means anything, but I’m sorry you’re getting so jaded with it all.

    BlagHag was my first atheist blog. I admit, I found it because of the media surrounding Boobquake, but I kept reading your archives, I learned to look forward to your updates, and I got hooked on your writing. You helped me find Greta and JT and all of the other names who make up the atheosphere. It’s led me not only to fully embrace unbelief, but also to start blogging myself and beginning activism. I can’t fully express my gratitude for your honest and thoughtful writing.

    Thank you for what you do, especially putting up with all the shit that goes with a large movement. I can only hope that your example will help me avoid becoming the people that have taken so much of the shine off the movement for you.

  27. carpenterman says

    Your Jennifer McCreght Movement bears a remarkable similarity to the Lewis Decker Movement, in which I have been a life-long member. Particularly with regards to the dress code and liquid refreshments.
    Robert Heinlein once observed that wisdom is not cumulative; the amount in any given group is equal to the wisest person in the room. Assholery, unfortunately, seems to increase on an exponential basis. One reason I have avoided large organizations like the plague my whole life.

  28. pherd says

    >> It’s because there are people and organizations in the movement I genuinely
    >> care about, and stirring certain pots would cause them harm.

    And I think this is exactly how the perpetrators get away with it, they not only prey on their victims, but on the compassion that others have for their victims, which makes others keep quiet. It’s like the rape mentality all over.

    The last thing a lovely person wants to do, is cause more harm to the those already suffering from the loathsome. But silence is consent. Using that argument didn’t save Thomas Moore’s life when HenryVIII wanted his “blessing” but it stands as true.

    It won’t make you popular when you turn to someone and indicate: “That’s unacceptable {behavior/joking}.” But it’s a lovely thing to do.

  29. carpenterman says

    Please forgive me; on re-reading my comment, I realized I misspelled “McCreight”. Another reason I don’t join organizations; a horrible memory for names.

  30. gworroll says

    I foresee some interesting posts if you are ever in a position where you can be more direct about this. Don’t know how likely it is you’ll ever be in that position, but it would be interesting.

  31. Ouabache says

    The more close friends I make, the more that comes out of the woodwork. The more specific examples of men – attendees and famous speakers alike – saying and doing things that cross the line. But they tell me to stay quiet. Because no one will believe them. Because they like the events overall and don’t want to ruin the experience by making people angry at them. Because they don’t want to lose their job or harm their employer. That was unnerving, too.

    Ferpetesake someone better start naming names or this drama is going to drag on forever. What better way to root out sexism in the atheist/skeptic movements than to publicly shame the perpetrators? If it’s already an open secret on who the bad guys are then why is everyone walking on eggshells? No one in the movement is sacred. If there are particular guys going to conferences for the purpose of preying on women then everyone should be warned about them and made an example of. If it’s just a few bad eggs then they need to be tossed out of the basket before the entire movement goes rotten.

  32. Kevin says

    Jen, I support you thoroughly and completely understand your position.

    At my last (and final) “real” job, the boss was a sexist pig. It wasn’t all bad — he was friendly enough, pretty good at his job, and not an overbearing jerk in his management style.

    But just about once a day, he’d have a private meeting with one of the attractive account executives. Nothing ever happened beyond leering and innuendo, but they were all decidedly creeped out by it. And the best ones found the exit door pretty quickly.

    I knew about it (because they would tell me in precise detail what happened), but had precisely zero power to do anything about it. My reporting it to HR would have gotten me and them in trouble. Them reporting it to HR would have resulted in precisely squat — because the boss was a co-owner of the company who could do whatever he darn well pleased short of physical contact.

    It is a conundrum.

    But I’ll encourage you in any event to put a Giant Fucking Asshole asterisk next to the names of the GFAs. Unless someone’s livelihood is at stake, I think the “movement” could do with a little vetting.

  33. says

    Glad you’re sticking it out, I’ve always enjoyed your perspective on issues.

    The hero worship within the atheist/skeptic community has bothered me for some time, and it’s good for people to be exposed to the possibility that their idols are in fact fallible and sometimes raging jerks.

  34. michaeld says

    BOOOO drama YAY cookies and cute animals. I used to be a moderator on a small alt interest site and good sweet cookies the drama was the worst.I ended up leaving cause I just couldn’t stand the petty arguments.

    ok now for your cute animal fix for the day go look up “okunoshima rabbits”.

  35. gussnarp says

    I’m no insider in the skeptical/atheist movement(s), in fact, all I really do is read a few blogs and listen to a few podcasts on the subjects, all of which started fairly recently. But I have had an insiders look at the politics and power structure in other organizations that left me deeply dismayed with organizations I had previously been committed to. In only one of those cases did I come to the conclusion that the whole organization deserved to be abandoned, that was a long time ago, and I like that organization less and less the more I hear about it now. So I can absolutely sympathize with your position. There are always things going on in any organization that we would not be proud of. Thanks for working to change it, and for everything else you do.

  36. that person says

    As president of a university atheist society, I understand completely how you feel. Fortunately in my case, the society as a whole has been fairly united in what they think, and the arsehole powertrippers rarely last long, but christ do they make a lot of work.

  37. Ragdus says

    As a sequel to my previous reply:

    Failure to point out the flaws, shortcomings and seedy side of the movement resigns the future of the movement to those very people who tarnish it now.

    Inaction due to not wanting to jeopardize good people on the periphery is the same flawed reasoning that lead to the Penn State atrocities and whatever it is that the Catholic church had become, to name a few.

  38. says

    I object to the exclusionary nature of your organization! When will the Jennifer McCreight movement stop excluding privileged white men who aren’t named Jennifer McCreight?

    (In the course of writing that feeble one sentence joke I twice stopped myself from making unintentional sexual double entendres. I’m guessing you probably wouldn’t have minded, actually, but I am making a serious effort not to do that kind of thing *unconsciously* to the extent I’m able. Thanks!)

  39. Chad says

    Thank you for this post. As a new atheist, with very limited exposure to the movement, I have even had an encounter that left a bad taste. It was over email, and the person was as you so eloquently once put it, a raging dickbag. This post is a sobering reminder that despite the views we hold, we are ultimately human. And while humanity comes in some awesome flavors, for some reason we have evolved a shit flavor as well.

  40. embertine says

    Yep, some days I logon to FTB and there is more DRAMZ about sexism, and I just think, ugh. I’m going to go and look at pictures of baby okapi to cheer myself up (do that: it works). And then I remember that the reason we’re talking about it is because the sexism actually exists, and only by shining the harsh light of criticism on the roach-infested corners of our unexamined privilege are we ever going to change anything.

    As a woman who would like to go to a skeptic or atheist meet-up sometime, I would like to know that there are people like you out there working to make a difference. I may not be able to join the Jen McCreight club, but the Embertine Club reserves the right to mention you favourably in its newsletter.

  41. gworroll says

    It also risks her ability to point out issues in the future.

    It’s a balancing act. Saying absolutely nothing would, of course, be wrong. But saying everything could get her ostracized. Her science career would be ruined, even if she is still able to complete her PhD. She’d be shut out of organizations she could help steer onto a better path. Being shut out would also limit her ability to see and expose corruption in even the limited manner she does now.

    Speaking out on the issues that come up, while being somewhat indirect on most specific instances, is probably the best balance.

    I do hope that she gets established firmly enough at some point to call people out more directly, without suffering fatal damage to her own position.

  42. John Sherman says

    I understand how you feel. I started my own John Sherman Movement in my living room, but finally had to quit. That Sherman guy was a total jerk.

  43. says

    So, as you point out, atheists and skeptics are human too. Lo and behold. The drama is the whole deal I am very anti-club/group/clique as well, and academic librarianship has plenty of those. You are a braver soul than I am. Good luck.

  44. Praedico says

    I can’t say I’m surprised by this; the general tone of the feminist and feminist-leaning blogs in the skeptical/atheist-sphere has been ‘rawr! frustration!’ for a while. And with good reason, it seems.

    I’m glad to hear you’re resolved to stick around, Jen, you’ve helped open so many people’s eyes (including mine) to the less obvious outrages of sexism and privilege. Same goes for Greta Christina, Rebecca Watson (and indeed, everyone at Skepchick), Amanda Marcotte, and so on. We need people like you in this movement, or we might as well just declare it a boys club again and go found an AtheiSkeptiFeminist movement or something…

  45. says

    You can’t quite, whatever you do. I just started following this blog – and I love it!

    There’s a lot of men and women who’re aware of the issues you talk about. I think talking about it will help. The movement is supposed to be about people who think, right? At least I hope so.

    *hugs*

  46. says

    I think I can guess as to who and what are the problem people and orgs.

    In a completely unrelated note that will produce no drama at all, Greta Christina needs to be the next JREF president.

  47. Grouper28 says

    I wanted to write and tell you this was a great post. I have often felt what you are feeling now, though perhaps for different reasons.

    The sad thing is that its not just the skeptical movement. You could have said “academia”, “corporate life”, or any other institution where there is power to be had and gained. I’ve even seen problems like this within a women’s group, where women played power games with other women – on the behalf of men that weren’t even in the group!

    Exactly what you wrote reflects my feelings about academia everyday. I think about leaving my career and getting some totally other job so that I don’t have to deal with assholes anymore. But I stay because I love and care about what I do, and I can’t leave it all to the assholes. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t make my life frustrating and sad on a regular basis. The truth is, no matter how much I say what assholes do doesn’t bother me, it effects me deeply. I lose self-esteem, I question my abilities, I see myself as less of a leader. And every time I struggle with those feelings I hate the assholes even more – because what they did worked, if only a little. They took a little of my power, respect, and ability and added it to their own pile.

    I’ve come to a few conclusions about this whole situation:

    1) These people are everywhere in our social lives. The more you push yourself in life, and achieve more, the more you will see these people. So, you can’t run away from them.

    2) This is controversial and I’m sure you won’t agree – I don’t think that sexism and racism and whatever -ism is really the problem. There are people who are just general purpose assholes, who want to dominate others and take (sex, respect) from others, and they will use any available means to do so. These people are just as likely to use culturally acceptable means of discrimination – meritocracy – to treat some people disrespectfully (I see this in academia all the time). I’m not sure that attacking one aspect of how they are assholes – sexism – will stop them from finding other paths to legitimize their asshole behavior.

    3) I’ve also found it to be true that these really horrible people are also desperate for one thing – admiration and achievement – something they can’t have unless others are willing to provide it. Horrible peoples horribleness couldn’t exist without these supporters. For this reason, when I think about these problems, these days, I mostly focus on these people. Why don’t they speak against assholes? Why do they protect and encourage people that they know do bad things? Why do they even go to lengths to cover it up, legitimize it, and downplay bad behavior? Why do they blame me? It’s harder to work with this group of people because their wrongs are less wrong than the assholes, but is my feeling that this is where you have to work. Now, instead of getting mad as assholes, because I’ve decided that they are hopeless, I get made at the people that support them. Really, that’s where the power of the situation lays anyway.

    Anyway, that probably just sounds really depressing. Sorry I wasn’t more cheerful and supportive. But I feel so relieved when I can read something like what you posted. Its true! Its real! Its not just me! When I complain about it, people just make me feel like I am quitter and making excuses.

    Hope you’re having a better day.

  48. adamgordon says

    The Roommate Movement is happy to cede the living room to the Jennifer McCreight Movement for use as a headquarters, as long as there is a provision in our treaty that any Nintendo-related activities of the Roommate Movement can occur in conjunction with headquarters activities :P

  49. David Ellis says

    Personally, I’m just glad that so many bloggers I read regularly are talking about sexism and other problems in the atheist movement and atheist organizations. A few years ago no one seemed to be talking about these things (or, at least, no one I was then reading).

  50. says

    The Jennifer McCreight movement accepts the generous terms put forth by the Roommate Movement, and thanks the Roommate Movement for being kind despite the destruction the Jennifer McCreight Movement inflicted on the kitchen.

  51. says

    Well said; for much the same reasons, I’m reluctant to become active in such groups.

    “No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood improvement committee; I have no interest in any of it. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.” —George Carlin

  52. paul says

    There are a bunch of people who come to this blog regularly to hear what you have to say, or because they think the stuff you link to is worthy of attention.

    If no one else can be in the Jennifer McCreight Movement, can we form a Gentleman’s Auxiliary or something?

  53. Kelly says

    Well, I was going to comment, but you pretty much said everything I was going to–and did a better job of it, too!

    Thank you, Jen, for everything you do.

  54. says

    …and am stuck cringing silently when someone is unwittingly praising a person who’s really a Giant Fucking Asshole.

    I
    LITERALLY
    FANTASIZE
    about these scenarios playing out the way I’d like them to.

    It helps.

  55. E_57 says

    Great post as always.

    There is bullsh*t everywhere and movements with noble causes are no exception. Your blog posts do put a smile on my face, so that’s something. Also, it’s really great to have an outspoken atheist on a (inter)national stage who hails from the great state of Indiana. We need more like you.

    I was recently described by my boss at a work meeting as the atheist of the department. As in, I should have this assignment because I’m the atheist of the group after all. A true statement I suppose, but awkward.

    In short, love the blog and the activism. Keep it up!

    - From a Fellow Hoosier

  56. A says

    Boo. I hate when people say “I have a secret” and then immediately follow with “…but I can’t tell you.” Oh well, I love this blog anyway.

  57. Rabidtreeweasel says

    Great Zeus’s Beard! It’s about 2 thirds deer and one third zebra. You know, I do feel better! Astounding.

  58. ambassadorfromverdammt says

    I’m glad to hear you will continue to fight the good fight. Society needs more people like you.

    It also needs more women who stab bad guys.

  59. says

    This is very, very true. I also want to point out that sometimes I can’t talk about things for legal reasons. As much as I like standing by my ethics and calling out bullshit, I also like not being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars that I do not have.

  60. says

    You are very good at expressing righteous outrage and still being fun and positive. You are part of a group of people who are making change for the greater good. People are attracted to similar people. You, JT, Greta, PZ.. et al draw in more of us (I do flatter myself to lump us together, but it’s an aspiration) More of us there are, the more there will be and the less influence those raging asshats will have. Stay to spite the bastards, it’s more fun that way.
    Mahalo.

  61. witless chum says

    Keep up the good blog. As a guy who started talking to me one time on the bus in Lansing, Michigan pointed out, it’s very important not to let the bad things in life get you down.

    In his case, the main problem turned out to be that masked members of the Illuminati (not sure if he said Bavarian or not.) had kidnapped him and dragged him to a torch-lit ceremony in the woods and unsuccessfully tried to get him to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.

    But I think the general principle holds.

  62. kerfluffle says

    My first time attending a major conference had a dozen women coming to me independently to warn me about certain male speakers…

    Yep. And I was a bit confused. Really? Them?

    Later, as I was getting the full impact from one of warn-worthy,a man and woman came over and started up a friendly conversation with both of us, giving me room to make a polite escape. They figured out what was going on and stepped up without making a scene.

    At the height of EG, somebody made the suggestion that people who wanted to be hit on wear badges. That’s plain stupid. But if I had known that strangers there were willing to help me out, I wouldn’t have been so uncomfortable. Almost makes me wish for “I got your back” badges.

    Until that isn’t necessary, we have people like you who speak up. Getting called on that same situation will be far more uncomfortable for the creep than it would have been three years ago. Nobody wants to get outted, and the creeps no longer have the luxury of thinking that it can’t happen.

  63. says

    I’m sure this is just another post on the pile for support, but keep up the good fight. I look forward to your posts every time I see a new one, just like I do with Greta Christina, PZ Meyers, and Rebecca Watson. Arguments could be made for any of you to be more important or less important in different ways but, honestly, those are my four horsepeople and, without any of them (you included, especially) I’d probably not interact with atheism at all. It’s hard enough being autistic, an artist, and a geek – being a feminist atheist makes me hate the world on a daily basis.

  64. Pramod says

    Just name them and shame them. I know I’d believe more than anyone else in the skeptical movement and I’m pretty sure almost everyone else who reads you blog feels the same way.

    Also, I don’t agree with this line about “harming the movement”. Atheism and skepticism are self-evident truths, and no harm is going to come to these “movements” if a few atheists turn out to be disgusting pigs.

  65. Freemage says

    Jen:

    Your posts make my day go a bit quicker. I realize that probably seems like a small thing, in comparison to all the big issues you, and the organizations you’re part of, are tackling on a regular basis. And I suppose that in the scheme of things, it IS small.

    And yet… well, frankly, it’s also huge. Huge to me, and huge to many others, I’m sure. You give me both a place I can laugh, and a place I can target at least some of my own anger about the world and the way it is. Sometimes I see something that needs to be passed along to my group of friends; sometimes it’s just something I can pull out the next time I argue politics with my brother.

    But it’s real, and it makes my life, and the lives of other readers like me (those of us who maybe aren’t able to be part of the bigger ‘movement’, much as we might like to be) a bit better. We can at least engage our minds and hearts and funny bones here. That is a major part of this incredible free entertainment you and the others here on FTB provide.

    So, yeah, glad you’re staying.

    And hey, if you ever ARE in a position where you can blow the whistles on the assholes with a reasonable modicum of security? You have an audience who will listen.

  66. Rebecca says

    Thanks for not rage quitting <3 feeling the Jen love right now!

    Anyway, Kate Clancy had a not dissimilar grievance with those who own her blog network some time ago. Instead of quitting, she decided to work for positive change from the inside. That's what you are doing, raising awareness about sexism for people who are involved in the movement, and importantly, beginners who will one day be speaking at or running these groups and events themselves.

  67. says

    I don’t have anything original to add to the above comments; keep doing what you’re doing for as long as you can. People like you & Rebecca have made me realize how incredibly relevant feminism still is. Thank you.

  68. Katalina says

    I totally agree. I love Jen’s work, and would be super sad if she called it quits. But it is always disappointing to realize that even in a “community” that should be open and accepting by definition, there are asses everywhere.

  69. CT says

    I feel for you. Most of us come to this realization sometime in our life, usually in our twenties. By the time you’re as old as I am, 40, you’ll just expect it. Doesn’t matter what organization, it’s always the same. It can be great for a while, then the assholes show up, then they go away, then more show up. Don’t let the bastards get you down.

  70. Chris says

    People hide behind their keyboards and can easily lobby any manner of insult at you. They can experience frustration in their day-to-day life and then alleviate it by finding a public target online and firing away. Some of those comments will be venomous, inappropriate and downright infantile. That is simply beyond your control.

    These people would never (for the most part, anyway) say these comments to your face, but that just goes to show that their opinions are insubstantial, unreasonable and ultimately, insignificant. However, if you let those comments get the better of you and you give up because of them, you have given them weight, power and purpose.

    I know it’s difficult to withstand, but that’s the price that comes with having a communication portal that reaches so many people. Chances are, you are going to reach assholes. That’s just math. Don’t let it color your perception of the entire world. (I am guilty of this often, myself.)

    Clearly, a lot of people like what you have to say and you have a desire to say it, so keep doing it. View the angry, immature, hateful comments as confirmation that your opinions are getting through to all the right people. If you weren’t receiving the negative comments, then you wouldn’t be saying something of real substance that REALLY needed to be said. End of speech. (You can wake up now.)

  71. L says

    As someone whose only involvement in the atheist movement is quietly and anonymously reading blogs and only occasionally blogging about issues myself, I have to say this: It’s the passion about issues by you and other great atheist bloggers that keep me coming back. Because I’m NOT involved and because you ARE, I feel like I’ve got a voice out there when I’m unwilling or unable to use my own.

    I know there’s a lot crap that being on the inside gives and after a while, it gets old and frustrating.

    But you’re doing great things for the world and it might not seem like much but there’s a lot of us out there who are thankful for your part in it all.

    Thanks for putting up with it and continuing to fight for what you believe.

  72. Gus Snarp says

    I’m so damn curious now that I want to show up in drag for a major conference and see if I can find out who these men are, and well, what it’s like. Unfortunately I don’t think I could pull it off convincingly enough to fool anyone, let alone have a genuine experience or actually manage to get hit on. I wouldn’t want to be some cheap Bosom Buddies gag. Something about being 6’4″. Plus I’d have to shave my beard, and the wife has forbidden me from ever letting the world see my naked chin.

  73. says

    Being a white male, I probably should have been oblivious to the universe Jen is referring to as well, but when I was at TAM last summer, I did hear a few things from experienced attendees who have been to several events, conferences, gatherings, etc. I have no problem believing Jen after that, even if I only heard about the tip of the iceberg.

    Maybe, if we can’t name people who have reprehensible behavior for whatever reason, we can underline the people who manage to consistently earn our respect? That list would be pretty long (as it should be), and of course, I don’t know everyone, but let me start with Jen, PZ and Greta :)

  74. Ragdus says

    Valid point. Although to be clear I’m not advocating a scorched earth policy. But I admit I was clear enough in making that apparent.

    Restraint when necessary is an obvious fact of life. Just don’t over-compensate for the behind the scenes legalities and politics (that I admittedly know very little about, being a non-scientist.)

  75. Greta Christina says

    Chiming in late, but please let me add another encouraging voice about the fight being worth it. Yes, atheists and skeptics can be assholes and idiots and annoying twerps, what with us being human beings and all. But if it helps: Every other social change movement in history has also been engaged in by fallible human beings, many of whom could be assholes and idiots and annoying twerps. They still changed the world. We are going to change the world. Hell — we are changing it.

    So hang in there. Take breaks if you need to for your mental and emotional health. Hug your sweetie. Play with your kitten. Rant at your friends. Play video games. Write about stuff that makes you happy. And then come back into the fray. It is so much better with you in it.

  76. neonsequitur says

    Awesome post, and I’d follow your example if I hadn’t already done this years ago. I’m kicking myself now, though, for not getting myself a blog and announcing it to the world.

  77. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    @Pramod: You forget the part where doing so could cause severe internecine conflict that could rip organizations apart. You may think that “atheism” and “skepticism” are “self evident truths” (that’s an argument for another time), but the real truth is that these movements and organizations run because of the relationships between the people in them.

    Imagine if one of the names that Jen were to name was somebody whom you respected greatly, were friends with and just could not believe that they would do the stuff being ascribed to them. Do you think you might angrily step up to defend your friend’s honour? Do you think you might try to blackball those whom you think are wrongly, prejudicially blackballing your friend? Because after all, clearly they aren’t ethical or worthy because they are falsely tarnishing your friend’s image.

    If you say “No, I’d never do that,” I would never believe you because we all do stuff like that. I don’t say this to scare people into not naming names but simply to acknowledge what we would happen if all the dirty laundry were aired. Jen is right to not only be concerned about the effects upon people she cares about but also about the effects on organizations she cares about.

    To simply start naming names, indiscriminately, would be reckless and negligent

  78. Pramod says

    I’m not going to claim that I’m immune to prejudice, or that I can always stay objective. As you say, nobody is.

    Having said that, what I’ve learned over the last few years is that pretty much everybody is deeply flawed in one way or another.

    I thought Dawkins was a pretty great guy until elevator-gate happened and it turned out he was a sexist pig. This doesn’t mean that his other accomplishments aren’t worthy of respect, but it does mean I (sadly) wouldn’t be surprised if he turned out be a pervert.

    A more striking example might be Gandhi. Growing up, I always had the greatest respect for Gandhi, and actually believed that he was the closest a human to get to living a near-perfect life. But I learned sometime ago that he was a racist jerk who has written about the inferiority of black people. He’s also written fairly incendiary article supporting the caste system. Again, none of this detracts from the fact that Gandhi *did* evolve a system of peaceful protest that led to India becoming free of British rule. And arguably, his model of non-violent protest was the spiritual father of the civil rights movement in the US and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. So he deserves a lot of credit for these ideas, but that doesn’t mean that we should be afraid of pointing out that Gandhi was, in fact, racist.

    My point is that ideas are what are important, not people because people are almost inevitably flawed. Let’s not allow sexist jerks to get away with this behavior. And let’s not underestimate the strength of the skeptical/atheist movements. If atheists being burned at the stake didn’t wipe out atheism, I’m pretty sure, bringing a few misogynist rich men to justice won’t either.

  79. F says

    As a non-member of the Jennifer McCreight Movement (and most everything else), I fully support the Jennifer McCreight Movement.

    I also support the alluding to things but not explicitly stating what you cannot talk about without being labeled a teaser when that isn’t what you are doing.

    F, Hardly Moving At All

  80. Lena says

    This seems pretty standard for any kind of progressive movement. Put a group of {insert type here} privileged folks together, and that privilege makes itself known. So in feminism, a whole lot of racist and classist bullshit gets spewed. In atheism, it’s racism, classism, and misogyny. My gay friends who are minorities want nothing to do with LGBT organizations. Let’s not even get started on OWS. Point out these problems, and you’re accused of trying to split the movement, of not focusing on the big picture. Happens all the time.

  81. says

    Everyone above has already made the points I wanted to. So instead here’s a video of a kitty. I dare you not to smile. :)

  82. Wayne says

    Jen,
    Please understand that I check in here every day, and I love what you do. I offer the following as food for thought:

    I understand your frustrations and your need to vent, but it seems to me that by not naming names (and I understand that you can’t) you make everyone seem guilty. I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering who’s a rat bastard and who isn’t. The kind of post you put up here has the effect of pointing the finger at everyone. Again, I don’t mean to offend, just wondering if you thought about this aspect.

  83. Tikifire says

    Keep up the good work Jen! Picking and choosing your battles is just an unpleasant part of life.

  84. Passerby says

    What you do for the community is incredible, and you’re a better person than most for sticking with what you believe even when the drama gets to epic fail proportions.

    Hug?

  85. Eric RoM says

    What’s with the omerta? Considering the stance of ‘skeptics movements’, shouldn’t you be outing all the sexists?

    Pettiness and infighting, that’s just plain old politics, and comes with every group.

  86. Svlad Cjelli says

    “What should concern you are the things we can’t talk about.”

    Then you – this “we” – are a problem. Yes, you. A problem is you.

    Solve it.

  87. Ana says

    Hello
    I just wanted to let you know that you are the one who made me an atheist, and you are the one who made me a feminist. You’ve opened my eyes to an amazing world, and I can only hope to one day have your courage. So, please stick out the bad times, because you are needed and treasured. And hey, if you ever really need a vacation, here in Portugal we have beaches gallore and sunny winter days! =D A big hug and a ray of sunshine**

  88. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    Except it’s not as simplistic as ‘bringing a few misogynist rich men to justice’ as it seems you think it is.

    I don’t now how i can make it any clearer.

    There. Will. Be. Collateral. Damage.

    Do you want that collateral damage to be the failure of a large organization like JREF or CFI or AHA? Or some other organization important to you with which you have expended time and energy helping their mission?

    What if the collateral damage was the emotional hardship and blackballing of your friends you started naming big names indiscriminately?

    Anybody with an ounce of empathy would hesitate because of those things.

    I’m not saying that you need to have the same line in the sand that Jen does about what collateral damage is acceptable or not, but what I’m getting from your comments is a “Damn the torpedoes” approach that simply doesn’t care about the hurt that will happen to anyone in the fights and struggles and fights and general assholish behaviours caused by the indiscriminate naming and shaming. It seems like a reckless disregard for others.

  89. billligertwood says

    Hi Jen
    As a relative new comer to this “Movement” I have to say that I also am surprised and sometimes disgusted by the petty politics I see. Last year when we had you speak at our Imagine No Religion conference I have to say that I was impressed with you and had nothing but very positive comments on your talk. Since then I have had the misfortune of getting more into the movement as a “Director” etc. And I must concur with your assessment, however as others on here have stated, it seems to come with the territory. I have been involved with many groups and political parties over the years and it never ceases to amaze me how many people there are who just can’t seem to focus on the important issues. The rest of us must grin and bear it because like you, we believe the goal is too important to abandon. So I truly hope you will carry on doing what you are doing and I look forward to the next time we can get you to speak at our little conference. By the way Imagine No Religion 2 is May 18-20 here in Kamloops BC Canada. I know you can’t attend but we do have a very good bunch of speakers, men and women. But if you’re available next year ?

  90. says

    This isn’t just on Jen’s behalf, though. Many things she (and other people in the movement) know could cost people who work within the movement our jobs, connections, etc. if they got out. Trust us when we say we would speak out if we could.

  91. says

    Sigh. Yep.

    I think when you’re in town for the board meeting, we need to get a drink (along with the other people who get it).

  92. says

    I suspect someone’s already mentioned this but at 116 comments (and counting), I skipped to the end to say:

    No matter what, every community, every kind of activity bringing people together in common interest, has drama galore. Every. Single. One.

    But you do have a choice that does not include locking yourself in your bedroom and saying goodbye, Cruel World. You have a choice to just say no to drama, to gossip, to the shenanigans. Declare Jen McCreight a Drama Free Zone and enforce the boundary. It really does work. Pinkie swear.

  93. Pramod says

    Let’s not descend to name calling.

    One part of your argument that I agree with is that some of Jen’s friends might be affected by her actions, so she needs to make sure they are on-board with whatever she plans to do, if it’s the case that if these people were preying on her friends and all she has is second-hand information.

    The rest of it is sounds rather like Catholic-church/Penn-State-logic. Sure, there will be collateral damage. That doesn’t justify allowing sexual predators to get away scot-free. Nothing does.

  94. Abigail says

    Jennifer, I just want you to know that you have been the single most influential person in my understanding of my own feelings on religion. I knew at a young age that I was an atheist, but I didn’t have any real reasons and I only told a few people. When I looked around at the internet, it was all a bunch of guys. I enjoyed reading their blogs and learned a lot, but couldn’t shake the feeling that I was a minority within a minority. And some people don’t get how lonely that can be. So, thank you for just being who you are. Thank you for thinking that atheists should care about more than just religion. Don’t let anyone get you down!

  95. Pteryxx says

    …Just wanted to say, re the naming names. Because of the statement “We know who you are”, without revealing yet, *all* the creepers and pigs within the community have been put on watch. This behavior no longer goes unnoticed, and the very names catching the most flak for calling it out are demonstrating that future victims can come to them and be taken seriously.

    This isn’t a safe hunting ground anymore, unnamed predators. Be warned. ~;>

  96. says

    I have advocated for sexual predators to be outed and I still think that’s a good idea in the long run. But outing people for being misogynist jerks is worth weighing collateral damage against institutional harm. Because people calling for the outing are often not the ones who would have to deal with the blowback from it. The only thing I can say is if you know somebody’s a jerk, watch them extra closely for signs of predation.

    I suppose we should be grateful to Richard Dawkins for outing himself as a jerk on sexual harassment issues. At best he can now speak on atheism and biology and science generally, but he shouldn’t expect anyone to listen to him on issues of gender equality. It reinforces what seems to me an important understanding that we have no popes, or anything like a pope. That’s as it should be.

    Another example is Christopher Hitchens. If he’d been a Christian Evangelist, his every flaw would have been swept under a rug by now. Instead his various tributes online have devoted considerable attention to things some of us disagree with, like his poor view of women and his stand on the Iraq war. And the New Atheist movement is better for it.

  97. Laurence says

    I appreciate what you do here. This just shows that we have a lot of work to do even after we abandon religion.

  98. Diceros bicornis says

    Add my voice to the chorus of support, for everything you are contributing to raising awareness of and fighting damaging sexism, Jen. I personally appreciate very much that you are out there refusing to STFU.

    Organizational politics sucks, and it sucks doubly when the bad/dysfunctional behavior belongs to someone who is in a leadership position (whether official, or because they are widely admired). I’m sorry to hear that, in addition to dealing with the flaming assholes in the blogosphere, you’re also dealing with assholes IRL who should be better than that. As someone has already pointed out, human politics plays out everywhere that humans interact. No “movement” is entirely immune.

    As a scarred veteran myself of some Loss of Idealism through much-too-close encounters with assholes, I’d like to offer a concrete suggestion:

    Document.

    While you yourself may never out the offender(s), someone else may. And the folk(s) you are concerned about protecting may get caught in a shitstorm anyway. Should you ever be in a position to confirm or deny, having everything written down and dated as it happens is can be critically useful.

    And anyone reading this who is also involved in any way with what Jen is talking about – this is for you too.

    Good luck – and start writing stuff down.

  99. says

    I have been an atheist and feminist (male variety) much longer than you have been around, and while I appreciate and cheer on the open opposition you (collective) are waging, please know that the subversive activities are as important.
    Telling the financial aid officer that sequential studies are not an acceptable solution for a married couple, and sitting tight in his office until he came up with the bucks to do it right. This in spite of the fact that a white male MBA had the world at his feet. The next couple had an easier time of it. I have had to stick the white male privilege into a dark place several times in long career of supporting a female in a blatently sexist career path. Although I will admit to having used it several times to change careers in support of her career. I suspect the company I left a promising career in because of sexism became a bit more reasonable when I made my reasons known.

    I have similar stories about atheism but I suspect you have done them all without getting yourself thrown out of the “ecumenical” club.

    Activism has never been my choice, I am not that kind of person. As a great friend and constitutional lawyer said to me. “Always wear a dark suit. You are in enough trouble without calling attention to yourself.”

  100. Jeff Sherry says

    Maybe it is time for some house cleaning in the atheist/free thought/secular communities. These men are doing damage to the community and will cause more damage if outed years down the road, as an example Penn State comes to mind.

    Can the community survive with ppowerful self destructive insiders?

  101. Wilt says

    It’s just funny that sometimes guys get pissy that the “big names” that hit on the women sexually get a free pass…and the smaller time guys get the bad press. Like no way DJ has ever hit on a woman at a conference. Naming names is GOOD, but it isn’t done. At least the big time offenders. Women that cover up for the big names, and slam the guys that are guilty of far less, give many women a bad feeling about skepticism. Why the free pass? Consenting adults I guess. Plus, who wants to look like they were “taken”? Sexual manipulation happens, and how sad for the woman that goes to a conference to be told “Oh I’m not married” or “I’m seperated”. Or even “I’m in an open relationship” (which the spouse has certainly never heard of). Not all the women get the memo about the bad guys. A “behind the scenes” warning doesn’t protect everyone.
    Anyway, it sounds like doing your own thing is GOOD! Because that’s the only way to have your voice heard…and not become simply a reflection of other voices.

  102. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    Wilt: DJ? Hit on a woman? Do you know who DJ is? I’m trying to imagine that happening and failing, but hilariously so. :-)

    In any case, if you think this debate was simply about women being hit upon, I think perhaps you may not have been paying attention very well?

  103. Pteryxx says

    Abso-frickin’lutely. “Document, document, document” should be appended to every one of these discussions.

  104. Pteryxx says

    …Which was supposed to be a reply to Diceros bicornis @103. Oh well. *clickclickclickclick*

  105. says

    (I’m late to the party, but maybe the commenting has died down enough that this comment won’t get lost in the crowd…)

    It seems to me that what needs to happen is this. Someone — someone female — needs to start an Atheist Feminism organization. (Yeah, I know, that’s not hugely vastly mindbogglingly revolutionary. Bear with me…)

    The purpose (or a purpose, anyway) will be for women to covertly compare notes on obnoxious men in the atheist community, and then publicly call them out. This could be done either anonymously (just a count — “X women who met this person agreed that he exhibited clear and unarguable instances of douchebaggery, while Y disagreed” — or with names attached, or some combination of the two).

    The point is that the note-comparisons would take place in a more or less safe space (as long as erv doesn’t join, I guess… >.>) so the worry about indvidual retaliation would be greatly reduced.

    …and anyone can join, but only women will have voting privileges (for determining who gets called out).

    And once a man was flagged for douchery, I think it would be much harder to dismiss subsequent claims from other women that he had crossed the line with them too. (Well… okay, MRAs would do it anyway, but it would be much more obvious to everyone *else* that they were doing nothing more than supporting douchery out of a sense of entitlement, rather than (say) having a legitimate rational point to make.)

    I submit this proposal speaking as a male-bodied person who is currently legally male (…albeit with gender dysphoria, but take that how you will: either I qualify as male, or I qualify for voting rights in this hypothetical organization. I’ll take either one).

  106. Curt says

    I loved being in college and studying science in the mid 70′s. I had never knowingly met another atheist although I had been one most of my life. I looked forward to meeting other atheists in college. Even there all the science/math teachers made references to god! What was worse? I was appreciative of the civil rights and women’s movement but I could see the hostility to them in the science profs. Then sociobiology (just so story to replace eugenics) was strongly accepted and I dropped out. I appreciate Darwin for his era but he was an anti-slavery racist and sexist and knew little about chemistry. The world is random. The only order is in our heads (the brain perceives it as an aid to survival). The selection in natural selection is done by a random environment. I expect diversity and I see it everywhere despite the propaganda of those who are superior and encourage us to focus on their just so schemes. I enjoy perceiving us and our planet as atoms randomly colliding around and inside of me. You couldn’t make up a better more interesting story than that. Why does it get so much resistance? Its not who wins its how you live that counts. I thoroughly enjoy reading a ton of science journals each week but I know it is an old boys network and that it could be so much better if it weren’t. I really appreciate times like this when diversity regularly stands up and shouts. It has been satisfying to see chemistry disprove or at-least modify the old dogma over the years. As an example of diversity the old dogma’s simplicity will allow it to persist like the simple and diverse mythologies that also survive. I am proud (I hope in a non-entitled sort of way)to be a citizen of the planet who has enough understanding of science to see through the pervading corporate propaganda and predictions.

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