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Apr 25 2012

Nicer, sweeter, less outspoken

Anna Quindlen was on Fresh Air yesterday, and she said something I’ve been pondering a good deal lately.

As a little girl, Anna Quindlen wasn’t afraid of a whole lot. She frequently got into trouble and occasionally shot off her mouth. But as she grew older, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer became what she calls a “girl imitation.”

“[I became] nicer, sweeter, less outspoken [and] less combative,” she tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “All of the qualities that you need to be a good opinion columnist tend to be qualities that aren’t valued in women. And I think that was a bit of a challenge for me when I became an op-ed columnist [for The New York Times] and has been a challenge for many of us who do that as a living.”

I think this is related to the whole “women in atheism” question…and the misogyny in atheism question, too.

Atheism by its nature is “combative” – at least, active or outspoken or explicit or “movement” atheism is. Movement atheism is naturally combative. This could be a big part of the reason it took the movement so god damn long to realize it was forgetting to invite women to its parties. Women aren’t seen as combative.  All of the qualities that you need to be a good movement atheist tend to be qualities that aren’t valued in women. Implicit stereotypes probably made women as a category seem like the wrong kind of people to invite to the parties because women are too nice and sweet to combat god, not outspoken and combative enough to pick fights with god. That could be why male atheists* think of atheism as a boys’ club and something that women will wreck if they’re allowed into it, because they’ll put up curtains and forbid swearing and try to sign a peace treaty with god.

*Those who do

62 comments

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  1. 1
    Lou Doench

    “[I became] nicer, sweeter, less outspoken [and] less combative,” she tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “All of the qualities that you need to be a good opinion columnist tend to be qualities that aren’t valued in women.”

    Which is why I always preferred Barbarah Ehrenreich or Molly Ivins or Katha Pollit to Ms. Quindlens work, they overcame that bias instead of bending to it.

  2. 2
    John Kruger

    Atheist activism is in no way a sexual endeavor, so what type of sex organs or gender identification a person has is totally irrelevant in the basic scheme of things. If this type of thing matters at all, it is in the sense that a group can benefit from as broad a range of experience as possible.

    That is how I feel anyway. I am grateful for many contributions that are from people who happen to be female in the atheist community. It would be the height of stupidity to push them out.

    With time the gender stereo-types seem to be diminishing. Everyone will be better off once they are gone completely.

  3. 3
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Lou:

    Which is why I always preferred Barbarah Ehrenreich or Molly Ivins or Katha Pollit to Ms. Quindlens work, they overcame that bias instead of bending to it.

    Agreed.

  4. 4
    Rieux

    …And on the other side of the coin, female atheists (in fact girls and women generally—but Ophelia’s focus here is on the atheist variety thereof) who refuse to abide by the kinds of sexist expectations Quindlen describes are attacked with a special kind of fury by believers and nons alike.

  5. 5
    wytchy

    This is something I butt up against in almost any conversation that takes an academic/controversial turn, not just when talking to atheists or about atheism. And it doesn’t pay to wait patiently for the boys to give you a turn to talk, because they won’t let you as long as you sit quietly waiting for it. You’ve got to raise your voice sometimes, talk over them when they want to interrupt you, and other things that people often call me rude for. I just see it as getting my $0.02 out there.

  6. 6
    Ophelia Benson

    Another ditto about preferring Pollitt and Ivins and Ehrenreich for just that reason, and also because Quindlen always specialized way too much in herself.

    I wonder if the two go together, in a way…if part of being Nice and Sweet is being not too interested in the outside world. Well I suppose I know perfectly well they do – women weren’t supposed to do politics or other non-self non-domestic things because that would smutch their angelic natures.

  7. 7
    platyhelminthe

    For God’s sake, Ophelia, I love your blog but PLEASE watch the lazy sexist generalisations (“male atheists think of atheism as a boy’s club”). This carelessness is really starting to undermine your otherwise brilliant work, and reeks of double-standards (however inadvertently).

  8. 8
    Ophelia Benson

    Really? Because there are no male atheists who think of atheism as a boys’ club?

  9. 9
    mnb0

    No, because not all male atheists think of atheism as a boys’ club and you don’t provide evidence that the majority of male atheists do.
    For one thing I don’t. Then again, in daily life I am fairly outspoken, but not combative, so what do I know? In the town where I live people are quite religious, but don’t make a fuss about it. Neither do I about my atheism. Moreover I don’t like boys’ clubs.

  10. 10
    'Tis Himself

    platyhelminthe,

    You’re right, Ophelia made a generalization. She should have written something like “all too many male atheists think of atheism as a boy’s club.” If you don’t believe that’s true, then you’re not paying attention.

  11. 11
    Sili

    forbid swearing

    All the more amusing after just seeing Julie Andrews swear like a sailor.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    Pretend there’s a [there are] in front of “male atheists” and a [who] after it.

    Or, you could just remember that I’m good friend with quite a few male atheists so I probably didn’t actually mean all male atheists.

    Still – I’ve objected to that kind of generalization myself (made about “Americans” for instance), so I can’t dispute too much.

  13. 13
    Josh Slocum

    Give me a Molly Ivins, a Fran Lebowitz, a Florence King, a Barbara Ehrenreich, or any other plain-spoken woman any day over an Anna Quindlen (or a Terry Gross–Christ, is there anything more simpering than “All I did was ask?” Yeah, Terry. That’s all you did. That’s it.). Even if I don’t agree with *everything* they say (who does?) I’d rather deal with a Person and a Force to Be Reckoned With than a pale imitation of a sentient being.

    It’s amusing when some idiot brays about Ophelia’s “cult of personality” or “brainwashed commentariat” who are slavishly devoted to maintaining their Queen’s Echo Chamber. There was a reason I was attracted to B&W and why I became a devoted reader; Ophelia’s intelligence, wit, and sharp prose. Why is it so difficult to understand that readers self-select based on quality? Even the most skilled Mind-Controlling Harpy™ would have a hard time mind-controlling people who haven’t ever read her stuff to begin with.

  14. 14
    GM

    I think things like the (over)reaction to Rebecca Watson’s rather mild statement about picking up people in elevators and P.Z. Meyer’s wigging out and blaming the entire feminist movement for “triviality” (because one woman thought a comic might be stereotyping women) proves that in this movement a lot of people think women should just be nicer, sweeter, less outspoken. We’re raked over the coals for having mild opinions, let alone strong ones. Of course it’s not all atheist men (I wouldn’t pull a P.Z. and blame an entire group for something a lot of people do, let alone one person’s statement on a blog).

    But you can’t deny that the mainstream, popular faces of the atheist movement are very sexist and anti-feminist (mostly) men. It’s especially annoying when they use the misogyny of religion to bully atheist women into silence.

  15. 15
    Josh Slocum

    Of course it’s not all atheist men (I wouldn’t pull a P.Z. and blame an entire group for something a lot of people do, let alone one person’s statement on a blog).

    Really. You can stop apologizing and qualifying. And you can stop trying to demonstrate your bona fides by calling out PZ for “painting with a wide brush.” That’s the kind of shit that’s not helping. At all. Whatever sin PZ committed it’s teeny-tiny compared to the reality that the atheist “community” as a whole, especially the men, have a misogyny problem.

    Stop trying to make yourself sound reasonable and moderate by distancing your position. Calling out the entire community isn’t out of bounds. It’s exactly what needs to happen. Believe me, the non-sexist men aren’t going to remember your favor, and they’re not going to thank you.

  16. 16
    A. Noyd

    Clearly I failed my girl lessons because, though I am an antisocial introvert the majority of the time, when I bother to step outside my own head, it’s my nature to assert myself and argue with people. Even in meatspace I will confront random strangers who say wrong or dumb things. Just this Monday I got into an argument with a nit-brained woo-lover who was going out of her way to buy juice with a fuckton of added vitamin C, as if that would do anything besides cure the scurvy she clearly didn’t suffer from. And a few weeks ago I had a more pleasant exchange with an Irish dude on the bus who had opined to his buddy that America didn’t have anything like the row housing of Ireland.

    I’m even more aggressive online, but we’re all so socialized to associate “assertive” with “man” that most people assume I’m a guy even when I tell them otherwise. I once met up in meatspace with a dude I’d known for a while online who literally fell out of his chair at the realization I hadn’t been lying about being a woman. (Okay, he was drunk at the time, but still.) This somewhat diminishes the ability of those of us who contradict the stereotype to overcome it in the minds of others unless we’re willing to give up some anonymity.

  17. 17
    Josh Slocum

    I’m even more aggressive online, but we’re all so socialized to associate “assertive” with “man” that most people assume I’m a guy even when I tell them otherwise.

    You speak the truth. I’m sorry and embarrassed to say I had assumed you were a man until just this past week, and I’ve been reading your comments for years.

    See how easy it is to be a stereotyping shit head even when you don’t want to be? Gack. . .it makes me sick how much we’re wallowing in it.

  18. 18
    GM

    @Josh Slocum

    Not looking for thanks. Just trying to avoid having people jump down my throat.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying. I said blaming the entire feminist movement for one woman’s statement was out of line and ridiculous. I can’t imagine the same thing would have happened if it were a gay person being annoyed at a gay stereotype. So that makes me unreasonable and a fanatic?

  19. 19
    Josh Slocum

    GM, I think I got confused because you said PZ Myers wigged out and “blamed the entire feminist movement.” He certainly did not. He defended Rebecca and rebuked the assholes who trivialized her concerns.

    It was Richard Dawkins, sadly, who pissed on Rebecca and minimized her concerns. Did you perhaps remember incorrectly?

  20. 20
    GM

    @Josh Slocum

    I was referring to a completely different thing. P.Z. wrote a blog post vilifiying the entire feminist movement and telling us girls to come back and talk to him when we experience some *real* discrimination and violence. Basically what Richard Dawkins did to Rebecca Watson. All because a woman thought a comic he posted previously seemed to stereotype women as dumb.

  21. 21
    Josh Slocum

    P.Z. wrote a blog post vilifiying the entire feminist movement and telling us girls to come back and talk to him when we experience some *real* discrimination and violence.

    Link please.

  22. 22
    GM

    Here:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/24/sometimes-a-bunny-is-just-a-bunny/

    I saw that blog post and traced back the original comment that caused poor P.Z. to “despair” over women not knowing when to shut up about things *he* regards as trivial. And it was just someone saying “that would suck” if the comic was the typical stereotype of a dumb, irrational female. Not that it’s the worst thing in the world, just that it would “suck”. And she got attacked and men and women posters came to her defense and it resulted in a gigantic argument on his blog. Which I’m sure happens all the time, but he seemed to think it necesarry to chastise us women, telling us to “take a moment to instead come up with real instances of oppression, discrimination, and intimidation of women.”

    (He deleted some of the original post I see. He was also saying something about creating a “safe space” for women and we apparently ruined it with our trivial comments. Even he could see how patronizing that was, I guess.)

    Again the poster wasn’t saying it was the worst thing in the world, just a casual observation of *possible* stereotyping (which it turns out was the intent of the cartoonist). And because of the medium used to make the point (cute bunny rabbits instead of stick figures or actors) we needed to shut it.

    So as a female I can only comment on certain things and not others and be nice the rest of the time.

  23. 23
    Suido

    An interesting article which highlights the biases that women face in the chess world, due to being less ‘combative’.

  24. 24
    A. Noyd

    Josh (#17)

    I had assumed you were a man until just this past week, and I’ve been reading your comments for years.

    Well, this gets into some of the flipside of the stereotype. When people know in advance that I’m a woman, they read into my comments the motives and emotions their assumptions about women tell them they should be seeing. They also tend to listen less or take me less seriously.* Thus, I long ago developed the habit of leaving things ambiguous unless my gender somehow pertains to the conversation. However, while that ambiguity is second nature by now, I could, if I wanted to, deliberately signal my gender more often for the sake of visibility.

    The really obnoxious thing is that I find myself at times applying assumptions to other women in the way that pisses me off when it’s done to me. It’s really hard to overcome cultural programming, and it’s frustrating that dedicating ourselves to rationality doesn’t give us a huge advantage in doing so. But I think FtB is a wonderful aid for those of us who give a crap about making the effort; there are a high number of aggressive, opinionated women bloggers and commenters here and a general culture of appreciation for us.

    ……
    *Far less of a problem on FtB, especially within the community of regulars!

  25. 25
    Suido

    PS To clarify, it is actually an article on developmental psychology. However it does contain some points which are very relevant.

  26. 26
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Well said, A. Noyd. It’s fucking depressing as all hell how easily I slide into stereotyped projecting. Thank goodness FtB functions as pushback.

  27. 27
    bad Jim

    One of the best things about the internet is that one learns rather quickly that you can’t guess the sex of a writer from what that person has written. Sometimes it’s easy to tell that someone’s a lawyer, or occasionally an engineer, and more often than not whether their first language is English. A nice thing about comments is that no one can interrupt, whereas even a privileged but polite male like me can be disadvantaged in conversation by people who are aggressively rude.

    I don’t actually think that atheist women are less celebrated than men because they’re less combative, nor are they less visible primarily because of the sexism of atheists. They get less attention from the world at large because they’re less prominent to begin with, due in part to general sexism, and perhaps because the few women who do attain the requisite visibility tend to emphasize other issues.

  28. 28
    GM

    “The really obnoxious thing is that I find myself at times applying assumptions to other women in the way that pisses me off when it’s done to me.”

    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve done that too. Not deliberately or consciously, but sometimes it’s the first thing that pops into your head. It’s messed up, because I’d like to think I’m above all that. It’s hard to overcome that conditioning.

    I remember as a kid my older brother saying that he had no idea Sonic Youth had a girl in it. He said ‘girl’ with sneering contempt, as if it totally ruined his image of the band. And once he asked me why I have so many albums by women, as if that is something abnormal. And again in that sneering tone. (I actually only had about 25% by women, but to him that must have been way too much). He was always making comments like that, and he is (in his mind) the sensitive cool guy who totally likes women and can’t stand macho guys.

    Maybe that’s where it came from for me, I don’t know. I just knew from an early age that being a girl is totally uncool and lame.

  29. 29
    Bill Yeager

    The issue is feck-all to do with misogynistic asshats in the ‘Atheist Community’.

    It’s purely to do with misogynistic asshats in general society, theist and non-theist alike. Sure, the theist patriarchy tends to lead the field in this regards, but sexism and gender-bias is purely a cultural problem. You can raise a boy to become a free-thinking atheist man, but if his familial and social environment throughout his formative years include the usual suspects of gender stereotyping, then said free-thinking young man is at great risk of, to put it politely, failing to incorporate into his intellectual persona the fact that girl babies and boy babies grow into equally capable adults.

    So can we have less of the hand-wringing about feminist ‘issues’ and sexism in the ‘Atheist Community’ and just call a spade a spade? If a guy is being a dick, he’s being a dick. Don’t paint the rest of us with the same brush just because he’s an atheist too.

    Oh, and another thing, people are flawed, we fuck up all the time, it doesn’t necessarily equate that clumsy thoughtlessness is a reflection of ones entire personality or personal philosophy.

    Well, that’s what I tell my wife anyway . . . badum tish!

  30. 30
    Stacy

    but he seemed to think it necesarry to chastise us women, telling us to “take a moment to instead come up with real instances of oppression, discrimination, and intimidation of women.”

    (He deleted some of the original post I see. He was also saying something about creating a “safe space” for women and we apparently ruined it with our trivial comments. Even he could see how patronizing that was, I guess.

    GM, my memory of that exchange is different. PZ indeed initially disagreed that there was anything sexist about the bunny cartoon–because he failed to notice that the non-skeptical bunny was supposed to be female. He thought the commenters who criticized the cartoon on those grounds were being hypervigilant, but did not chastise women and feminists in particular.

    Later on, after someone tracked down an interview with the artist, who basically confirmed that the bunnies in the cartoon were indeed supposed to be gendered, PZ conceded he’d been wrong.

  31. 31
    Rieux

    Bad Jim:

    Sometimes it’s easy to tell that someone’s a lawyer….

    I find this deeply offensive, and therefore I intend to file a motion with the Court demanding severe monetary sanctions.

  32. 32
    peter g

    What if they’re assertive radical curtains?
    p.

  33. 33
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Josh, #13: I’d leave Florence King out of that list, given how fascistic she is. I agree with the rest of your comment.

    GM, that post about the bunny was unfortunate indeed. I can’t disagree that PZ failed there. On the other hand, given how hard he’s gone to bat for women in the atheist movement, especially in the last year, I think it’s unfair to generalize from that one post. specially since, as Stacy notes, he eventually walked it all back.

    He was always making comments like that, and he is (in his mind) the sensitive cool guy who totally likes women and can’t stand macho guys.

    Oh, a Nice Guy™.

    A. Noyd: I’ve gotten that, too. I got told by some altie woo-head the other day that I must be a “white male,” because I was so “arrogant” in how I disputed the validity of “other ways of knowing.” I thanked her for her gender essentialism.

    Bill Yeager, thanks so much for mansplaining The Way Things Are to our puny widdle gurly-brainz. Can’t have a discussion about misogyny without some d00d telling us how to discuss it “right.”

    Seriously, if you could follow something like ElevatorGate and decide that the atheist community doesn’t have a misogyny problem, your opinion isn’t worth shit to me.

  34. 34
    Ophelia Benson

    So can we have less of the hand-wringing about feminist ‘issues’ and sexism in the ‘Atheist Community’?

    No.

  35. 35
    Ophelia Benson

    So I read the bunny post and some of the thread and the post-bunny post and some of that thread, both of which I missed at the time. Yes, I totally disagree with what PZ said in the post-bunny thread – but I also think it’s uncharacteristic. (Aha, the “no true PZ” argument. I’m cheating!)

    I think he was annoyed by the speedy and total derailing of the thread. That’s the downside of his massive readership; swift and total derailings can happen at any time. So it goes.

    The bunny thing was amusingly similar to the puppy thing I pointed out last week – similar in the coding, and the fact that some people insisted there was no coding. It amazes me that otherwise sensible people can think that subliminal messages either aren’t there or are too subtle to matter. The more subtle they are, the worse!

  36. 36
    Ophelia Benson

    Here’s why we can’t have less of the hand-wringing about feminist ‘issues’ and sexism in the ‘Atheist Community’:

    It’s because the issues are still there and a lot of people in “the atheist community” (not a phrase I use non-ironically either) still don’t see that, or don’t care, or think it’s fine.

  37. 37
    Josh Slocum

    GM: Ah, yes. You’re right about the bunny post. I’d forgotten. Found that really disappointing too, but at least PZ eventually got it.

    Ms. Daisy: Oh, dear-Florence King is a fascist? Didn’t know that. Yikes.

    Bill: Eat me. Eat me raw.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    GM

    @Stacy

    He never conceded that that post was obnoxious and patronizing, he just had to admit the cartoon really *was* meant to be sexist.

    “I have never seen feminism reduced to such appalling depths of triviality.”

    Why is “feminism” at fault and not the individual poster. She never even claimed to be a feminist. It’s kind of like saying atheism is trivial because some people like to go on about how stupid astrology is, when there are people DYING in the world. WRONG BATTLE!

    I know Mr. Myer’s is someone who is on the side of women’s rights, I’m not saying P.Z. should be banished for having a temporary brain fart, but it was extremely annoying and typical of the patronizing lecturing women get for not focusing on the “right” things.

    But as far as the comment that it’s a problem with sexism in society in general and not some men in the atheist movement (see, I didn’t blame atheism itself :), I think what really bothers me about the misogyny by some men in this movement is that these same misogynists will use the oppression of women in Islam as a silencing techinique against women not in Islamic countries. We’re told we can’t complain about anything because our genitals aren’t being sliced off, or that it’s somehow the fault of Western feminists that women in those countries are sill oppressed.

    And then you get the people who use evolutionary psychology to justify sexism and violence against women.

  40. 40
    Ali Reza

    It could be that most of the prominent women in the skeptical / atheist movement generally have few talents outsides drama-mongering and are scientifically illiterate, innumerate, etc.

    But then, the movement itself is pretty funny as a whole because it’s mainly a bunch of keyboard slacktivists ineffectually agitating again mostly really trivial issues.

    According to forecasts of climate change and other environmental issues done by intelligence services, you people are gonna feel really silly when the shit hits the fan in the coming decades and you realize you did nothing to effect the changes you wanted to see in the world but bitch about stupid bullshit on blogs.

  41. 41
    A. Noyd

    Bill Yeager (#29)

    Don’t paint the rest of us with the same brush just because he’s an atheist too.

    Fuck off back to Cluelessville, please. If you want to show you’re not part of the problem, don’t come to threads about women in atheism and tell us what our priorities should be and then whine about the unfairness of being painted over “with the same brush.”

  42. 42
    Ali Reza

    *agitating against

  43. 43
    Ali Reza

    don’t come to threads about women in atheism and tell us what our priorities

    You’re clearly an expert priority-setter.

  44. 44
    Ophelia Benson

    So what’s your big talent, Ali Reza? You’re fixing the climate, are you?

  45. 45
    Ophelia Benson

    And an expert in what’s trivial and what’s not?

  46. 46
    Ali Reza

    So what’s your big talent, Ali Reza? You’re fixing the climate, are you?

    No, I’m accumulating capital that I can use to short sell stock in companies that are likely to suffer horrifically from climate change. For instance, pretty much anything in the Hang Seng as China is bound to get its ass kicked, big time.

    Incidentally, tu quoque arguments aren’t that impressive. Let’s change the subject back to your ineffectuality and incompetence.

  47. 47
    Ali Reza

    And an expert in what’s trivial and what’s not?

    Categorizing a bunny cartoon as trivial requires no expertise.

  48. 48
    GM

    Impressive, Al Reza! Why are you wasting your time on blogs run by dumb ladies talking about dumb lady stuff when you could be out there saving the world from environmental collapse? Get to it!

  49. 49
    Ophelia Benson

    No; just cluelessness.

    Stereotype threat isn’t trivial, actually; culture isn’t trivial; implicit messages aren’t trivial. Of course no one example is of earth-shaking importance by itself, but millions of them all added together are.

    As for ineffectuality and incompetence – at what? I’m trying to maintain a blog. I’m not sure I’m particularly ineffectual and incompetent at that.

  50. 50
    Josh Slocum

    Did Abbie Smith flush again?

  51. 51
    Ophelia Benson

    Save the world? He’s not trying to save the world, he’s trying to cash in on its demise.

  52. 52
    GM

    Are you aware that as a human you also need the environment to survive? Or will your dazzling intellect spare you?

    Delusional too, Ali Reza?

  53. 53
    A. Noyd

    Ali Reza (#45)

    Incidentally, tu quoque arguments aren’t that impressive.

    Sociopathic wankery isn’t impressive either.

  54. 54
    GM

    Please don’t leave Ali Reza, you’re very entertaining! :)

  55. 55
    GM

    You sound sexy too. Rawr.

  56. 56
    Ophelia Benson

    That’s enough from Ali Reza.

  57. 57
    Amy Clare

    Very interesting post, and I also stumbled upon this the other day which is kind of about the same issue (why women are expected to be nice on the internet):

    http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2012/04/mean-girls-feminism-the-internet-and-being-nice/

    One of the most interesting things in the article is where she says that women are often assumed to be there to make life more pleasant for men. That doesn’t just involve looking pretty but also acting nicely, and girls/women often face criticism if we don’t do that – like the random men who tell you to ‘smile!’ in the street.

    She also makes the point that often being nice means being agreeable, and if you disagree then that automatically puts you in the ‘not nice’ category. It’s difficult then for a woman to argue with a man and simultaneously be seen as nice.

    Perhaps women can be put off from the atheist community because they find themselves in a double bind, where they’re left out for not being outspoken enough, but also judged for not being nice enough. In other words all those men who think women are ‘too nice’ to let into the boy’s club, are the same men who would chastise women for not being ‘nice’ enough, were they to argue with them.

  58. 58
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    No, I’m accumulating capital that I can use to short sell stock in companies that are likely to suffer horrifically from climate change.

    AHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

    Does anyone else remember the troll in the really, really long Pharyngula thread earlier this year about The Amazing Atheist? The libertarian troll who claimed he was a s00per seekrit agent spying for the U.S., or maybe it was Russia, and we were a bunch of “work-shy peasants”?

    Yeah. That’s who Ali Reza reminds me of. Another denizen of Mom’s basement with the pages of his copy of Atlas Shrugged crusted together.

  59. 59
    ischemgeek

    @ A. Noyd: I’m late to this conversation, but just wanted to say I do the same thing in places off FtB, and I too have had people assume I’m male and then refuse to believe I’m female.

    And I usually don’t try too hard to correct them for the same reason you leave your gender ambiguous: A male/gender-ambiguous persona is like an anti-harrassment suit. I get less bullshit if people don’t realize I’m a woman.

    Which holds true in real life, too, and is why once I figured out that the less female I looked, the less hassle I got, I used to cross-dress to look like a boy if I was walking around alone at night (there are benefits to being skinny, boyish, and flat-chested – I used to get all the girl-dresses-up-as-a-boy roles in drama for that reason, too). The city I live in has an extremely high rate of stranger sexual assault of women, so it was a safety thing as much as an “I don’t want to deal with bullshit tonight” thing.

  60. 60
    Tony Ryan - Coffee Loving Skeptic

    Well said, but I do think that the word ‘misogyny’ gets used far too often, and in the end devalues the word.

    Are all male atheists sexist? No, definitely not.
    Are there misogynistic atheists out there? Yes, definitely.
    Are there a lot of sexist male atheists? Yes, most probably.
    Are most of these men misogynists? I doubt it.

    So, when someone is truly misogynistic they should be called out on it, and the evidence of their misogyny shown for all to see. The same goes for someone’s sexism, ageism, or racism. But, to apply a label as liberally as the label ‘misogynist’ seems to be used can be detrimental.

    Just my opinion. I hope it’s valid?

  61. 61
    Ophelia Benson

    Yes, and it’s a fair point. I’ve been overusing it myself lately, saying misogyny when I mean sexism. Must stop doing that.

    (I think recent encounters with more misogynists – yes, misogynists – than I thought there were in the world has warped my vocabulary a little. Or maybe more than a little.)

  62. 62
    http://1url.com/fJA

    Nothing brightens your day like a creative meme, am I right? I provided a page that I discovered, where you may download many hundreds of memes and then you will not be without a laugh. There is also resources there for producing your own memes and making them viral. Enjoy.

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