Paul Fidalgo reports on the conference for The Morning Heresy. (He’s another one of those people – like Rebecca – who are just consistently very funny. He did a tweet that cracked me up – approximately: “I could do a ‘this is what an atheist looks like’ ad but no one would be surprised.”)
Now that was a conference!
This was no egg-headed snoozer, this was no reiteration of why we like Darwin so much (not that there’s anything wrong with those). The Women in Secularism conference was as fantastic, fulfilling, and enlightening an event as we could ever have hoped.
I think that too. Also.
Susan Jacoby did the first talk. I didn’t liveblog that one because the panel I was on was next and I didn’t want to cross wires, if you see what I mean. I’m not good at multitasking. (Neither is anyone else. People think they are, but they’re wrong. Studies show this. People are confused because they can physically multitask, but they do the tasks badly. The fact that it’s physically possible to hold a book in front of your eyes while talking on the phone doesn’t mean you can read a book and talk on the phone at the same time. But that’s by the way.) I’m a plodder. I need to concentrate. I could listen to Jacoby’s talk without crossing wires, but liveblogging it too seemed a wire too many. Or maybe I was just being lazy.
Anyway: she said among other things that it has happened that when someone asks “why no women in atheism?” some men will cheerfully reply that it’s because women are too stupid.
Well, you know, that is what it is at bottom: that people think that. Too stupid and too Nice, which is perhaps the product of being too stupid.
That’s what I talked about for my opening remarks for the panel. The perception of women, and the fact that in some ways a certain kind of feminism – difference feminism – has enforced it rather than undermining it. We are seen as too stupid and too Nice (or, in an exciting twist, too bitchy) for pretty much everything. We must be, or we wouldn’t be so conspicuously missing from popular culture, and we wouldn’t be so staggeringly vapid when not missing.
This is not something it’s easy to change. I know this, because I know feminists have been trying to change it since at least 1970, and in some ways it’s worse than it was then.
Younger generation – your task is plain. Get to it. Thank you.