A weekly podcast called Ask an Atheist devoted the episode recorded yesterday to what it calls “The Problem of Dogmatic Feminism”.
It got some things wrong.
At the beginning Becky and Sam (the hosts, along with Eileen who said only one thing) said that both sides in the dispute over feminism and atheism/skepticism were “doubling down”; it’s not as symmetrical as that. They said good men are getting shot down and men are being demonized; that’s way too sweeping.
After they said this in general terms for awhile Sam pressed Becky for specifics, so she named Rebecca, me, Stephanie, and Jen. She sort of kind of blamed the Women in Secularism conference. She talked about the more recent dispute with DJ, and said that he had apologized for the “gossip after regretted sexual exploits” remark; that’s entirely wrong, he hasn’t apologized for that. She said that we ”dogmatically” say that male speakers who hit on women are automatically predators; no we don’t. What Stephanie and Jen have argued is that speakers at events are as it were one up; they have a status that resembles that of teachers in relation to students – or, one might add (but they haven’t, that I’ve seen) priests in relation to parishioners. There’s also therapists in relation to patients, ditto doctors. I don’t think it’s dogmatic to argue that it at least can be exploitative to leverage that position to get moar sex. The complication, obviously, is that plenty of people will be perfectly happy to have sexual attention from a speaker, just as plenty of students will be perfectly happy to have sexual attention from a teacher. The role itself is inherently seductive. Becky may have this complication in mind when she calls it “dogmatic” to say that speakers should just refrain from hitting on audience members, but she didn’t spell it out, and given the rest of what she said in that part of the podcast, that’s unfortunate.
It improved a little after that, and Stephanie called in and corrected them on some points. But of course the ERV gang is flooding the comments, so that will make intelligent discussion impossible there. Anne C Hanna gives it a good shot though.