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Jun 05 2012

Report all the things

You’ve probably seen DJ’s comment at Skepchick, if you’ve been following this, and you’ve probably seen Stephanie’s excellent analysis of it today. I just want to say a couple of things – which probably duplicate things Stephanie and others have said, but never mind.

First.

let me say how sincerely and deeply regretful I am that I blamed you as the messenger. No woman – no person – should ever be blamed for being a victim or for speaking out about sexism or any social problem. I was wrong to write anything that could even be construed that way, and it was never my intent. I am sorry.

How could it never have been his intent? What does he mean “could even be construed that way”? He said

I think this misinformation results from irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe, and I find that unfortunate.

And when Rebecca pressed him for specifics, he replied

Rebecca: Off the top of my head, your quote in USA Today might suggest that the freethought or skeptics movements are unsafe for women. This is from the article:

“I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space. . . ”

(http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2011-09-15/atheist-sexism-women/50416454/1)

So how could it possibly not have been his intent to blame women, and specifically Rebecca, for speaking out about sexism? There is no other way to “construe” what he said.

Second.

Talking about sexism isn’t the problem, sexism is the problem — I completely agree. But when trying to solve the problem, I believe reporting instances of being groped or grabbed (these may be criminal acts) to be the most effective way to help organizers make sure events are safe for everyone.

But what if the groping happened where no one else saw? What about non-contact harassment? What about misogynist slurs as opposed to groping or grabbing?

One, groping and grabbing is far from all there is to harassment, or a hostile climate. Two, reporting is fraught with difficulty unless there are multiple witnesses, which there usually aren’t. And irony of ironies, DJ’s complaint about women skeptics demonstrates exactly how and why reporting is fraught with difficulty. It all goes around in a circle, so his urging women to report all the things is just a sour joke. Oh right, we’ll do that, so that you can scold us some more.

This is all very obvious, and yet there are people who think it isn’t, so I say it one more time.

53 comments

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  1. 1
    Stephanie Zvan

    Also, I still really want to know how the posts that Jen and I wrote in the week(?) between Women in Secularism and D.J.’s comments managed to drive down the percentage of women registering for TAM.

  2. 2
    'Tis Himself

    In all of his “apologies” DJ has made it obvious he’s more concerned with the reputation of JREF and TAM than in the safety of women.

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    How’s that working out for him, I wonder.

  4. 4
    Emu Sam

    I’m sorry, I never meant to endanger anyone, but people are endangered anyway.
    I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone, but people are hurt anyway.
    I’m sorry, I never meant to blame the messenger, but I blamed the messenger anyway.
    I never meant to blame the victim, but . . .
    I never meant to denigrate women, but . . .
    I never meant to do that, but I did that.

    And now you need to make amends.

  5. 5
    Stacy

    Also, I still really want to know how the posts that Jen and I wrote in the week(?) between Women in Secularism and D.J.’s comments managed to drive down the percentage of women registering for TAM

    Haven’t you heard? We wimmenz has superpowers that must needs be strictly controlled, lest we cause the bad things, like earthquakes and dips in conference attendance.

  6. 6
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    reporting is fraught with difficulty

    Case in point.

    Several of the people whom prosecutors accuse Sandusky of abusing asked a judge to protect their identities at trial.

    However, Judge John Cleland on Monday ruled the alleged victims’ identities may not be concealed during the trial, although they will be protected through the jury selection process.

    ..Victim advocacy groups slammed the judge’s decision late Monday, expressing their hope it would not have a chilling effect on the reporting of child sexual abuse.

  7. 7
    Pteryxx

    Arrrrrgh. Victim 4′s confidentiality held all through this investigation, all the way up to trial, and it’ll be for shit because ONE person decides it doesn’t matter. Ffff…

  8. 8
    Aratina Cage

    @Stephanie Zvan

    Also, I still really want to know how the posts that Jen and I wrote in the week(?) between Women in Secularism and D.J.’s comments managed to drive down the percentage of women registering for TAM.

    No kidding. Unless it was the first week that TAM tickets were available, then it is virtually impossible that your posts affected TAM ticket sales at all–providing your posts did factor into some people’s feelings about TAM itself, which is also highly unlikely. I don’t like this implicit association of the freethought community with TAM or JREF that DJ is trying to evoke either. TAM and JREF are a part of the freethought community but they are not the freethought community

  9. 9
    josefjohann

    Maybe this is an obvious question, and one that has already been asked.

    How, how does speaking out about sexual harassment

    help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe

    ?? And how does that mean anything as a criticism? What would you have to believe in order to take that kind of point seriously?

    On a skim, it almost sounds like DJ is claiming sexual harassment is made worse by complaints about it. I don’t think he’s claiming that, but I do think the proximity between that interpretation and what he actually said is intentional. What he seems to really mean, however, is that speaking out about sexual harassment can spread misplaced caution about it, and the prevelance of this misplaced caution is some sort of equally important problem that everybody needs to be taking into consideration.

    That only makes sense if you assume from the outset that sexual harassment not a legitimate concern in the first place, or is minimal enough that it’s counter-balanced by the kind of concern he raised. That’s quite an assumption. And participating in a discussion in a way that embeds that assumption as a premise is insidious.

  10. 10
    hyperdeath

    Perhaps we should remove danger signs from around minefields, so that people feel safer when walking through them.

  11. 11
    MyaR

    TAM and JREF are a part of the freethought community but they are not the freethought community

    I recently saw a comment somewheres or other claiming that atheism is a subset of skepticism. I would like to introduce that person to set theory. There does seem to be quite a bit of “skepticism is bigger than atheism/freethought/secularism/etc.” going on within the skepticism community. There seems to be quite a bit of self-righteousness in giving a skepticism-pass, too. Well, and sexism. Probably racism, too, although I haven’t seen any of that, but then, I haven’t looked for it, either. And being white, am probably blind to some of it.

    It is an interesting problem — how we label ourselves (I’m personally leaning toward “secularist”, for various reasons), how we use labels to distinguish ourselves and to think about people who label themselves differently. And then how those various things intersect.

    If you haven’t participated in the Secular Census, there are some interesting questions along these lines — ‘select all the labels that you self-identify with’ rather than just allowing one. Plus, I get all geeky about data and statistics, so would like lots more people to participate so there are better numbers out there.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    Aratina @ 8 -

    I don’t like this implicit association of the freethought community with TAM or JREF that DJ is trying to evoke either.

    Ah, that might explain something I’ve been puzzling about: as I think I’ve mentioned, I don’t remember seeing anyone singling out TAM as badd for teh wimminz so why is DJ saying or implying that we did? But if he thinks that whenever anyone mentions the freethought community, she’s talking about TAM – well that would explain it, but godalmighty, what a bizarre thing to think.

  13. 13
    MyaR

    I do think many Skeptics overidentify as such, and feel like they own skepticism as a toolkit. I think many people are now coming to skepticism through routes other than through the ‘traditional’ paranormal, magic, or cryptozoology routes. There are a lot people finding skepticism through atheism, politics, feminism, and other ‘movement’ sorts of paths. And there seems to be a lot of resistance to applying the skeptical toolkit to religion, culture, and relationships from the old guard of skepticism.

    So, how do we change it? Or do we let it slowly die off, which seems like a possibility. Ironically*, I find myself less and less interested in the narrow box that JREF and other Skeptical groups seem to be limiting themselves to, which is sad because I think there’s a lot of potential for making real world improvements to society.

    *Ironically because I was recently elected to the board of a local skeptic group.

  14. 14
    Godless Heathen

    I do think many Skeptics overidentify as such, and feel like they own skepticism as a toolkit. I think many people are now coming to skepticism through routes other than through the ‘traditional’ paranormal, magic, or cryptozoology routes. There are a lot people finding skepticism through atheism, politics, feminism, and other ‘movement’ sorts of paths.

    Yep. I was taught critical thinking pretty early on, but I never even knew what skepticism was until I started becoming involved with atheist groups. I’m also one of those people who have zero interest in many of the topics of traditional skepticism and that’s a turn off to me.

    And there seems to be a lot of resistance to applying the skeptical toolkit to religion, culture, and relationships from the old guard of skepticism.

    YES! I’ve been trying to get this point out to people to explain why I’m not interested in attending any sort of skeptical con or in calling myself a skeptic, but I can never word it well. I just end up saying that they don’t understand or don’t utilize social science research and that annoys me. But then people argue that they do touch on that sort of thing, but give examples that aren’t really what I meant. It’s one thing to understand why people believe in astrology, but it’s completely different to talk about the fallacies that sexists, racists, homophobes, etc have. Particularly, when you hold some of those beliefs yourself.

  15. 15
    jennyxyzzy

    I was wrong to write anything that could even be construed that way, and it was never my intent. I am sorry.

    How could it never have been his intent? What does he mean “could even be construed that way”? He said

    I don’t think he was trying to say that he had been misconstrued, but rather that he had made his point very clumsily, to such an extent that the point he was trying to make was very different from the point that he actually ending up making.

    I for one am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. It’s happened to me personally in internet debates…

  16. 16
    MyaR

    I don’t think he was trying to say that he had been misconstrued, but rather that he had made his point very clumsily, to such an extent that the point he was trying to make was very different from the point that he actually ending up making.

    But then what was his point, that was so widely misconstrued? He never has said. At this point, it doesn’t seem like he will, although he has written walls of text in “response” to criticisms of his widely-misconstrued statements. At some point, the benefit of the doubt has to expire.

  17. 17
    Ophelia Benson

    And it’s very hard to figure out what his point could have been, other than the plain meaning of what he said. I’ve tried, and I can’t see anything.

    What other meaning is possible for

    this misinformation results from irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe

    ?

    A few women are trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism. But in trying to do that they are helping to create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe.

    This is irresponsible messaging, which results in misinformation. The women are well-meaning, but.

    What different point is available in that?

  18. 18
    jennyxyzzy

    Yes, that is what he wrote. If you assume that he is always capable of making his point clearly, and in the manner least likely to offend, then yes, your conclusion is spot on. It’s just that I happen to know for a fact that sometimes when _I_ try to explain a point online, I do it very clumsily and end up stepping on people’s metaphorical toes, so when someone like DJ, for whom I otherwise have a decent dose of respect, says something that jars, and then apologises, I tend to take the apology at face value, having been there myself.

  19. 19
    Ophelia Benson

    That was not the question. The question was, what other meaning is possible? You neglected to say.

    That’s not just a clumsy way of saying something otherwise reasonable, at least not that I can see. If you can see how it is, please say so.

    Just saying that it’s possible to be clumsy in saying something, and that you know what it’s like to be clumsy in saying something, is not a good reason for reading a clear statement as meaning something quite different.

    DJ himself could say what his intent was, but he hasn’t. And by the way I can take the apology at face value. It’s the “it was never my intent” that I can’t, because I can’t make any sense of it.

    There’s nothing especially unreasonable about that. When people have a disgreement face to face, there can still be discussion even after an apology – “yes but what did you mean then?” can still be said.

  20. 20
    josefjohann

    Ophelia, I agree.

    It’s not just that he made his point clumsily, it’s that any permutation of possible things he could say in clarification are going to be as problematic as what was originally said.

  21. 21
    Aratina Cage

    “yes but what did you mean then?” can still be said

    I think I figured out what he might have intended to say by the part quoted in #17:

    KEEP
    CALM
    AND
    CARRY
    ON

    In other words, the things being said by women bloggers were “irresponsible messaging” because he didn’t think they advised everyone to stay calm and press forward despite the difficulties. “Misinformation” because DJ had instituted a policy against harassment (at least on paper). It’s basically asking for a “Don’t Panic” reminder at the top of every blog post about sexism in the freethought community.

    Maybe that’s it?

  22. 22
    carlie

    I’m getting more concerned that he hasn’t said anything else publicly since then. Either it’s taking him a really long time to figure out where he went wrong, which could end up good but it’s sad that it’s taking him this much effort to get it, or he’s crafting a PR-specific reply, which would be just as much of a trainwreck as his other statement was, or he just doesn’t care and thinks it will all go away if he ignores it.

  23. 23
    Cara

    Perhaps we should remove danger signs from around minefields, so that people feel safer when walking through them.

    Ha!

    And certainly, if they feel safer, the mines will magically disappear.

  24. 24
    Cara

    The reason he can’t explain what he really meant is that he really meant exactly what he said–that the damn women were making him look bad for being so oblivious, and they needed to shut up.

  25. 25
    jennyxyzzy

    Yes, I didn’t say what his intent actually was, but that wasn’t some sneaky omission on my part, it was actually the point I was trying to make – we can’t know what he was actually trying to say, because he bollocksed up the message so badly.

    But talking about things in such abstract terms isn’t very helpful for understanding the point I’m trying to make, so I’ll try out a hypothetical message that he may have been trying to communicate. Here goes:
    The message he wanted to communicate may have been something like “TAM is a safer environment for women than most public conferences, the JREF has been taking steps to make it safer, and is continuing to do so”.

    Of course, instead of saying something like this that is relatively uncontroversial, he instead ended up attacking women that were pointing out that there is still work to be done. I don’t know that this was actually DJs intended message, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because a) DJ is mostly a pretty decent guy, b) he apologised, saying that he hadn’t wanted to say what he ended up saying, c) in the apology, DJ pretty much says that this was the intended message, and d) I find the apology plausible, having found myself in similar situations.

    If you aren’t willing to accept his apology at face value, then you pretty much make it impossible to have a good faith discussion with him to resolve this important issue. I mean, you’re getting pretty close to calling the guy a liar, and I don’t see how that can possibly be helpful – its the “nuclear option” of Internet debating, and generally just raises the temperature of the debate without adding information.

    Which is not to say that flaws in his position shouldn’t be pointed out, that suggestions for making TAM safer for women shouldn’t continue to be advanced. These things need to continue to be discussed, but it you refuse to believe that one of the parties to the discussion is acting in good faith, then those subjects can no longer be openly discussed, to the detriment of us all, which I think is a shame.

  26. 26
    kagerato

    @jennyxyzzy :

    You missed the part where he repeated much of the ignorant and misguided talk right after his apology, and then ran off and disengaged from the issue completely. This is pitiful behavior from the supposed leader of public-facing organization, and no one should simply accept it.

  27. 27
    jennyxyzzy

    @kagerato

    No, I didn’t “miss” that part. It’s just that from my point of view, he made a reasonable apology, was basically told that his apology wasn’t made in good faith, and then got his hackles up. From that point on I consider the whole discussion to be null-and-void because people’s emotions start getting in the way when you accuse them of lying in a public forum. Again, from my personal experience, and I doubt that I’m unusual in this, when someone accuses me of lying when I’m not, I get angry and end up saying things that I don’t mean.

    You may decide to label this as “pathetic behavior from the supposed leader of public-facing organization”, but the guy is a human being, not a block of marble, and accepting the ladership position of the JREF does not automatically make him immune from the sting of public accusations of dishonesty.

    You then say “no one should simply accept it”. So, where are you going with this? What is your idea of a suitable resposnse on the part of DJ? He tried the apology route, that didn’t seem to work. He re-iterated the JREF’s commitment to protecting women from harrassement at TAM, and then shut up to stop adding fuel to the fire (probably the smartest move that he made in this whole affaire) What more do you want the guy to do? Resign?

    I think that this is a complex issue that won’t be solved by people getting all hot-and-bothered about it. We need to stay calm, and considering how personal the issue is for many of us women, we all need to take great care to not inflame discussion with over-the-top rhetoric. That criticism holds as much for DJ as for the other side on this issue; they are both guilty, and as we can see, the result is that the parties end up talking passed each other, rather than working together to improve the situation for women at TAM. This is a shame, because I really think that DJ is OK with the idea of needing to do more to protect women, and yet this stupid flame war just makes it all that much more difficult for him to sit down at a table and work on the problem.

  28. 28
    Godless Heathen

    Here goes:
    The message he wanted to communicate may have been something like “TAM is a safer environment for women than most public conferences, the JREF has been taking steps to make it safer, and is continuing to do so”.

    Of course, instead of saying something like this that is relatively uncontroversial.

    That is controversial, though. There’s no evidence that TAM is safer for women than other conferences. Or than being out in public.

  29. 29
    Stephanie Zvan

    jennyxyzzy, let me repeat part of kagerato’s comment:

    You missed the part where he repeated much of the ignorant and misguided talk right after his apology

    Care to explain why an apology that repeats the behavior it says is unacceptable should be taken at face value?

  30. 30
    Ophelia Benson

    Good grief, jennyetc -

    The message he wanted to communicate may have been something like “TAM is a safer environment for women than most public conferences, the JREF has been taking steps to make it safer, and is continuing to do so”.

    Of course, instead of saying something like this that is relatively uncontroversial, he instead ended up attacking women that were pointing out that there is still work to be done. I don’t know that this was actually DJs intended message, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt…

    So he just tripped and accidentally blurted out a lot of stuff about women that had nothing whatever to do with what he wanted to say about TAM? And you don’t know if that was his intended message despite the fact that it is what he said? And you’re giving him the benefit of the doubt on that because whatevers?

    Godalmighty. That’s quite some doing whatever it takes to arrive at the desired conclusion.

  31. 31
    Ophelia Benson

    And another thing – your 27 – I haven’t accused DJ of lying, and I haven’t seen anyone else say that, either. I would like you to withdraw that, please. Talk about getting hackles up – it’s outrageous to accuse me of accusing him of lying when I’ve done no such thing. I don’t even consider it lying. I think it’s more a matter of using ready-made phrases (in the manner that Orwell discussed in “Politics and the English Language”) without properly thinking about their meaning. I think DJ probably just stuck “that was not my intent” in because it seems like part of an apology (and because it’s a cheer-uppy story about the self). I don’t think he was lying, I just think he was deploying formulaic building blocks without thinking about them properly.

    This is something I have a longstanding concern with. You’re new here, as far as I know, so you don’t know that, but it’s true. I dislike formulaic speech and writing that is sloppy about actual meaning, and I’m always poking at it. That’s because I think it’s important.

    Withdraw the word “lying” please.

  32. 32
    jennyxyzzy

    Ophelia,

    Maybe I’m missing something, but when he says “it was never my intent” and you respond “How could it never have been his intent?”, I really don’t know any way of reading it other than that you are claiming him to be dishonest when he says that it was never his intent. Did you mean something else?

    Of course, it may not have been your intent to insinuate that he was lying, but it was what you did. Maybe you have a better understanding now of what I mean when I say that people sometimes write things which they never actually intended to say…

  33. 33
    jennyxyzzy

    errr, write, not say…

  34. 34
    Stephanie Zvan

    jennyxyzzy, would you please respond to my question at #29?

  35. 35
    jennyxyzzy

    Sure Stephanie. I don’t accept your characterisation of his apology. Would you like to be more specific?

  36. 36
    Stephanie Zvan

    So, jennyxyzzy, you don’t think he said:

    Many solutions were proposed in these blog posts, even as no one entered into direct dialogue with organizations on these issues, preferring instead to engage in a kind of public messaging which I believe has the paradoxical and opposite effect of making our movements seem less welcoming to women than they are.

    or you think that statement is somehow meaningfully different from:

    I think this misinformation results from irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics who, in trying to help correct real problems of sexism in skepticism, actually and rather clumsily themselves help create a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe, and I find that unfortunate.

    Please clarify.

  37. 37
    Ophelia Benson

    jennyetc, I asked you to withdraw the claim that I accused DJ of lying. I didn’t do that. No, you don’t get to say that’s the same as my question about what he meant about not intending to say what he did say, for this reason: I never said he is lying. Withdraw the claim. If you don’t, you can’t comment here any more.

  38. 38
    Ophelia Benson

    To clarify further: insinuation is one thing, and saying is another. You’re now claiming I insinuated that he is lying. That’s not the same thing as saying “he is lying.” My objection to DJ’s “not my intent” was not that he insinuated that women are doing what he said they are doing, it is that he said it.

  39. 39
    jennyxyzzy

    The second option. Specifically, in the apology there is no use of emotional words like “irrresponsible” “well-meaning” and “clumsily”. It’s just a fairly dry description of what DJ perceives to be the problem. Furthermore, instead of whinging in the apology, he actually proposes a more positive (in his opinion) action to undertake: entering into direct dialogue with the organisations concerned.

    In particular, for me the apology reads not as him telling women to shut up, but rather that they also need to actually get involved in direct discussions with organisers, rather than solely going the public criticism route. This for me is a key point that makes the apology not at all similar to the original post.

  40. 40
    Stephanie Zvan

    Of course, he didn’t bother to find out whether that was already happening before he made that criticism.

  41. 41
    jennyxyzzy

    Ophelia,

    Sure I can accept that you insinuated he lied, rather than flat out saying that he lied. Here is the Meriam’s definition of insinuate:

    to introduce (as an idea) gradually or in a subtle, indirect, or covert way

    So, I retract that you said he lied, and amend the statement to you insinuated he lied. It doesn’t in any way change my substantive point, a reasonable reader still gets the message loud and clear that you think he lied, and more importantly DJ knows that this is the message you have conveyed, and it will almost certainly get his hackles up, because he, like you apparently, doesn’t like being misrepresented in public (well, I’m assuming, but I think I’m on pretty safe ground with that assumption)

  42. 42
    jennyxyzzy

    Stephanie, TAM is run by his organisation. I suspect he has a pretty good handle on whether women are approaching the JREF on better ways to handle harrassement.

  43. 43
    Ophelia Benson

    Right; that’s enough out of you. I did not “insinuate” that he lied either. The fact that there’s a distinction between the two doesn’t mean that I did the one rather than the other.

  44. 44
    jennyxyzzy

    Ah, sorry Ophelia, I read your last post as you asking me to change the wording from “saying” to “insinuating”, which I was only too happy to do. If you are not happy with “insinuating” either, then we need to go back up the thread to #32 where I asked you to clarify what you meant by that rhetorical question if it wasn’t intended to insinuate that he lied. I mean honestly, I’m open to an alternative interpretation if you want to give one. It’s just that you didn’t answer the question, and then you wanted to draw a distinction between “insinuate” and “say” so I took it as read that the difference between those two words was the issue you had with my statement. My apologies for the error.

    So how about we rewind a bit, and you answer the question I asked at #32. If you aren’t insinuating that he was lying then what point were you trying to make with that rhetorical question?

  45. 45
    Ophelia Benson

    The question wasn’t rhetorical. It’s a real question. I asked it shortly after his comment at Skepchick, and I hoped he would answer.

    It wasn’t rhetorical, so I wasn’t trying to make a point, at least not primarily – I was saying I don’t get it. I don’t get it. My rough possible explanation is the one I gave above – it’s just a formula, and he stuck it in without thinking properly.

    It’s self-flattering and self-soothing – in general, not just in this instance. People do it quite a lot. It’s particularly unconvincing (and annoying) in this case because what he said is so available and so obviously incompatible with non-intention. I’m not accusing him of any particular dishonesty other than the normal self-exculpation that people do. I am asking him to correct an exaggeration of his original innocence.

  46. 46
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, so now JREF is all organizations?

  47. 47
    Ophelia Benson

    And PS, you said I didn’t answer your question, but I did – in 31.

  48. 48
    Ophelia Benson

    jennyetc wants it to be known that she came back to accuse me of lying some more. Let the record so show.

  49. 49
    Anne C. Hanna

    Hey, Ophelia, maybe you’re already aware of this, but I just wanted to suggest that from their show notes it sounds like you may want to have a listen to the most recent episode of Ask an Atheist. The most recent episode is entitled “The Problem of Dogmatic Feminism” (http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/10/the-problem-of-dogmatic-feminism) and seems to be taking on this subject. Based on the preceding blog post (http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/07/sexism-it-exists-amongst-and-between-atheists/) and the discussion there, it seems highly probable that there will be some points raised in the episode that might be worth your while to take up with the show hosts.

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to the episode yet myself, but I’ve generally enjoyed AAA over the past few months I’ve been listening to it. However, the comments the hosts have made surrounding this show make me wonder if they may have fallen into the trap of false equivalence on this issue. :/ Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

  50. 50
    Ophelia Benson

    Hi Anne. Thanks, I did. They…get some things wrong.

    Great job with your comments. I just left a couple, after listening – but they’re in mod, perhaps because I pointed out that the ERV gang call us cunts all the time. Becky and Sam seemed to have no clue about that, or the effect it might have on our attitude to sock puppets from ERV.

  51. 51
    Anne C. Hanna

    This whole thing is just so damn *awkward*. It’s a battle that’s gotta be fought, but it seems like it’s really easy for even very well-meaning folks to miss the full picture of what’s going on. And then we’re fighting against people who really ought to be our allies too. :(

  52. 52
    Ophelia Benson

    I know, I know. It’s pretty maddening, because the reality is, there’s a lot of detail, and it’s petty and boring and stupid and not something you even want to weary people with, but if they don’t know about it – they think we’re nuts. So the result is, they think we’re nuts. Fortunately most of the sensible people do already know a lot about it, so they at least see that we have reasons, even if they think other reasons are more compelling. (Like, for instance, not adding another item to the pile of garbage people throw at Dawkins.) But some don’t.

  53. 53
    Anne C. Hanna

    The one thing that I did think was kind of a good suggestion out of that episode was some kind of 101/summary/FAQ post (updated as matters evolve) that n00bs to the discussion could be pointed at in order to avoid having to explain every damn thing all over again to every single one of them. Maybe there’s already something like that and I don’t know about it, but if so, making it more visible might help avoid a few misunderstandings and avoid a certain amount of repetition.

    I dunno who would do this, and I’m sure as hell not the right person, but maybe someone else is.

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