The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism


I usually avoid the word “privilege,” because it’s a red rag to a bull and I’m nothing if not accommodating, but sometimes…

Like now, at Thunderfoot’s Palais de Contempt.

…what I have been trying to tell deaf ears on freethoughtblogs for the past week, that their views are poorly positioned to achieve their stated objectives and are widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community in:

1)      The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism compared to other issues.

2)      The way that those who disagree on the matter of sexism are attacked with a disproportionate amount of strawmen, invective and branding (misogynist, MRA, etc etc).  This is a behavior more in line with bullying than free thought.

We give a disproportionate amount of attention to sexism – because obviously sexism is a very minor thing, because hardly any people are women.

That’s privilege. He’s clueless about sexism because he has the privilege of not being the object of it. Hey, it’s trivial, because it doesn’t happen to him! Case closed.

And it’s bullying to talk about misogyny merely because there are guys around who are talking about kicking us – that is, me – in the cunt. I’m bullying, by saying it’s misogyny; the guy who’s talking about kicking me in the cunt is a victim of my bullying. Derp!

Justicar says:

If that’s true, it’s because I’ve been reading a lot of baboon writings. That’ll fuck up anyone’s critical faculties.

Consent need not be explicitly granted. Indeed, of all the times I’ve been raped, err, had sex with people after ingesting a date rape drug, I mean, having a glass of wine over dinner, I can’t recall a single conversation that entailed extracting consent from my rapist, err, sexual partner.

And if anyone ever asked me “If I can have your permission, may we now engage in a little sexual intercourse?” or anything like that, I’d have Hoggle have a sex change back to a man after his having had a sex change to kick Ophelia in the cunt to in turn kick my lousy date in the dick.

Is Thunderfoot right that our views are “widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community”? Are Thunderfoot and Justicar more representative of “the wider rationalist community” than we are? I don’t think so, but I don’t know. At any rate, I do know I want to stay away from their segment of it. I can’t, entirely, because some of the members of that “community” help themselves to my name and then talk about kicking me in the cunt…but I sure as hell want to.

Comments

  1. hotshoe says

    I’m sorry, Ophelia. Sorry this has come up yet again – and again and again.

    For a while, I didn’t mind sexism too much. Sorry if that makes me a bad person, but it was easier to not mind since I wasn’t one being directly attacked. They’re still not attacking me (because I’m still nobody) but now I mind. Suddenly, I’m just furious at those people. Tf00t and the scum he dragged in with him.

    Is there anything productive I can do with my rage ? Is there anything I can do to be of service ?

  2. says

    The mind boggles.

    Tfoot: *With the exception of his introductory post, posts exclusively about sexism*

    Tfoot: *Criticizes the FtB network because it focuses disproportionately on sexism*

    Me: wut?

  3. jenniferphillips says

    I’m sure it’s just more of that clever hipster irony we keep hearing about. I’m clearly too old and humorless to appreciate it *eyeroll*.

    I’m slightly amused that the ‘groupthink’ and ‘hivemind’ accusations are now emanating from within the organization itself, but so sorry that certain posts on other FTB blogs of late are giving houseroom to those commenters who can’t seem to refrain from dragging your name into their “ironic” banter. Le sigh.

  4. Pteryxx says

    “extracting consent” made me gag. As if there’s a get-out-of-rape-free card in there somewhere if the aggressor just says the right words or digs into the right places! That’s a phrase more suited to extrajudicial rendition than socializing in bars.

  5. julian says

    Justicar is a repulsive human being. His rape apologia, constant mocking of rape survivors, everything about him.

    No wonder he gets along so well with Thunderf00t. Neither have enough compassion in them to think about those other bags of water and meat occasionally bumping into them.

  6. says

    Tfoot and his fans just baffle me.

    On the upside, all this assholery that’s been flying around the interwebs recently has re-lit the fire under my butt to get more involved with the movement. I’ve been a lurker for a couple of years now, haven’t really had the confidence to stand up and speak out, in no small part due to self-esteem and depression issues stemming from being sexually assaulted twice (not raped, thankfully).

    So Secular Woman has my membership, and I’m now actively looking for more ways to get involved. Some good has to come of this bullshit.

  7. 'Tis Himself says

    For someone who thinks there’s too much discussion of sexism and misogyny on FtB, Thunderfool spends an awful lot of time and energy discussing sexism and misogyny on FtB.

  8. Hamilton Jacobi says

    What is a proportionate amount of strawmen, invective and branding? Presumably the amount dispensed by Thunderfoot and Justicar is just right and would get an enthusiastic thumbs-up from Goldilocks.

  9. says

    The tide is turning.

    I don’t know who invited this assclam to FTB, but I’ll dance a jig if he goes.

    because it’s a red rag to a bull

    This is tangential, but… I don’t think the color has anything to do with it – it’s the movement. Also, bull”fighting,” if you investigate, is not just a cruel but a sexist practice. (Again -tangential – nothing to do with the content of your post.)

  10. Rumtopf says

    The only thing that’s disproportionate is the aggressive reaction from assholes to the sexism discussion, which is exactly why the discussion is not disproportionate and still requires repeating, over and over. Fuck their attempts to silence and minimise the issue.

  11. says

    their views are poorly positioned

    Huh? (Hey, FTB, if you want bloggers to write here, perhaps you should invite people who can write.)

    to achieve their stated objectives

    The specific objective in this case is to encourage atheist/skeptic organizations to adopt harassment codes. Several have. Objective achieved.

  12. says

    I don’t know who invited this assclam to FTB, but I’ll dance a jig if he goes.

    PZ did. He posted about it in the comments of his first article about Thunderf00t.

    I don’t see why representation even matters on this. I’m sure if we polled the population at large, they’d think Thunderf00t puts too much emphasis on creationist punching-bags who just read AIG in their obscure YouTube channels.

  13. Aerik says

    When you’re making allies with youtuber “integralmath” aka “justicar” and Terroja “I’m going to make you a rape victim” Kincaid aka “the amazing atheist,” you know you’re totally a privileged dudebroder

  14. Arthur says

    What? Who the f*** invited that doozy Thunderfoot to host a blog on Freethoughtblogs?

    I send readers to this place for rational, enlightened discussion. That guy has been a blight on the nascent atheist movement for 2-3 years now. Disappointed to see him here, with his juvenile reactionary garbage.

  15. Mattir says

    Women are just figments of men’s imaginations, not, like people or anything.

    I’m loving how the Thunderd00d fans are arguing that women and men are biologically and psychologically dissimilar AND that it’s wrong to think that women might have different opinions or concerns from men (or at least not want to receive rape threats).

    Consistency is not their strong suit. Malicious ignorance is.

  16. says

    PZ did. He posted about it in the comments of his first article about Thunderf00t.

    Do you have a link to his saying he could make a unilateral choice? I get the sense that he and some others liked TF’s anti-creationist videos, and didn’t think enough about anything else. I’m not sure why other issues didn’t come up, since, as you know, there was previous dicussion about YT bigotry. Many of us were unfamiliar previously, but there was a lot of attention called to it.

    [Apropos of nothing: Gymnasts are made of muscle, and the balance beam is a bizarrely stylized event. …Ooh! Floor routines!]

  17. Mattir says

    @SC – PZ has said that he’s regretting his decision – I think in the most recent TET. I didn’t get the feeling he could make unilateral decisions, but the invitation was apparently his idea.

  18. josefjohann says

    Stop the presses! Thunderfoot viewers agree with Thunderfoot on poll conducted by Thunderfoot in context of an argument they are all aware Thunderfoot is trying to make.

    How is this any different than online insta-polls conducted by Fox News or MSNBC?

  19. says

    @SC – PZ has said that he’s regretting his decision – I think in the most recent TET. I didn’t get the feeling he could make unilateral decisions, but the invitation was apparently his idea.

    Ah, OK. Thanks.

    Is there a link?

    That’s strange because earlier he talked about a committee. At this point, I don’t know how it works.

  20. Utakata says

    “1) The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism compared to other issues.”

    It’s funny he makes this claim, since all 4 postings that Thunderf00l has made at FtB’s has been about this very subject. Perhaps if he posted about something else from the get go, sexism wouldn’t haven’t been as heavily focused as of late. But since he was so hell bent on putting his foot in it, was he expecting us all to roll over and play dead? He was trolling for it after all.

    As for, “…that their views are poorly positioned to achieve their stated objectives and are widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community in”, since he made no citations to back up that claim, I suspect he’s either lying, wishfully thinking or both.

  21. ImaginesABeach says

    Ophelia,

    I’m very sorry you have to suffer this abuse to make things better for the rest of us, but I’m very thankful you are willing to suffer this abuse to make things better for us.

  22. says

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with my brother.

    Brother: Why don’t you like Family Guy?

    Me: Well, it’s offensive. There’s usually at least one rape joke per episode and that upsets me, so I chose not to put myself through that.

    Brother: You shouldn’t get offended so easily!

    Me: I’m not saying you can’t watch it, but why would I watch something that’s just going to upset me?

    Brother: If you wouldn’t let things offend you, you wouldn’t get offended. Family Guy is funny!

    Of course, he was thirteen and had yet to be introduced to critical thinking. Also, he was mostly just teasing. It’s sad that a grown-ass adult, who prides himself on his ability to think rationally, has not yet grasped the concepts that:

    1) Just because something doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t mean that other people aren’t hurt by it.

    2) If you don’t like reading about something, don’t fucking read it. You don’t get to tell other people what they should write, or what they should read.

    3) If you just wouldn’t get upset over something, it wouldn’t upset you is an inane, meaningless, childish statement, and in no way counts as a rational argument.

    **headdesk**

    How can someone who made such well-argued rebuttals to creationist points be so fucking moronic? It’s sad to see sexism short out the logic portion of someone’s brain, but maybe I should be used to it by now?

  23. says

    @SC – the most complete discussion of the invitation process and PZ’s part in it is in comments 404 & 412 of the women are tasty thread, part 2.

    Thanks so much. Seems like there’s a lot of rethinking going on, which is great.

  24. annabucci says

    “We give a disproportionate amount of attention to sexism – because obviously sexism is a very minor thing, because hardly any people are women.

    That’s privilege. He’s clueless about sexism because he has the privilege of not being the object of it. Hey, it’s trivial, because it doesn’t happen to him! Case closed.”

    Strawman.

  25. Josh Slocum says

    The incursion of slimepitters here, at FtB of all places, is just a step too far. We should not have to deal with misogynistic fuckheads like Justicar and the Scented Nectarines and Thunderfoot. Groupthink? Yeah. I want groupthink when that’s defined as total agreement that women are people and that is non-negotiable and uncontroversial. If you don’t agree you’ll be thrown out on your ass.

    I know that none of us commenters directly pay for FtB and that a whole lot of un-rewarded work goes into what’s posted here. But damn it, I’m as invested a reader and commenter as one could ask for, and I resent the shit out of FtB hosting this crap. It makes me furious. Not just for me but for the other bloggers who don’t deserve to have to deal with the cunt-kickers in their own living room.

    Step up and take out the trash, PZ and Ed.

  26. says

    The incursion of slimepitters here, at FtB of all places, is just a step too far.

    I couldn’t agree more. If it were another form of bigotry, we wouldn’t be putting up with this.

  27. Josh Slocum says

    I couldn’t agree more. If it were another form of bigotry, we wouldn’t be putting up with this.

    EXACTLY. And that’s infuriating. Being a faggot atheist I’m used to being near the bottom of the list when it comes to empathy and people giving a shit about my well-being. But I’m clearly several rungs above women, which is just fucking sick. This is not OK.

  28. skepticallydenpa says

    I expected more from Thunderf00t. Is he really trolling out the old “I’m not wrong, you’re all just a bunch of ditto-heads” argument?

    Yes, we all seem to have gotten the issue right when it comes to religion. But, that does not mean we are right about all issues. I’m sure I’m holding on to a prejudice caused by my ignorance of the subject. That’s fine. I will try and eliminate any prejudice I have. But if my efforts are in vein, and I am confronted on a mischaracterization of a subject I am none to familiar with, I will examine my preconceptions closely before ejaculating a bukkake of ignorance all over someone who just might have a better understanding of the situation than I do.

    I might be in the minority here when I say I don’t want Thunderf00t to leave. I want him to learn. We don’t need another voice that acts as an aggregate for the slime pit. If he is unwilling to learn, (as seems to be the case,) we may have to cut our losses. But, I would like us to try whatever we can to bring him to his senses.

  29. says

    Why (I ask rhetorically because I’m not going to give Tfoot the benefit of a single hit on his blog*), if this is his view of the FtB network, why did he join it? I mean it’s not like the ethos of FtB has suddenly changed. What does he expect being on a network with you Ophelia, and Greta, and Taslima, and Maryam, and PZ?

    This makes me think he just came here to troll.

    It also makes me think that you need to have a basic values statement FtBloggers must agree to: pro-feminist, pro-diversity, pro-gender equality, anti-racist, anti-homophobic. You know, basic decency.

    *For the record, I also unsubbed both of his channels on YouTube yesterday. Too bad. I liked his science stuff and his beauty of the universe vids.

  30. Josh Slocum says

    It’s a misrepresentation of Thunderfoot’s position.

    I see you’re as articulate as ever. Pro-tip: cut the question-baiting crap out. State your position or don’t. Nobody’s playing your coy game.

  31. dragon says

    Is Thunderfoot right that our views are “widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community”? Are Thunderfoot and Justicar more representative of “the wider rationalist community” than we are? I don’t think so, but I don’t know. At any rate, I do know I want to stay away from their segment of it. I can’t, entirely, because some of the members of that “community” help themselves to my name and then talk about kicking me in the cunt…but I sure as hell want to.

    In answer to both questions above: I hope not.

    I know I am a privileged while male. But I firmly believe everyone should be as privileged as I am. I try my best to treat all people with respect, at least until they firmly earn disrespect e.g. Ken Ham, Eric Hovind, Deepak Chopra.

    Unlike TF, I have appreciated the views of the fine women of FtB and SkepChick. Keep it up, and don’t let the slime pit chase you away.

    A little into my first job I began to realize a little bit of what privileged meant. A friend of mine was driving through Poughkeepsie NY. He had a common black haircut of the time (25 years ago). He was driving at night in the right lane and a car was in an acceleration lane about to merge into his lane. So he signaled and moved to the left as a courtesy. It turned out a white cop had seen his silhouette in the faint light and pulled him over for changing lanes. The cop explained that my friend had the right of way with no requirement to allow the police car to enter that lane. And somehow that was probable cause to pull him over.
    I told my friend ‘That would never happen to me.’ It really drove home what driving while black meant and opened my eyes to the many examples that followed.

    Privilege is real. And it simply is not fair.

  32. GMM says

    “Yeah. I want groupthink when that’s defined as total agreement that women are people and that is non-negotiable and uncontroversial. If you don’t agree you’ll be thrown out on your ass.”

    Yes, thank you Josh. They don’t have any real argument so they throw out “group-think!” or “strawman!” at everything and never actually engage in an honest conversation about anything. (PZ pointed out *specific things* with *direct quotes* from TF’s blog post and why he disagreed with them, but TF still had the nerve to write that “FFS PZ MYERS, PLEASE – LEARN – TO – READ” post in response.)

    Someone said this on another blog and I’ve said it before: one of the main reasons I left the church was due to the rampant sexism and misogyny, so it’s really messed up to find you have to deal with it all over again here.

  33. Sethra says

    I couldn’t agree more. If it were another form of bigotry, we wouldn’t be putting up with this.

    It doesn’t seem likely, no.

    It’s mind-boggling how this subset/nexus of the skeptical and atheist communities points out that more women are religious then men, then calls women irrational/illogical/unable to think for themselves, and then starts pissing and moaning when skeptic and atheist women express that they do think for themselves and they wish to be treated as people. And then the subset wonders again why women prefer not to associate with them.

    Consistency. They does not have it.

  34. LeftSidePositive says

    annabucci: you clearly have no idea what a strawman actually means. A strawman is when you subtly change someone else’s argument and purport that it is their argument as they intend it. What you quoted is not that at all–it is commentary on the unconscious biases inherent in Thunderf00t’s position: no one is saying he thinks that consciously, but it is saying that based on his ego-centric and male-centric rantings, his inability to listen to the many women who do have issues with sexism, and his completely unexamined assumption that the way he perceives the world is the rational and correct way to perceive the world, it is clear that these kind of prejudices have deeply undermined his thinking. Now, you may criticize the analysis itself (and good luck with that!), but don’t pretend that anyone is claiming that is what Thunderf00t meant to say–it’s a sarcastic take on the messages he doesn’t realize he’s saying.

  35. jonathanray says

    This rant is nothing to do with Ophelia’s post in particular, just something I had to get off my chest.

    Background: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WSbcd4zYak (shout this Julia Galef video from the fucking mountaintops in every debate on this subject)

    Usually when people apply labels to other people, that label comes with more baggage than what is justifiable by what was actually observed. When people are thought of in categories, and some observations are made about some member of a category, and people repeat those observations without specifically enumerating or quantifying them, e.g. members of category X did Y, that is perceived as more universal among X than the actual observations warrant.

    These factors lead people to inadvertently use straw men left right and center through excess extrapolation from inferred categories and sterotypes about those categories. This is the same psychological process that contributes racism, sexism, jingoism, etc.

    There is a crapload of out-group/opponent stereotyping on every side of this debate. This is exacerbated by the fact that people’s writings are vague and informal, and such writings tend to be interpreted charitably by the in-group and uncharitably by the out-group. Then the in-group and the out-group can’t even agree on what the fuck they said to each other.

    I’m not claiming a false equivalence. Obviously we need harassment policies just like every major employer has* in order to make it a welcoming place for people of all genders, orientations, races, ages, etc and all of the people who made threats of violence etc have been on the other side (though they’re a small minority even among the outgroup, contrary to sterotyping). But being on the right side doesn’t entitle anyone to be a dick to those who disagree, to use faulty reasoning, to use strawmen, or to sterotype. Some of Tfoot’s accusations that PZ had strawmanned him were completely true.

    *though not quite as much as employers need them, since the power dynamics are very different. Cons are purely voluntary rather than life-or-death breadwinning, and nobody has a boss at a con except a speaker who depends on his income from speaking. So there’s some room for reasonable people to disagree about the necessity of having an explicit policy vs. just ejecting jerks at the discretion of the management. I suspect very rarely have a few pages of click-through legalese changed anyone’s behavior significantly. But at least documenting management’s responses to reports will both reassure people and give management an incentive to deal with reports appropriately even if its impact on actual harassment is small, as it probably will be.

    **The skeptic movement is curious in that it includes but is not limited to people who are willing to go out on a limb and disagree with the majority, yet need some reassurance from forming a group with like-minded people and talking about how bad those other people who don’t believe like us are and how great we are. This in-group/out-group BS is tiresome sometimes.

  36. Wonk says

    It pains me to no end that the Skeptic/Freethinking community is so deeply into style over substance, and thunderfoot seems to be one of the prime examples. (See also: Bill Maher, South Park, and–to a lesser extent–George Carlin.)

  37. i601 says

    Is Thunderfoot right that our views are “widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community”?

    Yes, I believe so.

    I was originally naïve, thinking that sexism was an emergent property of religion. And as such, atheists would not be sexist (and not racist, etc.).

    I now believe that it’s the other way around. Sexism and such in culture is first exploited (and then reinforced) by religion.

    Anyway, I still think the atheist community is the easiest place to start, to move the Zeitgeist towards equality.

  38. F says

    Least of all, as if there weren’t loads of attention directed at other things.

    Dudefoot, y u always on the religions? U give inordinate amt attnz!

  39. says

    I was originally naïve, thinking that sexism was an emergent property of religion. And as such, atheists would not be sexist (and not racist, etc.).

    I now believe that it’s the other way around. Sexism and such in culture is first exploited (and then reinforced) by religion.

    I’m afraid sexism and racism are found everywhere. As a very young man I was shocked to find both quite common in the student radical movement in the late 60’s and later in the trade union movement. I was a member of the British Labour party for a while but left because of the racism and sexism of some of the leaders.

    I am now very wary of identifying myself with movements, which is why I don’t self-identify as a new atheist or a rationalist or a humanist etc.. Apart from anything else, political movements like necessarily temporary alliances of people who are united on a small range of topics and are always prone to ideological splits.

  40. FredBloggs says

    jonathanray – good post. People on FtB seem to spend way too much time attacking people instead of attacking ideas.

  41. Jeroen Metselaar says

    Thunder put his foot in it and can’t find the strength to pull it out.

    “We give a disproportionate amount of attention to sexism – because obviously sexism is a very minor thing, because hardly any people are women.

    I am surprised about how big a problem sexism in the sceptic world is, but it has been shown to be and it does need addressing. What upset me is how quickly some people (men) circled the wagons to defend against the women, how quickly the victim/perp switch can happen.

    Sexism and expressing male sexuality are at odds at times and it is a very complicated issue. As a modern man I know this and I certainly know I don’t have all the answers. If you want answers why not admit your ignorance and ask?

    Every time you interact with a group that is different from your group you need to realize there are things you don’t know, can’t know, can’t feel. How do you suppose to learn about how women view male possibly sexist behavior? Right.

  42. Brian says

    Hey Ophelia, it does really suck that you get that kind of mysoginistic abuse from fuck-knuckles like Justicar et. al. Pisses me off.

    I used to think atheists were somehow more enlightened than believers. But really, it is just a grouping based on a lack of belief. There are some real shit heads amongst us.

    I won’t use douchebags, because to me the whole idea of douche-ing seems sexist, like there’s something wrong with a females normally functioning body. I guess that’s one thing that hasn’t caught on here in Oz. But we’re good at racist, sexist, godist, so I can’t grandstand.

    I second Josh Slocum’s stand that groupthink on the issue that woman are people and it’s non-negotiable. That’s one hive mind I’m plugged into.

    Oh, and can I haz blog at freethought blogs? I’d probably write nonsensicial tripe and get drunk and post god knows what. Really, no different to now, only it would be a blog post, not a comment. :)

  43. Svlad Cjelli says

    Disclaimer: I was Thunderf00t’s fan before PZ’s and before knowing Ophelia existed. I was also more inclined to side with Blackford than with Ophelia.
    I also didn’t think much about these issues before all the online-infighting between sceptics.

    Tf and Blackford are pretty disappointing.

  44. says

    ibis3 #35:

    Why (I ask rhetorically because I’m not going to give Tfoot the benefit of a single hit on his blog*), if this is his view of the FtB network, why did he join it? I mean it’s not like the ethos of FtB has suddenly changed. What does he expect being on a network with you Ophelia, and Greta, and Taslima, and Maryam, and PZ?

    Exactly! As for his laughable YouTube poll… What, he’s not aware of the criticism of online polls as measure of opinion? And he calls himself a critical thinker?

    What a joke.

  45. Space Monster says

    Long time lurker, etc…

    Every time I think that some in atheist/skeptic community have reached new lows in sexism, they seem to put forth even more effort to outdo their previous record. I see now that I was incredibly naive when I once believed that we were better.

  46. julian says

    I second Josh Slocum’s stand that groupthink on the issue that woman are people and it’s non-negotiable. That’s one hive mind I’m plugged into.

    Aye.

    There was a time TF, Blackford (I assume) and the rest understood free thought wasn’t cancelled out by broad agreement or consensus. This was one of Thunderf00t’s points in early arguments with Creationists and the like on youtube whenever they made accusations of echo chamber.

    And this yet another aspect of all this that grates the insides of my ears like the tiny legs of a cockroach. Skeptics are arguing whatever is most convenient to them at the time not what they believe or did believe. It’s so opportunistic, cynical and duplicitous.

  47. says

    @46 Bernard Hurley

    …which is why I don’t self-identify…

    Indeed, although I still identify as atheist, socialist, feminist, skeptic, rainbow-friendly, and pro-equal. But I’m getting concerned that if I were to add another item to this list, the set of people encompassed might become so small as to no longer include me.

    However, in some ways this is a sign of progress. As atheism approaches the critical 23% threshold, the “big tent” problem dominates.

    I just wish the misogynists hadn’t shown up until later. I used to argue gender issues to theists, and now I’m feeling like a hypocrite.

  48. Dave2 says

    Or, you know, people like myself, come here especially because of the topics discussed.

  49. julian says

    I used to argue gender issues to theists, and now I’m feeling like a hypocrite.

    Same :/

    Used to feel so righteous about it too.

  50. avh1 says

    I’d add my voice to the question of why, knowing that FtB was pro-feminism, Thunderfoot wanted to be here, and why his first post was something so offensive. I had never heard of him before and this didn’t make me any more interested in reading his blog or listening to his youtube show. In short, B&W and Pharyngula are far more interesting and congenial places than his blog.

    FtB doesn’t have a terrible strike rate with bloggers though – with the exception of John Loftus they’ve mostly done a decent job of recruiting good bloggers.

  51. says

    Hey Dave @56 – I made you Dave2, because there’s another Dave who’s been commenting here for years (he’s the historian), so there will be confusion if there’s another. If you could add something to your name – it doesn’t matter what – that would be helpful.

  52. karmakin says

    (I apologize Ophelia, but I’m pissed and I got to rant)

    First of all, I declare a *@#$@#$ moratorium on use of the term “strawman”. It’s stupid, it distracts from any sort of intelligent debate or discussion, and we should just STOP it. If someone has your position wrong, correct it. But more often than not THEY DON’T, you just don’t really like the implications of your own argument.

    This isn’t debate club. This is real life. If you don’t like the implications of your own argument you GOT to change.

    Second, I’m sick and tired of people not realizing that just like we view creationism as wrong, just like we view homeopathy as being wrong, just like we view theism as being wrong, we view not having harassment policies and allowing people to invade other people’s personal space as being wrong.

    There is no difference there. This is all part of being rationalist. Now, I understand that some people might disagree with this. But to us, THIS MAKES YOU WRONG. And you’re going to get the same treatment that one might give to say creationists. And you know something, I’d argue that it’s justifiable to give a stronger reaction to people who oppose anti-harassment policies than we do give to creationists. The former end up hurting more people, after all.

    It’s wrong in terms of morality, it’s wrong in terms of growing the movement, it’s wrong in terms of well…everything.

  53. says

    About the process, and why Tfoot.

    I have to confess I simply did nothing in this case. Tfoot was suggested (with others) and I just didn’t take the time or effort to check him (or them) out. That’s mostly because I don’t much like looking at videos.

    Big mistake.

    I’m hoping he’ll just decide the hive mind is too too horrible, and leave.

  54. Steve A.E. says

    Yeah, Ophelia, I imagine in the future one prerequisite for inviting folks to blog at FtB might be that the they already have a blog somewhere or else have done a lot of equivalent opinion writing published as text, as a blog is, rather than strictly videos.

  55. karmakin says

    Eh, I’m not sure how much writing Zinnia and Christina have done, but they’re really good at it I think. I think the biggest part of the problem is that TF is so deep in the slimepit mentality of YouTube (really, it’s awful) that it deeply clouds judgement.

  56. MartinM says

    The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism compared to other issues.

    There is, in fact, a group of people who give sexism a disproportionate amount of attention. They’re called ‘sexists’. They’re the reason this discussion is happening. It should have been a simple case of “Sexual harrassment is a problem, so let’s have a policy to deal with it”, general agreement, policies instituted, end of discussion. The reason it went beyond that is precisely because of the disproportionate amount of effort some people are making to fight what ought to be completely noncontroversial. Our response is entirely proportionate.

  57. Freodin says

    I don’t really know what to say here… or whether to say anything at all.
    I’ve always thought of myself as a considerate person. I try to evaluate people on their positions, their behaviour… not their gender, their colour, their hair-style or their prefered brand of cellphone.
    But for a while now, when I read FtB, I get that feeling of a lot of people presenting the view “If you don’t agree with me, you hate women!”
    Mind, no one has ever adressed me in this way, and it just a personal, most likely unbased feeling. But it is there nonetheless.

    So instead of speaking to a person about a topic and not even wondering about their gender, I now sit and hesitate all the time, thinking “Oh, it’s woman. What have I done wrong now? What may I do wrong next?”

  58. jayyoung says

    I just wrote a comment on his post:

    “1) The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism compared to other issues.” You realize that every post since your first one has been on the allegedly disproportionate time given to sexism. You do know that, right? Why write a disproportionate amount of your posts on the disproportionate attention given to sexism?

    And I was about to ask how this clown got on here in the first place, but I see Ophelia addressed that above.

  59. says

    I think, Ophelia, that “privilege” is the correct term to use here. The whole “I don’t see this happening, therefore the problem does not exist”-attitude is very much a privilege issue.

    No reason not to use the right word for it!

  60. julian says

    But for a while now, when I read FtB, I get that feeling of a lot of people presenting the view “If you don’t agree with me, you hate women!”

    If you don’t mind me asking, why? Do any particular comments or posts stand out?

  61. LeftSidePositive says

    Freodin, there are SOME topics on which, if you disagree, you do by definition hate women. If women say they’re being harassed, and you tell them they are making too big a deal of it and need to calm down and keep things in proportion, then you hate women. If a woman complains of harassment and you tell her that she’s too ugly to have to worry about such a thing, then you hate women. If women say they’re being harassed, and you tell them it’s their fault for scaring away other women and that really they’re just regretting their “sexual exploits,” then you hate women. If someone threatens to kick a woman in the cunt, and your response is to focus obsessively on how the woman caused this by adopting the wrong tone, then you hate women. If you say that women should expect to put up with boundary-violating, uncomfortable, sexual behavior when they go to a convention or its nearby bars, then you hate women. This is because all of these positions INHERENTLY and NECESSARILY assume a foundation that women are inferior, that women’s worth is determined by how pleasing she is to men, that men’s fun is more important than women’s safety, that women are irrational and dishonest, that men’s concerns are universal and women’s concerns are “niche,” and that women deserve to bear the additional burdens of navigating a harassment-tolerating society. Now, a person with these odious views might not CONSCIOUSLY hate women, but the underpinnings of their worldview are inextricably tied to misogyny and the harmful result for women is the same whether the misogynist is conscious of zir misogyny or not.

    It might be that you are too poorly-educated in the social dynamics of misogyny to understand the implications and prejudices that people are calling out, but I suggest that in that case you ask sincere questions and try to educate yourself rather than trying to shame people who point out blatant misogyny.

    Consider this statement: “I have black friends and I even let them use my bathroom!” Do you have any doubt that uttering this statement means that the speaker must, on some level, hate black people? Is there ANY way to make this statement that DOESN’T come from hating black people?

  62. says

    I try to evaluate people on their positions, their behaviour… not their gender, their colour, their hair-style or their prefered brand of cellphone.

    I wish Debbie Goddard were here. A guy in the audience said something very like that at the Moving Secularism Forward conference, and Debbie said, “I’m going to have to respond to that or I’ll hate myself.” Then she did a good job of responding.

    The thing is, that’s a pipe dream. It’s a nice pipe dream, but it’s a pipe dream. We can’t insulate ourselves from what surrounds us, so we can’t just magically decide to be immune to all the crap about gender and race and orientation that’s around us. We deal with it better if we realize that than if we don’t.

  63. karmakin says

    @68: Here’s what you’re missing. “opinion” is a form of behavior. And yes, they do mean things.

    Let me be straight. I do not think that gender is the sole privilege we’re talking about here. I think that social privilege plays a big deal as well. In terms of the actual problem in and of itself, I think it’s the majority of the problem, but in terms of the post-facto response to the problem, gender is a much bigger part of it. If that makes any sense?

    What I mean by social privilege, is that in our society we tend to favor people who tend desire social contact over people who tend to don’t. Extroverts over Introverts. Which is why we set rules that error on that side (I.E. harassment policies tend to revolve around undesired contact, but tend to say that it’s up to the other person to say “no” either verbally or via body language). And that’s probably the way things have to be, I’ll admit (it’s not something I enjoy however).

    In any case, The reality is that the people fighting against anti-harassment policies are W-R-O-N-G. Spectacularly, horribly, unethically wrong. That’s our view. And believe it or not, that’s how we talk about it. Yeah, it seems rough sometimes. And I do admit, sometimes it does cross the line (but nowhere CLOSE to how it crosses it on the anti-side) but usually we walk it back.

    And yes, they are siding with the misogynists. And not everybody who has concerns about anti-harassment policies is a misogynist, but it is true that most of them when arguing against them DO use misogynistic language and behavior.

    That’s the unfortunate part. It’s not the topic in and of itself that creates the rift. It’s the actions of the people opposed to these policies that creates the rift.

  64. Freodin says

    I gladly admit that I am “socially inept”. I generally don’t like people in large numbers, so “conventions” of any kind is not something that I regularely frequent.
    And I am not trying to defend harrasment of any kind. I don’t do that, and I don’t understand people doing it. I don’t have any “black friends” (which is based on the lack of blacks to befriend where I live) but I have, err, “non-aryan” friends, and of course I let the use my bathroom. Why wouldn’t I?

    So I am quite baffled by the whole topic. I don’t like jerks, I don’t like people who behave like jerks, and I guess most people agree with me. But I wonder what the difference is between a state of “non-policy” and “policy”.
    If I went to a convention “before” and was harrassed and complained, what would have happened? Would I have been told “Oh, it’s not against our rules to harrass others, so be quiet about it.” Or would (and were) action be taken?
    So what does the adaption of a harrassment policy change? Isn’t a just a sign, a statement that says “Yes, we are against it.”?
    And that would make we wonder again: is harrassment in our community really that rampant that we need to make such a statement? I really do not know. Is it?

  65. julian says

    Or would (and were) action be taken?
    So what does the adaption of a harrassment policy change? Isn’t a just a sign, a statement that says “Yes, we are against it.”?

    What would happen if you went to police in a region where x was not explicitly against the rules and complained about it happened in your yard?

    Policies largely set the tone and expectations for a conference and provide backing for whatever action the conference organizers take. It’s like safety standards on business products or establishing rules of conduct for a school. They’re more than words and paper however much you may trust people to do good it’s almost always safer to have agreed upon rules in place.

  66. julian says

    Who knows? Would companies sell dangerous products if there were no laws against it?

    More importantly, how would someone who’d been harmed by these dangerous products respond without something like a written rule backing them? Would they even know they could complain or that their complaint would be taken seriously?

  67. julian says

    To answer your question directly, no, I don’t think every conference would expel or otherwise handle harassing behavior or people behaving obnoxiously. I think TAM would, as Grothe has a record of doing that. I doubt the same holds true for every skeptic conference or even most.

  68. judykomorita says

    Leftsidepositive @ 73:

    I just wanted to say that was one of the most concise and awesome explanatory rants I’ve seen in quite a while. Thank you.

    As an introvert, I don’t socialize much, and as an older woman, I’m mostly ignored. So I don’t see nearly as much sexism as most women do.

    Although still ignorant on the nuances, I have learned so much in the last year – it’s exciting, polarizing, and frightening. Thanks to all of the FtB’ers (and friends) who continue to fight the good fight.

  69. LeftSidePositive says

    Freodin, the point is that there exist people in this world who would consider it noteworthy that they would let a black person use their bathroom, and expect praise for how enlightened they are. The fact that you’ve never heard this example (and weren’t able to even figure out what it meant!) might indicate that you would benefit from reading up a bit more on the background of social justice concerns and how less-privileged people are treated.

    Furthermore, as for what happens when there’s no harassment policy…well, I suggest you look into what happened to Ashley Miller, and how utterly ineptly DJ responded to her and tried to downplay the whole situation. In this case, in fact, there was a nominal harassment policy, but it wasn’t clear enough on what would not be tolerated or what the organization was supposed to do–it’s an excellent example of how good intentions are just plain not enough.

  70. maureen.brian says

    Freodin,

    Back at the beginning of this round of the fight for equality, a fairly important person who runs a major conference stated – this is not verbatim – that there has never been an instance of harassment at his conference.

    Over the next few days a number of respected women popped up to say that yes, they had been harassed and yes, they had complained and that in one possibly two cases the gentleman in paragraph one had dealt with the matter. At the time they thought that he and his staff had dealt with matters pretty well.

    They and the witnesses to these events were sort of non-plussed to meet this blanket denial of their own experience. This was all in May this year. There are several million square miles of blog items on the story – here, at Skepchick and elsewhere – so it is possible for you to read it all up and to see what came out of it.

    A very good place to start would be here – http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/15/harassment-policies-campaign-timeline-of-major-events/ – where Jason has done a brilliant job of keeping track of the various events. His later posts on the subject are also very clear.

    Before I leave you to get on with that – I recommend getting in a case of your favourite biscuits and a couple of bottles before you start – may I just stress one thing from all this which you have not yet have come across?

    Telling women that they do not understand their own experience is a classic trick of sexism. It undermines confidence, it implies that whatever you say you will not be believed and has long been widely used to “keep women in their place.”

    Sadly, it seems to be the aspect of sexism which some would-be sceptics find it hardest to do without!

  71. Freodin says

    That’s the question. I’d like to think that, especially in our community, people would react rationally towards an offence. Something happens, people react to it based on their view of ethics and morals… regardless of whether it has been put down in writing or not.

    Would companies sell dangerous products if there were no laws against it, you ask. Well, they do. They also do when there are laws against it. In both cases, people can complain, and some authority will make a ruling. And this ruling should always and primirily be based on the product, not on any existing law.

    If someone, woman or man, gets harrassed at a convention, redeeming actions should be taken, [i]because a person was harrassed[/i], and not because their is a policy against harrassment.

    Perhaps having such a policy will help the authorities. I am not against such a policy. If such a policy will help make conventions safer and more comfortable for the attendents, I am all for it.

    But as I see it (warning, personal opinion incomming) the debate has totally moved from the topic of harrassment. It has become a battle between two sides accusing the others of being the enemy of all that is good. Those who are to slow to write up a law against harrassment are mysogists, those who want such a written policy are the femnazis.

    And I still don’t know: is there really such a dangerous product sold? Is attending a convention really thus dangerous for women that they need a written pass of safe conduct to feel comfortable?

    I don’t know. I hope not, but my hopes (and my own personal conduct) have been called a “pipe dream” here before.

  72. Aerik says

    Just ban the turd Justicar.

    He tried to start an alternative website to his blog and it failed. Now he’s back to integralmath.blogspot.com and youtube.com/integralmath , where he’s thrown his best bud ERV under bus as a conservative henchmen b/c she disagreed on something with him. Still calling people every slur he thinks he can get away with. He’s even gotten to the point where he’s picking fights on youtube. Fights he loses miserably.

    He’s the kind of narcissist where if you agree with him, you’re awesome. If you disagree with him, you’re not just a little bad, or a little off. You’re automatically the worst, and he’ll treat you like the garbage he thinks you are.

    Still doing the “kick you in the cunt” thing shows that he has not learned from any of his bannings on other freethoughtblogs sections. He is not open to learning. I think he deserves a universal ban on the site.

  73. dirigible says

    “Is Thunderfoot right that our views are “widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community”?”

    I certainly hope not.

  74. says

    Maureen @ 83 –

    Telling women that they do not understand their own experience is a classic trick of sexism.

    Classic and also more pervasive than I had realized.

    Paula Kirby was doing it to me on Twitter just a couple of days ago, along with calling us (us noisy women) feminazis and (to my amazement) femistasi. She jeered at the idea that those two emails I got were threats.

    I’m just gobsmacked by this.

  75. Pteryxx says

    Freodin:

    And I still don’t know: is there really such a dangerous product sold? Is attending a convention really thus dangerous for women that they need a written pass of safe conduct to feel comfortable?

    I suggest starting with just two articles.

    Richard Carrier’s summary of the debate about the debate:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/1567

    and Ashley Miller on why women often don’t report:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/06/06/arent-you-making-it-up-why-women-dont-report-harassment/

  76. Josh Slocum says

    Paula Kirby was doing it to me on Twitter just a couple of days ago, along with calling us (us noisy women) feminazis and (to my amazement) femistasi. She jeered at the idea that those two emails I got were threats.

    What? What? WHAT????????????

    Jesus Christ. There’s no end of it, and you’re not safe assuming good will on anyone’s part.

  77. julian says

    Those who are to slow to write up a law against harrassment are mysogists, those who want such a written policy are the femnazis.

    To slow?

    No one (to my knowledge) has said that. They’ve argued it disproportionately affects the women who attend and they’ve argued refusing to adopt a policy is (by default) misogynistic, but I haven’t seen anyone called a misogynist for considering or take their time drafting these policies. I’m actually certain I remember several orgs being thanks and congratulated for considering adding an anti-harassment policy for their conferences.

    If someone, woman or man, gets harrassed at a convention, redeeming actions should be taken, [i]because a person was harrassed[/i], and not because their is a policy against harrassment.

    You’ll get no argument from me here. The law is meant to guide and protect reflecting the needs, expectations and fears of the people it’s drafted for. I certainly don’t want a Scalia style application of whatever policies that come out. It sounds like a spectacular way to miss the point.

    Is attending a convention really thus dangerous for women that they need a written pass of safe conduct to feel comfortable?

    That’s not what an anti-harassment policy would be though it could be taken that way. It outlines (among other things) procedures for dealing with repeat offenders, protocol for reporting and (hopefully) documentation of reports/incidents. No one (I think) expects it to be a free pass nor is it expected harassment will stop at the inclusion of such a policy. (but it will be “slowed down” if nothing else.)

  78. Freodin says

    Ok, colour me convinced. It just baffles me that there is even a need to argue and fight about such a question. But after all, I have been in that baffled state since I found out people take religion seriously some decades ago.

  79. hotshoe says

    Just ban the turd Justicar.

    He tried to start an alternative website to his blog and it failed. Now he’s back to integralmath.blogspot.com and youtube.com/integralmath , where he’s thrown his best bud ERV under bus as a conservative henchmen b/c she disagreed on something with him.

    I totally agree with you about the Justicar essential turditude. One of the internet’s worst specimens.

    But (sadly) he hasn’t suddenly turned on Abbie. It’s a sarcastic post which actually takes aim at one of Abbie’s detractors, someone named Robyn – who, apparently called Abbie a goat !! and slammed Abbie for only being a grad student, not an “actual scientist”.

    So Justicar just took Robyn’s stupidity and amped it up to make mockery.

    Sorry. Would be great to see Justicar and Abbie in a fight. Spitting and scratching and all that. But not happening, at least, not today.

  80. julian says

    Sorry. Would be great to see Justicar and Abbie in a fight.

    No, no it wouldn’t.

    Justicar with his love of sexist slurs, mocking sexual assault survivors and those afraid of it, and ERV with her willingness to do anything to hurt an enemy it would turn nasty quickly. Homophobic and belittling insults from ERV and the usual from Justicar.

    Not something I want to see.

  81. hotshoe says

    Paula Kirby was doing it to me on Twitter just a couple of days ago, along with calling us (us noisy women) feminazis and (to my amazement) femistasi.

    I saw somewhere that the new term “femistasi” was coined by Tony Ryan aka CoffeeLovingSkeptic. Charming. Now he’s the guy who is threatening libel action against any UK blogger who sides with Rebecca Watson against him if they defend RW for (mistakenly) tweeting that Tony-the-whiner ever called her “a cunt”. Apparently it’s true that he never did call her “cunt” – but so what? He’s been part of the yearlong campaign of hatred against her, and said she was pushing Feminaziism (a word he had to make up, too). Now he’s calling it Femistasi instead ?

    Tony Ryan aka CoffeeLovingSkeptic is a hostile misogynist ass, whether or not he’s cunting and twatting like some of the slimepitters. It’s beyond belief that any woman would be on his side about anything.

    And Paula Kirby just looooves him. Ick. Ick. Ick..

  82. julian says

    It’s beyond belief that any woman would be on his side about anything.

    Not really.

    And Paula Kirby just looooves him.

    Naturally.

  83. karmakin says

    To be frank, it baffles a lot of us too. All this stuff is pretty much a no-brainer, when you think about it. It’s quickly becoming standard procedure in this day and age.

    My personal opinion is this is more or less tribalistic on the anti-side. Some deep rifts formed, mostly during Elevatorgate due to some misunderstandings, (When Watson said “Don’t do That” they read it as an overly broad definition of “That” when that’s not what was intended. At all.) and said deep rifts still remain. And the various people simply will not let it go.

    There’s some other things..there’s a lot of people who are suspicious of using moral dialogue in terms of issues…saying that X is morally correct and Y is morally incorrect, namely because that’s something that religion does. This doesn’t mean that this messaging is wrong in and of itself…in fact I don’t think you can avoid them, Libertarians claim that taxes are “theft” after all…And as such they react badly to any sort of moral or ethical dialogue.

    It’s just that the religious often have incorrect moral judgements for one reason or another. It’s not that making moral judgements is wrong. That’s the big difference.

  84. says

    Maureen, I know, I’m horrified too. I have a high opinion of her writing and related skills, and I really liked her at QED. I was a little nervous beforehand, because she had defriended me on Facebook over the elevator issue, but I needn’t have been; she was cordial and fun to talk to and all things good.

    But femistasi…wow.

    Someone challenged her on “feminazi” and she replied

    1 I quite like Femistasi too. One form of totalitarian thought is, after all, much like another.

    2 The allusion is to totalitarian thought and no tolerance of dissent. FTB is currently awash with it.

    3 I see real strains of totalitarian thought over there [at FTB]. And I lived in a totalitarian state for 2 years.

    So she’s saying, and affirming, and underlining, that she thinks FTB is comparable to East Germany.

  85. MartinM says

    So she’s saying, and affirming, and underlining, that she thinks FTB is comparable to East Germany.

    This will, of course, draw the same level of criticism as your ‘Nazi Germany’ non-comparison. Right?

  86. says

    And it’s bullying to talk about misogyny merely because there are guys around who are talking about kicking us – that is, me – in the cunt. I’m bullying, by saying it’s misogyny; the guy who’s talking about kicking me in the cunt is a victim of my bullying. Derp!

    This. Seriously, I’m really tired of all the arguments which basically make it seem like the bully is the ‘real victim’. Also, I am surprised about Paula Kirby. She’s the one who wrote that really good response “Religion lies about women” in response to an On Faith topic last year.

    Something I’ve noticed is the frequency with which nonreligious people only care about bad treatment of women when it’s done by religious organizations but ignore it when it’s something done in society at large. So, misogyny will be cited as reason for disliking religion … but when it’s brought up as a general topic, not specific to religion, then it’s not considered a big deal.

  87. julian says

    So, misogyny will be cited as reason for disliking religion … but when it’s brought up as a general topic, not specific to religion, then it’s not considered a big deal.

    Glad I’m not alone in noticing that.

    I don’t know why that is (ignoring my cynicism) but it makes it difficult to take this people seriously when they describe how abstract within a faith will lead it to this or that wrong but refuse to even entertain the same when it’s used against a non religious target.

  88. GMM says

    So you must agree with Paula otherwise you don’t ‘tolerate dissent.’ If you disagree with her you’re comparable to genocidal fascists and totalitarian regimes. Got it.

  89. josefjohann says

    re: “totalitarianism.” It’s insidious to try and disqualify one side of the argument as totalitarian/intolerant of dissent when it can just as easily be characterized as a sincerely held belief that deserves to be engaged with on the merits.

  90. says

    I find it simply asstounding that Thunderf00t has the unmitigated gall to accuse other people of strawmanning and telling PZ to learn how to read when he has, by all appearances, read only enough of the preceding harassment conversation to distort all the pro-policy positions into an unrecognizable caricature.

    With that much projection, Tf00t ought to be selling popcorn.

  91. says

    If I went to a convention “before” and was harrassed and complained, what would have happened?

    to whom would you have complained? if there’s no harassment policy, there’s no established place/person to make the complaint to/at. so you can luck out by knowing the organizers personally, but everyone else who might have a harassment complaint won’t know where and to whom to make that complaint, in the first place. Or, they make that complaint to some random employee/volunteer at the conference, and (because there’s no harassment policy, and thus no training of the volunteers/employees on how to handle harassment complaints), they won’t know what to do with that complaint, and it will get garbled, lost, or otherwise inappropriately dealt with (or not dealt with at all).

    Meaning, without harassment policies, reporting of harassment would be very rare, and acting on it would be very inconsistent and also rarely successful.

    Harassment policies are there to make it very clear which behaviors are not wanted (it cannot be assumed that every single person attending or volunteering will know what these are), to make it very clear to whom and where to take any complaints of harassment, and sets up parameters for employees/volunteers to know how to act when someone brings a harassment complaint to them.

    Something happens, people react to it based on their view of ethics and morals… regardless of whether it has been put down in writing or not.

    this assumes that all attendees “ethics and morals” are such that they would take sexual harassment seriously. this is evidently not true.

    If someone, woman or man, gets harrassed at a convention, redeeming actions should be taken, [i]because a person was harrassed[/i], and not because their is a policy against harrassment.

    what actions, and by whom? unless you have a harassment policy, you can’t reliably answer that question.

    besides, really, relying on the goodwill and ethical behavior of people has already proven not to work, so why insist with this?

    I mean, really, we should know not to murder people without murder being illegal too, but that’s a really stupid argument against murder being illegal.

    Those who are to slow to write up a law against harrassment are mysogists, those who want such a written policy are the femnazis.

    that’s BS. those who have been accused of misogyny were those insisting that no harassment policies are necessary, and/or those insisting that the enforcement of an existing policy was already sufficient even though it failed to uncover any of the harassment that happened at the event in question.

    – – – – –

    So she’s saying, and affirming, and underlining, that she thinks FTB is comparable to East Germany.

    yep; we shoot people trying to leave FTB, and we plant microphones in their apartments, lest they say something anti-FTB in the privacy of their homes; and when we catch them at it, we put them in FTB-jail and/or completely ruin their lives and careers (or ask for sexual favors; that’s a popular one, too).

    out of curiosity is East Germany the totalitarian country she claims to have lived in for 2 years?

  92. says

    out of curiosity is East Germany the totalitarian country she claims to have lived in for 2 years?

    Paula Kirby did live in the GDR for two years. Some time ago there was a very moving series on the BBC’s Women’s Hour about her experiences there. Her encounters with the Stasi were not exactly happy. What I can’t understand is how, given these experiences, she can talk about femistasi.

  93. Tony... therefore God says

    Freodin @92:
    But after all, I have been in that baffled state since I found out people take religion seriously some decades ago.

    If you don’t mind my asking, where do you live? I ask because it’s almost inconceivable to me that there’s anywhere on Earth where people don’t take religion seriously.

  94. Lyanna says

    This “groupthink” business is bizarre. How is the “groupthink” on Harassment Is Bad any worse than the “groupthink” on Religion Is Bad? It’s okay to have a strong consensus on religion, and to mock and pile onto religion-apologists, but not misogyny and misogynists? Ookkkaay.

    GMM@ 103: it always amazes me how people like Kirby, with their weird ideas on what exactly constitutes “free thought” and “free speech” and “totalitarianism,” can defend their own opinions, or even the notion of having opinions at all! As you note, Kirby is saying “agree with me or you’re intolerant of dissent.” How is THAT not totalitarian? Saying “agree that harassment is bad or you’re a misogynist” is supposedly totalitarian, but saying “If you think Grothe, Blackford, et al are awful harassment-apologists, then you’re a Femistasi” isn’t?

    annabucci@27: so now it’s a “strawman” to accurately and fully quote someone? Huh. Interesting.

    Brian @ 49: many feminists have actually adopted “douchebag” as an insult for precisely that reason, because a douche is a useless and patriarchal device.

    Freodin, it’s just helpful to have rules, even obvious ones, written down and posted somewhere. It puts people on notice. It is moral encouragement.

  95. Raithial says

    “We give a disproportionate amount of attention to sexism – because obviously sexism is a very minor thing, because hardly any people are women.

    That’s privilege. He’s clueless about sexism because he has the privilege of not being the object of it. Hey, it’s trivial, because it doesn’t happen to him! Case closed.” – Ophelia Benson
    I would object to this; He is well known for having little regard to the gender of who-ever he is opposing.
    In the same breath you could name me; Sexism isn’t as big a deal as it used to be;
    “sure, women can have the right to vote; but they will lose the privilege to hide behind the powderpuff and dressingroom doors.”
    I would say that women have as near to equal standing to men as any person; we don’t regard women as lower or lesser simply because they don’t have a phallic symbol hanging between their legs.
    In fact; a common trend in fiction these days is to nearly deify women, and I am amongst those writers.
    So I agree; there is a disproportionate amount of time being spent here to Sexism; it is a minor issue, when the world can be destroyed by religious zealots with the political scheming that could lead them to leading the worlds greatest nuclear arcenal; that could sieze controll of the world’s largest nation and polute the atmosphere to the extend that ice-caps will disappear and the great cities will crumble under tidalwaves and be consumed by desserts. Sexism is a minor issue when races of animals are becoming extinct by the hands of man at a rate not far from that of the Permian Extinction.
    We have bigger problems that women feeling downgraded because they do not get the special treatment that they so vigorously strife for; that can wait.
    You think you’re being downgraded and oppressed; you have at the current state far more freedom than any woman has ever had in the history of the planet, and it is people like me that give women the equal treatment they wish, by landing the same hard critisisms they would get from me if they were male, transgender, gay or lesbian, or from any nation of the planet. And with that said; let me make absolutely clear that I in no way endorse the putting-down of or degrading women or any ethnic, gender or sexual orientated group. I give them all equal opportunity to land the same criticisms back to me.
    Now; those are my two cents.

  96. Lyanna says

    Women are less important than soon-to-be extinct animals! Now, that’s a new one.

    I like the bit about “special treatment,” too: not being harassed, and not being called a cunt and a bitch for speaking up about harassment, is such a luxury, after all. What princesses we are for demanding it!

    Why are you posting such a long verbose comment on such a trivial issue, Raithial? That was valuable time you could have spent saving a polar bear! Run! The polar bears need you!

  97. says

    … not being harassed, and not being called a cunt and a bitch for speaking up about harassment, is such a luxury, after all. What princesses we are for demanding it!

    Well… we allow you to leave the house without a hijab, and allow you to vote, allow you to drive… Also, the lead character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was pretty kickass… Whatinhell more do you people want!

    (/Also, I’m too busy heroically saving the planet from the ravening hordes of fundamentalists to attend to this whole precious, petty ‘not letting endemic attitudes lead to you being treated like dirt’ isolated special interest of you and your half of the species right now… Could you mebbe call me about this silly ‘sexism’ thing of yours later or somethin’? Say mebbe 2130?)

  98. says

    and it is people like me that give women the equal treatment they wish,

    Oh thank you Raithial. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. How can I ever thank you enough? You’re so kind. Thank you, thank you.

  99. Raithial says

    Women are less important than soon-to-be extinct animals! Now, that’s a new one.

    I like the bit about “special treatment,” too: not being harassed, and not being called a cunt and a bitch for speaking up about harassment, is such a luxury, after all. What princesses we are for demanding it!

    Why are you posting such a long verbose comment on such a trivial issue, Raithial? That was valuable time you could have spent saving a polar bear! Run! The polar bears need you!

    have you ever considered that many of those people who call you a “cunt” or a “bitch” aren’t specifically after your gender? I call guys “dicks” and “assholes” equal to the number of “cunts” or “bitches” I call women. I.E. not very often.
    Taking such things as an attack on your gender reveals more about your over-inflated gender-identity than over how people treat you.
    And try and consider that being nice to people and simply respecting them as people without association to anything. People are always trying to catagorise me, and while I was once happy to be placed into a box of “feminism” I soon severed all ties to it when people randomly assumed they knew everything of me at the drop of a single 8-letter word.
    You should try and keep all things relative and look at the bigger pictures without losing an eye for detail; when you can do that, you can see clearly what I am talking about, without resorting to sarcasm and polar-bears.
    I also don’t adress the entire group of “feminists” but merely the people who spend a large amount of time debating such pointless things as sexism. (granted that I am here now, and debating along, I realise that I am merely throwing oil on the fire… but I have the time to spare at this moment, so what the heck)

    Oh thank you Raithial. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. How can I ever thank you enough? You’re so kind. Thank you, thank you.

    Spare me your sarcasm; I have no use for it.
    Frankly; while I paint a rather grim picture of the future, I am generally kind and patient; but when such trivial things as being collectively called a “cunt” are hyped into national media on a -weekly- basis, my patience grows rather thin.
    If that is the worst you have had to suffer, praise yourself and the generosity of greater men and women for letting you live in a society like this; for if it was a mere 400 years ago you would have been put to death or beaten far harder and then raped for merely speaking out.
    I, for one, am glad we live in a modern society of equal rights and opportunities.
    and if such sarcasm is the only rebuttal you have, I would consider your point moot.

  100. Griffonian says

    Can someone please write an article about why exactly Thunderf00t was told to resign from this “free thoughts” blog. I haven’t paid too much attention to the objectification of women debate in the atheist community, but I’m starting to find it interesting.

    The only information I have is what Thunderf00t addressed in his most recent video, and his article about this site becoming more and more of a Group Think as opposed to the free dissemination of ideas.

    If he got booted solely because he doesn’t believe misogyny to be as big of a problem in the atheist community as the blogosphere treats it, then I think his article makes a great point on where this site is heading.

    Any more information would be greatly appreciated.

  101. julian says

    I, for one, am glad we live in a modern society of equal rights and opportunities.

    There is no disparity and everyone has the exact same opportunities offered to them. True story. This random poster at B&W told me so.

  102. says

    Griffonian – well I’m certainly not going to write an article about that.

    No, he didn’t get booted for the reason that you suggest.

    But as for your view on “where this site is heading” – we do mostly share the view that misogyny is important. Some of us have talked about it on a couple of videos recently; they’re linked here somewhere, I’m sure you can find them if you look.

    If you think Freethought blogs is wrong to consider misogyny important, well fine; you don’t have to read it.

  103. says

    Highlighting the ugly. From # 114 –

    I am generally kind and patient; but when such trivial things as being collectively called a “cunt” are hyped into national media on a -weekly- basis, my patience grows rather thin.
    If that is the worst you have had to suffer, praise yourself and the generosity of greater men and women for letting you live in a society like this; for if it was a mere 400 years ago you would have been put to death or beaten far harder and then raped for merely speaking out.

  104. Griffonian says

    As long as his dissenting views on the importance of this debate wasn’t the main reason he was told to resign, then fair enough. He seems to believe otherwise.

    And I understand if you can’t give any more information regarding his leave, I just found it interesting.

  105. says

    Highlighting the ugly…

    … well, if the beatings really are generally so much gentler, now, than they were four centuries ago, that has to count for something, right?

    ‘Kay. Dropping it, officially, now, as I guess it’d be a mite cheap to go on at any length post-punting…

    (/But is it wrong that I was actually finding the schmuck kinda inadvertently funny? ‘Things are totally better than they were in the 1600s! What is you lot’s problem?’)

  106. says

    Griffonian, he believes a lot of things. Not all of them are true.

    And it’s not that I can’t, it’s that I don’t want to. I’m not interested.

  107. Raithial says

    Highlighting the ugly. From # 114 –

    Nice going in taking it out of context and making it appear asthough I advocate for beating; I will state it very bluntly; i do NOT advocate that. That is an underhanded tactic using my words (spoken in a foreign language for me) to make it appear asthough I do. I am willing to appologise for wording it clumsily and poorly. Are you willing to appologise for taking it out context? …

    … well, if the beatings really are generally so much gentler, now, than they were four centuries ago, that has to count for something, right?

    The point I was trying to make was that, when you know how things have improved, you would see in what kind of bliss you are.
    And I am no way advocating beating anyone, I’ve been on the recieving end of it for a large part of my life, so I know what it is like. My emphasis was that nomatter how bad things are these days, in the past; they were worse, meaning that we moving forward. All throughout history have women been oppressed, but in many of the first-world nations this has now stopped; so I find the activism on this front in these first world countries misplaced. Many people in the first world are living at the height of luxury compared to a mere six decades ago.
    Keep things relative.
    It is true that my wording in the highlighted paragraph could have been better, and I appologise for any misunderstood paragraphs. Afterall: english isn’t my first tongue.

  108. says

    AJ yeah I found it less funny though – the relish behind “you would have been put to death or beaten far harder and then raped” failed to amuse. I’m touchy about that kind of thing. :b

  109. says

    All right. I’ll give you another chance – but a hedged chance; your comments will be held for approval for now.

    I didn’t know English isn’t your first language, after all.

    And you apparently don’t know that I write a lot about non-first world problems. Well I do. I’ve been writing a lot about first-world problems lately, it’s true, but then I live with them, plus it’s my blog so I get to pick what I write about.

  110. says

    The point I was trying to make was that, when you know how things have improved, you would see in what kind of bliss you are… My emphasis was that nomatter how bad things are these days, in the past; they were worse, meaning that we moving forward. All throughout history have women been oppressed, but in many of the first-world nations this has now stopped; so I find the activism on this front in these first world countries misplaced. Many people in the first world are living at the height of luxury compared to a mere six decades ago.

    Okay. Seeing as you are, apparently, still here, just for this moment, I’m going to take you just seriously enough (and try to take in good faith you’re actually this clueless, and not just a ridiculously silly troll doing this for the lulz) to say:

    1) It’s spectacularly arrogant to assume just because people are criticizing ongoing issues in one context, they’re simply unaware of others. This is just incredibly silly, and does not even follow from the phenomena you’re observing.

    2) Consider as real simple illustration: the fact that people are shot in Tahrir Square and sentenced without trial in China does not mean there’s suddenly no reason to complain about wage disparities in Canada nor dreadfully poor standards for due process for minorities in Texas. You don’t get to say–especially if you’re a part of, say, the Texas judicial system: ‘Oh, the crappy trials and innocent men we may well have executed aren’t a problem: note that we haven’t stretched anyone on the rack in 400 years. Also, at least we hold trials, now!’

    3) The oppression of women has not ‘stopped’ in first world nations. It has become milder, and less explicit, at best. (And sure, over 400 years, I should damned well hope so). And again, see 1) and 2).

    The (I should think blindingly fucking obvious and by-now-should-not-even-be-necessary-to-fucking say) point is: the fact that we may be doing better than the average late mediaeval principality would have done does not mean the freethought and skeptical movements now get to say: ‘Oh, let’s not even bother; what’s a little harassment, ‘long as no one’s getting burned at the stake’.

  111. Lyanna says

    Raithial, if blog posts and comments that seem trivial to you are the worst that you have suffered, then just be grateful to us for that. You could be raped, or castrated, or beaten to death for having an opinion. You could be starving. You’re lucky to have the internet, as well as leisure time to troll Ophelia’s blog, so why are you whining about the tiny inconvenience of people fighting injustices you don’t care about? If you read about people being tortured, you would see what sort of bliss you are in.

    Apart from your hypocrisy, you’re just plain wrong: we would stop moving forward if it weren’t for all the activism you find so misplaced. We would stop moving forward and start moving backwards, because social change is never a one-time thing. It requires constant efforts. No movement against an injustice as old as the subjugation of women has ever truly been finished. Maybe someday in the far-off future it will be, but it’s not now.

    have you ever considered that many of those people who call you a “cunt” or a “bitch” aren’t specifically after your gender? I call guys “dicks” and “assholes” equal to the number of “cunts” or “bitches” I call women. I.E. not very often.

    Have you ever considered that you’re not the first, or even the millionth, person to make this inane point?

    Of course I’ve considered it, and it’s irrelevant. “Dick” doesn’t carry the same force or insult as “cunt” or “bitch.” And as for “assholes,” it may surprise you to learn that women have those too, so it’s not a gendered slur.

  112. Lyanna says

    And hey, why not lecture *atheists* for whining so much about how we’re oppressed by religion? After all, if we think about the Inquisition, we would see what bliss we’re in, compared to how bad things have been in the past and still are outside the developed world.

    Why not stop by on every atheist’s blog, since you’re here already, and tell them to just chill?

    Oh wait I forgot–men are allowed to care about issues that affect them, even if they’re not earth-shattering. Women should shut up and see that they’re in “bliss” for not being raped.

  113. Godless Heathen says

    My emphasis was that nomatter how bad things are these days, in the past; they were worse, meaning that we moving forward.

    And the things that were bad about the past wouldn’t have changed if everyone thought “sexism was worse in the past, so there’s no use in doing anything about the sexism that still exists.”

    In the future, hopefully, sexism will be less prevalent and people will look back on 2012 and say “I can’t believe people actually did/said/thought those things.”

    Improvement from the past doesn’t imply perfection now. There’s still a lot of obstacles to fight.

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