There are some memes that need correcting – and when I say “correcting” I mean “multiple repetitions of correction for however long it takes” because that’s how it is with memes: they’re god damn hard to correct and often trying to correct them just entrenches them instead. (So don’t correct them? No, because what else can one do, and because at least they’ll be easier to find.)
One that I see everywhere is that the mysterious “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” had been saying that TAM was bad for women before DJ Grothe called them out with that accusation.
We hadn’t. Or they hadn’t. I don’t know for sure if DJ meant to include me in that group or not, but either way – we or they hadn’t.
In his now notorious reply to Rebecca, he quoted only one item that specified TAM, and that one he cited via the generic address rather than the specific post. The generic address was that of The Skeptical Abyss – which is one of those anonymous sites set up for the sole purpose of talking shit about uppity women. The post DJ quoted from was a set-up for the next post, which was an order to name names. Another description for that would be an invitation to get yourself sued. The one item that named TAM comes from a site that is emphatically supportive of DJ and hostile to feminism and feminists.
The others are Rebecca, Stephanie (several times), and Jen. None of the passages he quoted mentions TAM.
So: DJ said a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics were scaring women away from TAM; Rebecca asked for specifics, and he provided generics. He did not provide any examples of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics talking about TAM.
I know I hadn’t been talking about TAM before that. For one thing, I didn’t know much about it. I had nothing to say. I hadn’t been talking about TAM, and I don’t know that any of the named women had either. But there is now a robust myth that we had all been talking a lot of smack about TAM before DJ ever said anything.
Not true. False. A dud meme.