It’s not just mouthy atheist feminist women. It’s not just mouthy atheist feminist me. It’s not just mouthy feminist gamers, or programmers, or columnists. It’s everywhere.
Like theology, for instance, I see via Marlowe Filippov. JTB at rudetruth:
I’ve been following with some interest, given my previous interaction with the blog on the limerick thing, the conversation on Theoblogy in response to Tony’s question, “where are the women.” My first reaction to this post was positive–despite what some criticized as a prejudicial phrasing of the question–because, after all, concern about the unintended homogeneity of our communities, particularly our Christian communities, is a commendable concern. Moreover, it seemed clear from the post that Tony felt the absence of women’s voices on his blog commentary to be a lack and that he was asking for feedback to rectify what he considered a problem.
Very quickly, as the comment thread spun itself out, a couple of things became clear. The first was that many women did not feel like the comment threads were a space they could enter and be heard or respected; various reasons were offered for this. The second was that Tony was quick to defend his good intentions against these proffered possible reasons for the lack of women’s voices in the blog comments.
Since I myself had dared to enter the fray on the limerick discussion, and had been hard put to defend my (and Julie’s) critique of the limerick contest in conversation with Tony and others, including having to absorb without retaliation more than a few unconstructive and personal comments, I think the suggestion that the general atmosphere of the blog as hostile to women’s voices is pretty accurate. That’s not to suggest that this is anyone’s intention; on the contrary–it’s clearly unintentional. But it is something that can be intentionally addressed, which is what I took Tony’s post “where are the women”
to be a step toward.
It is something that can be intentionally addressed – or it can be called a “witch hunt” and vigorously shouted down by furious defensive men.
JTB decided to do an experiment.
So I commented under the name “James.” And wrote exactly what I would have written as JTB. That is to say, I was myself. With a pretend penis.
And lo and behold! Not only was I respectfully engaged, I actually won agreement from someone who challenged my original comment.
As JTB, in response to my numerous comments on the limerick contest post, I was told my critique was ludicrous; that to hold my opinion suggested I lacked even a modicum of common sense; that I labored under various mistaken assumptions; that I was a buzz kill; that I was vaginal retentive (as opposed to anal, that’s for boys only?); I was even limericked about (a particularly sly dig, given the context); I was never acknowledged by name or as a colleague; and genuine follow-up questions went unanswered completely.
As James, I was addressed by name; asked genuinely critical questions; received an affirmation of the importance of my point; and when I defended my original point, received a concession from my respectful challenger.
That’s stereotype in action. It’s obviously poisonous. Yet mention of the problem – if it has the temerity to include an example – is greeted with roars of rage and wild accusations.