Too much incoming today.
Ben Radford Accused of Sexual Harassment.
I’ve heard of several other “big name” skeptics who loudly argue online against any and all anti-harassment measures who are known for actually sexually harassing women in the meatspace. I’m hesitant to name them for legal reasons, because none have ever sexually harassed me personally and the women who told me about them haven’t gone on record. I’m very glad that Radford’s name was leaked, because it’s extraordinarily important that women know who to watch out for and for conference organizers to know who they’re putting on stage.
If you’ve been seriously harassed by a member of the skeptic/atheist community, I hope that you consider publicizing the name.
a post at Jezebel.Amanda Marcotte has a post at Slate.
Most mainstream media stories about women in the growing skeptic/secularist/science education movement (the boundaries between the three are pretty porous), it’s usually with
articles and videos asking, “where are all the women?” But people within these circles know that there are actually a lot of female leaders, and the real woman problem is sexual harassment.
As Rebecca Watson, a major writer and speaker on the skeptic/atheist circuit
wrote in , the amount of sexual harassment aimed at women over even the tiniest suggestions of how to make the movement more female-friendly Slate last year is absolutely stunning. Watson herself has been subject to two years of non-stop online harassment because she made a video where she casually suggested that cornering women in elevators in the middle of the night is not best practices for making them feel safe. When the Center for Inquiry, a major free thought organization, held a conference titled Women in Secularism (full disclosure: I was a speaker at this conference), angry anti-feminists in the movement deluged the Twitter hashtag for the conference with so much misogynist garbage that it became unreadable.
And that experience was repeated, though I think with less intensity, at the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference six week later.
This sort of thing isn’t just a problem because women deserve better than this, though that alone is reason enough for leaders in the skeptic community to do more to combat sexual harassment within their ranks. This is also a problem because this movement, despite what the haters may think, needs women. Feminism and secularism are tightly entwined movements, as they share a common foe: the religious right. To deny the importance of feminism means ignoring some of the biggest fights to defend science and religious freedom, such as the battle over reproductive rights. Additionally, this kind of tolerance for sexual harassment undermines larger efforts to get more women into the sciences. Interest in skepticism and science education is a gateway for a lot of women into careers in science, but if that gateway is littered with trolls shouting sexual abuse at you, a lot of women are understandably going to turn away. (
Though maybe the humanities could benefit.)
Unfortunately that’s exactly what
some people want – to drive most women away.
a rather cryptic statement.
On Twitter we’re being told that “we are sexual beings” and
that flirtation out of nowhere is fine.