Why, Despite the Incredibly Discouraging Crap That’s Been Going On in Recent Weeks and Months and Years, I Still Have Hope for Organized Atheism

Cologne_Germany_Cologne-Gay-Pride-cheerleadersI know. Here comes Greta, the eternal optimist, the relentless Pollyanna cheerleader, always holding out for hope. Stay with me. I really think I’m right about this.

Yes, the recent weeks in organized atheism have been incredibly discouraging, disheartening, disillusioning, demoralizing, dis- and de- just about every good thing that keeps people engaged in activism. Heck, the recent months and years in organized atheism have often been discouraging. Our most visible representatives are saying and doing horrible things: they’re perpetuating horrible sexist and racist ideas, they’re trivializing rape and making excuses for it and blaming the victims of it, they’re apparently committing sexual assault. The online hatred and harassment squad has been in full force. The defenses, denials, rationalizations, trivializations, and victim-blaming about all of this have been in full force. And in the last few weeks, all of this has been in overdrive. I can totally understand why some people, even people who have been in organized atheism for years — strike that, especially people who have been in organized atheism for years — would be losing hope. I’m feeling it, too.

And I’m not going to say for a second that the awful shit isn’t awful. I’m certainly not going to say that we shouldn’t talk about it just because it’s giving people a sad. I’m not going to tell anyone else that they’re bad or wrong for being disheartened — or even that they have any obligation to stay in organized atheism.

What I’m going to say is that I have hope. And I’m going to explain why. [Read more…]

Michael Brown, Entirely Normal Teenager, Is “No Angel”

Are you fucking kidding me, New York Times?

Michael Brown Spent Last Weeks Grappling With Problems and Promise

Michael Brown was “no angel” — because he got frustrated with his family, sometimes used vulgar language, dabbled in drugs and alcohol, got into one scuffle with a neighbor, wasn’t the best student, once took money meant for shoes and bought a PlayStation, and as a child climbed fences and scribbled on the wall.

None of which makes him an ENTIRELY NORMAL TEENAGER.

Also he “had taken to rapping in recent months.” OOOOOOO! No! Not rapping!

Oh, and he was accused of stealing an iPod, but actually didn’t. Which is relevant how?

Seriously? Are you fucking kidding?

Missouri GOP Chief: Registering Voters “Disgusting” and “Inappropriate”

By Eric W. Dolan at The Raw Story:

The head of the Missouri Republican Party said Tuesday that efforts to register voters in Ferguson, Missouri, were “disgusting” and unhelpful.

“If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is,” Missouri RNC executive director Matt Wills told Breitbart News. “I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”

Wills was responding to reports that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other civil rights activists had set up voter registration booths following the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black teenager who was killed by a Ferguson police officer.

Right. Because encouraging people who have been grossly mistreated by their government to take peaceful, legal action to change that government — that’s disgusting and inappropriate. But they’re also not supposed to protest loudly in the streets. So what are people supposed to do when they’ve been grossly mistreated by their government?

Oh, right. Nothing. They are supposed to do nothing. This is not their government, and they are not supposed to push for it to change in any way.

Just in case we needed any more evidence that the Republican Party is the party that is actively opposed to the very idea of democracy

Fuck you, Republican Party.



Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

Michael Brown and Ferguson: My Greatest Fears for My Friends

Please note: This blog post has a different comment policy from my usual one. It appears at the end of the post.

I keep not writing about this. I keep saying to myself, “This isn’t a good day — I have a deadline; I’m traveling; I just got home from traveling.” I keep saying to myself, “I don’t know enough about it; I haven’t been following it closely enough; other people are already saying what I want to say about it, more eloquently and with better information.”

And I keep realizing that this is bullshit. I keep not writing about this because it’s painful. And that is a bullshit excuse. Any pain I might have about this is completely trivial. And it doesn’t matter that others have written about it. This is one of those times when it doesn’t matter if my voice is original. This is one of those times when being one more person saying, “This is not acceptable, I do not consent to this” is what matters.

*****

I keep thinking about the children in my life, and the young adults in my life. I keep thinking about what my fears are for most of them: global warming, gross economic disparity hand in hand with political corruption, loss of anything resembling privacy.

And then I think about the black male children in my life, and the young black men in my life. And I realize that my greatest fear for them is that they’ll get shot by a cop.

Howard University Mike Brown protest hands up don't shootMy greatest fear for them is that they will get into a car accident, go to a house for help, and get shot by a cop. My greatest fear is that they will pick up a BB gun in a Wal-Mart, and get shot by cops. My greatest fear is that they walk home from a convenience store with a bag of candy, and get shot by neighborhood watch. My greatest fear is that they will get into a fight on a train platform, get restrained face down on that platform, and get shot in the back by a cop. My greatest fear is that they will be walking in broad daylight, and get shot by a copsix times, when they have their hands in the air, and are pleading, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”

Actually — that’s not even it. My greatest fear for the black male children in my life, and the young black men in my life, is that they’ll get shot by a cop — and will get no justice.

My greatest fear is that is that they’ll get shot by a cop, and that their body will be left in the street for hours. My greatest fear is that people protesting their death will be met with militarized police behaving like an occupying army — stalking the streets with drawn weapons, firing rubber bullets and tear gas, and screaming at them, “Bring it, all you fucking animals! Bring it!” My greatest fear is that reporters covering their death, and the protests against their death, will be arrested, and that cops will assault them and threaten them with macing or shooting.

My greatest fear is that they’ll get shot by a cop for the crime of existing while black, while elsewhere in the country, white people openly defy the law, threaten armed revolt against the government, and point guns at law enforcement officials — and the government fires no guns, fires no tear gas, and eventually retreats and concedes the ground.

My greatest fear is that, despite a well-documented pattern of unarmed black men getting shot by cops again and again and again, despite four unarmed black men being killed by cops in the last month alone, millions of people commenting on their death will contort themselves into hyper-skeptical pretzels trying to explain why their shooting had nothing to with race.

And my greatest fear is that nothing they do in their life will protect them from any this. My greatest fear is that they will play by every rule they’re told to play by — play sports, do volunteer work, get married, go to college — and that none of it will protect them.

A few days ago, a friend and colleague of mine — an African American woman with a young black son — was asking on Facebook where she should seek asylum. Canada? New Zealand? Sweden? No part of me even considered saying, “That’s ridiculous, the United States is as safe for you and your son as any place in the world.” I didn’t even ask her what she was talking about. I knew exactly what she was talking about.

Back when I was young and naive, I used to play a pointless game in my head of comparing and contrasting marginalizations. And when I was pondering homophobia, I would say to myself, “Well, there are certainly many ways that other bigotries are worse — but being gay is literally against the law. It’s never been literally against the law to be female, to be poor, to be black.”

I don’t say that anymore.

For all intents and purposes, it is against the law in the United States to be a young black man. To be a young black man in the United States is a crime — punishable by summary execution.


The comment policy on this post is the same as it was on my Trayvon Martin post: I am not willing to host a debate about this on my blog. I am willing to host many debates on my blog, about many issues. I am willing to make my blog into a place for people to express many ideas and opinions with which I passionately disagree. This is not one of those issues, and this is not one of those times. If you have anything at all to say about this that even remotely hints at implying that Michael Brown’s murder was justified or that the police response has been reasonable and proportionate — do not comment in my blog. Now, or ever. Do not read my blog. Do not follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Do not attend my talks. Do not buy my books. Get the fuck out of my life, now. Thank you.



Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

Humanist Foundation Rallying Support for Refugee Children at U.S. Border

See, this is what I’m talking about.

When we talk about the atheist/ humanist community getting involved in humanitarian or social justice issues which disproportionately affect marginalized people — this is what we’re talking about. (Well, one of the things.)

FBB logo

Humanist Foundation Rallying Support for Refugee Children
Campaign to focus on legal advocates for unaccompanied children

(Atlanta, GA) – Foundation Beyond Belief, the nation’s largest humanist charity organization, announced Monday a campaign to raise funds for the legal representation of child refugees who have fled poverty and violence to reach the Southern border of the United States in recent months. The Humanist Crisis Response program is a joint initiative of Foundation Beyond Belief and the American Humanist Association.

FBB has chosen two beneficiaries for the funds raised by this campaign: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, both of which focus on providing attorneys to represent these children in immigration hearings, which are required by federal law. Legal assistance will help the children navigate an immigration system that they have difficulty understanding. KIND and The Florence Project have offices in Texas, Arizona and California and are already offering this assistance, but they need the resources to handle the sudden influx of new refugees.

While many organizations have focused on the crucial task of providing food, shelter and other basic needs for the refugee children, little attention has been paid to getting the legal help they need to navigate an immigration system they don’t understand. KIND and The Florence Project have offices in Texas, Arizona and California and are already offering their assistance, but they need the resources to handle the sudden influx of new refugees.

The overwhelming majority of these child refugees are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and the conditions they left for their dangerous journey to the United States are marked with violence, poverty, and instability. For young girls, especially, sexual violence is a major driving factor. An estimated 86% of these children face immigration hearings alone, with no adult to advise, protect, or explain the situation to them.

“As this crisis has unfolded, it has become clear that a major need for these children is not food and shelter but legal advocacy to protect their basic rights,” said Dale McGowan, executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief. “No child should meet a national immigration system alone. KIND and The Florence Project are doing brilliant work to ensure that they are not alone, and the humanist community is proud to support them.”

“This campaign is an opportunity for humanists to put into practice our values of justice and human rights and to ensure that vulnerable children receive the legal representation that they need,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.

This will be the first Humanist Crisis Response campaign undertaken since FBB and the American Humanist Association joined their efforts earlier this year.

For more information or to interview Dale McGowan, contact Media Relations Coordinator Ed Brayton at 616-894-3123 or press@FoundationBeyondBelief.org. For more information or comment from the American Humanist Association, contact Communications Associate Merrill Miller at 202-238-9088 ext. 105 or merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org.

###

Foundation Beyond Belief is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation created to focus, encourage, and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion. Its members and supporters have raised over $1.6 million for charities around the world and established a network of over 90 humanist volunteer teams in cities across the U.S. For more information, visit www.FoundationBeyondBelief.org.

I just donated. Even small amounts help — they really do add up. Please give what you can. Thanks.

#KnitABrick Knits the Secular Community Together in Response to Hobby Lobby: Guest Post from Amanda Metskas

This is a guest post from Amanda K. Metskas, President of the Secular Coalition for America.

When I learned to knit more than 10 years ago, I never envisioned it would be relevant in my professional life. But with the results of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, now I am knitting to make a difference.

The #KnitABrick campaign came to us at the Secular Coalition for America in a staff meeting as we were brainstorming ways to raise awareness. We wanted to encourage people to do something productive, and since Hobby Lobby is a chain of craft stores, we soon had the idea to encourage “secular craftivism.” You can join us on our Facebook event, and craft and mail bricks to our office.

Secular craftivism includes buying your craft supplies somewhere other than Hobby Lobby and putting your needles and yarn to use to make a statement about real religious freedom: health care shouldn’t be based on an employer’s religious beliefs. We needed a clever hashtag to get attention for our campaign on social media and with that, #KnitABrick was born.

Since, our little campaign has burgeoned into a real movement. We’ve been mentioned in the Washington Post and the National Review, among other publications. People have responded in droves with bricks pouring into our office from all over the world – from places as far away as South Korea and Switzerland.

It has been incredibly touching and exciting to see who is sending in the bricks and why. We’ve gotten heartfelt letters from women and men all over the globe about why reproductive rights and true religious freedom are important to them and their partners.

We’ve gotten bricks knitted by 9-year-old boys. The Secular Coalition for Rhode Island came together and sent us 30 bricks. We’ve received bricks that are quilted, crocheted, and made from yarn that is every color in the rainbow. We’ve gotten bricks from people who learned to knit just so they could #KnitABrick, and we’ve gotten bricks with amazing detail work from expert craftivists.

It has gotten so that our favorite time of day at the office is when the mail arrives and we open up the packages of bricks—we’ve had days where we received more than 75 at a time. And as of yesterday we’ve officially surpassed our first goal of 400 bricks.

People of the less fibre-arts-oriented persuasion have been sponsoring bricks – including 11 awesome people who sponsored me to knit a brick for $100 each, and many more who sponsored interns and staff members to knit bricks for $10 or $25.

Our campaign goes until August 5th, 2014, which happens to be my birthday. For my birthday, please make me #KnitABrick for you. We’ll post a picture with your brick to our Facebook event.

Once we have the bricks in, we’re going to invite people to our office to seam them together – we’re joining as a secular community to rebuild the wall of separation between church and state, one knitted brick at a time.

Some people may say this is silly, and that knitting is not going to change anything, but they are wrong. It’s easy to feel powerless and disillusioned as we browse Facebook and feel outraged about problems that seem beyond our ability to influence. The #KnitABrick campaign is a way to creatively come together and fight that feeling of powerlessness. This campaign concretely demonstrates the ability of regular people all over this country to come together and send a message to our government.

So join us – #KnitABrick, sponsor a brick, share your #KnitABrick story online. You can knit the secular community together with your craftivism. Send bricks to 1012 14th St. NW, Suite 205, Washington, DC 20005.

Amanda Metskas #Knitabrick 1

#knitabrick map 1

#knitabrick map 2

Amanda K. Metskas is the President of the Secular Coalition for America and currently serves as the acting chief executive, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Coalition on an interim basis. Metskas has served on the Secular Coalition Board of Directors since 2009, including in roles as Vice President (2013) and President beginning in January of 2014. Metskas has served as the Executive Director of Camp Quest, one of the Secular Coalition’s voting member organizations, and Vice President of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. In 2009, Metskas co-authored “Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief”, with Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura and Jan Devor. She holds an M.A. in political science from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in international relations and psychology from Brown University.

Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court, and the Toxic Notion of Corporate Personhood

Do you remember back in 2008, when Sarah Palin was asked which Supreme Court decisions she didn’t agree with other than Roe v. Wade, and she couldn’t think of any? I remember it became sort of a game among some of us: as ordinary citizens who were not running for the second highest public office in the country, how many Supreme Court decisions could we think of that we didn’t agree with? I came up with about half a dozen right off the top of my head. Dred Scott, obviously. Plessy v. Ferguson. Bowers v. Hardwick. Bush v. Gore. (Chime in with your own in the comments!)

And — very importantly, so important that I would rank it as one of the most disastrous events in our country’s history, with profound and far-reaching toxic effects touching every aspect of everyone’s lives on a day-to-day basis — Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, in which the Court determined that corporations are legally people, with constitutional rights comparable to those of actual people.

the-corporation-book coverIt’s been pointed out, by many people before me, that if for-profit corporations really were human beings, they would be sociopaths. Their primary motivation is entirely self-serving — in fact, they’re legally required to prioritize maximizing profit over all other concerns. As Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his Citizens United dissent, “Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.” And it’s been pointed out, by many people before me, that corporate personhood tips the balance of power in the U.S. — since corporations have Constitutional rights that actual people have, and they have enormous amounts of wealth that most actual people don’t, they can effectively control the entire political process. Corporate personhood doesn’t just tip the balance of power. It plants a giant Godzilla foot on one side of the balance of power. It crushes the entire scale of justice. Again, to quote Justice Stevens’ Citizens United dissent: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

And now, corporations don’t just have the right to donate as much money to political campaigns as they want to, thus entirely controlling the political process, because money equals free speech and corporations are people with the right to free speech.

They now have the right to religious freedom. With the Hobby Lobby decision, corporations don’t have to obey the law and cover birth control in their health insurance plans, if the corporation’s religious beliefs oppose it.

“The corporation’s religious beliefs.” Roll that phrase over in your head a few times.

Now, here’s the thing. An actual individual person’s right to religious freedom mostly just affects their own actions. They can wear a cross, avoid pork and shellfish, pray to Mecca five times a day. Their religious freedom doesn’t give them the right to control other people’s actions. The only exception I can think of is a parent’s rights to determine their children’s religious upbringing — and even that has limits in most states. It’s true that actual religious organizations, such as churches or synagogues or religious schools, have some rights to control what their employees and participants in their programs can do: they can hire and fire on the basis of religious ideology, demand that students adhere to a religious moral code, etc. But religious organizations have special limits and responsibilities. They can’t endorse political candidates, for one thing (not if they want to stay tax-exempt). And very importantly, they’re expected to have religion as their primary motivation — not the maximization of profit.

But a corporation’s “right” to religious freedom doesn’t only affect their own practices. A corporation’s “right” to religious freedom gives them the right to control, not only their own decisions, but the decisions of the people who work for them. The owners of Hobby Lobby now not only have the right to choose for themselves whether to use birth control — they have the right to make that decision for their employees. The Hobby Lobby decision essentially gives corporations the same rights as religious organizations — with none of the special limits or responsibilities.

You might argue that people don’t have to work for Hobby Lobby if they don’t like their policies. You might argue that Hobby Lobby employees can pay for their own birth control, separate from the health insurance provided by their employers. The problem with that is that we have a shitty economy, in which huge numbers of people are financially unstable and insecure at best. We have an antiquated health insurance system in which health care is tied, for absurd reasons rooted in obsolete historical quirks, to employment. We have a country in which “take this job and shove it” is, for huge numbers of people, simply not an option. And we have all this, again, largely because of laws and policies controlled by corporate money.

Lt. Angela Banks draws blood from a mannequin during training for antilogous blood transfusionThere are religions that permit, and even demand, discrimination on the basis of race. Can corporations now fire black employees, or refuse to serve black customers, if they claim that it’s part of their religion? There are religions that permit, and even demand, segregation by gender. Can corporations now fire women, or refuse to serve women customers, or demand that women employees and customers work and shop separately from men, if they claim that it’s part of their religion? Can corporations now fire employees, or refuse to serve customers, based on their religion — or lack thereof? As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent, “Would the exemption… extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]… Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”

Corporations in the United States have nearly unlimited power. And with today’s Hobby Lobby ruling, corporations now have the rights of individuals, and the rights of religious organizations, and the rights of… well, of corporations. Plus they have massive wealth. And because they control the political process, they have the power to keep expanding that power. (If you think the Supreme Court is beyond the reach of corporations — think about who appoints and approves them.) They have nearly unlimited power. They have the power to keep expanding that power. And they are required by law to maximize their self-interest over all other concerns.

Does that seem like a good idea?

There is a serious movement happening to amend the Constitution and overturn corporate personhood. Please support Move to Amend and Wolf PAC: sign their petitions, support the organizations, and spread the word. And obviously: Boycott Hobby Lobby.

Elliot Rodger and Misogyny Denialism: The Call Is Coming From Inside The House

How much more clear does it have to get?

When men in Islamist theocracies assault, rape, and kill women, we have no problem calling it misogynist hatred. When they explicitly state that their motivation is to enforce God’s gender roles and put women in their place, we have no problem calling it misogynist hatred. And we have no problem laying the blame, in large part, on the culture that teaches this hatred, and on the thousands of ways both large and small that Islamist theocratic culture teaches this despicable concept of women.

So why is it so hard to see the Isla Vista shootings as motivated by misogyny?

Elliot RodgerA man participated regularly, and for some time, in online forums devoted to the hatred of women, part of a “men’s rights” (MRA) subculture devoted to the hatred of women. He made multiple YouTube videos devoted to the hatred of women. (The last one of which included the words, “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it”; “I’ve wanted a girlfriend, I’ve wanted sex, I’ve wanted love, affection, adoration, but you think I’m unworthy of it. That’s a crime that can never be forgiven”; and “If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you.”) He wrote a 140-page manifesto clearly outlining his vicious hatred of women, and his dehumanizing view of them, as his motivation for the crime he was about to commit. (A manifesto that said, among many other things, that “Women should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with”; that “The ultimate evil behind sexuality is the human female”; that “Women are like a plague. They don’t deserve to have any rights. Their wickedness must be contained in order to prevent future generations from falling to degeneracy. Women are vicious, evil, barbaric animals, and they need to be treated as such”; and that ” I cannot kill every single female on earth, but I can deliver a devastating blow that will shake all of them to the core of their wicked hearts.”) As Lindsay Beyerstein wrote on Facebook: “I read Rodger’s manifesto twice. I wish all English comp students could formulate a thesis and support it as clearly as he did. Rodger told the world exactly why he went on this killing spree. He spelled it out in excruciating detail and sent his narrative of the killings to the media. In case that wasn’t enough, he made a series of YouTube videos to cement his narrative of his own crime in the public mind.”

Yet so many people are contorting themselves into pretzels to deny the connection between the Isla Vista shootings and misogyny. So many people are contorting themselves into pretzels to find any motivation at all other than misogyny. What the fuck is going on here?

Is it likely that many different factors played a role in these shootings? Of course. That doesn’t mean misogyny was not one of those factors, and a major one. Were men killed in the shooting spree as well as women? Yes. That doesn’t mean misogyny was not a major motivating factor: misogyny has splash damage that spatters blood onto men as well as women. Is it possible that some sort of mental or emotional disturbance played a role in the Isla Vista shootings? Sure. A case could be made that misogynist hatred on this level is, in and of itself, a clear symptom of being disturbed. A case could be made that misogynist hatred on this level is, in and of itself, by definition, deeply disturbed. That doesn’t make it not misogyny.

Birmingham church bombingWhat’s more, many people are falling all over themselves to chide feminists for bringing up misogyny, for “politicizing” the Isla Vista shootings and “using” it to advance our agenda. It’s weird. When we talk about the Boko Haram schoolgirl kidnappings and connect it with misogynist Islamist theocracy, it’s not “politicizing”; when activists around the world screamed in agony over four little black girls blown up in a church by hateful racists, it wasn’t “politicizing.” But somehow, connecting the dots between (a) a man who explicitly and repeatedly named misogyny and the dehumanization of women as the motivation for his mass murder, and (b) misogynist elements of our culture that treat the dehumanization of women as normal and acceptable — somehow, that’s “politicizing.”

What the actual fucking fuck is going on here? [Read more…]

“Who cares, Granny? Pipe down.” “are u a dude or a gurl?”

A couple more pieces of joy from Twitter, in response to my #YesAllWomen tear.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 5.05.27 PM

Me: @AUseaotter So you know who random attention seekers are, vs. “real” sexists? As if seeking attention by trolling #YesAllWomen isn’t sexist?

Asshole on Twitter: @GretaChristina @AUseaotter are u a dude or a gurl?

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 5.05.55 PM

Me: @AUseaotter So you know who random attention seekers are, vs. “real” sexists? As if seeking attention by trolling #YesAllWomen isn’t sexist?

Second Asshole on Twitter: @GretaChristina @AUseaotter Who cares, Granny? Pipe down.

It’s really striking when Lewis’ Law — “Comments on any article about feminism justify feminism” — get demonstrated so blatantly. Sometimes sexism, gender policing, and misogyny are subtle and unconscious — but sometimes, they’re really, really not. Sometimes, they get spelled out as explicitly as is humanly possible. Literally telling a feminist woman, in words, that she doesn’t fit prescribed gender roles? Literally telling a feminist woman, in words, that she’s old and should stop talking? It would make me laugh, if it weren’t so sad. Or, alternately: It would make me cry, if it weren’t so funny.

For the record: I don’t find “you don’t fit prescribed gender roles, and I find your gender presentation confusing!” to be an insult. Quite the contrary. Gender normativity is boring and stupid. And to the degree that “I find your gender presentation confusing!” is supposedly an insult because saying someone is trans or appears to be trans is supposedly an insult: Fuck that noise. As it happens, I’m cisgender, but fuck that noise.

And for the record: Who cares? I’ll tell you who cares. The thousands of people who have bought my books; the thousands of people who regularly read my writing in AlterNet, Salon, The Humanist, and Free Inquiry; the roughly 2,000 – 6,000 people who read my blog every day (more when I have a spike); my close to 10,000 Facebook readers; my over 10,000 Twitter followers; the “I’ve lost track of how many but certainly in the thousands by now” people who have come to hear me speak, not even counting conferences and the Reason Rally; the 199,127 people who have watched my “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” talk on YouTube (okay, that’s almost certainly not 199,127 unique people, but still). That’s who cares. Bugs you, doesn’t it? The fact that I — a woman, a feminist woman, and a middle-aged feminist woman at that — am successfully making a full-time living by writing and speaking words that people want to read… that really gets under your skin, doesn’t it?

Some More Really Good Posts on Elliot Rodger, Misogyny, and Misogyny Denialism

Content note: misogyny, violence against women, misogyny denialism.

I’m working on my own post about Elliot Rodger, misogyny, and misogyny denialism. In the meantime, here is a roundup of some more of the best stuff I’ve read about it. I’m finding it really helpful to read what other people are writing about this: it’s clarifying my own thoughts, and it’s making me feel less alone. (My previous roundup is here.)

Arthur Chu, The Daily Beast, Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds (total genius, an absolute must-read):

I’ve heard Elliot Rodger’s voice before. I was expecting his manifesto to be incomprehensible madness—hoping for it to be—but it wasn’t. It’s a standard frustrated angry geeky guy manifesto, except for the part about mass murder.

I’ve heard it from acquaintances, I’ve heard it from friends. I’ve heard it come out of my own mouth, in moments of anger and weakness.

Lindsay Beyerstein, Duly Noted, Elliot Rodger’s War on Women:

By any meaningful standard, Rodger planned and executed a terrorist attack. He orchestrated the violence for maximum symbolic impact and took steps to disseminate his message through the mass media. In many ways, he’s a classic example of what terrorism experts call a lone wolf or self-radicalized terrorist.

Rodger’s beliefs were extreme even relative to the most fevered corners of the Men’s Rights Movement. However, his views did not emerge from an ideological vacuum. Rodger’s views were a logical extension of misogynist philosophy that says that women need to be dominated and controlled for the good of society.

Attempting to shoot up a sorority house because you want to control women is just as political and just as terroristic as attempting to shoot up an abortion clinic.

Soraya Chemaly, XOJane, When Do We Talk About “Unpleasant” Truths In the Wake of Elliot Rodger’s Destruction?:

I wanted to yell, this is a man who said he wanted to put women in concentration camps and starve them. Why is the news media not saying that? He was sick, yes, but there are men who are effectively doing this to children and women in their homes, here and elsewhere, as we go about our lives. They exist on a continuum not separate from us, but alongside us.

Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet, 4 Myths About Sex and Women That Prop Up the New Misogyny:

Unsurprisingly, then, there’s a great deal of misinformation upholding the troubling trend of new misogyny that festers in everything from “men’s rights” forums to “pick-up artist” communities to the various rape apologists and two-bit woman haters that litter the right wing media landscape. The tragic shooting in Isla Vista, which was committed by a young but hardened misogynist named Elliot Rodger, has shown a spotlight on this weird but influential world where ugly myths about gender and sexuality flourish.

Amanda Marcotte again, The New Prospect, How ‘Pick-Up Artist’ Philosophy and Its More Misogynist Backlash Shaped Mind of Alleged Killer Elliot Rodger:

Obviously, the discourse of male entitlement to female attention has long been a problem in our society. Young men angry at women for supposedly overlooking their charms for less worthy and more brutish sexual rivals existed long before The Game was published or PUA/MRA forums proliferated online. But the internet and the PUA community have created a self-haven for young men engaged in this self-pitying discourse, encouraging them to cultivate that chip on their shoulders, wallowing in misogynist accusations that women en masse are failing them by not giving up the sex these ostensibly unappreciated men believe they deserve. With so many men spending so much time egging each other on, and trying to top each other when it comes to blaming women for their own pitiful lives—to the point of advocating for the denial of basic rights to women—it’s little surprise that one of them would finally work up the nerve to get his “revenge” for all these imagined slights.

David Futrelle, We Hunted the Mammoth (formerly Manboobz), Men’s Rights Activists respond to the Elliot Rodger murders with a hearty “Nothing to see here! Move along!”:

It’s not that they’re not talking about the tragedy. A look through the top 100 posts in the Men’s Rights subreddit, the largest Men’s Rights forum online, reveals that roughly a third of them, including the top stickied post, relate in some way to Elliot Rodger’s rampage and the discussions that have come up online and in the media in its aftermath.

But the message of virtually all of these posts is: “Nothing to see here! Move along!” There are numerous posts expressing outrage that anyone would see any connection between Rodger’s toxic misogyny to the Men’s Rights movement; there are others mocking and attacking the #YesAllWomen hashtag; there’s even one suggesting that Rodger, who wrote about how he longed to watch all the women of the world starve to death in concentration camps, wasn’t actually a misogynist at all.

vampmissedith, cry laugh feel love peace panic, When I was a freshman:

When he was arrested, some of my sister’s friends (some female, even) told her that she was selfish for saying no so many times. That because of her, the entire school was in jeopardy. That it wouldn’t have killed her to say yes and give it a try, but because she was so mean to him, he lost his temper. Many of her male friends said it was “girls like her” that made all women seem like cockteases.

Wouldn’t have killed her to say yes? If a man is willing to shoot someone for saying no, what happens to the poor soul who says yes? What happens the first time they disagree? What happens the first time she says she doesn’t want to have sex? That she isn’t in the mood? When they break up?