Columbus Day

Found on Facebook:

Columbus Day ecard

Let’s celebrate Columbus Day by walking into someone’s house and telling them we live there now.

Let’s celebrate Columbus Day by walking into someone’s house and telling them we live there now. And shooting them when they don’t leave. And giving them small-pox infested blankets. And giving them new, crappy houses — which we then move into at gunpoint. And doing that again. And again.

Sigh.

“Keep up the good work”: Fighting sexism helps

I got this email a few days ago from Shane, which I’m quoting with permission, responding to my post, A Woman’s Room Online: Misogyny, and the Idea That the Internet Isn’t Real.

Ouch and thanks.

I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. You have opened my eyes on a lot of issues, especially LGBT and women’s issues. I have room to grow. The Woman’s Room Online post hit me in the gut and then I realized, that’s what it feels like for a white straight male. Holy shit. For me, it’s terrible. For a woman, it’s got to be terror. How fucking awful we people manage to be. Anyway, thanks.

Keep up the good work.

Keep up the good work.

I get emails and comments like this every week. I used to get emails and comments every week saying, “I am now an atheist, in part, because of you.” I do still get those, although not quite as often, since I’m not spending as much time writing about 13 More Reasons God Doesn’t Exist. Now I get emails and comments every week saying, “I am now a feminist, in part, because of you.” And every feminist writer, speaker, podcaster, organizer, activist of any stripe that I know gets these comments as well.

So keep up the good work. All of us. All of us who are working to change people’s minds about sexism, about racism, about all the awful shit that happens in the world. Keep up the good work. It’s working.

We Take Feedback From Our Misogynist Customers Seriously: Intel Issues Pseudo-Apology for Gamasutra/ Gamergate Debacle

Intel-logoSo last week, misogynist gamer advocates GamerGate convinced Intel to pull its advertising from the gaming website Gamasutra, in order to punish Gamasutra for publishing a feminist opinion piece about gaming culture that they didn’t like. An entirely predictable Internet firestorm ensued.

Intel has issued a pseudo-apology for the debacle. Here’s what they said — and here’s what it sure as heck looks like they were really saying.

We take feedback from customers seriously.

Translation: We hate losing money.

For the time being, Intel has decided not to continue with our current ad campaign on the gaming site Gamasutra.

Translation: We hate losing money, and we have decided that misogynist dudebros spend more money on our products than the people who are fighting misogyny. This week, anyway. We are incredibly short-sighted, and have no clue about how public opinion on this issue is shifting, or how bad the word “Intel” is going to taste in people’s mouths a year from now, or two years, or five.

However, we recognize that our action inadvertently created a perception that we are somehow taking sides in an increasingly bitter debate in the gaming community. That was not our intent, and that is not the case.

Translation: We put our foot into something we had no clue about and didn’t do our homework about. Now that we’ve done it, though, we’re not willing to undo it, since we don’t want to anger the misogynist dudebros. (We have also never heard the phrase “intention is not magic,” and we think that not meaning to take sides with misogynist dudebros magically absolves of of responsibility for the fact that we did exactly that.) We don’t understand that it is literally impossible to not take sides in this debate. We don’t understand that refusing to act is supporting the status quo.

Alternate translation: We made a calculated decision to prioritize misogynist dudebros over the women who are harmed by them and their allies. That was totally our intent. We just hoped that nobody would notice. We completely understand that it is literally impossible to not take sides in this debate — we’re just trying to take those sides quietly, and without pissing anybody off. We completely understand that refusing to act is supporting the status quo. The status quo has been working pretty well for us, and we’re okay with it. We just don’t want to take responsibility for that choice. [Read more...]

#mencallmethings: “filthy looking beast,” “cunt”

Content note: misogynist harassment

On Twitter:

Asshole on Twitter, who didn’t like the fact that their Tweets wound up in Amy Roth’s art installation about online misogyny, and who I blocked:

Blocked by @GretaChristina So that’s how it works, you take my comments out of context (The Glue God) then turn your back like a coward? LOL

Second asshole on Twitter, replying to first asshole:

@SteveOortcloud @GretaChristina It’s not much of a lost. She is a filthy looking beast! I would welcome the block from that cunt!

#mencallmethings

I’m reminded once again of Lewis’s Law: “Comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.” In particular, it’s fascinating how “It wasn’t fair to include my Tweets in the art show about misogyny” got replied to with, “Don’t worry, she’s an ugly cunt.” Because that’s really going to convince me that online misogyny isn’t an issue. And it’s fascinating to see someone spell out, in words, that there’s no point following a woman on Twitter if she’s not pretty. m-/

[Read more...]

A Woman’s Room Online: Misogyny, and the Idea That the Internet Isn’t Real

Content note: misogyny, harassment, threats of violence and rape and death, images of same

Here’s the thing. For hundreds of millions of people, the Internet is our workplace: we go there to collaborate, to do research, to promote our work. The Internet is the place where we meet our friends. It’s where we get our news. It’s where we organize charity activity, or political activity. For hundreds of millions of people, the Internet is a central hub of human activity.

Now. Think about what it would be like if every time you went to work, every time you went out with friends, every time you went out to get a newspaper, every time you went on a charity walkathon, every time you went to a neighborhood meeting to plan the new public park, you had people screaming at you how worthless you are, how ugly you are, how much they hate you, how much they want to torture and rape and kill you.

Think about showing up to work at 8:30 in the morning, and sitting down in this room.

A Woman's Room Online 23 [Read more...]

Godless Perverts Social Club, October 7 and October 16!

Godless Perverts Banner

The Godless Perverts Social Club is now meeting in San Francisco twice a month — first Tuesdays, and third Thursdays! In October, we’ll be meeting Tuesday October 7, and Thursday October 16.

The Godless Perverts Social Club is the socializing/ hanging out branch of Godless Perverts. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. So please join us — on Tuesday October 7, and/or on Thursday October 16! [Read more...]

“Coming Out Atheist” at the Upper Arlington Library!

This makes me so happy! One of my readers sent me this picture. It’s a photo of my book, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why — the copy that belongs to the Upper Arlington Library in Ohio!

Coming Out Atheist Upper Arlington Library

It makes me supremely happy to see that my books are in libraries. It means that people who can’t afford to buy books can still read them. (My books are pretty affordable if you get them as ebooks — and no, you don’t need an ebook reader to read ebooks, you just need a computer or a smartphone — but I understand that even the cost of an ebook will stretch the budget for many people.) It means that my books are available to people who are doing research. And it means that people who are just browsing in library shelves can come across them.

In fact, I’m going to ask all y’all a favor. Could you request that your library carry either or both of my 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? It’d be nice to ask bookstores about it, too. Yes, the books are carried by standard distributors, including Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and IPG. (Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More isn’t out in physical print yet, otherwise I’d be asking you to request that one, too.)

And if you see a copy of either book in your library and/or bookstore, could you take a picture and send it to me? Thanks!



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.

The “Coming Out Atheist” Donation Recipient for September 2014: Secular Student Alliance

Coming Out Atheist coverAs some of you may already know, I’ve pledged to donate 10% of my income from my new book, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, to atheist organizations, charities, and projects.

Here’s why. I got lots of help with this book, and working on it felt very much like a collaboration, a community effort. (To some extent that’s true with any book, but it was even more true with this one.) Because coming out is really different for different atheists, it was hugely important to get detailed feedback on the book, so my personal perspective wasn’t completely skewing my depiction of other people’s experiences. So I asked lots of friends and colleagues to give me detailed feedback on the book: either on the book as a whole, or on particular chapters about atheists with very different experiences from mine (such as the chapters on parents, students, clergy, people in the U.S. military, and people in theocracies). Many people were very generous with their time helping out: they put a whole lot of time and work and thought into a project that wasn’t theirs, because they thought it would benefit the community. And, of course, I had the help of the hundreds of people who wrote in with their coming-out story, or who told their coming-out story in one of the books or websites I cited, or who just told me your coming-out story in person.

secular student alliance logoI want to give some of that back. So I’m donating 10% of my income from this book to atheist organizations, charities, and projects: a different one each month. Each month, one of the people who helped with the book gets to pick the recipient. The recipient for September 2014, chosen by Dale McGowan, is the Secular Student Alliance. [Read more...]

Help Get Jamila Bey’s Radio Show Back As a Podcast!

Jamila BeyJamila Bey’s voice is one of the smartest, funniest, most insightful, most powerful voices in the atheist movement. A Washington, DC-based journalist, she put herself through college as a reporter, and did a decade’s worth of hard labor at NPR as an editor and a producer for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and more. And she is one of the best speakers on the atheist speakers’ circuit. If you’ve never heard her speak, you’re missing out.

She wants to relaunch her Sex, Politics and Religion Hour radio show as a podcast — exploring all the topics one was never supposed to raise in polite company. Please help her do it! The goal is a pretty modest one — we should be able to reach it pretty easily, if everyone who reads this blog donated just $5 we’d be there in a heartbeat — but today is the last day of the crowdfunder, so we have to do it now!

Please donate if you can. Even small amounts help — they really do add up. And spreading the word also helps — share the crowdfunder on Facebook, Twitter, Ello, whatever social media you use. Let’s make this happen, people!

How Dare You Show Me My Mistake! My Reply to Phil Zuckerman About the Global Gender Breakdown of Atheism

So when I wrote that globally, there’s no gender split in atheism, and that men being more likely to be non-believers than women is a localized phenomenon — was I mistaken?

Phil ZuckermanPhil Zuckerman — professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College, author of Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment, Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion, and the upcoming book Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions (scheduled for publication in December) — thinks so. Here’s a link to his article. The tl;dr: He says most of the current data supports the conclusion that men are more likely to be atheists than women, pretty much around the world. How much more likely varies — the gender difference in non-belief varies from country to country — but with a couple of exceptions (example: self-designated agnostics in Japan and Belgium are about evenly split between women and men), men around the world are, on average, more likely to be secular than women. The poll I was citing in my piece — WIN-Gallup International “Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism 2012,” August 6, 2012 (PDF, Table 8, page 20 of 25) — is an outlier. To quote Dr. Zuckerman about this poll, “It may very well be valid. But for now, it is such a major outlier — so much so, that until we have more studies and more data confirming these unique and exceptional findings, we should remain skeptical.”

For the record, Dr. Zuckerman doesn’t think this gender difference in non-belief comes primarily from innate differences between the sexes. He doesn’t know where it comes from, although he posits a number of possible explanations, mostly sociological (although he’s “not going to totally, utterly discount or disregard biology outright”). And he says, “Of course, none of the above means that this gendered difference is fated and eternal. In 25 years, we could find different results.” But he does think that the poll I was citing is an outlier, and that when I said there there’s no global gender split in atheism, I was mistaken.

A number of people have pointed me to Dr. Zuckerman’s piece, and have asked me to respond. Here’s my response:

How. Dare. You.

HOW DARE YOU?!?!?

You’re deliberately misunderstanding what I obviously meant! You’re going out of your way to twist my words and make me look bad! You’re determined to be offended! You’re looking for people to be angry at! You’re trying to stir up controversy! You thrive on drama and attention! You’re trying to get rich through blog traffic and book sales! You’re being politically correct! You’re on a witch hunt! You’re the thought police! All those people who say how horrible you are, the people who harass you and threaten you and spread disinformation about you and keep re-registering new Twitter accounts when you block them so they can keep harassing you — they’ve got it right about you! You are a horrible person, and you’re destroying atheism and freethought!

Or, to put it another way:

You’re probably right. You have more experience, more expertise, and more knowledge in this area than I do. My mistake.

I’ll say that again, and I’ll put it in boldface and italics so readers can’t miss it, and I’ll clarify for the irony-impaired that this is what I actually mean and the “How dare you?” rant was a snarky jab at public figures who respond poorly to criticism:

You’re probably right. You have more experience, more expertise, and more knowledge in this area than I do. My mistake.

I still think the bulk of my criticism of Harris was correct and fair. I think his original statement about the supposedly innate causes of the gender split in his followers was sexist; and I think his follow-up statement supposedly clarifying his original statement was sexist. As I wrote earlier: I think these statements were sexist, even if you do accept some degree of innate gender difference between women and men. And I think they’re still sexist, even if there is a global gender split in atheism (which I’m now convinced there probably is, although it’s interesting that it varies so much from country to country). Given how massive and pervasive gender policing is (and how extensively well-documented this policing is), I think it’s sexist to immediately reach for “the difference is innate, manbrains and ladybrains are born so different” as the default explanation for gender differences. (I’ve written a more thorough explanation of why this is elsewhere.)

And as Dr. Zuckerman himself stated, there are lots of possible explanations for this gender split. Possible causes that he cites are that having less power and privilege and agency (as women do) can make people turn to religion for consolation and support; that women are socialized to be less assertive and less independent, making them more vulnerable to religion; that it could have to do with women’s expected roles as caregivers, or with the greater expectation that women work inside the home. I would add to that list of possible causes: the cultural expectation that being religious and passing religion on to children is women’s work; a culture that equates being religious with being civilized and moral (especially sexually moral), and that sees enforcing civilization and morality (especially sexual morality) as women’s work; the fact that religion is one of the few arenas where women traditionally have some power and social status (women often do much of the day-to-day running of religious institutions, even though men are usually the most visible leaders); the pervasiveness of sexism and misogyny in organized atheism. Given that we know all this, and given that the gender split in atheism does vary so much from country to country, and given that the evidence for significant innate gender differences in behavior and psychology in humans is tenous at best, I think it’s extremely sexist to immediately reach for “innate differences between manbrains and ladybrains” as the explanation for this gender split in atheism.

But when it comes to the specific question of whether there really are more male atheists than female atheists worldwide, it seems likely that I was mistaken, and that the study I was citing was an outlier. My apologies.

Now. How hard was that? [Read more...]