Somebody is going to have to explain comedy to me »« Episode CCCXLVII: The Saga of Thunderf00t

The Saga of Paula Kirby

This is going to confuse some angry trolls. We’ve got one thread persecuting Thunderf00t, and now I’m going to add another one dissing Paula Kirby. I love the stuff Kirby has written before, so it was horribly depressing to read that illogical hash she recently wrote: The Sisterhood of the Oppressed. Apparently, it’s really bad and bullying to call people names, so she calls me and many others Feminazis and Femistasi.

I know! It makes no sense!

I just find it too depressing, so I’m just going to pass the baton on to Jadehawk and Suirauqa to administer the drubbing. They do it well.

Comments

  1. says

    Jasper: Feminism is a resistance ideology which tackles any number of assumptions and/or concepts people use in their daily life.

    They fear feminism and the future.

  2. says

    What is it about feminism equality that turns some people into drooling quivering blobs of goo?

    Fixed that for you.

    Any pro-equal movement will be met with fierce resistance from those who are already “more equal than others”.

  3. Beatrice says

    Pausing on the third page. My jaw keeps hitting the table and that just hurts.
    She certainly loves her Nazi analogy.

    Deep breath.

    Back to reading.

  4. says

    Paula Kirby is sort of a “Fox News Feminist” isn’t she? Sort of how Fox “News” has a couple of pet “Democrats” and even a pet atheist (S.E. Cupp) to parrot their nonsense. There’s big money in being the “Democrat who opposes the Democratic party platform” or the “atheist who believes Christianity is awesome and is unfairly attacked.” Not much integrity involved but you can get a pretty tidy paycheck for showing the opposite of principled behavior.

    Kirby seems to have decided that it is in her best interest to score points with her male peers by being the woman they can point to when someone points out their sexism and say “see, Paula Kirby agrees with me and she’s a woman! I can’t be a misogynistic assclown!”

  5. 'Tis Himself says

    I keep wondering who pissed in Paula Kirby’s Cheerios to make her so angry at the idea of equality for women.

  6. says

    ‘Feminism’ refers to many different movements. The general pattern of dumb attacks on it takes the form of making a Frankenstein’s monster out of pieces of different kinds of feminism, real and sometimes imaginary, and attacking it. It’s not the same thing as a strawman attack. It’s what I call a Frankenstein attack. I haven’t read this essay so it might not be doing that, but since I see it so often with attacks on feminism, I’ll just go ahead and guess that it does that.

  7. frankb says

    A large section of Paula’s treatise was about her sociological observations on how difficult it was to get women speakers. She didn’t know the cause but she was sure it was not the menz. Methinks her bias is showing.

  8. jackrawlinson says

    The Feminazi stuff was silly, and wrong, and allowed you to hone in on that whilst ignoring the central thrust of her argument, which is basically sound.

    Do a little Googling and you’ll see that there’s something of a backlash building against you people. And it isn’t because we’re all misogynist MRA assholes yada yada. Much as you need to keep telling your self-congratulating selves that.

  9. says

    Kirby seems to have decided that it is in her best interest to score points with her male peers by being the woman they can point to when someone points out their sexism and say “see, Paula Kirby agrees with me and she’s a woman! I can’t be a misogynistic assclown!”

    This was defined for me a couple of days ago as a “chill girl.” So, like, an Uncle Tom for feminism?

  10. thomasfoss says

    Improbable Joe: I see it as more a combination of unrecognized privilege and the same “I’ve got mine” mentality that one sees in just about every stripe of American conservative. There’s a strong meme running through conservatism (at least here) that no one should have anything handed to them, and anyone who’s suffering/impoverished/underprivileged is that way because they’re lazy or unwilling to do the basic work. There’s a willful blindness to the fact that no one gets by without handouts and help (somehow the handouts are more legitimate when they come from rich ancestors), and that there is a system that works specifically to prevent people from moving up the social ladder.

    Those lucky few who make it up that ladder are unwilling to see themselves as the recipients of handouts, benefiting from the “by your bootstraps” philosophy as much as anyone else who’s perpetuating it. And once they’re at the top, well, why would they want to dismantle a system that they worked so hard to get good at, that benefits them so much right now?

  11. ChasCPeterson says

    oo! jackrawlinson!!
    Can you confirm or deny the rumor that you are Elevator Guy?

  12. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Do a little Googling and you’ll see that there’s something of a backlash building against you people.

    You don’t say. I have not noticed the likes of you all over the fucking place.

    Please, point out what you find to be “sound”. Your second paragraph does nothing to support your first.

    Oh, what, you are here to sneer. That is all you ever fucking do.

  13. Matt Penfold says

    Real women? She writes real women.

    Just like that idiot at the weekend, the one with the most inappropriate name of “reasonable fellow”.

    She really is pretty clueless when it comes to language. She claims she is not a misogynist, yet happily use the terminology of misogyny, such as “real women” or “feminazi”.

  14. Chaos Engineer says

    Do a little Googling and you’ll see that there’s something of a backlash building against you people. And it isn’t because we’re all misogynist MRA assholes yada yada

    I did some Googling, and all the backlash I saw seemed to be coming from misogynist MRA’s, racist lunkheads, lackwitted fundamentalists, the most debased sorts of hyper-libertarians, and a handful of people that manage to take all of those characteristics and combine them into some kind of incoherent frothing mass of bilious stupidity. It’s depressing!

    Can you maybe give me the Google keywords you’re searching on, or just a direct link?

  15. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    You know the answer, mythbri, the Feminazis and Femistasis.

    Funny how there is an alliance there.

  16. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And it isn’t because we’re all misogynist MRA assholes yada yada.

    Fixed that for you liar and bullshitter JR.

  17. says

    I’ve said it before, Paula (and probably also Richard) like their atheism clean, and untainted from other social justice movements. Feminism is suspect to them, and especially Paula Kirby seems to have a kind of irrational fear of anything related to feminism issues (for any values of feminism greater or equal to “women should have the same rights as men”).

  18. Kalliope says

    Does anyone else imagine jackrawlinson’s voice and manner to be like Francis Buxton from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? No, just me?

    As for Kirby’s piece, it’s downright bizarre. Just incoherent and bizarre. It would be fun to pick it apart, but as a piece, it’s just complete and utter mess.

  19. says

    The Feminazi stuff was silly, and wrong, and allowed you to hone in on that whilst ignoring the central thrust of her argument, which is basically sound.

    What argument? I made it through the second page and she was still defending the nazi remarks, without ever really explaining how our arguing tactics here equate to the systematic genocide, pogroms, medical experiments on prisoners and scorched earth policy practiced by the real Nazis.
    She also blows a whole paragraph on one unnamed harassment victim of one unnamed Twitter user, as if that completely offsets the death and rape threats reported and documented by virtually every well-known feminist blogger that I’m aware of.
    Backlash? Women are still trying to deal with the frontlash.
    If you’re trying to scare us, I suggest holding a flashlight under your chin.

  20. says

    @Tom #15:

    Certainly, Kirby has taken on a conservative/libertarian/sociopath position on other women. She says that the solution is for women to be “responsible” for themselves and their own successes and failures, which is not only a clear declaration of her unearned and unrecognized-by-her privilege, but also a rejection of the social contract (tying back into the Enlightenment principles behind freethought). She’s happy to accept all of the benefits (both earned and unearned) that her privileged position affords her, but sees no responsibility to be concerned about anyone else outside of her little social circle.

  21. Kalliope says

    But I will say this in my defense of the charges of Feminazi and Femistasi.

    I don’t even speak German. Therefore, doesn’t apply. QED.

  22. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    She really is pretty clueless when it comes to language. She claims she is not a misogynist, yet happily use the terminology of misogyny, such as “real women” or “feminazi”.

    Pretty standard bigotry then.

    It’s a sign of progress really. Insufficient progress, but progress nevertheless. Even the bigots recognise that it’s not ok to be a bigot. Now we only need for them to recognise themselves as bigots.

    And jackrawlinson: Do you have any episodes in your past, possibly related to a vertical people transporter, that might have led to a response in the general ballpark of “guys, don’t do that”?

  23. Matt Penfold says

    Certainly, Kirby has taken on a conservative/libertarian/sociopath position on other women. She says that the solution is for women to be “responsible” for themselves and their own successes and failures, which is not only a clear declaration of her unearned and unrecognized-by-her privilege, but also a rejection of the social contract (tying back into the Enlightenment principles behind freethought). She’s happy to accept all of the benefits (both earned and unearned) that her privileged position affords her, but sees no responsibility to be concerned about anyone else outside of her little social circle.

    It would also suggest a breathtaking ignorance of the women who have gone before her, and fought the fight for women to be taken seriously in the public sphere. It is not that long ago that Kirby would not have been given the platform she has, for the simple reason she is a woman. As Maureen Brian said so well in that now famous a post a week or so ago, we have come a long way in how women are treated by and within society, and people struggled hard to get to where we are, but the fight it not yet over, and for the likes of Kirby to pretend it is, is spitting on the efforts of those who enabled Kirby to get to where she is today.

  24. says

    Do a little Googling and you’ll see that there’s something of a backlash building against you people.

    Most of which is generated by the same band of ridiculous obsessives.

    I remember David Mabus often boasted of how Pharyngula was about to be destroyed by his grand movement. GOATS ON FIRE!

  25. Circe says

    I am sorry, but this:

    Apparently, it’s really bad and bullying to call people names, so she calls me and many others Feminazis and Femistasi.

    seems to be a rather gross misrepresentation of the letter. The word “feminazi” appears twice in the essay: in the first place, it is compared in intensity to “GrammarNazi” (emphasis mine):

    … “feminazi” and “femistasi”. As a general principle, I oppose the use of any kind of name-calling. But sometimes an apparently rude term is doing more than being rude: it is conveying a meaningful point in shorthand form. For the record, I am categorically NOT suggesting that the people I have applied these terms to are, in fact, Nazis or Stasi members, or would ever have sympathized with either of them. There are many of us who are proud to be called Grammarnazis and who know perfectly well that no aspersions are being cast on our intentions towards either Jews or Poland.

    and in the second, she makes just expands on the same thing as above.

    In both “feminazi” and “femistasi” the allusion is to certain totalitarian attitudes and the intolerance and suppression of dissent.

  26. Matt Penfold says

    seems to be a rather gross misrepresentation of the letter. The word “feminazi” appears twice in the essay: in the first place, it is compared in intensity to “GrammarNazi” (emphasis mine):

    Try reading the bit you actually quoted.

    And then explain why you missed this bit:

    There are many of us who are proud to be called Grammarnazis

    You even put it in bold, and you still missed it. How ?

  27. carlie says

    jackrawlinson, did you even bother to read the links? Because Jadehawk’s takedown is extremely thorough.

  28. Beatrice says

    Circe,

    She keeps going about parallels with Nazi Germany up to the middle of page three.

    Not to mention that it doesn’t really matter if she used the word only once, or twice, or a dozen times, it’s still a fact that she defends why it applies to us.

  29. carlie says

    I’d still like to know why Orac isn’t all over Paula Kirby’s article about the antisemitism when he was so quick to pounce on Ophelia.

  30. says

    A large section of Paula’s treatise was about her sociological observations

    She’s certainly qualified, having done that module in college.

    on how difficult it was to get women speakers. She didn’t know the cause but she was sure it was not the menz. Methinks her bias is showing.

    At other times she’s talking about how there’s no problem with sexism because look at all of the women speakers (“Just check out the speaker lists at atheist conferences”) and bloggers (“Think of the many prominent female bloggers out there: Greta Christina, Blaghag, Skepchick”). Made me so angry last year I did a post about it.

  31. Kalliope says

    @Circe,

    So are you saying that she considers the following terms to be on the same level, to have the punch, the same vitriol, etc.? Do you think people use them in the same way to convey something similar, or as a similar modifier like “ish”?

    * Feminazi
    * Grammarnazi

    Are you really okay with promulgating the use of a term which was developed with the express purpose of diminishing the fight for equality by an oppressed group? A term that is intended to eliminate the content of the feminist movement, of the real concerns and issues? To shut people up? To encourage others to stop listening? To make would-be allies fear speaking out lest they be labeled?

    Really, you think that’s reasonable?

    Then please step into the ring and defend your position.

    Oh, and one doesn’t have to be Jewish to say this or any other direct target of the Nazis or Stasi but diluting the meaning and the impact of what the Nazi’s and Stasi did? That is beyond. In case you’re curious, I know people who were in concentration camps. I lost family members in the Holocaust. I’ve heard the fucking stories. And you know what? None of them end with “I’d like an anti-harassment policy to protect myself.”

  32. Matt Penfold says

    So are you saying that she considers the following terms to be on the same level, to have the punch, the same vitriol, etc.? Do you think people use them in the same way to convey something similar, or as a similar modifier like “ish”?

    * Feminazi
    * Grammarnazi

    Don’t forget that Kirby says she refers to herself as grammernazi, so the correct comparison with feminazi would be for Ophelia, Rebecca, PZ et al to call themselves feminazis. But they don’t. The comparison therefore fails.

  33. A Hermit says

    Shorter Paula Kirby: “I’m not saying these people are really Nazis, but here are twenty paragraphs on how they are just like Nazis…”

  34. says

    @Matt Penfold:

    It would also suggest a breathtaking ignorance of the women who have gone before her, and fought the fight for women to be taken seriously in the public sphere. It is not that long ago that Kirby would not have been given the platform she has, for the simple reason she is a woman. As Maureen Brian said so well in that now famous a post a week or so ago, we have come a long way in how women are treated by and within society, and people struggled hard to get to where we are, but the fight it not yet over, and for the likes of Kirby to pretend it is, is spitting on the efforts of those who enabled Kirby to get to where she is today.

    Not only pretending that the fight is over, but on some level Kirby seems to not understand that there was a fight at all. Her casual sort of “women bull yourself up by your bootstraps like I did” dismissal of the reality of people with less privilege indicates that on some level she thinks she did it all herself. She burst into a world that contained no history, no social infrastructure that created some opportunities for her while closing off others to her, and where she wound up is due to nothing but her taking responsibility for herself and why doesn’t everyone else do it too?

    It reminds me of how Mitt Romney told a bunch of college students back in April that he knows that times are tough finding a job, so they should just borrow money from their parents to start businesses of their own. It is the same sort of clueless privileged assholery of “just do what I did” that blames people for not being born with the same set of opportunities.

  35. ChasCPeterson says

    Is there any evidence that Rawlinson is Elevator Guy?

    No. It is a rumor.
    At best, it is a half-guessed inference from behavior. But independently inferred by several people.

    (and he never answers the question)

  36. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Yeah A Hermit. And also although no one would imply—OF COURSE—that they were anything like nazis, nevertheless there are important ways in which they are like nazis.

    Kirby’s whole reaction to this issue for more than a year looks like nothing but frustrated defiance. Contrary for the sake of it. She’s not even coherent or logically consistent and she can’t see how badly she contradicts herself. Fucking 5-year-old angry at mum, that’s what it’s like.

  37. ChasCPeterson says

    yeah, ‘grammar nazi’ is like ‘soup nazi’.
    ‘feminazi’ is, like, I guess ‘Nazi’.

    same thing.

  38. says

    Funny… none of these guys want to admit to being Elevator Guy, even though they all think that Elevator Guy is awesome, did nothing wrong, and was unfairly slandered by Rebecca Watson. You think they’d wear the label as some sort of badge of honor, that they’d be proud to be known as someone who follows strangers onto elevators at 4AM to proposition them.

  39. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I’d still like to know why Orac isn’t all over Paula Kirby’s article about the antisemitism when he was so quick to pounce on Ophelia.

    This. Very much this.

  40. mcwaffle says

    When did Orac pounce on Ophelia? I usually don’t see him around these parts, but I like his work on vaccines and quackery.

  41. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    Don’t forget that Kirby says she refers to herself as grammernazi

    I can’t be arsed to read through Kirby’s prose, but I do rather hope she is indeed a grammernazi rather than a grammarnazi.

    I loves me some Bierce-Hartman-Skitt-McKean.

  42. carlie says

    When did Orac pounce on Ophelia?

    Here is an overview; he shows up at comment 43. I believe there were subsequent tweets involved that continued the discussion, but I’m not sure.

  43. Marta says

    “Do a little Googling and you’ll see that there’s something of a backlash building against you people.”

    Everything you write, Rawlinson, everywhere you write it, apparently MUST contain this sentence, or variation thereof.

    What a tiresome bore you are.

  44. Kalliope says

    @Matt,

    Right. Slapping your forehead and saying, “Duh, I’m a complete idiot,” is not the same as slapping your five year old’s forehead and saying, “Duh, you’re a complete idiot.”

    @Josh,

    She got caught up in the meanness of it all and now is trying to rationalize why it was the pleasure of being mean that got her to call people “feminazis” but a careful historical survey.

    Also, Mommy’s pills and special water that she mixes in her orange juice in the morning.

  45. carlie says

    Orac specifically said:

    As a result of this experience, I have a very low tolerance for what I perceive as inappropriate or overblown Holocaust analogies, because they trivialize the Holocaust. No, contrary to the straw man that I’ve had leveled against me many times over the last several years, that does not mean that it’s always inappropriate to make comparisons with the Holocaust. That is not true. My position has been very consistent over the years that such comparisons are not unreasonable if they are done with care, a clear knowledge of history, and nuance. My irritation with the freeness with which so many people toss around Hitler/Nazi analogies to demonize their opponents was what “inspired” me (if you can call it that) to create the Hitler Zombie. Read a few of them. You might even be amused. Or not. But you’ll get the idea.

    That seems to indicate that he attacks Holocaust analogies whenever he sees them, rather than it having anything to do with Ophelia in particular. Except that general consensus seems to be that nobody has seen him attack anyone using the term “feminazi”, and I don’t think he’s expressed any opinion about Kirby’s piece.

  46. Matt Penfold says

    That seems to indicate that he attacks Holocaust analogies whenever he sees them, rather than it having anything to do with Ophelia in particular. Except that general consensus seems to be that nobody has seen him attack anyone using the term “feminazi”, and I don’t think he’s expressed any opinion about Kirby’s piece.

    Orac’s good on alt med, evidence based medicine and the like, but less good on other issues. After all, during the last US Presidential election campaign he did complain that Obama was too left wing. He did not take kindly to those of us who pointed out Obama could hardly be called left-wing at all, at least not if the word was still to mean anything.

  47. hotshoe says

    She also blows a whole paragraph on one unnamed harassment victim of one unnamed Twitter user, as if that completely offsets the death and rape threats reported and documented by virtually every well-known feminist blogger that I’m aware of.

    And even that Kirby got wrong, no surprise. Unnamed-Twit-guy had been part of the hate campaign towards Rebecca Watson for this whole year. Twit-guy called Rebecca a feminazi early on (to be pedantic, what he specifically said was that Rebecca is pushing feminaziism – and he was so proud of coining that word “feminaziism’!) so at some time, months ago, Rebecca blocked him from following her on twitter. Oh, the horror. Twit-guy asked why poor innocent little him was blocked ? Rebecca commented to someone else on Twitter that Twit-guy was blocked because he had called her a “cunt”, which apparently he never did, but given his part in the year long hatred, no one can be surprised that she mistook him for one of the cunt-callers instead of merely one of the Nazi-callers.

    Now here’s the part that just slays me. Twit-guy is all up in outrage because being named (truly, or falsely) as a cunt-caller is way way worse than actually being called cunt or feminazi – or accused of pushing feminaziism – as part of a year long campaign of harassment. How dare the woman mislabel her harasser! How dare the woman “harass” him by pointing out that he has been part of the cunting-and-twatting crowd without making it clear that he’s a special snowflake who is bigoted, hateful, and harmful but had not used that specific word “cunt”.

    Fuck him, he not only was never harassed, he tried to make the situation even worse by threatening anyone who supported Rebecca Watson with libel under UK law.

    Fuck him and Kirby both.

  48. says

    In amongst Kirby’s plaintive yelp, there’s a fair smattering of Survivorship Bias and a helping of the Just World fallacy. Indeed, in that regard it is really nothing but the usual we tend to hear from the laptop libertarians: “Pull yourself together and you too can make a success of your life! Stop whining! If only you engaged more, if only you could see things another way. Look at [STATISTICAL OUTLIER] and you’ll see they’ve overcome far worse!”

    The idea that these powerful social systems, from patriarchy to the neoliberal consensus which has virtually eliminated social progression for the most indigent, can be ameliorated by positive thinking alone is surely one of the most successful, and thoroughly egregious, of our contemporary memes.

    I also note a similarity of style she shares with the average chuckleheaded columnist employed by the Daily Mail: a kind of wide-eyed “Can you believe these people?” victim mentality, which plays so well to a certain part of the gallery. Here in the UK, perhaps the most successful proponent of this approach is the Mail’s Mentally “Melanie” Phillips, who is furnished with frequent opportunities on television to rails against the orthodoxy of political correctness, or climate scientists who seek to bully her with their statistics, when in fact, only last week Arctic ice increased by 1cm sq and therefore global warming is a socialist lie.

  49. says

    Haven’t gotten the memo that googling now proves people to be correct.

    I guess I will have to stop promoting vaccines, as after some goolging it turns out they cause autism and mutations!

  50. Matt Penfold says

    Here in the UK, perhaps the most successful proponent of this approach is the Mail’s Mentally “Melanie” Phillips, who is furnished with frequent opportunities on television to rails against the orthodoxy of political correctness, or climate scientists who seek to bully her with their statistics, when in fact, only last week Arctic ice increased by 1cm sq and therefore global warming is a socialist lie.

    Mad Mel is like Kirby in another way, in that she (Mad Mel) started of reasonably sane. She used to write for the Observer, and whilst I did not always agree with her, it normally took a little thought to work out just why she wrong. These days my cats can work out why she is wrong, and show their opinion of her writing on those occasions the Mail lines their litter tray.

  51. hotshoe says

    Orac specifically said:

    As a result of this experience, I have a very low tolerance for what I perceive as inappropriate or overblown Holocaust analogies, because they trivialize the Holocaust. No, contrary to the straw man that I’ve had leveled against me many times over the last several years, that does not mean that it’s always inappropriate to make comparisons with the Holocaust. That is not true. My position has been very consistent over the years that such comparisons are not unreasonable if they are done with care, a clear knowledge of history, and nuance. My irritation with the freeness with which so many people toss around Hitler/Nazi analogies to demonize their opponents was what “inspired” me (if you can call it that) to create the Hitler Zombie. Read a few of them. You might even be amused. Or not. But you’ll get the idea.

    That seems to indicate that he attacks Holocaust analogies whenever he sees them, rather than it having anything to do with Ophelia in particular. Except that general consensus seems to be that nobody has seen him attack anyone using the term “feminazi”, and I don’t think he’s expressed any opinion about Kirby’s piece.

    Sadly, he did mention it. He said, basically, that he wasn’t going to get into it. He replied in a comment on his blog which directly asked him why he was ignoring Paula’s nazi words. Sorry, can’t be bothered to look up which thread that was in.

    Jerk. Stomping on Ophelia for a slightly less-than-perfect analogy, which did not actually compare anyone to Nazis, and then leaving Paula untouched for directly calling people Nazis.

    Shame shame shame on Orac.

  52. karmakin says

    The Just World fallacy can die in a fucking fire.

    (I’m not going to lie. I don’t usually feel comfortable swearing on somebody else’s blog, but this deserves it)

  53. says

    Sadly, he did mention it. He said, basically, that he wasn’t going to get into it. He replied in a comment on his blog which directly asked him why he was ignoring Paula’s nazi words. Sorry, can’t be bothered to look up which thread that was in.

    Jerk. Stomping on Ophelia for a slightly less-than-perfect analogy, which did not actually compare anyone to Nazis, and then leaving Paula untouched for directly calling people Nazis.

    Shame shame shame on Orac.

    Yes yes more of the “taking no sides” people who criticizes just about only one side. Bah

  54. says

    oh, hey, I was wondering why my views had exploded, and why I had so many new commenters (comments have been all approved now, btw)

    :-)

    She also blows a whole paragraph on one unnamed harassment victim of one unnamed Twitter user, as if that completely offsets the death and rape threats reported and documented by virtually every well-known feminist blogger that I’m aware of.

    it wasn’t even harassment. It was Surly Amy criticizing a prominent person for making it look like she supported a malicious parody targeted at Rebecca Watson, by following it on twitter and engaging with the account. this is what the harassed person had to say about this event, ultimately:

    The discussion I had with Amy offline was productive in that I learned WHY she was particularly upset about that account. It does not excuse calling me out on twitter like that, and as you said, attempting to discredit my work. I would not do that to her business and I don’t agree that public accusations out of the blue like that (including assumptions that were wrong that got even more wrong as they spread across Twitter) are an effective way to expressing your view. Had she come to me directly and not in attack mode, things would have been VERY different.

    Nevertheless, I have decided not to engage anymore with the AS account but I did not unfollow it. Criticism, even ugly criticism, tells us something. But accounts like that do make things worse.

    Meanwhile, damage is done in many respects.

  55. carlie says

    Sadly, he did mention it. He said, basically, that he wasn’t going to get into it. He replied in a comment on his blog which directly asked him why he was ignoring Paula’s nazi words.

    Oh, well then. *sigh*

  56. says

    The Feminazi stuff was silly, and wrong, and allowed you to hone in on that whilst ignoring the central thrust of her argument, which is basically sound.

    to absolutely no one’s surprise, I was right when I wrote that it wasn’t likely that the antiFTB’ers would be capable of reading my refutation of Paula’s “argument” for comprehension (or at all).

    And considering that her “argument” is really just
    a)hypocritical whining about how women should grow a spine and fight for what they want (unless what they want is dismantling of systemic injustice);
    b)hypocritical whining about how women shouldn’t whine at being treated meanly by “neanderthals” (unless it’s about her being treated meanly by FTBers);
    c)ignorant libertarian pablum;
    it really takes no effort at all to refute even the supposedly oh-so sound core of her “argument”.

  57. LDTR says

    The way I understand it, “backlash” has a connotation of “sudden, intense reaction resulting from fear and/or resentment of change”.

    So it’s actually pretty appropriate, as a name for what Kirby, the slimepit, et al. are engaging in. Thank you, jackrawlinson, for pointing that out.

  58. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Has anyone ever seen Jack Rawlinson actually attempt to make a case and engage with counterarguments, as opposed to popping into a thread, farting quite loudly and running away?
    The man appears to be a serial drive-by troll.

  59. says

    ^^ Oh, Well, It sounds more like Orac wants nothing to do with dealing with the “misogynists” that use the feminazi term.

    Honestly I don’t blame him. These MRAs really are like a virus that you can’t move out of your blog ever again once you let them into.

  60. John Morales says

    What vexorian wrote; clearly, Orac doesn’t want a slimepit invasion and flame wars on his comment threads.

  61. brianthomson says

    This is getting weirder and weirder. I didn’t see Paula’s new piece as terribly different from what she wrote a year ago. I am in general agreement with both: by fretting about what men are or aren’t doing, you’re giving them power over you. This is a distraction from the larger issues facing women and atheists around the world. So much that needs doing, so much wrong with the world that needs to be fixed.

    Maybe it’s a trans-Atlantic culture thing. Paula is Scottish, like myself, and we don’t mince our words. A better attitude would be “full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes”, in my opinion. Or if I may quote Gloria Steinem at you: “once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect”.

  62. Brownian says

    I am in general agreement with both: by fretting about what men are or aren’t doing, you’re giving them power over you.

    What a fucking load of complete fucking bullshit.

    Hey, remember when Scotland fretted over what England did or didn’t do, and it gave England all that pow—oh, fuck, that’s exactly the opposite of what fucking happened.

  63. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Hey! Take it easy on Orac. It is so much easier to criticize reasonable people.

    —————————————————————–

    Or if I may quote Gloria Steinem at you: “once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect”.

    Criticizing a person for using the words that Paula Kirby did is not the same as seeking approval. Their is not much valor in not mincing words if those words do not match what is going on.

  64. Brownian says

    Paula is Scottish, like myself, and we don’t mince our words.

    Ten-and-a-half fucking pages.

    You can’t stretch gruel that far without puréeing something.

  65. hotshoe says

    wot the hell. I wanted to refresh my memory and I looked up Orac’s part in this conversation:

    elburto brings up:

    …OT but speaking of Hitler zombies, Paula Kirby has claimed that feminist bloggers are simultaneously Nazis and Stasi for denouncing sexism.

    Next, Baron Scarpia replies:

    Actually Kirby didn’t. She called certain people Feminazis and at the same time made it very clear that she did not mean they were Nazis- she said this explicitly (She compares the term to ‘Grammar Nazis’). Given that intent is not magical, you may still think that it carries the connotation that such people are Nazis, which would indicate a failure of communication on her part. (Frankly I do not think she should have used the term at all, because I do not see how you can separate the two terms in the minds of the public)

    Then it’s Orac’s turn:

    Please, people. I really don’t want that argument metastasizing to my comment threads. I’ve already been burned badly enough by it, and I admit my massive error for every having said anything in the first place. These days, I’d rather deal with a torrent of Thingy comments than for a comment thread on my blog to become dominated by this kerfuffle.

    elburto posted a long sad (and personal) reply which ends with:

    …Totalitarian regimes there. Death, destruction, brutality and total control. Comparing that to bloggers wishing to implement sexual harassment policies at atheist/freethought conventions is quite frankly pi$$ing into the graves of the victims of both regimes. The 50 million killed in WWII and the victims of the Stasi deserve better than being used to denigrate people you disagree with.

    It disgusts me. I’d love to see her [ed: Kirby] read her little screed. to survivors.

    *Ravensbruck was for women. Feminists, single mothers, lesbians, and ‘gender traitors’ (masculine women and effeminate men) were murdered there after being worked half to death in the Siemens factory.

    I’ve been there to pay my respects. The exhibit about the children in the camp is one of the things that will haunt me forever.

    Which Orac squelches with:

    It’s OK, elburto.Your post was actually appreciated.

    I was referring to the whole kerfuffle about TAM with misogynists calling feminists Nazis, etc. I don’t want to be drawn into that, and I don’t want my blog comments to be taken over by it. The vitriol outstrips even that of many of the quack trolls who show up here.

    The End.

    Orac doesn’t “want to be drawn into that”.

    Imagine what restraint it takes to avoid being “drawn into that” even though you have often repeated that you “have a very low tolerance for what I perceive as inappropriate or overblown Holocaust analogies, because they trivialize the Holocaust.”

    Restraint ? Lazy-ass taking the wrong side, you mean.

  66. Kalliope says

    Agree with vexorion and John. Orac gets a pass on this for the reasons he stated and he was encouraging of what someone else wrote on the topic.

    @Brian,

    I “fret” about the men who have sexually assaulted my friends. I “fret” about the men who threaten women who speak out. My mother “fretted” about being sexually harassed in the workplace, to the point that she broke down and cried on Sunday nights. My grandmother “fretted” about the men who wouldn’t let her open a bank account on her own. My great-grandmother “fretted” about the men who wouldn’t let her vote. Women around the world “fret” about the men who sell them into marriages and throw acid in their eyes for learning to read. And I “fret” about all the women who participate or abet these behaviors.

    It’s really easy for you to say what I should fret about, isn’t it?

  67. says

    by fretting about what men are or aren’t doing, you’re giving them power over you.

    boring libertarian bullshit is boring.

    1)when the discussion is about sexual harassment of women, then the problem is that men are doing something, and what gives them power is being silent about the problem and therefore letting them continue to harass women.

    2)when talking about the patriarchal system as a whole, “what men are or aren’t doing” is simply a complete failure to comprehend how systemic problems propagate themselves.

    also, minimizing problem-solving discussions as “fretting” has been noted and dismissed.

    This is a distraction from the larger issues facing women and atheists around the world.

    the patriarchy is a distraction from the problems facing women?
    Teh Lol

    Maybe it’s a trans-Atlantic culture thing.

    fuck you and your precious attempt at once again pretending harassment, sexism, and the patriarchy are just quaint Americanisms.

    Paula is Scottish, like myself, and we don’t mince our words.

    neither do we; in case you haven’t noticed, Paula calls us Nazis and Stasi for not mincing our words. Because she’s a fucking hypocrite.

    Or if I may quote Gloria Steinem at you: “once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect”.

    oh honeycakes, you’re so confused. no one is searching for approval from anyone. which is another think Paula calls us Nazis and Stasi for: not waiting for the approval of the chill girls and doodz of the world, we dismiss them while continuing to fight for social justice.

  68. thomasfoss says

    Improbable Joe @47:

    Funny… none of these guys want to admit to being Elevator Guy, even though they all think that Elevator Guy is awesome, did nothing wrong, and was unfairly slandered by Rebecca Watson. You think they’d wear the label as some sort of badge of honor, that they’d be proud to be known as someone who follows strangers onto elevators at 4AM to proposition them.

    There are a few problems I think anyone would have with coming forward, assuming EG is on the MRA side.
    1) It would remove the line of argument/accusation that Rebecca made up the entire Elevatorguy incident.
    1a) It would remove the ability to build an insult on that accusation by saying Rebecca only made it up because no one would actually hit on her.
    2) It would open the revealed EG up to criticism for trying to hit on Rebecca in the first place (because no one would do such a thing).
    3) It would close off the line of argument/accusation that Rebecca only turned down EG because he was ugly. Or it might not close off that line of argument, but it would mean insulting a man, and that’s not okay (women and manginas, of course, are fair game).

    I wish I were making this up, and not just drawing conclusions from things that have actually been said. I feel icky now.

  69. John Morales says

    [OT]

    thomasfoss,

    There are a few problems I think anyone would have with coming forward, assuming EG is on the MRA side.

    Biggest problem is Rebecca would notice if someone pretended to be EG, so that gambit is out.

  70. kagekiri says

    @brianthomson:

    Er, what civil rights movement succeeded by not saying anything and just magically winning against systemic intolerance?

    How would pretending it’s not happening solve rape culture or patriarchy or sexism?

    I can’t think of any examples where your strategy worked against intolerance. Every time someone wanted to change the system, they had to do SOMETHING. The system ALREADY had pervasive power over them.

    That Steinem quote doesn’t apply; pretending it isn’t there may be a personal solution for some people to bullying, insults, or dealing with social anxiety, but it’s not going to fix a system at all.

    Also, yeah, the whole “there are more important things” is advice you might want to take yourself before bandying it about. Why come here and comment? Why not spend that time and fraction of internet subscription cost and electricity fixing one of those “larger issues” you’re so worried about?

    FSM forbid anyone try to solve anything other than THE MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEMS (TM) as defined by you. I’m pretty sure “people arguing about things I don’t personally care about” is a pretty low ranking on that kind of list.

  71. says

    @78 Brian, I wasn’t aware the validity of an argument depended upon the constituent nation of the British Isles from which it was offered. I’m writing this to you from Sheffield and we tend to be fairly brusque too. In my experience, I find claims of straight talking tend not to correlate with profundity of thought. I’ll leave it to others to decide if your comment matches my experience.

  72. hotshoe says

    What vexorian wrote; clearly, Orac doesn’t want a slimepit invasion and flame wars on his comment threads.

    John, you’re kidding, aren’t you ? Or are you just wrong ?

    If Orac doesn’t want a slimepit invasion and he wants to stick with his previously repeated principle of consistently criticizing inappropriate Holocaust analogies, then he completely failed to take the correct action to achieve his objectives. He said not one word about Paula Kirby being wrong or her usage being inappropriate (unless he did it in private email to Paula, or some such).

    If he wanted to make it clear, what he needed to write was NOT “I don’t want to be drawn into it, and I don’t want my blog comments to be taken over…” but rather “Paula Kirby was wrong, and if you want to discuss why you think she was right, do it somewhere else. I will remove comments to my blog about it”

    Until Orac puts half the force into objecting to Paula Kirby’s abuse of Nazi analogy that he put into stomping on Ophelia’s non-abuse, then he’s still just plain wrong.

    I know what’s clear here, and it’s certainly not that Orac is right.

  73. brianthomson says

    @Kalliope – this is the kind of hyperbolic response that is totally unhelpful. What you describe are crimes. At no time did Paula (or I) even remotely hint that such crimes are acceptable, or condone them in any way. Such crimes need to be fought with all the resources at our disposal. Abuse of women must cease, globally – not just at conferences. The implication that Paula isn’t on your side, on these serious issues, is alarming to say the least. I think she made it quite clear that she is.

  74. hypatiasdaughter says

    #57 hotshoe

    Twit-guy is all up in outrage because being named (truly, or falsely) as a cunt-caller is way way worse than actually being called cunt or feminazi – or accused of pushing feminaziism – as part of a year long campaign of harassment.

    I noticed that in the whole E-gate debacle and sometimes since. The absolute outrage at being accused of “sexism”.
    People who agreed that Eguy was stupid/inconsiderate/ totally wrong would then ask “But why is what he did sexist?”. They got them selves tied up into knots about it.
    Amazing how people who don’t mind saying truly bigoted things just hate being called a “bigot”.

  75. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Abuse of women must cease, globally – not just at conferences.

    Holy fucking shit! This has been our problem, we have only been concentrating on conferences! We have ignored everything else!

  76. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Maybe it’s a trans-Atlantic culture thing. Paula is Scottish, like myself

    We actually have a True Scotsman who’s a regular commenter here, name of KG, and I know, from reading his comments for years, that he doesn’t agree with you that there are some kinds of sexism that women should just put up with and stop complaining about.

  77. Kalliope says

    @Brian,

    Sorry, but I’m not going to accept accusations from hyperbole from someone defending the comparison of vocalizing particular feminist issues to fascism and totalitarianism.

    All of the things that women are concerned about, harassment at conferences, in this instance, take place in the atmosphere I described. They are not separate.

    Since you cannot walk in our shoes, I suggest you listen to what people are actually concerned about and use your powers of imagination and empathy to try to understand, instead of dismissing it because it’s not something you have to deal with.

  78. says

    I think she made it quite clear that she is.

    no. she’s made it quite clear that she supports Grothe’s call for women to STFU about harassment, and that she wants women to fix themselves instead of fixing the patriarchy. she has actually written in this letter that she doesn’t believe women are oppressed.

    so any comment by her about how she’s against crimes committed against women would ring hollow, since she’s against that which is effective in fighting against these crimes.

  79. says

    Super-easy to say let’s cut Orac a break when you’re not the one he stomped on for saying something much LESS sinister than what Paula Kirby said. Fuck that noise.

  80. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Ophelia, I just want to point out, call call for giving Orac a break was pure snark. I was also calling you a reasonable person. Unlike those who Orac seems reluctant to cross.

  81. A Hermit says

    seanokeefe
    10 July 2012 at 5:22 pm

    In amongst Kirby’s plaintive yelp, there’s a fair smattering of Survivorship Bias and a helping of the Just World fallacy. Indeed, in that regard it is really nothing but the usual we tend to hear from the laptop libertarians: “Pull yourself together and you too can make a success of your life! Stop whining! If only you engaged more, if only you could see things another way. Look at [STATISTICAL OUTLIER] and you’ll see they’ve overcome far worse!”

    Quoted for awesomeness. I’m stealing “laptop libertarians” by the way, its a nice change from my usual “libertopian…”

  82. detrean says

    I am a long time visitor to ftb but this is my first comment. I am an atheist rationalist and I consider myself in most ways a progressive. I am also a white male for those interested in potential bias. I am posting because I heard about this drama and a potential rift in our community.

    From my limited observer position there is a growing disagreement among us about the direction of our movement. Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism. Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting. I fall on the side of the latter. Not because I think that women’s rights are unimportant but rather because we already have clearly stated goals and we have not yet achieved them. We are still silenced politically. The general population still lacks critical thinking skills. Atheism is still very much misunderstood. The list of problems we as a movement are directly addressing grows while we slowly force this society to open their eyes to these problems. Feminism, along with race equality, sexual orientation, access to healthcare, etc are struggles we all must fight but placing feminism into this movement’s umbrella as a focus is a distraction. One can (and many do) be a part of the atheist movement while also being a part of the feminist movement. That does not mean however that the feminist movement would place as a major plank in their strategy the promotion of atheism. Likewise I see no reason to make feminism a major plank in the atheist movement.

    I attended The Reason Rally and I must admit I was worried that it would be a gathering of white males. I was pleasantly surprised that a large percentage of the crowd was made up of women and people of diverse racial backgrounds. I felt that we had a unity there. My brothers and sisters fighting for the common cause of rationality. I am part of this movement because it’s focus is the spreading of rational thought and the representation of that in our government. It goes without saying that women have an equal role and responsibility in that. I see no major conflict of the sexes in our movement more should one be a major focus of it.

  83. Gregory Greenwood says

    brianthomson @ 78;

    by fretting about what men are or aren’t doing, you’re giving them power over you.

    As has been noted by other commenters, in all too many cases women have genuine reason to be concerned about the kind of actions that a patriarchal society may mandate on the part of men in response to women simply living their lives:-

    The idea that certain forms of clothing or being in certain locales at certain times amount to standing consent, whatever the woman in question may say.

    The idea in some parts of the world and in some expressions of certain cultures that it is not ‘fit’ for women to vote, drive, go out without a male chaperone or read – with severe and violent punishments for those who break these toxic gender norm rules.

    The mentality that a foetus carries as much or greater weight than the life of a woman, and as such women should be denied their bodily autonomy in the event they become pregnant.

    These aren’t vague hypotheticals – they are the day to day reality of the lives of millions, probably billions, of women the world over.

    It is not ‘fretting’ that gives abusive men power over women; it is the structure of a patriarchal culture that turns a deaf ear to the concerns of women, and tacitly or explicitly constructs feminine as inherently ‘lesser’ than masculine, whether that inferior status manifests as accusations of moral corruption that makes women a notional threat to societal ‘purity’, or as a pervasive belief in the ‘fragility’ of the ‘weaker sex’ that is used as an excuse to smother women in cotton wool and ‘protect’ them from everything – the ability to make their own decisions most of all.

    This is a distraction from the larger issues facing women and atheists around the world. So much that needs doing, so much wrong with the world that needs to be fixed.

    This is simply a variant on ‘dear Muslima’. The fact that the world has many problems, some of which may be of greater urgency, does not mean that it is acceptable to simply ignore the sexism and misogyny that infects the sceptical and atheist movement. You can’t point to a greater injustice (whether that ‘greater’ status is real or imagined) as an excuse to ignore a real problem in our own house, so to speak. This mentality was used to try to stop homosexuals from struggling for equality, because the fight against racism was a more pressing battle against more widespread social injustice, only for the struggle for gay rights itself to be later held up as a reason why women shouldn’t be putting forward their own struggle, because it would ‘distract’ from the attempts to garner equality for homosexuals. Each new equality movement is told their is no more room in the inn (if I may be allowed a religious analogy, just this once) – some other issue is always more urgent, some other struggle always more deserving. It is a perfect way to champion an unjust status quo while wrapping oneself in the flag of the progressive.

    Maybe it’s a trans-Atlantic culture thing. Paula is Scottish, like myself, and we don’t mince our words.

    This can’t be written off as some Americanism irrelevant to the rest of the world. I am a British citizen. My mother is Scots and my father came from South Africa – two cultures both stereotypically associated with directness – but this fact in no way automatically determines my own character. I see toxic misogyny and casual sexism every day in the UK. The issue is every bit as relevant here as it is in the US, and the fact that I am a Brit does not mean that I find the attempt to write off feminists as ‘feminazis’ and ‘femistasi’ any less offensive or any less indicative of a high degree of ignorance of the social issues surrounding the construction of ‘acceptable’ gender peformance in both cultures.

  84. John Morales says

    hotshoe:

    John, you’re kidding, aren’t you ? Or are you just wrong ?
    [...]
    Until Orac puts half the force into objecting to Paula Kirby’s abuse of Nazi analogy that he put into stomping on Ophelia’s non-abuse, then he’s still just plain wrong.

    Perhaps he doesn’t live up to the idealism he professes?

    (He’s only human, and not really an advanced mechanical intelligence)

    Ophelia, I’m sorry for way you’re been treated over the last year or so. Please remain strong.

  85. Kalliope says

    Ophelia,

    You’re right, it is easy for someone else to say. And in looking around his blog, I see this is a regular feature of his, calling people out for this exact thing. I think he should be consistent and I think he should call this out.

    But I’m not comfortable with demanding that people expose themselves to harassment for the higher good.

  86. says

    @detrean

    either the Atheist Movement is part of an intersectional social justice movement, or it is worthless at best, counterproductive at worst. and in any case, ignoring the other axes of oppression as they are manifest within atheism itself is an act of self-harm. For most poor, non-white, non-male, non-straight, and/or non-cis folks, the oppression they experience as atheists is minimal compared to the oppression they experience along the other axes of oppression, so an atheism in which these other oppressions remain unaddressed, and are even allowed to flourish, is completely fucking worthless to them.

  87. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Kalliope, this is not demanding that Orac expose himself to harassment for the greater. This is demanding that Orac follows what he claims are his principles.

  88. says

    It goes without saying that women have an equal role and responsibility in that.

    if it went without saying, we wouldn’t have had to constantly say it, over and over, for years, before anyone bothered to pay attention.

  89. A Hermit says

    Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism.

    See, that’s the kind of misunderstanding that gets people in trouble; I don’t think anyone is saying that exactly. They ARE saying that we have to deal with the inequalities and injustices in our own community if we expect to be taken seriously when we address those issues in the world at large. How we can criticize religious sexism if we tolerate it in our own house?

    Also, it’s absurd to suggest that it’s an “either or” proposition; that if we make sexism a focus we can’t also focus on other issues. I’s a big tent here not a monolith…you don’t have to take part in discussions you aren;t interested in or don’t feel equipped to deal with, but don’t tell others who are interested, or directly affected by those issues, that they shouldn’t focus on them.

    Does that make sense?

  90. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    detrean,

    That does not mean however that the feminist movement would place as a major plank in their strategy the promotion of atheism. Likewise I see no reason to make feminism a major plank in the atheist movement.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist_feminism

    It goes without saying that women have an equal role and responsibility in that.

    It does not go without saying, since you’re telling feminists to get away from your atheism.

    Atheism has the potential to contribute to the liberation of women, but not while you’re standing in the way. So get the fuck out the way.

  91. carlie says

    . It goes without saying that women have an equal role and responsibility in that.

    That’s certainly the way we’d like things to be, but all observable evidence points to that not being so.

  92. says

    Kalliope – but he exposed me to harassment. He did it more than once. Now it’s somone on Team DJ who mentioned the Nazis – oh no now he just wants it all behind him, because he “got burned.” What disingenuous crap.

  93. Pteryxx says

    One can (and many do) be a part of the atheist movement while also being a part of the feminist movement. That does not mean however that the feminist movement would place as a major plank in their strategy the promotion of atheism. Likewise I see no reason to make feminism a major plank in the atheist movement.

    I attended The Reason Rally and I must admit I was worried that it would be a gathering of white males. I was pleasantly surprised that a large percentage of the crowd was made up of women and people of diverse racial backgrounds…

    Remember where (a large portion of) this conversation got started, two years ago? I recall PZ’s “The Woman Problem” thread, asking why so few women were involved at atheist gatherings and what could be done to address this problem.

    Remember where the current month-long hate-FTB campaign got started? Women being harassed and worse at conferences. How to address the problem? Institute anti-harassment policies: discussed, educated, and done.

    It’s not *feminism* that makes women feel unwelcome at atheist gatherings. It’s not *feminism* that slants respect towards the voices of male bloggers and harassment towards the voices of women. It’s not *feminism* that justifies religious oppression of women all over the world, or drives them out of STEM fields, or keeps them trapped in sacred submission to their husbands.

    Addressing the concerns of feminism within (this) atheist community is being done to make atheism better.

  94. mythbri says

    @detrean

    Actually, the goals of the feminist movement and the goals of the atheist movement have the potential to overlap in many key respects. Many of the world’s religions are patriarchal, particularly the major ones under which a lot of harm is done. The feminist movement seeks to break down traditional gender roles and definitions to allow everyone, of all genders, more freedom.

    Denying the freedom, autonomy and personhood of half the human race is hardly a rational position. Feminism is a skeptic reaction to the idea that women are inferior to men.

    The movements have a lot in common – if there are people who believe that the atheist movement should dismantle religion but not the patriarchal structure with which it has a symbiotic relationship, then that’s not a movement that I, as a feminist, can be a part.

  95. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Yeah, sorry, but Orac is consistently a hypocritical shit; I’ve watched it for years. He got nearly rabid quite a few times over gnu atheism, utterly refusing to understand why anyone would care about it, tone-trolling, dismissing the validity of confronting religious privilege. When he strays off his set of themes he often acts irrationally and can be quite pointedly mean about it. When it’s pointed out he ignores it. Literally will not respond.

  96. says

    @detrean

    Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism. Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting.

    Sorry, but that is a false dichotomy. Feminism and other forms of equality-activism is a natural part of humanism and rationalism. It is not a distraction at all. And yes, the free thinking community can have more than one goal. It’s called multitasking. It’s what women are good at, right? Right? See, need more women. Solves everything.

  97. 'Tis Himself says

    detrean #100

    Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism. Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting. I fall on the side of the latter.

    What a great idea. Let’s ignore the problems women are having with the atheist and skeptical communities and concentrate on how Ken Ham is a lying jerk and that Bigfoot doesn’t exist. These are much more important issues which need to be settled before we consider how certain atheists and skeptics act in a totally poisonous way towards other atheists and skeptics.

    Would it be uncouth for me to suggest that you might want to rethink your priorities? Because you really should.

    Please, detrean, write twice more because then I’ll be able to recommend the use of a porcupine to you.

  98. Kalliope says

    Janine and Ophelia,

    I was basing what I said strictly on his own comments and a very generalized description of what he said to Ophelia. Obviously, I didn’t/don’t understand that side of the equation, so I will fully defer to your (informed) opinions.

    And also your oft proved kick-assery.

    Apologies.

  99. John Morales says

    Jadehawk @104 wrote (my emphasis)

    either the Atheist Movement is part of an intersectional social justice movement, or it is worthless at best, counterproductive at worst. and in any case, ignoring the other axes of oppression as they are manifest within atheism itself is an act of self-harm. For most poor, non-white, non-male, non-straight, and/or non-cis folks, the oppression they experience as atheists is minimal compared to the oppression they experience along the other axes of oppression, so an atheism in which these other oppressions remain unaddressed, and are even allowed to flourish, is completely fucking worthless to them.

    (Worth repeating, absolutist as it may have been expressed)

  100. Kalliope says

    datrean,

    I’ve been an atheist the same amount of time I’ve been female: my entire life. I promise you that being a woman is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay harder. (And I’m a really privileged woman.)

    Story time! Just yesterday I was having a conversation with someone on another site about how treatment of women has been dismissed in historical movements because it’s a “distraction.” And I mentioned that something similar was happening in the atheist movement. The person responded, “Really? In the atheist movement. I’m shocked. I thought the oppression of women by religions was the main reason for the atheist movement.”

    It’s hard to learn math when you’re not allowed to go to school.

    But these fissures aren’t about establishing the plan of feminism in the atheist movement (although others have explained well why it should be a plank), but rather about how women are treated withing the movement. So your entire premise is mislaid.

  101. hieropants says

    Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism. Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting.

    The goals of the rationalist community and the goals of feminism are inextricably linked – you are fighting the same error-prone ways of thinking and in the majority of cases the same enemy. By marginalizing the concerns of feminists you are hurting your own movement by alienating a large group of potential allies – how can we take you seriously if you refuse to apply rationalist methods of critical thinking to sex and gender relations?

  102. A Hermit says

    Actually, I am going to revise my earlier comment; if we aren’t saying that feminism should be a major focus of our movement we should be saying it; for the reasons I gave above. We can’t honestly challenge mysogynistic religious beliefs if we aren’t 100% committed to women’s equality yourselves.

    If our purpose is promote reason we can’t be unreasonable about the existence of sexism. The hysterical over-reaction in some quarters to the suggestion that we might do something as simple as put in writing that we will treat each other with respect when we get together in large groups just reinforces the need to make it a focus and FIX IT!

  103. mandrellian says

    @ detrean 100

    Others have already pointed out their objections to your voiced objection to atheist-inspired feminism as a focus-sapper, so I’d just like to ask: exactly where do you get this point of view? How is one part of the movement’s focus going to sap energy or focus from the movement in general? During the civil rights struggle, there were many facets of the movement including voting rights, property rights, worker’s rights, education rights, the right to marry someone of another race and myriad others. Atheist/skeptical activism focuses not just on creationism/promoting scientific education, or fundamentalist oppression of reproductive rights/bodily autonomy or effective sex education, or church/state separation, or equal civil rights for nonbelievers, or removal of tax breaks for religious organisations, it has many avenues of attack to its existence – many heads for its opponents to cut off – and those avenues often, but not always, intersect. Feminism/sexism is an integral part of many facets of atheist activism, relating as it does to reproductive rights, birth control, bodily autonomy, Biblically-based sexual bigtory and so forth. How can it not be a focus and what would be achieved by eschewing it? What major advantage could be secured by leaving it to one side and what would you elevate in its place? Could you think of another facet to atheist activism we could leave aside to purify or better focus our attention?

    Why, in your view, does the fact that atheist activism is multi-faceted and focused on multiple targets make it weaker?

    Why can’t such issues as concern various atheists/skeptics and their organisations be left to them to decide upon? Considering some groups and people are much, much better qualified or equipped to deal with certain specific issues, does it not make sense to leave tackling those issues to those with experience, expertise and, very importantly, the passion to actually make an impact? If you wouldn’t tell a science-focused activist to bail on their passion for science because you think church-state separation is more important, how do you justify asking anyone concerned with feminism or sexism to bail on that and get back to whatever topic you feel is more important?

  104. John Morales says

    A Hermit,

    We can’t honestly challenge mysogynistic religious beliefs if we aren’t 100% committed to women’s equality yourselves.

    Leaving aside your pronoun shift, the moral high ground is always an advantage.

  105. Margaret says

    Likewise I see no reason to make feminism a major plank in the atheist movement.

    As a “gnu atheist” I’m not simply a member of the atheist movement but rather of the rationalist or freethinker movement. As such, I oppose all the oppressive dogmas: religion, sexism, racism, etc. In your terminology, I see atheism and feminism as two of the many planks in the freethinker movement.

  106. says

    @detrean #100

    Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism. Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting. I fall on the side of the latter.

    Jump to the former thread and watch PZ’s video, it explains why a community of atheists like FtB think that promoting social justice is not only compatible with, but a necessary complement to rationalism:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/10/episode-cccxlvii-the-saga-of-thunderf00t/

  107. A Hermit says

    Leaving aside your pronoun shift, the moral high ground is always an advantage.

    Don’t make me call you a grammar-you-know-what…;)

  108. magicthighs says

    @100, detrean

    Water pistol man, full of ammunition, squirtin’ out fires on a world-wide mission.
    But did you ever think to stop and squirt the fires in your own back yard?

    /ht Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy

  109. Gregory Greenwood says

    detrean @ 100;

    Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism. Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting.

    There is no reason why rationalism shouldn’t be able to focus upon the promotion of rational thought and the pursuit of social justice. Indeed, if rationalism skirts the social justice issues, then it risks irrelevancy as an ivory tower pursuit interested only in arguing about the validity of cryptozoology and mocking the Ken Ham’s of the world. These things are worthwhile in their own ways, but they are small potatoes when set against dealing with the pervasive social injustice of our society’s misogyny and other forms of bigotry.

    I fall on the side of the latter. Not because I think that women’s rights are unimportant but rather because we already have clearly stated goals and we have not yet achieved them.

    Rationalism/atheism/scepticism is not unitary, monolithic movement with a set agenda. We are a loose group of like minded people, not a politcal party with a manifesto. Many of us are led through our rationalism toward humanism and thus to ferminism as one of a set of political and social philosophies that seek to engender a more equal and just world. Attempting to parse out rationalism from all the other things that motivate us would be counter productive at best.

    The list of problems we as a movement are directly addressing grows while we slowly force this society to open their eyes to these problems. Feminism, along with race equality, sexual orientation, access to healthcare, etc are struggles we all must fight but placing feminism into this movement’s umbrella as a focus is a distraction. One can (and many do) be a part of the atheist movement while also being a part of the feminist movement. That does not mean however that the feminist movement would place as a major plank in their strategy the promotion of atheism. Likewise I see no reason to make feminism a major plank in the atheist movement.

    I disagree – a vital part of creating a more rational, functional society is to dismantle toxic social memes such as those that function to oppress and dehumanise women. Promoting atheism without bothering to attempt to remove the patriarchal structures of society will do little to improve things for anyone, other than at most confirming rich, white, cis/het atheist men as another privileged group in society alongside rich, white, cis/het christian men. A group that will be every bit as invested in maintaining their unjust and unearned privilege as the current darlings of the patriacrhy are.

    I attended The Reason Rally and I must admit I was worried that it would be a gathering of white males. I was pleasantly surprised that a large percentage of the crowd was made up of women and people of diverse racial backgrounds.

    And yet you imagine that such an inclusive atheism could somehow have been acheived, and can in the future be maintained, while making no effort to make social justice issues a core part of rationalism? That a broader, more representative atheism just happened all by itself?

    Last time I checked, we were the ones who didn’t believe in miracles…

    It goes without saying that women have an equal role and responsibility in that. I see no major conflict of the sexes in our movement more should one be a major focus of it.

    I do not think anyone is suggesting that what is happening here is some kind of simplistic ‘battle of the sexes’, but if you see no problem with the events of recent months then frankly you are not paying very close attention. The intensely vitriolic reaction to Rebecca Watson’s mild statement alone is a clear indication that soemthing is very much wrong in the figurative godless state of Denmark, even before we add in the disturbing tendency toward the use of gendered slurs and even rape threats by elements within the atheist/rationalist movement that we have seen with increasing frequency – this is about a toxic culture of misogyny within certain parts of the broader atheist and rationalist community that seeks to silence women almost as an autonomic reflex. If that attitude is not exposed and tackled for the toxic bigotry it is, then the atmosphere will become ever more hostile toward atheist/rationalist women in general and prominent women rationalists and atheists in particular, until such a pitch is reached that the voices of women in our community will not be heard at all, and the oft repeated accusation that atheism is a ‘boy’s club’ will become the reality, which is exactly what the misogynists within the community are aiming for.

  110. mandrellian says

    Margaret @ 124:

    As a “gnu atheist” I’m not simply a member of the atheist movement but rather of the rationalist or freethinker movement. As such, I oppose all the oppressive dogmas: religion, sexism, racism, etc. In your terminology, I see atheism and feminism as two of the many planks in the freethinker movement.

    As feckin’ usual, someone says more or less what I’m thinking, using 90% fewer words :)

  111. Pteryxx says

    Don’t make me call you a grammar-you-know-what…;)

    …Grammar ninja!

    (not my coining.)

  112. mandrellian says

    …Grammar ninja!

    Nice!

    I prefer “grammurai” as I tend to wade in with a “banzai” and a grimace instead of employing subtle, unobtrusive sneakery :)

  113. magicthighs says

    @Jadehawk I just read that. He’s calling PZ out for calling Paula out for calling PZ out for calling people names while she does it herself. WTF?

  114. says

    @Jadehawk I just read that. He’s calling PZ out for calling Paula out for calling PZ out for calling people names while she does it herself. WTF?

    my guess: someone failed to note the sarcasm in PZ’s sentence, either on purpose or because they can’t read.

  115. 'Tis Himself says

    I prefer “grammurai” as I tend to wade in with a “banzai”

    Why do you carry a small tree?

  116. hotshoe says

    awww. some nincompoop just whined because PZ didn’t bother putting more effort into dealing with Paula Kirby’s crap than necessary. (it showed up as a pingback on my site)

    The nincompoop is a slimepitter, no surprise. it is using PZs post against Paula as a springboard for a nasty insinuation about PZ’s academic work.

    Can you delete the pingback ?

  117. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    awww. some nincompoop just whined because PZ didn’t bother putting more effort into dealing with Paula Kirby’s crap than necessary. (it showed up as a pingback on my site)

    Dollars to donuts xe didn’t actually read either yours or the other one.

  118. mandrellian says

    @144 weakswimmer

    Yep! Just send all Internet Royalty LOLs to my twitter account, @hank_says :)

  119. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Y’all looking for a replacement for grammar Nazi?

    I suggest grammar RWA.

  120. says

    I am a long time visitor to ftb but this is my first comment. I am an atheist rationalist and I consider myself in most ways a progressive. I am also a white male for those interested in potential bias. I am posting because I heard about this drama and a potential rift in our community.

    Here’s a familar beat…I think I know how this tune goes.

    blah blah blah both sides are wrong, I lost respect for PZ blah blah blah

    From my limited observer position there is a growing disagreement among us about the direction of our movement. Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism. Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting. I fall on the side of the latter. Not because I think that women’s rights are unimportant but rather because we already have clearly stated goals and we have not yet achieved them.

    WE MUST ANSWER FIRMLY: BIGFOOT YES OR NO!?

    We are still silenced politically.

    And silencing people is horrible…so shut up and let the men talk!

    The general population still lacks critical thinking skills.

    The skeptical community evidently lacks critical thinking skills.

    Atheism is still very much misunderstood. The list of problems we as a movement are directly addressing grows while we slowly force this society to open their eyes to these problems.

    Like women’s rights…so let’s promote people seeing those problems by never talking about them. Or to be even less charitable to you, let’s pretend it’s only a problem of religion. That way we can score rhetorical points and be just as intellectually sleazy as they are.

    Feminism, along with race equality, sexual orientation, access to healthcare, etc are struggles we all must fight but placing feminism into this movement’s umbrella as a focus is a distraction.

    Fuck. You. People can live being a closeted atheist. People cannot so easily closet being female.

    One can (and many do) be a part of the atheist movement while also being a part of the feminist movement. That does not mean however that the feminist movement would place as a major plank in their strategy the promotion of atheism. Likewise I see no reason to make feminism a major plank in the atheist movement.

    Then go away. Feminism is a core part of humanism. If you’re nto for that well then I don’t want people like in advancing atheism at all…because you’re exactly the sort of people the liberal religionists look at when they think of atheists as amoral psuedo intellectual wankers. And they’re fucking right.

    My fucking CHURCH whose mission was to advance the kingdom of God took Feminism as a core plank issue. And they were damn sight better than the atheist community has been.

    I attended The Reason Rally and I must admit I was worried that it would be a gathering of white males.

    GEE I WONDER WHY!?

    I was pleasantly surprised that a large percentage of the crowd was made up of women and people of diverse racial backgrounds.

    Why? Isn’t that a distraction?

    I felt that we had a unity there. My brothers and sisters fighting for the common cause of rationality.

    In other words, you were happy to have your tokens. How sweet of you. We can show up for the photo opts, but we can’t talk or bring up issues. What the fuck difference is there from the Mormon Church then?

    I am part of this movement because it’s focus is the spreading of rational thought and the representation of that in our government.

    AKA White issues are vastly more important

    It goes without saying that women have an equal role and responsibility in that.

    Apparently, it does not fucking go without saying or we wouldn’t be discussing this.

    I see no major conflict of the sexes in our movement more should one be a major focus of it.

    OF COURSE YOU DON’T SEE IT! YOU’RE A MALE AND JUST TOLD US THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO LISTEN TO FEMALE COMPLAINTS! Overcomming your fucking apathy and dickheadedness is not a reasonable standard of evidence to meet.

  121. says

    BTW if you’re upset that I was mean to you and didn’t give you 3 posts or that, keep in mind that on Pharyngula I have literally seen enough posts like that to know from the first sentence the general gist of your entire Teal Deer.

  122. hotshoe says

    Can you delete the pingback ?

    i see no reason to

    Oh, okay. Your blog, not mine.

  123. Nadai says

    detrean@100

    Some feel a major goal of the rationalist community should be the promotion of feminism. Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting. I fall on the side of the latter.

    I live in a conservative state (North Carolina) and work in a conservative industry (engineering). I’m an open atheist. Despite this, I have had no personal problems stemming from this stance at all. On the other hand, I have dealt with no end of shit for being a woman in a male-dominated state/industry/world.

    If I have to choose between feminism and atheism, I will choose feminism every single time. I can put up with the Pagans, liberal Christians and Unitarians, however incorrect I find their theologies. I won’t put up with the misogynists, no matter how atheistic or “rationalist” they are. I’ll still be an atheist, of course, but none of my time, money or effort will go into promoting a cause filled with people who can’t be bothered not to denigrate me.

  124. John Morales says

    Nadai @155, why anyone might supposedly confuse your assertiveness with aggressiveness is beyond me.

    (preemtpive due to predictability)

  125. says

    I prefer “grammurai” as I tend to wade in with a “banzai”

    Why do you carry a small tree?

    “Bonsai” is the miniature tree. “Banzai” was the Japanese battle cry in WWII. They’re completely different words. Sorry to spoil your joke with my pedantry.

    One complaint I have with Orac is that he gets angry and offended whenever anyone points out any spelling or grammar mistakes in his posts. He generally doesn’t bother to correct them and I think he’s even threatened to ban commenters for pointing them out, even when the commenter apologizes in advance for being nitpicky.

    Acting highly defensive and uninterested in getting the little details right isn’t a character trait that I would prefer for my doctor to possess, but I do enjoy reading his blog on the topics he is good at tackling (alt-med). I suspect if he were to even attempt to comment on the feminist issue, he’d end up sounding like any of the other tone trolls that show up on these threads, and I think he has the self-preservation instinct to realize this, which is probably a very good thing.

    Having said that, you all are a bunch of meanies and I want you all to know that you’re a bunch of vile man-haters and you should all be ashamed of yourselves and I’m never going to read your blog, or should I say echo chamber, ever again. You’ll rue the day you all decided to be such #FTBullies, I say. /snark

    Actually, while I thought at first that some of you were a bit strident when EG first hit, I (wisely) kept my mouth shut, and having read thousands of comments on the topic, I see now that you are pissing off all the right people, or should I say “wrong” people, so please, carry on with the dead porcupines and all the rest. It’s entertaining and educational, and maybe some of the offended “reasonable fellows” will figure out some day why they got yelled at (here’s a hint: it was for holding stupid, incorrect beliefs and refusing to listen to others with different experiences).

  126. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    detrean: There’s a very simple flaw in your argument:

    DETREAN: Atheists are discriminated against! This a problem!

    FACT: Percentage of atheists in the world population (est.) ~16%

    DETREAN; Women are discriminated against. Not a real problem.

    FACT: Percentage of women in the world population: ~51%

    The numbers tell you where the problem is. If you’re not on the side of women, you’re part of the problem.

  127. A Hermit says

    If I have to choose between feminism and atheism, I will choose feminism every single time. I can put up with the Pagans, liberal Christians and Unitarians, however incorrect I find their theologies. I won’t put up with the misogynists, no matter how atheistic or “rationalist” they are. I’ll still be an atheist, of course, but none of my time, money or effort will go into promoting a cause filled with people who can’t be bothered not to denigrate me.

    This^

  128. mandrellian says

    One complaint I have with Orac is that he gets angry and offended whenever anyone points out any spelling or grammar mistakes in his posts. He generally doesn’t bother to correct them and I think he’s even threatened to ban commenters for pointing them out, even when the commenter apologizes in advance for being nitpicky.

    Ditto, several times.

    I find it incredibly irritating that he not only doesn’t spellcheck, but that he doesn’t even proofread. My personal grammurai status notwithstanding I’m resigned to spelling and grammar errors on the internet and I (generally) don’t challenge bloggers over egregious abuse of English, but Orac has this nasty habit of writing sentences that don’t even go anywhere, that repeat words or even whole phrases, that start phrases one way and end them another and any number of syntactic offences. It’s like he just types and hits “post” without even checking if what he just wrote even makes sense. I wouldn’t dare suggest to Orac that he run his work through a spellchecker, but incoherency and bad syntax brought on by a refusal to proofread for clarity shouldn’t even be an issue for someone like him who’s been through many, many years of formal education. I’d just like to think that someone who writes in the public interest would give half a shit about that kind of thing – then again, that’s just me projecting my own insufferable neuroses regarding clarity onto someone else.

    Anyway, rant over. TL;DR: I love Orac’s blog and check it most days, but having to pause every so often to facepalm over a bit of unforgivably poor syntax or some elementary-level spelling/grammar SNAFU detracts from the points and arguments Orac makes (very good ones, almost invariably) and it’s nice to be able to moan about it somewhere :)

  129. mandrellian says

    Having said all that, I’ve just noticed a few proofreading SNAFUs in my own comment that I desperately hope nobody notices.

    Neuroses +25, embarrassment +50, no saving throw.

  130. detrean says

    I have gotten many more replies than I expected in a short time. I think the majority may have misunderstood my message here so I will try to clarify it by using some comments I read along the way.

    Jadehawk: an atheism in which these other oppression remain unaddressed, and are even allowed to flourish, is completely fucking worthless to them

    I would agree that a movement in which women are looked upon as below men would be a worthless movement indeed. It would have given up rationalism. That does not mean however we should shift our overall focus from promoting critical thinking (advances feminism), understanding of atheism, and acquiring political power to the women’s rights movement. The women’s rights movement already exists and we as rationalists should automatically embrace what it has taught us. Many atheists are active politically as feminists as well. They can and do embrace both movements.

    a hermit: it’s absurd to suggest that it’s an “either or” proposition; that if we make sexism a focus we can’t also focus on other issues.

    That is what I am suggesting. Gender equality should be something that is obviously embraced within our movement. We have limited exposure to the general population and politicians though so we need to have a clear message and a sort of mission statement. I think we currently do have that and I have listed them twice now. We cannot focus on every single thing that rationalists support. I support everyone’s right to healthcare but that doesn’t mean we should make it an atheist movement focus.

    Think of movements in the past. Many black civil rights supporters were also feminists. They actively supported both movements. That does not mean however that they would show up to an event or meeting put together for black civil rights and try to change the message to a feminist one or vise versa. If you want your movement’s goal to be realized you must be relentless. You must make it painfully obvious what you want and why you are right. Not knowing what your goals are and how to achieve them gets you Occupy Wallstreet. You have a lot of great ideas and nothing gets done.

    Ixchel: Atheism has the potential to contribute to the liberation of women, but not while you’re standing in the way. So get the fuck out the way.

    As I see it you are standing in the way of the athist movement, which is to promote rationalism itself through the promotion of critical thinking. Perhaps you should “get the fuck out of the way.” It just so happens that feminism is a great bi-product of critical thinking so you win anyway.

    Hieropants: By marginalizing the concerns of feminists you are hurting your own movement by alienating a large group of potential allies – how can we take you seriously if you refuse to apply rationalist methods of critical thinking to sex and gender relations?

    I am not refusing to apply rationalist thinking to the topics of sex and gender relations. I am saying the two clearly overlap. A true rationalist would obviously support equality of the genders. They can be a contributor to both the feminist and atheist movements. What I am suggesting is that we has a movement stay on message when communicating to the outside world. Promote critical thinking, understanding of rationalism, and political power for rationalists.

    Lastly, a few people have mentioned that recently there have been some bad experiences for women at atheist gatherings. I am ignorant of what has happened on that front. I know that there are a few bad people in every group and they need to be removed from that group if they cross personal boundaries. Any respectable organization does that and I would hope ours has done the same. That isn’t what I am referring to when I wrote the above.

  131. Richard Smith says

    On the subject of names for sticklers for linguistic order…

    Gramm-Aryans?

  132. says

    Lastly, a few people have mentioned that recently there have been some bad experiences for women at atheist gatherings. I am ignorant of what has happened on that front. I know that there are a few bad people in every group and they need to be removed from that group if they cross personal boundaries. Any respectable organization does that and I would hope ours has done the same. That isn’t what I am referring to when I wrote the above.

    So you don’t know the issue but are speaking with an aura of authority over everyone else on what their priorities should be.

    Do you always combine arrogance with ignorance in such a reckless manner?

  133. says

    That does not mean however we should shift our overall focus from promoting critical thinking (advances feminism), understanding of atheism, and acquiring political power to the women’s rights movement.

    if you think promoting women’s rights is shifting away from promoting critical thinking, you’re a very very confused person.

    you’ve also completely failed to understand what an intersectional movement is. social justice cannot be meaningfully carved into little, autonomous bits. either the fight for social justice is a cooperative effort, or it becomes a useless clusterfuck that isn’t going anywhere. like trying to get people to get a car unstuck, but with everyone pulling and pushing in different directions, so the car doesn’t budge.

  134. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    detrean: I note that you answered others’ criticisms, but not mine.

    So let me make the point, perhaps in a way which will make a last impact.

    Sexism, is, as you note, irrational, and has no place in the rational worldview of atheism.

    The Atheist community, AS YOU DO NOT NOTE, has a tremendous amount of sexism currently in it.

    Irrationally discriminating against over half of your potential membership is a

  135. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    detrean: I note that you answered others’ criticisms, but not mine.

    So let me make the point, perhaps in a way which will make a lasting impact.

    Sexism, is, as you note, irrational, and has no place in the rational worldview of atheism.

    The atheist community, AS YOU DO NOT NOTE, has a tremendous amount of sexism currently in it.

    Irrationally discriminating against over half of your potential membership is a CORE ISSUE to any organization trying to become relevant and significant.

    Further, any organization with prominent members spouting things such as, “Group X need not be listened to, their experiences are unimportant, there is no problem”, supported and echoed by other members who spout such things as, “Member(s) of Group X just need to raped” is fucked, particularly if said organization wishes to be seem as rational. (Note this lets out religions, cults, and wackaloons.)

    To end, detrean, just imagine how your precious rational atheists would sound if they said things like, “Niggers have nothing to contribute to our organization”, and “Yappy niggers ought to be lynched, but only after castration”, and “Lynchin’ threats, it’s just jokes, fer Chrissakes!”. A hundred years ago, many atheists thought exactly those thoughts; but such have been purged from the atheism, and no one would think to utter such sentiments now.

  136. mandrellian says

    166:

    So you don’t know the issue but are speaking with an aura of authority over everyone else on what their priorities should be.

    He certainly isn’t the first.

    Detrean, focus by _some_ atheists on feminism and gender equality at the expense of other things they could be focusing on is a strength: as I said, people whose passion and area of expertise is Subject A serve the movement best when they focus more on Subject A than on Subject B (which they may suck at) or the more general goal of the movement – whatever that might be and however that goal is agreed upon.

    Atheism/humanism/skepticism is a very broad movement and requires warriors on many fronts. During battle, a general will deploy their best warriors to the places their skills will achieve the best outcomes; as atheism et al has no one single general, warriors and their organisations are able to choose their own field of battle according to their skills, experience and passion. In this we behave more like disparate, opportunistic guerilla cells than cohesive military units connected through a central command: we pick our battles and our tactics as the situation demands.

    You seem to understand that a movement with diverse goals and numerous fronts requires different approaches and areas of focus – you said that gender equality is a by-product of critical thinking. But you contradict that understanding when you say:

    That does not mean however we should shift our overall focus from promoting critical thinking (advances feminism), understanding of atheism, and acquiring political power to the women’s rights movement.

    Why? Because noone is advocating such a radical shift of focus. Feminism and gender equality are integral to the worldviews of a great number of atheist/skeptic activists, are non-negotiable and are part and parcel of their activism. For some people, humanism itself is meaningless without gender equality. It’s not about a shift in focus; it’s about refusing to avoid a topic when it comes up because that topic might be difficult or uncomfortable. That’s what’s happening right now: a topic has arisen which is difficult and uncomfortable and lots of atheists are talking about it because (a) it’s there and (b) it needs addressing. Others are saying “No, it doesn’t need addressing”. We are disagreeing with those people. It’s here, it needs to be addressed. Full stop.

    You also betray your understanding of the movement when you say we need a defined goal and a mission statement (you’re certainly not the first to call for that, either).

    Working out what “our” mission statement would be would take more arguing and debate and time and energy than we have to spare – you yourself said we had limited exposure (and we certainly have limited resources); no sooner would some nominated atheist spokesperson pop up with a “Our Mission is X” than someone else would pop up with “Our Mission is X with conditions and caveats and also some Y!”. The time and energy that would be required to hammer out what “our” mission should be (and subsequently following up the dissent over the Mission) and who should present it could be better spent exactly where it is currently being spent: on the front lines, in schools, courthouses, on the streets, on billboards, on TV, in the press, online in innumerable forums and focused on every subject any of us hold dear. In other words, what we need to do is do more of what we’re doing.

    To be honest you’re not being particularly clear, and the fact that you (as you’ve admitted) not really paid much attention to the sexism/harrassment issues that have been highlighted over the last year or so before commenting doesn’t lend your posts much credibility.

  137. says

    We cannot focus on every single thing that rationalists support. I support everyone’s right to healthcare but that doesn’t mean we should make it an atheist movement focus.

    why not? considering that one of the reasons people cling to religion in the US is because it’s the main source of social welfare for them, support for universal healthcare is a way of fighting the power religion has in the US.

    That does not mean however that they would show up to an event or meeting put together for black civil rights and try to change the message to a feminist one or vise versa.

    it’s “vice versa”, and actually Black feminists and womanists have done exactly that, and rightly so.

    If you want your movement’s goal to be realized you must be relentless. </blockquote? relentless != blinkered. and you cannot succeed if you act in isolation of the other social justice movements.

    Not knowing what your goals are and how to achieve them gets you Occupy Wallstreet.

    I see that you’re ignorant about more than just intersectionality. the trope that OWS doesn’t know what its goals are is a fucking lie, m’kay?

    It just so happens that feminism is a great bi-product of critical thinking so you win anyway.

    it’s “byproduct”, and this is an empirically false claim in the sense that before the feminist involvement and attempt at reshaping atheism/skepticism, it was a toxic rathole of libertarians and misogynists. Still is, to a large degree. So, an atheist/skeptical movement can only benefit women if it’s a feminist atheism, since the other kind promotes oppression against women same as religion does.

    A true rationalist would obviously support equality of the genders. They can be a contributor to both the feminist and atheist movements. What I am suggesting is that we has a movement stay on message when communicating to the outside world.

    if rationalism is in support of gender equality, than a call to be rational and think critically about sexism can by definition not be off-message in a rational movement.

    Lastly, a few people have mentioned that recently there have been some bad experiences for women at atheist gatherings. I am ignorant of what has happened on that front. I know that there are a few bad people in every group and they need to be removed from that group if they cross personal boundaries. Any respectable organization does that and I would hope ours has done the same. That isn’t what I am referring to when I wrote the above.

    you’re an ignorant idiot. it’s not “recently”, it’s “since there’s been atheist gatherings”; and it’s not “a few bad people”, but a chilly climate and a lot of people. and no, atheist/skeptical organizations have done fuck-all about any of this until the feminist atheists spoke up.

  138. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Atheism has the potential to contribute to the liberation of women, but not while you’re standing in the way. So get the fuck out the way.

    As I see it you are standing in the way of the athist movement, which is to promote rationalism itself through the promotion of critical thinking. Perhaps you should “get the fuck out of the way.”

    What a dumbass.

    Whatever sector of the atheist movement I’m standing in the way of by promoting feminism, that sector should be held back. Crushed, actually.

    For I can’t be standing in the way of those who simply don’t care about feminism. I’m not stopping anyone from saying “there is no God and there is no Bigfoot.” Those people can go on about their business. If they truly hold no position on feminism, then they will never even involve themselves in any discussions of feminism, and so I will never have the opportunity to call them antifeminist reactionaries.

    You’re holding us back. You would not be holding us back if you would just totally ignore the matter and go on with your “there is no God” shtick. You wouldn’t be an ally, but you wouldn’t be an enemy either. I’d have no occasion to think about you. Yet, here you are, holding us back.

    It just so happens that feminism is a great bi-product of critical thinking so you win anyway.

    You claim this, but your actions demonstrate the opposite.

    Critical thinking per se doesn’t do much good without being exposed vigorous activist challenges to the status quo value system — patriarchy in this case.

  139. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    … being exposed to vigorous activist challenges …

  140. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Fuuuuuuuuuuck (a typo in post#168, except that I typo’d the submit comment button, not a letter. (And I don’t even know how I did it.)

  141. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    One straightforward reason why atheism and social justice should go hand in hand: religion thrives on inequity. A more equal society means people are far less likely to cling to religion.

    It’s not rocket surgery.

    But the real reason people are opposing this is not because they don’t think that; it’s because working for social justice means acknowledging the existence of privilege, it means admitting that the current movement is not already perfect (and in fact has some serious flaws), it means actually having to change something about themselves as opposed to just sitting around and high-fiving each other for being more rational than their neighbour Johnny Catholic who believes the cracker really is magic.

    Atheism-only atheism is just not good enough anymore.

  142. mandrellian says

    Damn you, Jadehawk:

    social justice cannot be meaningfully carved into little, autonomous bits. either the fight for social justice is a cooperative effort, or it becomes a useless clusterfuck that isn’t going anywhere.

    Once again, someone reads my cluttered mind and puts into two sentences what I spent twenty minutes turning into a manifesto :D

    Detrean, our movement is about social justice – for non-believers and for those believers abused by their own religions. That encompasses so many different things that it’d be exhausting and thread-hogging to list them all.

    Noone’s asking for some radical shift in focus that would detract in any way from the broad goals of atheist/skeptic/humanist activism. To claim they are is to draw a conclusion that simply isn’t warranted.

  143. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Y’know, reading over the last few dozen posts of sexist garbage, I think I have identified at least one source of the brain-farts from members of the He-Man-Wimmin-Haterz Club.

    It’s the word “feminism.”

    Bear with me for a moment. The opposite of feminism would be “masculinism”. Now, in the automatic mental shorthand of persons suffering from patriarchy, “masculinism” would mean the automatic superiority of men in everything. “Penises! To the front of the line!”, and all that crap. Therefore, when they hear/read “feminism”, all they can think about is: “Woman superior” and they immediately crap their pants thinking about women doing to them what they have done to women. For centuries.

    They just don’t mentally parse that “feminism” = treat women like human beings.

    So it’s the short-circuiting of thought by burned-in-the-brain patriarchal tropes, projection, and the justifiable fear of women getting the upper hand and doing to them (men) as men have done to them.

    In other words, cowardly, snivelling, bullies. (Not that others haven’t noted that already.)

    So detrean, feel proud! Beat your chest! We all know what you are.

  144. mandrellian says

    Hairhead @ 179:

    So detrean, feel proud! Beat your chest! We all know what you are.

    He might well be, well, a masculinist stooge of the kind you describe, but for now I’ll extend the benefit of the doubt to Detrean and assume that instead of being malicious he’s just badly (or not at all) informed. About a bunch of things.

  145. says

    Hairhead, there’s a regular trollish commenter at ManBoobz.com (blog about exposing and mocking MRAs and other misogynists) who goes by the handle NWOSlave who does nothing but post angry, bitter rants against his conspiratorial worldview where the socialist government is a matriarchal dystopia that teaches hatred of men, the superiority of women, and wants nothing more than to put the white man down.

    There’s more to it than that, but fortunately one of the other regular commenters summarized NWOslave’s more memorable claims in The Big Book of Larnin, quoted in the post naming him 2011 troll of the year.

    The guy is completely impervious to reason, and I feel more sorry for him than anything, because he’s clearly miserable, and his paranoid worldview seems to be the primary cause, but he’s a good, if extreme, example of imagining “feminism” as the inverse of patriarchy and the types of fears that it can lead to.

  146. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Detrean seems to be a slightly more polite, clueless bully. But a bully, nevertheless.

    “There’s a problem of sexism within atheism? Never heard about it! And if it’s there, it’s not important. Not at all! If it were important, I would know about it.”

    On careful second thought, no, I’m not giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  147. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    mandrellian, if it’s okay with you, I’d like to mine your comments in this thread — I’m thinking @122 but maybe others; tbh I haven’t read everything closely — for content for the Pharyngula Wikia. There’d be some snip snipping to make the content not specifically a reply to detrean, but I’ll keep your meaning intact, of course.

    This would mean CC BY-SA 3.0 licensing, because that’s what Wikia requires. How does that sound?

  148. markroberts says

    Other things she has written are spot on and enjoyable but *this* one that you disagree with is ‘hash’? Nice. So, rational people that you have respected before disagree with you like Dawkins and Kirby. Should your response be to step back and re-evaluate the situation or should you just dismiss their opinions in toto, put your head down and charge? Clearly the second carries the day. Despite being called a ‘feminazi’ myself, I completely disagree with PZ about this issue. All he has done with this is to, as Kirby says, make people shy away from the important topic of social equality for women and to wreck havoc on the atheist movement. Nice job.

  149. says

    Shorter Paula Kirby: “I’m not saying these people are really Nazis, but here are twenty paragraphs on how they are just like Nazis…”

    No, no, you’re getting her wrong. Because she carefully explains how feminists are worse than Nazis, because 1930 Germans were actually suffering while women are totes privileged and not affected negatively in any way.
    ++++++

    ^^ Oh, Well, It sounds more like Orac wants nothing to do with dealing with the “misogynists” that use the feminazi term.

    Honestly I don’t blame him. These MRAs really are like a virus that you can’t move out of your blog ever again once you let them into.

    I can, because it makes him a fucking dishonest asshole. Yeah, sure, go after Ophelia, because you know that she and her commenters might disagree with her passionately, but that you won’t get threats of rape and violence. And make yourself part of the poor victims of the #FTBullies (poor thing). But don’t point out shit on the other side, because you know that their love for you will vanish instantly and that then you’ll get some real bullying.
    Asshole.
    Coward.
    Collaborateur.

    brianthompson

    Maybe it’s a trans-Atlantic culture thing. Paula is Scottish, like myself, and we don’t mince our words. A better attitude would be “full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes”, in my opinion. Or if I may quote Gloria Steinem at you: “once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect”.

    If I may quote Giliell at you:
    Fucking libertarians, how do they work.
    Stop your “I’m British, we’re different” bullshit, because you’Re not the only European around here.

    At no time did Paula (or I) even remotely hint that such crimes are acceptable, or condone them in any way.

    Yeah, the good old “if it’s not illegal it’s not wrong” argument. Tell me, are there things that are not illegal that you’d rather not have people doing? Do you think that things that are not illegal can’t hurt badly?

    The implication that Paula isn’t on your side, on these serious issues, is alarming to say the least. I think she made it quite clear that she is.

    Where and when? She made it quite clear that we shut shut up and just either live with being harassed or stop participating.

    Hey, remember when Scotland fretted over what England did or didn’t do, and it gave England all that pow—

    Wait, didn’t they have that anyway?
    Ah, I see, sorry ;)

    detrean

    Others feel that such a focus is more of a distraction from other things we should be promoting. I fall on the side of the latter.

    Yeah, because, as you admitted, you have nothing to gain from it (apart from the fact that men also profit from feminism, because it fights toxic masculinity and gender expectations about men, too) but quite some things to lose, like the privilege of having your opinion always taken more serious than that of a woman unless the discussion is about tampons.

    Not because I think that women’s rights are unimportant but rather because we already have clearly stated goals and we have not yet achieved them

    Lie back and think of the revolution, baby!

    We are still silenced politically.

    Therefore, women, STFU

    Feminism, along with race equality, sexual orientation, access to healthcare, etc are struggles we all must fight but placing feminism into this movement’s umbrella as a focus is a distraction.

    Because bigfoot and Wicca are much more important issues than the rights of 51% of the population.
    Fuck any movement that thinks that my actual life, health and human rights are a distraction.

    That does not mean however that the feminist movement would place as a major plank in their strategy the promotion of atheism. Likewise I see no reason to make feminism a major plank in the atheist movement.

    Because you are clearly the one to tell people what their priorities must be. Nothing entitled about that. Here’s a suggestion: You fuck off to your “no politics, please, I really don’t care about other people atheism” and we keep our humanist and feminist atheism.

    I was pleasantly surprised that a large percentage of the crowd was made up of women and people of diverse racial backgrounds.

    It’s not like this fact has something to do with the tireless efforts of people to promote feminism and racial justice within the atheist community, no, sir, just a coincident.

    That is what I am suggesting. Gender equality should be something that is obviously embraced within our movement. We have limited exposure to the general population and politicians though so we need to have a clear message and a sort of mission statement. I think we currently do have that and I have listed them twice now. We cannot focus on every single thing that rationalists support. I support everyone’s right to healthcare but that doesn’t mean we should make it an atheist movement focus.

    Yeah, I think we understood you perfectly: You’re absolutely willing to throw people and their real life concerns under the bus for the sake of the greater good.

    It just so happens that feminism is a great bi-product of critical thinking so you win anyway.

    Apparently not.

    . I am ignorant of what has happened on that front.

    The first part of the sentence would have been enough. You admit that you have no clue what we’re actually talking about but feel confident telling us all that we should stop what’s important to us and do what’s important to you. Nothing spells clueless privileged asshole better than that.

    Kalliope

    I’ve been an atheist the same amount of time I’ve been female: my entire life. I promise you that being a woman is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay harder. (And I’m a really privileged woman.)

    This.
    Number of times I’ve been threatened because of atheism (yeah, I know, I live in a pretty secular country): zero
    Number of times I’ve been threatened because I’m a woman: lost count.

    +++++

    If I have to choose between feminism and atheism, I will choose feminism every single time. I can put up with the Pagans, liberal Christians and Unitarians, however incorrect I find their theologies. I won’t put up with the misogynists, no matter how atheistic or “rationalist” they are. I’ll still be an atheist, of course, but none of my time, money or effort will go into promoting a cause filled with people who can’t be bothered not to denigrate me.

    QFFT
    If it’s to choose between people who got the question “is there a god” right and people who got the question “are women/POC/gays people” I know with whom I’ll go. We can have fun heated theological arguments without me ending up being raped.

    markroberts

    All he has done with this is to, as Kirby says, make people shy away from the important topic of social equality for women and to wreck havoc on the atheist movement. Nice job.

    Hmmm, you must have read different posts than I have.
    Care to enlighten us with quotes?

  150. kassad says

    Hairhead:

    The opposite of feminism would be “masculinism”. Now, in the automatic mental shorthand of persons suffering from patriarchy, “masculinism” would mean the automatic superiority of men in everything. “Penises! To the front of the line!”, and all that crap.

    I’ve always thought of masculinism as the other side of the coin of feminism. I’m baffled by the fact that some people can consider feminism an enemy of men, while partriarchy screw over every men too. Greta Christina wrote several great piece that explain very well and very simply just that: http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2010/07/5-stupid-unfair-and-sexist-things-expected-of-men.html (there are other articles but I don’t have them at the moment).

    So for me “masculinism” always was the struggle of men against the patriarcal model. I read your post a tried a little googling to check that.
    Merriam-Webster definition:

    Definition of MASCULINIST

    : an advocate of male superiority or dominance
    — masculinist adjective

    Wikipedia article:

    The primary focus of masculinism is on “masculinity and the place of white heterosexual men in North America and European societies,”.

    Well, you’re right. Fuck…

  151. says

    who goes by the handle NWOSlave

    we know him. he posted here for a while as matriarchy, before getting his stupid ass banned. IIRC, he showed up claiming that the “Go Red For Women” campaign was evidence that heart diesease is taken more seriously in women than in men, because there was no equivalent campaign raising awareness about the symptoms of a heart attack in men.

  152. Kalliope says

    Detrean –

    Allow me to dissect your comment. But first, a prelude.

    Do you really assume that women in general, and feminist in particular, and feminist atheists specifically, are not being rational? Is that really what you want to imply? Are we, as a group, so very unreliable that your automatic assumption about our testimony and argument is that they’re irrational, despite our tremendous experience, knowledge, and time spent thinking and discussing this topic is irrational and worthy of dismissal? Less than? Please feel free to explain what feature we ladies have or lack to make this so. What separates us from other experts in other areas?

    I think the majority may have misunderstood my message here

    If most people don’t understand what you tried to say, they didn’t “mis-” anything. You communicated badly. The fault is not in myriad receivers, it’s in the transmitter. I suspect you revealed more about your attitude than you intended (see above).

    I would agree that a movement in which women are looked upon as below men would be a worthless movement indeed. It would have given up rationalism.

    You’re elevating an abstract concept, rationalism, over the material reality of human beings. It wouldn’t be worthless because it gave up rationalism. It would be worthless because it wouldn’t help actual human beings. Sexism isn’t a symptom, it’s the disease, at least to the 51% of the population who suffer from it (and at the other isms to increase that percentage dramatically).

    The women’s rights movement already exists and we as rationalists should automatically embrace what it has taught us… Gender equality should be something that is obviously embraced within our movement…As I see it you are standing in the way of the athist(sic) movement, which is to promote rationalism itself through the promotion of critical thinking.

    And yet, here we are. People, such as yourself, but others to perhaps a greater degree (I’ll take your word on your stance) don’t automatically embrace it. If they did, this wouldn’t be an issue. Unless you think we’re just making shit up? (See first paragraph.)

    We cannot focus on every single thing that rationalists support. I support everyone’s right to healthcare but that doesn’t mean we should make it an atheist movement focus.

    First, I don’t accept your limited resources assertion. Second, as I’ve said before, people can’t learn critical reasoning skills if they’re not allowed to go to school. In the course of advancing your own priority (the spread of that ineffable rationality), one would have to knock down the barriers people face to education and full autonomy.

    Think of movements in the past. Many black civil rights supporters were also feminists. They actively supported both movements. That does not mean however that they would show up to an event or meeting put together for black civil rights and try to change the message to a feminist one or vise versa. If you want your movement’s goal to be realized you must be relentless.

    Okay, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Get yourself an education on this topic. Seriously. The literature is full of black women who complained or tried to change the way they were treated and discounted within the movement, but were told that they were counter-revolutionaries and, specifically, that they shouldn’t stand in the way of their men’s enfranchisement. See also, the condition of women in South Africa. Apartheid ended and rape went through the roof. MOST black women in South Africa are raped. So don’t spout this bullshit. But you don’t know any black activists, do you? Let alone black feminist activists who could educate you on their experiences? And you haven’t ready any books on the topic, have you?

    You know, information is the basis of rationality. Try it.

    Perhaps you should “get the fuck out of the way.” It just so happens that feminism is a great bi-product of critical thinking so you win anyway… A true rationalist would obviously support equality of the genders.

    Citation needed.

    I am not refusing to apply rationalist thinking to the topics of sex and gender relations.

    You demonstrate the falsity of this statement. See everything above and below.

    What I am suggesting is that we has a movement stay on message when communicating to the outside world. Promote critical thinking, understanding of rationalism, and political power for rationalists.

    Who else are you approaching with this message? What other thrusts are you objecting to? Who else are you arguing with?

    Lastly, a few people have mentioned that recently there have been some bad experiences for women at atheist gatherings. I am ignorant of what has happened on that front. I know that there are a few bad people in every group and they need to be removed from that group if they cross personal boundaries. Any respectable organization does that and I would hope ours has done the same. That isn’t what I am referring to when I wrote the above.

    If you want to promote rational thought, may I respectfully suggest that you begin with demonstrating the first rule of rational thought? Acquiring and analyzing the data before you draw a conclusion.

    Seriously, you’ve just insulted us by wasting our time. We’ve been arguing in good faith and with knowledge of the facts.

    You know what your statement tells me? That you disrespect us and our concerns so thoroughly, that you think your brain just automatically makes you more qualified to proffer an opinion. Do you do that often? Do you tell your contractor that you know his job better than he does even though you’ve never looked at a blue print or swung a hammer? Do you regularly write letters to peer reviewed journals offering your opinion on sciences you haven’t so much as studied?

    No? Then what inside you makes you think it’s okay to do that here? And you talk about rationality?

    Dooooooood.

  153. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Is there, like, a factory somewhere that churns out completely ignorant, utterly clueless, thick-headed, privileged-poisoned dipshits strictly for dispatching to comment threads about issues not pertaining to WhinyAss Self-Obssessed Doods to piss everyone off with their uselessness?

    Gee, big surprise, Random Ignorant Dude falls in the “There’s No Problem With MY Movement” camp. What a shocker. Issues that don’t effect him are a distraction. And, since sexism doesn’t affect him, and he doesn’t have to see it, clearly HIS movement is all about equality. There’s no bigotry at all! Because he doesn’t see it or experience it! What do you mean this issue has been under discussion for over a year with clear and repeated proof HIS movement is full of bigoted asswipes? HE didn’t see it, so clearly, it didn’t happen.

    So, bitchez, PLEASE shut up. You’re distracting HIS movement from the VERY important business of feeling superior to people who believe in Bigfoot. That IS the most important thing evah.

  154. left0ver1under says

    On page one of the PDF, Kirby writes:

    Any suggestion, no matter how mildly phrased or how in keeping with the principles of skepticism, that The Sisterhood might not be automatically and wholly right by default

    That was where I stopped reading and refused to read any further.

    I have no qualms with those who say change isn’t happening fast enough, who say the time for patience is over when equality is the issue, or even how she claims those who don’t join in are on the side of the oppressors. But I can not and will not listen to someone or a group that claims infallibility, as she did.

    “Feminazi” and “femistasi” are ludicrous and insulting terms intended to demean and demonize those spoken of. I don’t even use “-nazi” to refer to the far right wingnuts who call for imprisoning or exiling gays and minorities. But in Kirby’s case, I’m very tempted to refer to her as “femipapalist”.

  155. mandrellian says

    ixchel @ 183:

    Fine with me – dig away!

    Feel free to twoot at me [@hank_says], if you’re a tweeterer.

  156. 'Tis Himself says

    “Bonsai” is the miniature tree. “Banzai” was the Japanese battle cry in WWII. They’re completely different words. Sorry to spoil your joke with my pedantry.

    Hey, the Japanese get really fanatical about their miniature trees.

    Incidentally and just to be pedantic, “banzai” was used as a battlecry long before World War II.

  157. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    In what can only be called true weaksauce, Kirby retweeted (for the gazillionth time) a link to her screed; she doesn’t even have the decency to acknowledge she’s been responded to and so soundly fisked.

    Her entire twitter feed is basically a cavalcade of mutual (and frequent self-) back-patting between her, Stangroom, the sadly fallen Russell Blackford and whichever toadies happen to be helping her maintain the delusion that what she wrote a) wasn’t shit, and b) hasn’t been called such many times over.

    I guess it’s the first rule of being a (quasi-)public figure who gets humiliated: deny, deny, deny.

  158. douglashudson says

    Re: Orac’s non-response isn’t surprising. He is a conservative lapsed Catholic. (His response to Cracker-gate was hilarious in its hypocrisy; its okay for him to attack woo-meisters, but god forbid anyone attack the sacred cracker).

    I like Orac’s positions on a lot of things, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for him to defend feminism.

  159. A Hermit says

    detrean @ 164:

    . We cannot focus on every single thing that rationalists support. I support everyone’s right to healthcare but that doesn’t mean we should make it an atheist movement focus.

    Look, no one is asking that all atheists everywhere drop everything and take up the feminist banner fulltime. But there are a large number of atheists/rationalists/skeptics/humanists who feel it is important enough an issue for them to put some effort into it. You don’t want to take an interest in women’s rights, that’s fine; don’t go to those seminars, read those blogs, sign those petitions…no one is holding a gun to your head forcing you or anyone else to “focus” on anything. If you think debunking Bigfoot or fighting creationists or homeopaths or psychics or theistic beliefs should be your focus go ahead and focus on them. Everyone here, I’m sure, will be happy to support your efforts to whatever extent they are able.

    We all come to this movement, if that’s what it is, from different places, with different areas of interest and concern, different talents and different priorities. You don’t have to adopt anyone else’s priorities, but don;t you think it’s a bit presumptuous, to put it politely, to insist that others should drop their priorities and adopt yours?

  160. A Hermit says

    Oh, I should read all the comments before bothering to pipe up; Kalliope’s response to detrean said everything I did, and more and so much better…I’m giving you all my internet points…

  161. fastlane says

    Making a note to add Ing to the nomination list for the next OM, for comment 150.

    markroberts@184: Are you competing with Bill Krystal for longest streak of Always Being Wrong Award(TM)?

    Immuninata@190:

    Is there, like, a factory somewhere that churns out completely ignorant, utterly clueless, thick-headed, privileged-poisoned dipshits strictly for dispatching to comment threads about issues not pertaining to WhinyAss Self-Obssessed Doods to piss everyone off with their uselessness?

    We call it US culture. (America, Fuck yeah!!!)

  162. says

    who goes by the handle NWOSlave

    we know him. he posted here for a while as matriarchy, before getting his stupid ass banned. IIRC, he showed up claiming that the “Go Red For Women” campaign was evidence that heart diesease is taken more seriously in women than in men, because there was no equivalent campaign raising awareness about the symptoms of a heart attack in men.

    Actually, “matriarchy” was a different troll who went by the handle “MRA Lieutenant” on ManBoobz before getting banned over there for the same sort of obsessive and self-pitying antics that got him banned on Pharyngula. I don’t feel nearly as sorry for MRAL/matriarchy since he seems to be in his early 20s (while NWOSlave seems to be in his 50s) so he has less of an excuse for ignorance and much greater opportunity to educate himself instead of blaming feminism for his problems in getting dates and his paranoia that all women are just waiting to spit on him (women spitting on him was a recurring phrase in his obsessions).

    I did find it interesting how quickly MRAL was recognized here, and later at ManBoobz when he tried to sock puppet under another handle, due to the similarity in writing style and ideas he was fixated on.

  163. says

    Kalliope:

    Do you really assume that women in general, and feminist in particular, and feminist atheists specifically, are not being rational? Is that really what you want to imply? Are we, as a group, so very unreliable that your automatic assumption about our testimony and argument is that they’re irrational, despite our tremendous experience, knowledge, and time spent thinking and discussing this topic is irrational and worthy of dismissal? Less than? Please feel free to explain what feature we ladies have or lack to make this so. What separates us from other experts in other areas?

    I remember taking a walk once with my dad as a teenager, when he said something to me like “son, one thing I’ve learned is that women are not rational” with the air of imparting deep wisdom, and that my understanding of this would help me later when I got married. Wisdom from the ancient Greek philosophers or something.

    Even at the time, I realized that my mom was probably by far the more rational thinker than my dad, and certainly the more pragmatic, and yet they both had their areas of irrational belief.

    In college, upon taking courses in mind, brain, and behavior, I learned that neither men nor women are “rational”. If we were purely rational, we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning because there’s no purely rational reason to do anything at all. So instead we have this wonderful capacity for rationalizing whatever our emotions and passions have led us down the path of wanting to do.

    One example (with experimental data to verify this sequence of events) is that if you see a tiger in the distance running towards you, your amygdala and stress hormone driven systems will cause you to start running away before your conscious mind has processed what’s happening. But your conscious mind quickly catches up and creates a post-hoc rationalization: “I saw the tiger so I ran from it.” In actuality, you started running unconsciously, and then realized it was because of the tiger, but your brain reverses the causality to preserve the illusion that you consciously and rationally made the decision to run.

    I guess what fascinates me about the guys that show up to argue against feminism is that they accuse feminists of irrationality because there’s an obvious emotional justification for being angry and fighting back, but the feminist arguments themselves are completely rational. What they don’t notice is that their own compulsions to post here and defend the status quo are driven by the same sorts of irrational, emotional justifications, otherwise they wouldn’t bother to post. Because the anti-feminist arguments are rational arguments too, but the key difference is that they’re based on false or misleading premises so they’re not valid arguments.

    The feminist arguments seem to me to be far more scientifically and rationally valid, but I guess the anti-feminists see the passion and emotional drive behind the people making them (while completely minimizing the passion and emotional drive behind their own compulsion to argue the point), so they confuse the emotion behind the feminist argument for irrationality, confuse the emotion behind their own arguments for righteousness and rationality, and they project their own emotional bias onto their opponents while completely ignoring the merits of the actual arguments being presented. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  164. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Kalliope

    Who else are you approaching with this message? What other thrusts are you objecting to? Who else are you arguing with?

    I want to know the answer to this too! Who else does Detrean think is hurting the atheist or rationalist movement by bringing their other causes into it?

    Does my LGBTQ activism, which I often do within the context of atheism, because I want this bloody movement to represent me and people like me too, blur the focus of what atheism should be about? Am I and are people like me, feminists and other such social justice activists, somehow co-opting atheism to suite our purposes, thereby diminishing the effectiveness of the atheist movement? Have we tainted it?

    Perhaps Detrean hasn’t considered that the reason there are people in the atheist movement who are activists of other types, who want to integrate that into the core of the atheist movement, is because we identify as atheists too? I don’t need to wear a badge unique to each movement or social justice cause I’m attached to at the moment. I can wear them all. They’re all complimentary. And I’m damned well not going to just drop some integral part of me when I’m acting as an atheist activist just so that the atheist agenda can advance in just the focused (What the fuck focus anyhow?) way that white, cis-cengered, heterosexual men want.
    ______________

    Detrean, I hope you have an idea how condescending or patronising you sound. I hope you’re aware now of how dismissive you’ve been of the realities of other people. These are problems real people are facing and it’s perfectly legitimate for us, everyone who’s not a white man, to bring our issues with us into freethought, rational and atheist movements and to expect these movements to advance our agenda, especially when it’s on our time and due to our effort. You don’t have to support it, but you certainly don’t get to tell anyone that what they’ve brought to the movement takes focus from whatever you think the focus should be. You don’t get to decide for me what’s important for me to bring to the forefront of my freethought, rational or atheist movement.

    I blow raspberries at you.

  165. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    (Very poorly and with lots of spit. My tongue is actually too short for me to blow raspberries with.)

  166. says

    Off a limited range of topics, Orac runs the gamut from incoherent to insufferable.

    Brian Thomson, thanks for your oh-so-helpful mansplanations.

    Detrean, I was hoping you were a Poe, making a “deep rifts” reference early on in your comment at #100. No such luck. You’re just another electronic dust bunny with arrogance in opposite proportion to your knowledgeability and writing skills marginally better than Ross Douthat’s.

    Mandrellian:

    I love Orac’s blog and check it most days, but having to pause every so often to facepalm over a bit of unforgivably poor syntax or some elementary-level spelling/grammar SNAFU detracts from the points and arguments Orac makes (very good ones, almost invariably) and it’s nice to be able to moan about it somewhere :)

    OMG, HDU, you prescriptivist.

    Mark Roberts:

    Other things she has written are spot on and enjoyable but *this* one that you disagree with is ‘hash’?

    What, so just because she’s written things that are good, that means she can never turn out a turd and that she’s exempt from any criticism? So the next time your favorite band comes out with a CD, and you buy it and it turns out to be full of duds, I guess you should suck it up and keep it in your CD player.

    Jake Hamby:

    I don’t feel nearly as sorry for MRAL/matriarchy since he seems to be in his early 20s (while NWOSlave seems to be in his 50s)

    Why? Not that I have any use for MRAL, either, but by the time you’re 50-something, you’ve been around long enough to learn about reality.

  167. says

    jakehamby #201:

    In actuality, you started running unconsciously, and then realized it was because of the tiger, but your brain reverses the causality to preserve the illusion that you consciously and rationally made the decision to run.

    Err, I dunno. Thing is, all of the processes you describe occur at near-light-speed; I don’t think that it’s so much the brain reversing causality as it being that the sequence of processes happens so fast that it is indistinguishable (at least, to our fantastically slow perception) from them happening simultaneously.

  168. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Thanks, mandrellian. I copied your stuff over to the Sandbox on Pharyngula Wikia, but I haven’t edited it or decided where to put it just yet. My brain’s not well caffeinated today. Or maybe it is and my caffeine receptors are just worn out.

    I don’t tweet, but I’ll leave a comment here when I’m done. You’ll be able to find it on the wiki by googling for “people whose passion and area of expertise”, because that phrase is sure to stay.

  169. mandrellian says

    ixchel, I’ve decided to create a blog post out of your collection of my comments. Thanks for the collation – I dropped your name in gratitude.

    I’m at GeneralSystemsVehicle.blogspot.com (my apologies to everyone for the whoring!)

  170. mandrellian says

    Ing @ 211:

    You know a thought occurs

    Did any one of these people protest when the Black Skeptics of Atlanta were marginalized away from the movement?

    You know very well that would have weakened our movement and dilute our whisky. Or something.

  171. mandrellian says

    I keep on confusing those alphabet-soup MRAs

    That’s easy to do. They all seem to go for apparently “clever” and “subversive” handles: “Ooh, look at me lads, I’m totally sticking it to the Femistasi by calling myself ‘matrianarchy’!”.

    No you’re not. You’re being a tool. A shit-stirrer, to be precise.

  172. says

    Err, I dunno. Thing is, all of the processes you describe occur at near-light-speed; I don’t think that it’s so much the brain reversing causality as it being that the sequence of processes happens so fast that it is indistinguishable (at least, to our fantastically slow perception) from them happening simultaneously.

    No, our brains are really, really, really, slow. The only reason we can do some things better than computers is because they’re also massively parallel. So we’ve evolved many techniques to compensate for the huge amounts of lag in the system. One of those techniques is that we’re extremely good at rationalizing decisions and actions that other parts of our brains have set in motion prior to the rationalization.

    I remember reading about an experiment in the 70s, where the participants were given a “vitamin injection”, half of whom got a saline shot, and the other half got a shot of Adrenalin (you couldn’t do the experiment today because it violates informed consent ethics rules). Of the ones given the Adrenalin, half were informed of the actual side effects (increased heart rate, sweating, etc) and half were misinformed. Then there was a confederate in the waiting room who either tried to amuse the participant or make them angry.

    You can follow the link for the details, but the upshot is that the participants given the Adrenalin and not informed of its effects behaved far more euphorically or angry, respectively. The conclusions were that the emotion comes first and the explanation happens afterward. There aren’t different hormones for different emotions, but rather a general state of arousal that we interpret differently based on context.

  173. says

    I don’t feel nearly as sorry for MRAL/matriarchy since he seems to be in his early 20s (while NWOSlave seems to be in his 50s)

    Why? Not that I have any use for MRAL, either, but by the time you’re 50-something, you’ve been around long enough to learn about reality.

    By the time you’re 50-something, you’ve also been around long enough to have time to learn a whole bunch of incorrect nonsense. I guess I feel sorry that NWOSlave has absorbed a huge amount of garbage beliefs and seems to lack the intelligence or discernment to disentangle himself from them, so he’s more or less doomed to misery. MRAL seems to have less of an excuse because societal norms have changed massively in the decades since NWO’s formative years, so he really ought to know better.

    But yeah, I don’t have much use for either of them. They’re both responsible for their vile comments and beliefs.

  174. says

    Orac topic. Ultimately, it is still a double standard and a very shitty one. I don’t think Orac has to bash the MRAs for saying feminazi ad nauseum, but he should apologise for the time he ultra bashed Ophelia under the excuse that he takes any Holocaust comparison very strongly and then not actually live up to that rule he claimed to have.

  175. Circe says

    @Matt Penfold:

    And then explain why you missed this bit:

    There are many of us who are proud to be called Grammarnazis

    I don’t get what you are trying to say. This was precisely the sentence that led me to my conclusion that she was certainly not comparing radical feminists to Nazis any more than GrammarNazis are compared to Nazis when they are referred to as such. At least where I live, GrammmarNazi is either a term of pride (if you happen to be, ..um.. a “prescriptivist”) and is otherwise meant to convey a light-hearted attitude of pity towards the excess of such “prescriptivists”. No real comparison to Nazi ideology is involved. Perhaps it means something else to you?

  176. Circe says

    @Circe,

    So are you saying that she considers the following terms to be on the same level, to have the punch, the same vitriol, etc.? Do you think people use them in the same way to convey something similar, or as a similar modifier like “ish”?

    * Feminazi
    * Grammarnazi

    Are you really okay with promulgating the use of a term which was developed with the express purpose of diminishing the fight for equality by an oppressed group?

    I don’t know how you made the last conclusion: see my last post for my reasoning. To summarize: Grammarnazi, in its current usage, at least in my experience, has nothing much to do with Nazism (See here for example). It has acquired a mostly humorous and light-hearted meaning of its own. If Paula Kirby says that she was using “Feminazi” in the same way as “GrammarNazi” is used, then I don’t see how one can reasonably claim that she was equating feminism with Nazism.

  177. John Phillips, FCD says

    Circe, but even after talking about using grammarnazi in a light hearted manner, she then goes on to explain that she uses the terms feminazi and femistasi to imply a totalitarian mind set in those she wields the terms against. It seems that you are just as confused as she appears to be.

  178. John Morales says

    Circe @219:

    If Paula Kirby says that she was using “Feminazi” in the same way as “GrammarNazi” is used, then I don’t see how one can reasonably claim that she was equating feminism with Nazism.

    Circe @32 quotes thus:

    In both “feminazi” and “femistasi” the allusion is to certain totalitarian attitudes and the intolerance and suppression of dissent.

    Bah.

  179. Circe says

    @John Phillips FCD:

    I don’t understand this willful ignorance. Of course, the etymology of the term GrammarNazi also, “the allusion is to certain totalitarian attitudes and the intolerance and suppression of dissent”, in the linguistic arena. The fact, however, is that today the term has become shorn of Nazism, and is no different in intensity from Grammar Police, or Grammar fanatic or a host of other terms. It is well understood (at least in the dialect I speak) that when A calls B a grammar Nazi, they are indeed alluding to “certain totalitarian attitudes and the intolerance and suppression of dissent” but are not in any way implying that B is comparable to the Nazis, or would go and kill anyone who ended a sentence with a proposition. As I said earlier, it is therefore a misrepresentation of Paula Kirby’s views to say that she is calling feminists Nazis. She is saying that a subgroup might have “totalitarian attitudes and the intolerance and suppression of dissent”, just like Grammar Nazis do, but that, at least to me is a different matter altogether.

    @John Morales: Since when has typing out quotes (without understanding them in context) in comic sans and then declaring victory with a “Bah.” become an acceptable form of argument?

  180. John Phillips, FCD says

    Circe, my apologies, of course she is just comparing them to totalitarian like behaviour, not at all like the behaviour of Nazis or Stasi and goes on not comparing their behaviour to Nazis/Stasi for three or so pages. Got it. BTW, I think John Morales prophecied your reply to my post, hence the bah, which I find an appropriate response. Oh, and fuck you too as it isn’t me being wilfully ignorant in only choosing the interpretation they prefer. For the only ones I see repeatedly trying to get people to STFU, are those on the ‘there is no sexism in the atheist/rational community’, side, and if there is, well just ‘suck it up and toughen up’, to paraphrase Kirby. Well that and her sharing the ‘Dear Muslima’ attitude expressed, very disappointingly, by Dawkins.

  181. Circe says

    Oh, and fuck you too as it isn’t me being wilfully ignorant in only choosing the interpretation they prefer.

    Sure. I get it that assertion strengthened by expletives is also now an acceptable form of argument, and when it is employed, it is of course the other party that is “repeatedly trying to get people to STFU”. I understand perfectly now.

  182. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    She is saying that a subgroup might have “totalitarian attitudes and the intolerance and suppression of dissent”, just like Grammar Nazis do

    Well that would be a silly thing for you or her to think, since “grammar nazis” do not in fact hold totalitarian attitudes, nor do they suppress dissent.

  183. Circe says

    John Phillipps, FCD:

    of course she is just comparing them to totalitarian like behaviour, not at all like the behaviour of Nazis or Stasi

    How many times does it need to be repeated that she made it clear that she is comparing them to Nazis in exactly the same way that people compare Grammar Nazis to Nazis? If you have a problem with the (now perfectly common) usage of Grammar Nazi too, then I disagree with you, but I understand your point. If not, I haven’t yet seen a single argument that her usage is supposed any more caustic, accusative or abusive than “Grammar Nazi”. Also, as I said in my last comment, I am (just like the majority of people) typically not convinced by argument by expletive and/or Comic Sans.

  184. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    How many times does it need to be repeated that she made it clear that she is comparing them to Nazis in exactly the same way that people compare Grammar Nazis to Nazis?

    If that could be made clear, once would be enough.

    Since it isn’t true, you’ll probably have to keep repeating it forever.

  185. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Also, as I said in my last comment, I am (just like the majority of people) typically not convinced by argument by expletive and/or Comic Sans.

    Trust me, John Morales is not interested in convincing you.

    He is making fun of you.

  186. John Phillips, FCD says

    ixchel, thanks, saves me what would likely be a pointless go round. Though I would add, does Circe even read and understand what they actually wrote and quoted from Kirby’s nonsense, which John Morales highlighted and which I assume is the reason for his closing ‘bah’.

  187. bigigity says

    PZ, How are you ok with persecuting people who disagree with you? Have you really become that irrational?