An experiment: why do you despise feminism?

Michael Shermer is feeling victimized, and is now seeing persecutors under the bed, I think. He posted a complaint about Ophelia writing a post that discussed subliminal biases. It’s a bizarre and paranoid whine — apparently you’re not ever supposed to criticize a skeptic, or you’re carrying out a witch hunt.

The feminist witch hunt continues! Ophelia Benson and PZ Myers have caught me again being a sexist: Trolling through my Scientific American columns Ophelia discovered that in my October column I report on Leonard Mlodinow’s book Subliminal, in which he reports on studies that report on people’s report of how they feel about politicians based on various subliminal cues, one of which is the pitch of the voice, lower judged as more truthful than higher (although looks matter even more). Guess what? My reporting of Leonard’s reporting of the studies’ reporting of subjects’ reports makes ME a sexist! Wiiiiiiitch. Seriously. I couldn’t make this up (note PZ’s comment on my own voice!)

Go ahead and read the Butterflies & Wheels post that hurt Shermer’s feelings; nowhere does she accuse him of being a sexist. She does suggest that he seems oblivious to the fact that a bias favoring the authority of deeper voices is also going to be a bias against women, but it’s more an affirmation of his point that we have these unconscious prejudices.

As for my terrible, awful, evil comment: I pointed out that Shermer isn’t exactly a baritone himself. That wasn’t an accusation or an insult; I don’t have a deep voice, either. My point was that you don’t have to have a voice like a foghorn to be a leader.

It’s a truly delusional state he’s worked himself into, and now he’s seeing witch hunts with himself as the target everywhere he looks (probably abetted by those slime pit denizens who see every cross-eyed look and every criticism as a sign that someone is about to get shivved by the all-powerful FtB mafia, and flood twitter and blog comments with such knee-jerk reactions). It’s a shame.

But that’s not what’s got me curious. Notice what else he does? He uses “feminist” as an insult, a very common phenomenon. It has me mystified.

And if you read that facebook post, the comments are similar: mobs of people having fits over “feminists”, sounding like Republicans fretting over “communists”. Here’s a subset of the shorter complaints:

Also, don’t worry about moronic misandrists.
True feminists (those wanting equality and NOT superiority for women) do not behave like this.

Just look at what happened to Thunderf00t when he dared question the pseudo-feminist dogma.

Welcome to The hysterical totalitarian feminist left….(just ask Lawrence Summers)

The death of Hitchens and this feminist clusterfuck have ruined the Atheist community.

Skepticism (capital “A”) is over for me. The movement has been co-opted by people with an agenda. Sad.

Trying to creep feminism into the skeptic movement is total nonsense. Tea Party was bought out by social conservatives, Occupy Wall Street taken over by hippies, and now the skeptic AND atheist movement is being bought out by radical liberals. It’s a shame.

It is a shame that people like PZ Myers and his ilk are so quick to abandon reason when their feminist religion tells them what nonsense to spew.

This shit is getting really annoying. Please ban all those feminist morons from skeptic conferences. Its a dogmatic belief system not based on evidence, dismissive of evidence provided to them and generally pretty aggressive towards other people for no real reason. How can they call themselves skeptics?

(That one’s a favorite: a dogmatic, dismissive, aggressive comment declaring that you can’t be a true skeptic if you’re dogmatic, dismissive, and aggressive. Own goal!)

I have to laugh at this other non sequitur that popped up:

Pz lost his mind after he went vegetarian. I don’t know what Ophelia is thinking

Well, vegetarianism isn’t associated with insanity as far as I know, and also, little awkward fact, I’m not a vegetarian, although I have reduced my meat consumption.

But anyway, I started to realize something: I don’t understand how these people think at all — they’re completely alien. Regarding feminism with contempt is a bit like regarding science with contempt: it’s incomprehensible to me, and I’m wondering if they really understand what they are throwing away.

So let’s try an experiment. Let’s hear from some of these anti-feminists. I’d like them to comment here and explain themselves, and to do so a little more deeply than just reiterating dogmatic excuses. If you think feminism is a religion, explain why, and be specific. If you think feminism is unsupported by the evidence, explain what evidence opposes the principles of feminism. If you think it’s wrong for the skeptic movement to have a social agenda, explain what you think it should be doing that has no social implications.

Most importantly, if you think feminism, that is equality for men and women and opposition to cultural institutions that perpetuate inequities, is irrational, let’s see you explain your opposition rationally.

This could go a couple of ways: there could be dead silence as the anti-feminists wilt under pressure to honestly explain themselves, or there could be an eruption of the usual shrieking misogyny, or there might actually be a few who try to explain themselves. If it’s the latter, the rest of you behave yourselves — pretend you’ve got a cockroach under the microscope and try to probe it to figure out what makes it work, and don’t just try to crush it under the heel of your shoe, OK?

I’m a bit curious myself. I’ve had these sorts of conversations with creationists, and it’s always like wandering through an alien world; let’s try to figure out what weird things are going on inside the skulls of anti-feminists.

Comments

  1. Louis says

    Nooooooo, I like the longstanding dumbosity. We haven’t had a decent argument yet (AFAICR). I think we need it pinned like the Lounge and Thunderdome. At least we could hope to concentrate all the antifeminist dumb in one spot.

    Louis

  2. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Cody:

    If atheism deems racism, sexism, economic inequality, homophobia and bigotry as acceptable it is, to me, worthless.

    Atheism has absolutely NOTHING to say about this.

    [bold is your assertion]

    For the eleventy billionth time, for many of us, rejecting god belief has consequences. Sexism exists. Racism exists. Homophobia exists. They find significant support with religious backing. Removing the god belief, and thinking through the logical implications of not believing in a higher power easily leads to a rejection of homophobia, racism or sexism. As a gay man, I’ve seen rampant homophobia from religious leaders. While there is no guarantee that someone would automatically reject homophobia if they became an atheist, if one is skeptical about homophobia and applies logic and critical thinking skills to that odious concept, the conclusion *should* be that homophobia is baseless.

     

    To reiterate– rejecting deistic beliefs can and IMHO should have repercussions beyond simply believing in a higher power. Those repercussions involve can and, IMHO *should*, be a rejection of institutionalized discrimination which finds significant support from religious belief.

  3. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Those repercussions involve can and, IMHO *should*, be a rejection of institutionalized discrimination which finds significant support from religious belief.

    slight alteration…

  4. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Does atheism qua atheism say much on the topic of feminism, LGBT rights, etc?

    No. Because atheism qua atheism is a statement on religion: i.e. a lack of one.

    Atheism+ is a statement about how atheism should be practiced and how atheists should act: that atheists should strive to treat all people (regardless of sex, race, orientation, etc etc etc) as equal, and to fight against social and legal things that discriminate.

    Because atheism+ recognizes that one of the most important ways – not the only one, but a significant one – that such discriminations are codified and perpetuated is via religion.

    Atheism+ is an argument of “let’s not just reject religion, let’s clean up the mess it made.”

  5. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Esteleth:
    Maybe we need a term for “the application of rejecting god belief on an individuals’ belief system”; because while I agree with atheism being just lacking a belief in a deity(ies), as I mentioned above, rejecting god belief and seeing social ills through non-believing eyes can lead one to reject many -isms.

  6. Cody Herrmann says

    >As a gay man, I’ve seen rampant homophobia from religious leaders. While there is no guarantee that someone would automatically reject homophobia if they became an atheist, if one is skeptical about homophobia and applies logic and critical thinking skills to that odious concept, the conclusion *should* be that homophobia is baseless.

    As a gay man, me too. I understand that people use religious justification to peddle their inane beliefs that harm or make others uncomfortable. If people here keep calling me antifeminist because I recognize that some things people do would favor a woman over a man, and thus not represent true equality, then that’s ridiculous on its face. The only part of me that I would consider MRA, Feminist, Egalitarian is that I want equality between genders for opportunity, this me being a “stepford MRA” is baseless because I already disagree with gender roles.

    To the people who say I’ve done nothing for women or want to do nothing, I’ve helped sheltered battered women, been a part of my university’s SAPA program, and did panel meetings with our city council to initiate legislation to enable not just women, but other minority people like myself to have better work opportunities.

    So if you want to ham away at the keyboard and pretend that I don’t support gender equality, then coo and crow because of it, then fine, have fun.

    But, before I leave, and as an attempt to make myself a better person, would you have any recommendations for books I should pick up? If I do come back, I guess I’ll take a look at the Thunderdome to not muck up this thread.

  7. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Cody:

    If people here keep calling me antifeminist because I recognize that some things people do would favor a woman over a man, and thus not represent true equality, then that’s ridiculous on its face.

    There are things that appear to favor women over men. The higher percentage of men in prison versus women is one example. It may appear to be a sexist bias against men, but when you look deeper than on its face, you’ll see that patriarchy impacts sentencing as well*. Women are often treated as delicate flowers who will break under too much strain. They are often treated as if they are incapable of making decisions for themselves, needing men to make the decisions for them. A perception that women–as nurturers–are less capable of violent crime or that women need to be around to care for children, may result in more lenient sentencing. Women as nurturers and caregivers is part of the gender essentialism that is a part of patriarchy, which is system that benefits men and discriminates against women. The term Patriarchy Hurts Men Too, was coined for a reason.
     

    By not looking deeper, at the root cause of whatever examples you’re giving, it is entirely possible that you’re displaying anti-feminist tendencies.

     

    *sure, there might be some sexist bias against men, though you have to look deep beyond the surface to find it.

  8. chigau (無味ない) says

    If you type
    <blockquote>paste quoted text here</blockquote>
    this will result.

    paste quoted text here

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If people here keep calling me antifeminist because I recognize that some things people do would favor a woman over a man, and thus not represent true equality, then that’s ridiculous on its face.

    No, what’s ridiculous is you imagining a few items negate overall societal patriarchy and make feminism irrelevant. That is why you are an irrational fuckwit, not your minor challenging of what you consider orthodoxy, but is evidence based conclusions. Which include more data than you have provided….as is typical of those who think minor items change the status quo….

  10. opposablethumbs says

    Atheism is, or should be, about removing the toxins, the poisons, that the disease of religion has left on human individuals and societies. If we attain atheism but retain all of the baggage of religion, we may as well have remained theists.

    Beautifully said, Ogvorbis.

  11. Ogvorbis: Broken and feeling worthless says

    Opposablethumbs:

    Thanks, but I think Esteleth said it better:

    Atheism+ is an argument of “let’s not just reject religion, let’s clean up the mess it made.”

  12. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    chigau:
    Yeah, that bugged me too.

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    chigau:
    Yeah, that bugged me too.

    Me three. What a delusional fool…

  14. says

    @ Cody

    this me being a “stepford MRA” is baseless because I already disagree with gender roles.

    Well then say what you *really* mean. You keep bringing up the same language used by MRA’s over and over again. Now you tell us (how else would we know) that, well no, you actually do care. All the more reason to label you a “Stepford MRA” in that you mechanically and uncritically pass on MRA ideas even though they undermine your own (recently claimed) better intentions.

    If you are interested in reading up on (non MRA) issues, then just look to the panel at left, where it says “profile”. Any of those last three linkies is a good start. It is not our job to spoon feed you. If you are sincere, lurk moar and address your questions on the Thunderdome thread.

    ..
    Oh, and an apology to chigau might be in order.