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Feb 08 2013

I get email

This letter was so out of character with all the other stuff in my mailbox, and so unexpected, that I was taken aback. I’m so used to threats and hatred and ranty angry petty bullshit pouring in that I was left confused and wondering how to reply.

Dear PZ Myers,

I read your blog. The place from which I love and appreciate your blog is deep, deep within this 59 year old woman’s self. I started reading your blog because of my interest in science. I am an amateur follower of anthropology news and started out reading John Hawks’ blog, then somehow ended up at Panda’s Thumb and then at your blog; and those 3 blogs still remain a core reading set for me.

But your blog has held me captive more intensely than any other and I return to it “religiously” in ways I don’t with the others. The reason being–you publicly stand as an ally of women and feminism. That is a new thing to see happen in the world and was not around when I was growing up and attending schools. It was deeply longed for, though.

Thank you.

I do not comment on internet sites but I wanted to let you know in a private setting how much I appreciate your fierce defense of women and feminism. I have sent your link to many friends.

BTW–I love this idea of Atheism+! I love the strong women I read about within this new push for social justice in atheist/skeptic movements. I was so let down by Dawkins’ reaction to Rebecca Watson. It was your defense of her that gained my trust and secured me as a repeat visitor to your blog. And your continued tough support has kept me reading you. I find it so healing to see a man choose to lend his influence in public support of women/feminism under attack. Girlhood in the catholic church, in a catholic family, in the world at large, leaves many patriarchal wounds that would like to be healed, even the ones we have blown off as we stomp our way through survival. For that is what we mostly do–we survive and find the ways we can best thrive by creating the love and nurturing we always wanted, despite the awfulness.

Wait, wait…there’s something. Something from a long, long time ago. My mother might have told me how I was supposed to respond when someone says something nice, but man, that’s been ages and I’m struggling to remember it. Something complicated? Something really tricky and difficult?

Oh, yeah.

Thank you.

63 comments

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  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    Unfortunately, the rest of my mailbox now looks even more depressing.

  2. 2
    sueinnm

    Here’s another middle-aged woman who couldn’t have said it better. I visit Pharyngula several times a day and almost always read the comments. I have been a reader for a long, long time but never commented because WordPress refused to let me create an account and I couldn’t get in any other way. But Google won’t let me change my visible name, so I had to stick with only my first name.

    I didn’t write because I thought you might not see my letter because of your flood of e-mails, but I concur with everything else the writer said. I really do miss some of the old commenters, though, the ones who seem to have disappeared. I wonder what happened? Like the one who always had people lined to have “ghey sex” with him. Though I love the current commenters, too.

    I have been so terribly upset with the terrible treatment of Stephanie, Ophelia, etc. that some days I’ve been angry for hours. So it’s good to come to a “safe place” and find people as angry as I am. What was the Ghandhi 1uote? “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” A few are still “laughing” but it’s hostile-fighting laughter, so I guess we’re in the full-blown “fighting” stage. That means we’re slowly getting closer to winning, though obviously throughout the world it will be a long, long haul, and we’ll never get rid of the worst in the atheist community.

  3. 3
    David Gerard

    It’s good to be reminded that this stuff is worth doing.

  4. 4
    Robert B.

    This makes me smile.

  5. 5
    sueinnm

    Sorry for typos … I’ve been at the computer writing books 7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day for about a year, so after a while my fingers/brain refuse to cooperate.

  6. 6
    glodson

    That was a really nice letter. I know I personally owe you, several posters here, and a few other bloggers around here a letter like that. I came here as a Christian. I came here not fully understanding feminism, not fully understanding how sexist our culture could be, not able to look past my own privilege often. I lurked and read.

    And I realized that my belief in a 2000 year old zombie made no sense and was actually harmful. I realized that I was blind to many of the issues, I had allowed myself to be lulled into a belief that sexism was mostly dead.

    Because of lots of factors, like reading these blogs and comments, I managed to take the blinders off. I realized how little I actually knew and I have taken on the responsibility of trying to educate myself. I’m still a bad humanist and bad feminist, but I think that is a massive improvement over being a good Christian.

    I’m sure there are other women out there who have gotten the benefit of your, and the others around here, efforts, who feel empowered. And other men like me who have taken the posts and comments to gain a bit of perspective and see past ourselves.

    And I must thank a lot of people as I think this process is turning me into a better father for my little girl. As I learn and grow, she’ll get the benefits.

    So thank you to the lurker who posted the letter, and thank you to all that have helped me shake off my erroneous beliefs.

  7. 7
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Thank you Susan and letter writer.

    And thank you, PZed, for your uncompromising stand on human rights.

  8. 8
    Onamission5

    I clicked fully expecting another dose of vitriol, but instead it’s like a light, refreshing breeze of hope on an otherwise stifling summer day. Thanks for posting.

  9. 9
    Addie Cavanagh

    I am similar in age and upbringing to your emailer. I second what she says. Thank you for shining the light of science in a dim world. I saw you at NECSS last spring and felt privileged to hear you and my other skeptical “heroes” (I don’t like that word, but when I think of a better one, I will use it).

    Remember that for every mindless troll that comments to you, there are far more supporters like me who usually sit on the sidelines, rarely commenting, rarely speaking up. Once in a while I get the urge say something, but with all goes on in my emotionally and physically exhausting life, I tend not to. From what I’ve read I’m typical, so there are others out there listening, reading,spreading your good news in quiet ways. Since I am a science teacher (working next door to another science teacher with whom I’ve traveled to skeptics’ conferences like NECSS and TAM), we take the skeptical message to the masses. We try but whether we succeed or not, is hard to tell.

    Thanks for all you do.

  10. 10
    PZ Myers

    #2: Many of those familiar commenters have gotten sneaky. Brownian is still here, posting as Anthony K.

  11. 11
    Yellow Thursday

    This made me tear up and smile at the same time.

    I originally came to your blog following your appearance in the NonProphets podcast regarding Expelled, but I stayed… well, for all the reasons listed in that email and then some.

  12. 12
    bradleybetts

    This really is a great place :) It’s helping me grow, it’s opened my eyes to my own priviledge, it’s teaching me more about feminism and the innate sexism of our culture (I’m still learning but I’m getting there); it’s changed Glodson’s life for the better and it’s provided Susan and the email writer and I’m sure many other women who are sick of our sexist society with a safe and supportive space.

    I’m getting all gushy, but seriously, PZ, you’ve made something awesome here. And attracted some awesome regulars. I’m relatively new here but you’ve all already taught me a lot.

  13. 13
    tardisblue

    I won’t say I find this a safe space–the arguments still get pretty vitriolic, but I do agree that it’s nice that P.Z. is such a staunch ally. Thanks, P.Z.!

  14. 14
    G Pierce (Was ~G~)

    Can awesome email writers get a special, non-kook font? I owe many letters, too.

  15. 15
    schnauzermom

    As another 59-year-old woman and PZ booster, I second her emotion!

  16. 16
    Lynna, OM

    Well, I’ll add my “thank you” to the flood that will likely come PZ’s way today.

    We should take more effort to balance the shitstorms PZ suffers on a daily basis.

    I need strong feminist males in my life. They make it a little easier to breathe, to progress.

    I try to ignore the many times that work colleagues have automatically turned to the males in our group for input, looking through me as if I were invisible even when I was the ranking member of the group.

    Then there was the time my boss hired an inexperienced male and paid him $10,000 more per year than he was paying me for a job in which I had three years seniority over the male. Wish I’d been smart enough at the time to sue.

    I went to a Jeep dealership recently to look at vehicles and was bumped aside as two salesmen rushed to help a six-foot blond woman with giant boobs. No animosity toward her — rock the boobs sister, if you’ve got them. But I was there first. I am a customer. I just walked out.

    I have a boss now who treats my brother with more respect than he does me, though I am the employee who does more work for him. This guy doesn’t even know when he is automatically, unconsciously deciding that he can push me around. He would be the first to say that he does not discriminate against women. Other parts of the job range from good to enjoyable, so I hang on. But I think about quitting several times a day.

  17. 17
    Steve LaBonne

    As a frequent reader (ever since the old t.o days!) but infrequent commenter, I want to say that PZ has done a lot to raise my awareness of the appalling level and ubiquity of sexism in the atheist / skeptical movement and to show me just how well atheism can be integrated with working for social justice, and for these things I too am grateful.

  18. 18
    bradleybetts

    @tardisblue #13

    I won’t say I find this a safe space–the arguments still get pretty vitriolic, but I do agree that it’s nice that P.Z. is such a staunch ally. Thanks, P.Z.!

    Lol yes, I have to admit I still find the Horde fairly terrifying at times. Probably because I’m still inexperienced enough to be worried about putting my foot in my mouth, and I’ve seen what happens to commenters who do that :) That said, on the few occasions I have done it, people were quite nice. Probably because I didn’t double down :) As terrifying as they can be, people here really do seem to appreciate an honest effort to understand. It’s just finding a way to phrase the question in a way that can’t be percieved as trolling or JAQing off that’s the issue. Still, commenting/reading here makes me think, and that’s always good :)

  19. 19
    firefoxx

    I’m a young woman, but I’d like to second this letter. I’ve met guys who are concious of stereotypes, aware that women are often paid less and assaulted more.. and they will mildly nod their heads and agree that it’s such a shame.

    But it was *such* an amazing thing to see PZ get as /angry/ about these things as I do! To not mildly nod in the background, but to come to the front lines, and state, loud and clear, why these things are /wrong/.

    Women’s issues are seen as just that – women’s problems: ‘Good luck, hope you get that worked out!’ How I wish more men would stand up to their fellow men and call them out on their behaviour. Because men who are making sexist comments/assaulting women/whatever are unlikely to listen to a women when she objects, unfortunately. But when a fellow man steps up and goes ‘What the hell?’, they begin to doubt themselves.

    Unfortunately I know some male readers who have read this blog less since PZ really stepped up to the plate on this – not because they disagree, but just because they don’t find it interesting. They say they came here to read about science and arguments against religion – not about feminism. It’s sad that they see those three things as apparently unrelated.

    (PS – I, too, was so disappointed in Dawkins after the Rebecca Affair. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive him for that..)

  20. 20
    cicely

    Yes indeed! Thank you, PZ!
    -

  21. 21
    Cardinal Shrew

    PZ, Thanks for all you do!

    From 43 year old straight white man that hasn’t experienced any of the inequities and injustices that you highlight daily. Your eloquence and diligence fighting for our brothers and sisters is greatly appreciated!

  22. 22
    funknjunk

    I am a young-ish man, and wanted to poke my semi-lurking head up and say that I have been following this blog for years as well, on and off. There was a longish “off-time” when i stopped reading blogs altogether, in order to get my creative head on straight, “fill the well”, tune out a bit. I came back about 10 months ago and was stunned to see the rational / skeptic / atheist community in a bit of soul-searching chaos… quite necessary, of course. I read this blog for many reasons, but mostly because this community makes me THINK. Sometimes it’s a wondrous, “great point”, or “damn that was sharp”, or “damn i wish i woulda thought of that myself”, or an abstract of a biology lecture … and sometimes it’s a not so wondrous niggling reminder that my own thought processes can be fuzzy and woolly and in need of a tweak. But that’s what we all need. Even when i get irritated, i am thankful for places like this. It’s actually been a little bit painful and eye opening to watch as things about equality and social justice and basic kindness had to be explained to people I honestly thought were already in my own “head space” so to speak. Not true, it turns out. I’ve learned so much.

    And this letter prompted me to write my own little note that i have thought about writing for a long time really. Appreciation to PZ and the community.

  23. 23
    hillaryrettig

    She’s entirely right, PZ! Thank you so much.

  24. 24
    Eamon Knight

    Seconding @14 — need an anti-Gumby style for letters like that. Headed by an Amazon in full battle gear, perhaps? (Not sure what font goes with that, though).

  25. 25
    jnorris

    She reads your blog because of my replies you know. You’re welcome.

  26. 26
    Caveat Imperator

    @bradleybetts,

    Welcome to the shark tank!
    I have the cookies, get in line if you want ghey secks, and…who’s keeping the supply of booze these days?

  27. 27
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Awwwwwwwwwwwe!
    *hugpile!*

  28. 28
    Worldtraveller

    Caveat Imperator, I just restocked the liquor cabinet…might as well use it!

    *jumps on the hugpile*

  29. 29
    positivevorticityadvection

    Ditto!

    I’m a 58 year old woman who has had the good fortune to have had a great science career. I survived and sometimes even thrived in a strongly white male dominated field. I fought and won a discrimination lawsuit early in my career.

    But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told – no one else has complained about that – or – you’re too sensitive – or – it’s just a joke – or – …well, you get the idea. It’s so wonderful to come to Pharyngula and hear that other people have complained and I’m not too sensitive and it’s not just a joke.

    btw, I came to Pharyngula by way of Realclimate via Panda’s Thumb. I was looking for ways to communicate with the climate change deniers and saw the similarities with the evolution deniers.

  30. 30
    vaiyt

    Meh, since we’re throwing testimonies around, here goes mine.

    Pharyngula’s main contribution to me was showing that I didn’t have to swallow my anger at bigotry to engage in rational discourse, and that I didn’t have to pretend unreasonable people are legitimate interlocutors for the sake of free discourse.

    Thank you.

  31. 31
    DLC

    Nice of her to send such a note.
    I’m not that nice. But I do appreciate the effort you put into the blog.
    So thanks, from me, DLC.

  32. 32
    magistramarla

    I’m a 55 year-old woman who shares many of the same feelings. I don’t have much of a scientific mind, but I have a hubby and a daughter who are scientists, so I try to stay at least somewhat knowledgeable.
    Pharyngula and several of the other FTB bloggers have been very helpful with that.
    I was very much a Feminist growing up, but I buried that part of my personality while I was busy raising kids. Thanks to PZ and the other FTB bloggers, my awareness has once again been raised, and so has my husband’s. We both read and discuss Pharyngula every day.
    Like the letter-writer, I’m very glad that there are people out there who publicly support the causes that mean something to me.

  33. 33
    SallyStrange

    Women’s issues are seen as just that – women’s problems: ‘Good luck, hope you get that worked out!’ How I wish more men would stand up to their fellow men and call them out on their behaviour. Because men who are making sexist comments/assaulting women/whatever are unlikely to listen to a women when she objects, unfortunately. But when a fellow man steps up and goes ‘What the hell?’, they begin to doubt themselves.

    Quoted for truth and emphasis.

    Also, so many lurkers revealing themselves! I hope y’all considering sharing your thoughts once or twice again.

  34. 34
    Fizzing thru da Fizzics

    As a 50 yo white male that came here as a lukewarm fundie, this blog, led by PZ and ably supported by the horde, forced me to shift my thinking. The scary bit was that I taught physics for 15 years before I woke up. Now I can teach what really happens, enjoy the utter oddity of quantum, and share that with my students.

    I don’t often comment, but I read this blog at least once a day.

    Thanks for being a steadfast and uncompromising voice.

    /relurking/

  35. 35
    Lofty

    Yeah, wot they said.

  36. 36
    johnlee

    Wonderful post.
    If anyone ever doubts the usefulness of blogs like Pharyngula, and the internet in general, here is your reason why.
    Thank you, PZ, and thank you others like him.
    Freedom of speech is now a reality for many ***** who otherwise would have found their opinions squashed.
    Don’t think for one minute that all that is done here is superficial or irrelevant. Free speech means human rights, and human rights matter.
    We shall overcome…

  37. 37
    kestrel

    Another lurker… great letter. One of the things that gets me is, this is not a skeptic issue. It’s a matter of being a decent human being to allow human rights to all, regardless of gender, color, whatever. What is so hard about expecting skeptics to be decent human beings as well? But I guess it is hard, somehow…

    This blog is a pool in the desert. Thank you.

  38. 38
    Stacy

    What she said. Big thanks, and hugs if you want ‘em.

  39. 39
    twincats

    As a 52 yr. old woman, I’d like to jump onto the love pile too! I’ve been reading, lurking and even ever so occasionally commenting since ’06 starting out as an ex-Lutheran pagan and have since come out the other side of that as a confirmed nonbeliever. I particularly love a good, long, troll-whoopin’ comment thread.

    One question: does the ghey secks line move faster if you comment more?

  40. 40
    drusillagorilla

    Been lurking for a couple of months now. Want to second/third/hundredth ‘the vibe’ promoted here by PZ’s correspondent and also by vaiyt and firefoxx.

  41. 41
    chigau (違う)

    echo
    echo
    echo

  42. 42
    Ophelia Benson

    How come she didn’t write to meeeeeee tooooooooo? I really could have used a writing like that today. It’s taken me all fucking day to become 3 dimensional again after being flattened.

    I too echo her sentiments though.

  43. 43
    Owen

    Yes – all of that, and Ophelia, I appreciate your work too. You rock, bloggers and commenters alike.

  44. 44
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    I am sad to have to report that the Ghey Secks line has not moved at all since its inception. The Artist Formerly Known as Brownian has not even reviewed the forms he made me fill out all those years ago, let alone all those passed along by those in line behind me (who keep shoving, which is irritating).

    Also, this is for Ophelia, from another thread today.

  45. 45
    chigau (違う)

    Mattir
    I started the Louis queueueue (which was supposed to be congruent with the Ghey Secks line) and here I am.
    Still bribing the bouncers.

  46. 46
    gijoel

    Awww, what a sweet lady. Ditto to her comments.

  47. 47
    atheist

    @firefoxx – 8 February 2013 at 10:39 am (UTC -6)

    Unfortunately I know some male readers who have read this blog less since PZ really stepped up to the plate on this – not because they disagree, but just because they don’t find it interesting. They say they came here to read about science and arguments against religion – not about feminism. It’s sad that they see those three things as apparently unrelated.

    I agree that is unfortunate, firefoxx. On the other hand, while PZ’s added focus on feminism may have alienated some folks, I’ve been getting more interested in FtB lately. I’m a pretty common type of person, so I suspect I’m not the only one. If FtB loses some older readers due to feminism, it also gains some new readers for the exact same reason.

  48. 48
    Michael Zeora

    I hate to me too this, but why not.

    I don’t remember where I first found pharynula from. I know it was from one atheist thing or another. Maybe the NonProphets I think it was something from the ACA crowd. I personally found the feminism thing to be a bonus and it’s just sad that others in the Atheist community as a general that I liked didn’t find the social justice aspects nearly as appealing. (Dawkins really stepped in it.)

    PZ, I know you took a risk for doing the right thing. Thanks.

  49. 49
    jo5ef

    Great stuff PZ, this post reminded me why I still have you bookmarked

  50. 50
    echidna

    “Likewise”, says the ever-garrulous echidna.

  51. 51
    billingtondev

    Crikey – we are legion! Another 59 year old woman who mostly lurks. And is very pleased i found my way to this place.
    Thanks PZ for creating this space. I know you know how important it is.
    And – perhaps even more – thanks to all the brave, intelligent, indefatigable, funny, caring, wise women who put themselves on the line every day to make it work. And who don’t get told Thanks often enough. Thankyou all.

  52. 52
    jetboy

    Wot they said…
    I had been following a few SciBlogs – Orac & Starts With a Bang. SWAB because I like astrophysics, and Orac because I had no respect for anti-vaxxers. I would wander over to Pharyngula occasionally because – honestly – I liked the fact that the blogger in question used the “Gumby” cartoon to signify quotes from creobots. And then, “Elevatorgate”; which has kept me glued daily to the page ever since. I never thought of myself as a “mansplainer” or “part of the problem”, but I was…though I must protest it was only out of ignorance. I didn’t understand what was up, at the time, with all these doodz getting all butt-hurt about a simple, diplomatic, friendly reminder. It would have never occurred to me to perpetrate such behavior. So I’m fairly thick, but amiable – I didn’t notice any of this stuff; I just knew there were creepers and rapists and normal guys. I was wrong, totally off, had no idea it was still a thing. My awareness of this has been significantly raised; and my relationships with people in general have significantly improved as a result. I have PZ and the Horde to thank for it.

  53. 53
    Jennifer Jones

    What a refreshing letter to read. I have felt let down by the skeptic community and by Richard Dawkins ever since elevator-gate. Reading the vile sexist comments made towards skepchick in various online blogs, by people I thought were kindred spirits, was a real shocker. It left me feeling deeply offended and dissappointed. It’s good to know that there are some male skeptics with a sensitivity to feminist issues.

    Thanks PZ.

    I seriously considered taking a male nom-de-plume for a while – it has become glaringly apparent to me in online forums that, regardless of the quality of one’s comments, female contributors are more likely to be treated offensively and insulted than are male contributors. George Sand anyone?

  54. 54
    tfkreference

    I agree completely with her sentiments – except that I’m a 50 year-old man. I started reading Pharyngula after hearing PZ talk about creationists on the SGU. Ironically, perhaps, he showed me that atheists can be nice – if you don’t mistake rational argument for vitriol.

  55. 55
    silvia

    I am a 55 yo Brazilian woman and I’ve been lurking and occasionally posting since 2006. I just wanted to say that those are my feelings too. I have been a part of the feminist movement back at the beginning of the 80s, and I knew that even in western countries there was a still a very long way to go. But elevator gate and the response it had from Richard Dawkins, Russel Blackford and, later, Thunderf00t was something beyond my worst nightmares. When Paula Kirby joined the chorus against Ophelia, I thought that I am really a naïve person. Keep the good work, PZ and Ophelia and FtB.

  56. 56
    irisvanderpluym

    @ 38 SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius (quoting firefoxx @19):

    Women’s issues are seen as just that – women’s problems: ‘Good luck, hope you get that worked out!’ How I wish more men would stand up to their fellow men and call them out on their behaviour. Because men who are making sexist comments/assaulting women/whatever are unlikely to listen to a women when she objects, unfortunately. But when a fellow man steps up and goes ‘What the hell?’, they begin to doubt themselves.

    Quoted for truth and emphasis.

    Seconded. (Echoed?)

    I cannot thank PZ enough — and the Horde. You all challenge me to be a wiser, more thoughtful and more empathetic person. Yes, sometimes it stings a little, but that is sometimes necessary for growth.

    I love this place, and I’m so grateful for it.

  57. 57
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    It gets wearying sometimes. It used to be creationists were a big issue around here. Within the last few years, a segment of the atheist blogosphere began discussing more than non belief. Social justices issues, with feminism front and center became frequent discussion topics. An unfortunate side effect of that has been the backlash. Those atheists who have not applied reason or logic to any other beliefs they hold. No, for them it seems like they do not want to turn the spotlight any further inward. So instead, they have lashed out.
    -’Cunts’ they call Stephanie and Ophelia.
    -’Fag’ or ‘woman’ they call PZ.
    -Bully and harass a blogger so much she felt the need to take a break. Yup. What Jen did to warrant such treatment is still a mystery.
    -Death threats? I think the emails of various bloggers have seen several.
    -Rape threats? Yeah, there have been plenty of those.
    -Photoshopped images to engage in ableism? Yup.
    -Sexual harassment policies? According to some, ‘fuck that shit’ is the response to such reasonable requests at conventions.
    -’You have it bad? This girl in another country has it 50 times worse, so stop complaining’ say D-Dawkins and The Amazing Atheist.
    -4 simple words offered as advice to guys turns into a massive shitstorm; one we still have not e-emerged from.
    -The ever present ‘if you do not go there alone, or wear that, or drink too much, you won’t be raped’ trope is still alive and well.
    -Violent rhetoric uttered on a far too frequent basis? Yup. In spades.
    It gets tiresome.

    People disgusted with much of the hateful crap in the movement create their own space away from the larger atheist movement and come up with a handy name which conveys a sense of which issues beyond atheism are of Imporyance? Thus was A+ born. So too were the anti A+ers…people who seem to exist for no reason other than following A+ and hanging on every word.
    -Made to feel ashamed for being a cis white male?
    Still waiting on Al to produces adequate support for that argument.
    -’I consider myself a good person and deserve to have a position in a leading Secular organization. Never mind that I have written an article for a known hate site.’
    -Videos created on YouTube for the purpose of misrepresenting an opponents argument? Yup. A Thunderf00t favorite.
    -’Stephanie or Ophelia said something I do not like? To the airwaves I go. Bitches and cunts will be the topic of my video.’
    -’For shits and giggles, lets post the home address of popular skeptics’. Hard to believe, but it has been done.

    -’I will call women bitches or cunts if I want to’ they say.
    -For some, they withdraw offers of financial support for Greta Christina when she had cancer (look there, I’ve caught a bumblebee). For no reason other than some people said mean things.
    All of that and more.
    -They whine that their Freeze Peach is being violated or their words censored if PZ disables YouTube comments or bans Slymepit denizens on sight. Those who do so must learn that freedom of speech does not guarantee them freedom from criticism. They also must learn censorship can not be done by a biology professor. Likewise, they must learn that no one is under any obligation to give them a platform to speak from. Your free speech is not curtailed because you are a rape apologist consigned to the dungeon. You should be able to find or create a domain to express your odious views.

    Adding to that?
    ‘Both sides do it’
    ‘Cease fire of hostilities’
    ‘You are fracturing the movement’
    Yes, even within the atheist movement, accomodationists exist. They share much in common with the anti social justice crowd.
    Their threats, bullying, harassment, silencing and more is met with verbal condemnation. Profanity. Invective. Scorn. Disdain. Shunning.

    Truly ‘both sides do it’, except our side does nothing like the MRAs and anti feminists. And the movement was fractured long before Thunderf00t, ‘guys dont do that’ and Boobquake. The movement was fractured by those people who silenced women. It was fractured by those homophobic bigots in love with ‘faggott’. The movement became overtly, unabashedly fractured when it became apparent how deep sexism runs in this community. When harassment policies generate controversy, you have a fractured movement. When rape apologists anti feminists and MRAs crawl out of the woodwork to scream at you for ruining atheism, you habe a fractured movement.
    AND THAT IS FUCKING AWESOME.
    Make yourselves known. I want nothing to do with you.
    I do not want to attend a convention hosting the creator of the Slymepit.
    I do not want to be affiliated with those who see no value in the pursuit of social justice.
    If ‘bitches be crazy’ is your catchphrase, believe me, I have no reason to talk to you.

    It gets tiresome. Draining. Wearying.

    It sometimes feels like a never ending battle. But even if it is, this is a battle worth fighting

    _women are people deserving of equality_
    _homophobic slurs are inexcusable_
    _fat shaming? Nuh uh! Never_
    _bomb the Muslims before they get us! No. Take the racism and shove it._
    _shaming those who are mentally disabled. You are scum._

    That is just a small sample of why fighting for reason, logic and scientific facts is vital. For everyone. Freethinking for the betterment of all.
    In the course of this battle, words will be used. Some nice, some vicious. Profanity will be frequent. Much of this will come from groups of like minded individuals who will later be accussed of living in an echo chamber. It does not matter. The content of one’s words and their actions are the basis for judging someone. Not how many times they say ‘fuck’. Tone has its place, but in the fight for suffrage, for civil rights for gay rights…advancement was made because of vocal, outspoken, non violent, passionate men and women alongside those who value civility.
    The rights of everyone to live their lives on their own terms is massively important.
    No one should be treated as inferior human beings. Full stop.
    Dehumanizing language hurts. Criticising said language does not. There are many people who denounce those who would relegate women or queers or the mentally ill to second class status.
    -To them, I commend you. To those who would not stay silent when a blogger is harassed-
    I salute you. Those men who speak up on behalf of womens issues because they care-
    you have my respect-all the moreso given how often men dismiss the concerns of women. But the voices of men and women together? Speaking for egalitarian qualities? That is a united front*.

    I have been commenting here for a few years. I have learned so much and realized I know so little. In my time here, I have come to embrace feminism and other social justice issues. I see the value in humanist ideals. Yet the fight is wearying.
    And yet…
    And yet…
    A thread such as this. That sees an influx of support…of allies…of people that understand the importance of this battle is worth gold. A thread like this where a prominent blogger is shown appreciation and thanks for doing what is right…that is a gem. Threads like this, with lurkers speaking up serve as a reminder that we are not alone. There are more voices out there.
    Threads like this are a reminder : ‘Ophelia, we have your back. You are appreciated’.

    Threads like this…people like you all…I cannot speak for any others, but for myself:
    Thank you.

    *to those men on the sidelines, you may feel your voice will not be heard. It will. You may feel you have nothing to add. Supporting words…encouraging words…do not go unappreciated. So too, if men will not listen when women say ‘I am not responsible for my rape, the guy who raped me is!’ the voice of another man. Two more men. 15 more may give them pause. It is unfortunate that we live in a sexist society where womens concerns are routinely dismissed. If you are truly interested in the fight for equality, speak your mind. Add your voice to the growing cacophony that says “ALL PEOPLE ARE EQUAL”

  58. 58
    irisvanderpluym

    @57 Tony the Dancing Telegram Queer Shoop: Beautifully stated.

    I have learned so much and realized I know so little.

    This. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. I find it both humbling and exhilarating.

  59. 59
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Tony, that was awesome.

  60. 60
    Argle Bargle

    Bravo, Tony.

  61. 61
    danarra

    Chiming in on the email sent to PZ. Yes, sir, as a human and a female, I thank you for your strong support.
    Tony – exactly.

  62. 62
    tfkreference

    Great summary, Tony, if only it weren’t necessary. I miss the creationists.

  63. 63
    kasper alexander

    I’m young man and have lived abroad for 7 years of my life and before coming to this site I was honestly unaware that issues such as religion and sexism where even an issue anymore. It simply never came up and none of the people I came into contact with really had anything to say about religion, or sexism for that matter. As such your blog has raised my awareness and made me realise that I am both an atheist and a feminist and that I should be proud of it. Your blog has entertained, taught and inspired me. It helped me through a period of depression by reminding me that even if the world is full of ignorant assholes there are plenty of good people who are willing to fight for what they believe. Your blog, along with a number of other blogs, continues to make me realise just how much I still have to learn and that there are still things about myself that I need to change in order to be the kind of person I want to be. In short thank you for raising my awareness, for teaching me that i am a feminist, for giving me the courage to speak up, and for making me realise that just because others are offended by my arguments that does not necessarily mean I am wrong. Thank you PZ

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