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Aug 16 2013

Don’t read the comments!

I mean, do read the comments! In an article titled Why Atheists Have a Serious Problem With Women, the commentariat perfectly exemplify why women have a serious problem with atheists.

I would just point to those comments and say, “That. There. That’s exactly why the movement is having this dispute: because so many of our members are in denial of reality.”

62 comments

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  1. 1
    Jacob Schmidt

    I think my favourite arguement is the “We’re just as shitty as everyone else” arguement: “Sexism exists in any group, why should atheism be different?”

  2. 2
    Al Dente

    There be some serious hatin’ of women in general and Rebecca Watson in particular in the comments. One guy seems to think “guys, don’t do that” is foul-mouthed. Probably for him it is.

  3. 3
    Quodlibet

    Gee, the title of that article implies that atheists are men. Hmm. The Pew survey says this about those unaffiliated with religion: “Among the unaffiliated as a whole, 56% are men and 44% are women. [that's compared to] the general public overall, where 48% are men and 52% are women.”

    So slightly more men than women are unaffiliated, but 56:44 is roughly half.

    Perhaps that title should read “Why Some Male Atheists Have a Problem With Women.”

    Disclaimer: I haven’t read the article, so this is solely my reaction to the title.

    source: http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise-demographics/

  4. 4
    Inaji

    I mean, do read the comments!

    I don’t want to read them! What will I see that’s any different from what I see here all the time? *sigh* Okay, I’ll go read.

  5. 5
    Inaji

    Al Dente:

    One guy seems to think “guys, don’t do that” is foul-mouthed.

    To a certain subset of men, it’s much worse than foul-mouthed, it’s profane. It’s not the place of women to be telling the autonomous men they shouldn’t do something.

  6. 6
    Jacob Schmidt

    Perhaps that title should read “Why Some Male Atheists Have a Problem With Women.”

    No. I’ve seen a few to many women acting like ignorant shitheads about sexism to say that this is solely a guy problem, even if it is skewed in that direction.

    What will I see that’s any different from what I see here all the time?

    You won’t; there is one “I’ve never seen this problem before” comment, but there’s so many exclamation marks that I can’t tell if it’s sarcasm or not.

  7. 7
    Anthony K

    I think my favourite arguement is the “We’re just as shitty as everyone else” arguement: “Sexism exists in any group, why should atheism be different?”

    It works for so many things. “Religiosity exists in any group, why should atheism be different?”

  8. 8
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Wow. As Edward Elric says, “BINGO da!”

  9. 9
    carlie

    It’s like a Greatest Hits parade:

    I have been an Atheist all my life, and I have NO problem at all with women joining, in fact I ENCOURAGE it!!!!!!! I have never heard ANY of my Atheist peers talk down to or berate women EVER!!!!!!

  10. 10
    Inaji

    Quodlibet:

    Perhaps that title should read “Why Some Male Atheists Have a Problem With Women.”

    No. I’d say you aren’t operating on a full set of information here. Women grow up in the same sexist society that men do. Many young women are unaware of having bought into systemic, toxic sexism, happily parroting the status quo. It takes a while to wake up and take the red pill. This is why you find chill girls out and about. Other women knowingly embrace systemic, toxic sexism, for a variety of reasons. Don’t ever make the mistake that’s it is only men propagating sexist shit.

  11. 11
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    What are the specific things that Atheism is doing to women? All of the examples in the article are pretty vague.

    Oooooh, pick me, pick me! Can I get that one?!

    *names prominent men who have sexually harassed women/ignored others who have harassed women*
    *gets sued for slander libel whichever*

  12. 12
    Quodlibet

    Jacob Schmidt @ #6:

    Point taken; however, I did now read the linked article, and it seems to be entirely about male atheists’ reaction to women atheists; I did not see any mention of negative behavior or attitudes from women; hence, I think my original observation about the title of that particular article stands. I was not making an observation about the movement as a whole.

    ——-

    also delete the word “slightly” from my comment @ #3

  13. 13
    piegasm

    The first comment was something like “if you weren’t so defensive about how poorly you’re treated, men wouldn’t have to treat you so poorly and then you wouldn’t have to be so defensive.”

    Anyone got a napkin? I think my brain is starting to leak out my ears.

  14. 14
    Quodlibet

    Caine @ 10, see my comment at #12 – as I said, I was making an observation only on the title of this particular article. I work as an editor/writer, and I can’t help but evaluate the accuracy and appropriateness of language. Sorry if I was not clear in my intent.

    That said, I appreciate your and Jacob Schmidt’s comments re: the wider issues beyond that article. Important points.

  15. 15
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    @13 piegasm: Indeed, I think that statement is an instance of the somewhat-rare fallacy of “Spare-changing the question”, where there isn’t quite enough value in the statement to call it flat-out “begging”.

  16. 16
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    This gem is from a woman (pointing out just because some are apparently operating under the misapprehension that women aren’t among that happy crowd in the comment section):

    Does anyone have any evidence of sexism within atheist groups? I’m only finding people complaining of it?

    If I hear several people complaining about horrible heat on the third floor, it’s probably safe to conclude that AC probably isn’t working on the third floor, I don’t actually have to go there and check.

  17. 17
    Inaji

    Quodlibet, If you read every comment there, I know you’ll find comments from women, defending the status quo. Every single thing does not need to be spelled out in a bloody title.

  18. 18
    Inaji

    Beatrice @ 16:

    This gem is from a woman

    My point to Quodlibet, right there. Thank you.

  19. 19
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Caine,

    She’s not the only one. One is actually arguing from women are emotional/men are rational.

    Atheism, as opposed to agnosticism, is strongly connected to a culture of extreme rationalism. I don’t think it’s balanced; I think there are more ways of understanding the world than pure logic. Anyway, men in general are brought up to focus on rationality and ignore intuition and feeling, so it’s no surprise that there would be more men here.

  20. 20
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    And she doesn’t know what agnosticism is.

  21. 21
    piegasm

    @16 Beatrice

    True Skepticism in action. A whole bunch of people complaining about the same thing is in no way evidence that said thing actually happens. It is, on the other hand, evidence of a vast feminist conspiracy to do…something. I have no idea what, but I’m sure it’s bad.

  22. 22
    Matthew Prorok

    At least I managed to get the most Mic-ed comment, agreeing with the article.

  23. 23
    Rey Fox

    Does anyone have any evidence of sexism within atheist groups? I’m only finding people complaining of it?

    FFS.

  24. 24
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    But it’s the skepticest thing in the world to totally deny that anything exists that said skeptics don’t want to exist. In fact, I don’t exist. UBERSKEPTICISM!!!

  25. 25
    Quodlibet

    Sorry if I was not clear in my original comment #3. See my clarifications at #12 and #14. I really was only making an observation about the editor or headline writer’s choice of a title. Never mind.

  26. 26
    Jackie

    Beatrice #19,
    Because thinking rationally is just more of a guy thing?

    Gosh, where have we heard that before?

  27. 27
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Quodlibet,

    Didn’t mean to pile on you. I’m in several threads at the same time, so I don’t refresh often enough.

  28. 28
    Randomfactor

    “Sexism exists in any group, why should atheism be different?”

    As a gorram demonstration project at the very least. “See? It is TOO better to be rational than religious!”

  29. 29
    piegasm

    @ 19

    Well to be fair, she did say “brought up to” which I wouldn’t disagree with. Her blithe acceptance of this state of affairs is another issue entirely, of course.

  30. 30
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    piegasm,

    Fair enough, I didn’t read carefully.
    Although, we could still have some discussions about “intuition”, as well as boys being brought up to consider rationality above feelings.
    Rationality solely being lauded above those nasty feelings does little to actually encourage and teach rational thinking, I believe.

  31. 31
    Jacob Schmidt

    It works for so many things. “Religiosity exists in any group, why should atheism be different?”

    I distinctly remember some argument about how since most of the world is religious, it isn’t really a bad thing, and maybe we atheists should be more accomodating.

    It’s like theres a book on shitty, handwaving arguments.

  32. 32
    Bronze Dog

    Does anyone have any evidence of sexism within atheist groups? I’m only finding people complaining of it?

    The person who typed this must be incredibly sheltered. I’ve got a sampling bias from hanging out in egalitarian chunks of the blogosphere, but I’ve seen plenty such trolls and even dropped some people from my blogroll because of it.

  33. 33
    Pteryxx

    Bronze Dog: No, that commenter means Really-Real-Real sexism. Like someone taking away women’s right to vote while waving an “I’m A Proud Sexist” sign and legally changing their name to Douchey McSexist. Everything else is just life as usual.

  34. 34
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Does anyone have any evidence of sexism within atheist groups? I’m only finding people complaining of it?

    Erm, what?

    To paraphrase: “Does anyone have any evidence of sexist behaviour? All I’ve seen is people pointing out instances of sexist behaviour.”

    Excuse me, I need to go head-butt my desk for a while…

  35. 35
    maudell

    Some people are even writing about the Adria Richards thing… Atheism, tech, all the same: women are crazy!
    What is wrong with those people? “Hey, it’s mostly women complaining about sexism. Therefore, no evidence.”
    I think they don’t realize they are making the exact point of the OP.

  36. 36
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Anti-feminists seem to be really good at astro-turfing. The Internet is a great place for spouting unverifiable “facts” to elicit a negative reaction against a misrepresented topic.

  37. 37
    Inaji

    Atheism, as opposed to agnosticism, is strongly connected to a culture of extreme rationalism.

    Extreme rationalism? Is that the new sport now?

    Maudell:

    Some people are even writing about the Adria Richards thing… Atheism, tech, all the same: women are crazy!

    :groans: Yeah, it’s the same old “Bitches be crazy, all hysterical and stuff, yo.” Bleargh.

  38. 38
    Funny Diva

    CaitieCat @15

    the somewhat-rare fallacy of “Spare-changing the question”, where there isn’t quite enough value in the statement to call it flat-out “begging”.

    +5000

    Oh, I’m so stealing that one!

  39. 39
    Loqi

    I like the idea of just pointing to the comments. I’m certain you could write an article titled “I can prove atheism has a sexism problem” with no text in it whatsoever. Just give it a comment section and let the evidence pour in. Perhaps run the comments through a script that looks for words like “feminazi,” “misandry,” or “witch hunt” and puts the offending comment in the body of the article.

  40. 40
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Extreme rationalism? Is that the new sport now?

    *snort*

  41. 41
    Jacob Schmidt

    Atheism, as opposed to agnosticism, is strongly connected to a culture of extreme rationalism.

    “Extreme” not withstanding, this isn’t even true. I’ve met far too many atheists spouting off stupidity and ignorance about religion (i.e. “Religion is just for idiots”) as well as stupidity and ignorance about many subjects to think there’s any significant corrolation between atheists and well practiced rationalism. Oh, they might be right: there’s certainly no bigfoot, no homeopathic remedies. and no god. But beyond the answers that are easily spoon fed to us through books and blogs posts (not to demean such media; I just find they’re easily substituted for thinking for oneself), I don’t see a great many atheists practicing rationalism very well.

  42. 42
    The Mellow Monkey

    Does anyone have any evidence of sexism within atheist groups? I’m only finding people complaining of it?

    We must always remember: witness testimony of mundane human behavior is not considered evidence.

    Ugh.

  43. 43
    Eamon Knight

    Sexism exists in any group, why should atheism be different?

    “Should” is an ambiguous word,and I won’t claim to know which sense he’s using it in. If it’s meant as “Don’t be so surprised that atheists are in many respects representative of the wider population”, then I can respect it as a dig at the tendency of some atheists to act as though they’re automatically superior to the common theistic herd. But in the strong sense of obligation, yes atheism-as-a-movement damn well ought to be different. We’re not just about not-believing-in-God, we’re about making the world a better place by taking religion down a few notches; IOW we are an *ethical* movement. And whether or not wider not-obviously-and-immediately-atheist issues should be incorporated into the mandate, at the very least such a movement has an obligation to treat its own participants ethically, and not to erect barriers of hostility to potential joiners.

  44. 44
    unclefrogy

    I was going to say “you know it sure is strange to see this kind of reaction to the advancement of equality” but that is just my naivete poking through and starting to write before I finish thinking, a common behavior trait I am trying to work on.
    I did read some of the comments. All of the negative comments I read seem to share the same lack of curiosity about what the reality might actually be and are just relying on something else to make some judgment . no questions that challenge any belief.

    uncle frogy

  45. 45
    Friendly

    The comments on Girls on Film’s look how sexist attitudes are affecting in the comic-book industry are also sadly painful: http://news.yahoo.com/girls-film-sexism-destroying-comic-book-industry-095500917.html.

  46. 46
    brundlefly

    really, get over it. i know alot of sexism still exists which sucks & is not fair; but most people aren’t like that anymore. stop being on the defensive, maybe you’ll get a better reaction, by inviting behavior you create it. should i not look at a woman i find attractive because it might offend her?

    This comment was like a greatest hits of anti-feminist jackassery.

  47. 47
    Ing

    should i not look at a woman i find attractive because it might offend her?

    General you: no

    Specificalkly *YOU*: Yes please

  48. 48
    Ing

    Seriously if you’re looking at a person in a way that offends them, what the hell?

  49. 49
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    When he looks, his eyes bug out and a big horn goes AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOGA, so…

  50. 50
    mikeyb

    Not that anybody cares. But Shermer has spoken.

    http://buffalobeast.com/interview-with-famed-skeptictrigger-warning-michael-shermer/

  51. 51
    Quodlibet

    mikeyb @ #50 – either there’s a problem with that link, or there’s somthing wrong with my PC [hijack?]. The link took me not to the interview but to some very explicit porn.

    I see that the same link is given here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/08/16/shermer-speaks

    hope it’s OK there. Seems to be, judging from the comments.

  52. 52
    mikeyb

    @51. I don’t know?? Sorry…..it’s the same link.

  53. 53
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Quodlibet
    I would strongly recommend you do some virus checks.

  54. 54
    Pteryxx

    Quodlibet, mikeyb’s link in #50 worked just fine for me (Adblock, Noscript, etc) – better look to your own computer, sorry.

  55. 55
    Quodlibet

    Yes, that’s what I fear, as I mentioned. I’m all up to date with protection, scans, updates… oh well I guess I know what I’ll be doing tonight. :-(
    thanks all

  56. 56
    Who Cares

    Quodlibet did you update flash recently? There is a nice new hijack going on claiming to be a flash 11 update.

  57. 57
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Sexism exists in any group, why should atheism be different?

    Because we can all be better than that, and should be striving to make positive, welcoming spaces for all comers, instead of keeping straight white (cis) men at the top of the totem pole. Be the good example for others to follow. (This doesn’t require perfection, just time and effort put into changing the status quo, and keeping up with ongoing issues.)

  58. 58
    DLC

    Sure, sexism exists in all sectors of society. So?
    To be all biblical about it : And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    Atheist and skeptics groups have a beam in their eye.

  59. 59
    believerskeptic

    “Does anyone have any evidence of sexism within atheist groups?”

  60. 60
    believerskeptic

    “The comments on Girls on Film’s look how sexist attitudes are affecting in the comic-book industry are also sadly painful: http://news.yahoo.com/girls-film-sexism-destroying-comic-book-industry-095500917.html.”

    Thank you for posting this. I am the creator of a soon-to-be-published graphic novel about a female superhero who is half African-American and half Korean-American. I could not agree more with the article. The lack of diversity in comics will kill the industry, if it hasn’t already. Gerry Conway’s quote is particularly disappointing, as he was a hero of mine. It’s just rationalizing bullshit. If you can’t figure out a way to make diverse characters appealing, that reflects on *your lack of writing skill and imagination*, not some “reality” you perceive.

    RG

  61. 61
    abb3w

    @3, Quodlibet

    Gee, the title of that article implies that atheists are men. Hmm. The Pew survey says this about those unaffiliated with religion: “Among the unaffiliated as a whole, 56% are men and 44% are women. [that's compared to] the general public overall, where 48% are men and 52% are women.”

    I’ll note, “Unaffiliated” is a more general category in the Pew data than “Atheist”. While the overall split in the unaffiliated is circa 11:9 M:F, the split among the combined subcategory of Atheists and Agnostics is according to your link nearer 2:1, and in Pew’s 2008 survey, self-identified Atheists leaned even more male than self-identified Agnostics.

    Picturing the contemporary “typical atheist” in the US as male is a stereotype, but roughly as accurate as picturing the contemporary “typical Republican” as opposed to legality of abortion. In a sample of ten at random, you’re over 90% likely to have at least one exception from the stereotype, but more likely still to have at least half that conform to it. (Exact calculation is left as an exercise for students enrolled in probability/combinatorics/statistics math classes.)

  62. 62
    girlyboy

    I’ve seen this reposted in other forums and the reaction is basically the same, 40% people reacting to the title without bothering to read the article, 50% men telling women to shut up about being silenced, and 10% people gawking at the hypocrisy.

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