And these are the same people who hate burkas?

tl;dr Sexism is my fault because I don’t hide that I’m female. From here and here:

“STOP TAKING EVERYTHING PERSONALLY. If you don’t want people to make fun of your looks take your picture off your blog. No one would ever know you were a woman if you didn’t constantly try to draw attention to your vagina. Grow up.”

“Let’s see. You don’t want any comments about your breasts. One way to reduce the chance of that happening would be to have a picture that does not prominently feature your breasts.”

“You have a picture of yourself on the side. The title of your blog is “Blag Hag”. You have an icon of a girl beside your header. It’s not a fair comparison. “

“Ok so heres your problem. Reddit for the most part still has a large view that women dont exist on the internet. The second problem is that reddit also has the strange notion that when women present something or an image or information they some how try to tie in a picture of themselves…. I came here looking for a good article and right off the bat… Theres your photo… I didn’t have to click on an about you page or images. ITS RIGHT THERE trying to show something off. What is that, that your a woman? That you have a nice smile? What do you want me to think of how this is setup? Do I stop from the visual que to continue reading or do I get drawn to the pretty colors of the photo?”

“But what’s really bizarre is that your blog is deliberately gender branded (titled “Hag” and featuring a picture of a cutesy girl at the keyboard), yet you complain when people notice your gender. But hey, it gives you something to blame other that yourself when you fail at something right?”

“This won’t be popular, but you may want to reconsider complaining about sexist comments when immediately below your photo, you describe yourself (among others) as a pervert, and anyone who Googles you instantly finds “boobquake” attributed to you. You have every right to say what you want, but cannot be shocked when the idiots respond to a woman who brags about being a pervert. Probably confusing for the youngsters, making it more difficult to take you seriously.”

“There is a simple solution to be not treated this way. Dont put up your photo in your blog. Dont tell your gender. Is it really necessary? Or on a second thought the comments like “nice boobs” are the better option? And you know this fact too, thus this post makes you an attention whore. (Or simply stupid for pointing out the obvious) “

“Don’t post pics with tits hanging out and expect no reaction- NOT FUCKING ROCKET SCIENCE”

Wow, I forgot I needed to be totally neutered on the internet! Just how Hemant Mehta and PZ Myers don’t show pictures of themselves and obsessively remove any mentions of them being male. …Oh, wait.

Thanks for proving my point, guys!

Man, sometimes I revel in the power of feminism to bring out the trolls. How dare you criticize the in group!

What stereotypical response should I highlight next? Women claiming things aren’t sexist because they don’t think it’s sexist? Comments about me being fat? You can’t get rid of sexism so you should just shut up about it? Learn to take a joke? That I’m just an attention whore desperate for blog traffic*. The possibilities are endless!

*Did I mention I don’t give a damn how many people read my blog, and I’ve gained basically no regular readers via reddit? Weeeee!


  1. says

    This bullshit comes up all the time. I regularly play Call of Duty online. I have a separate log in on my PS3 for playing CoD online with a gender neutral username and no reference to my gender on my profile. I don’t really talk to anyone, because I don’t want them to know I’m a girl. I’ve tried playing under my regular (clearly female) username and this is the sort of bullshit I get. When you call people out on it, they claim that it’s okay because you’re advertising you’re a girl. And if you advertise that you’re female, you’re only there to either 1) get attention or 2) get sympathy.

  2. says

    I must be female or something because I hadn’t noticed you drawing attention to your vagina or your breasts. Is there a secret to seeing the other pictures of you that show them? Do you have to be a boy to know the secret code for seeing breasts and vaginas in profile pix?

  3. John Small Berries says

    Many of the commenters are ones I’d previously marked as sexist/racist trolls with RES. Gee, what a surprise.

  4. says

    Well, I don’t believe in god but I don’t believe in people either. Just because someone is a atheist does not mean he/she can not be as stupid, bigoted, shallow or full of it as many theists. In the other hand, there are many people that can read and appreciate the writing of someone even if she is cute and sexy ;) Focus on them (us)

  5. says

    Shame on them. Not believing in a sky fairy has never been connected to one’s genitalia. If it was, I could cure the religious problem with a 2lb hammer.As the poster says, ‘Keep calm and CARRY ON!’.

  6. UncountablyFinite says

    I think reddit is a classic example of people who don’t have a lot of exposure to a group being unable to empathize. People who don’t know any openly gay people can’t understand gay people; people in the U.S. have trouble caring about Iraqi civilians; and people who think that mentioning you have a girlfriend is 1) bragging, and 2) likely false, can’t understand women.

  7. mcbender says

    There are reasons I avoid certain areas of the Internet. I seriously cannot understand the mentality of such people.

  8. says

    Wow, there’s an atheist male blogger or two who I really don’t like. Can I go to their blogs and ridicule them for being old and (often) fat and male? Just kidding. Don’t listen to the little boys. They are just jealous because the closest they will ever get to a girl is seeing pictures of them on the Internet.

  9. says

    Where the hell is the picture with your tits hanging out? I want a refund. jkHemant has a picture. PZ has a picture. Both show that they are men and have nice smiles.I think a lot can be attributed to the significant number of people who get off being assholes. They think it is fun, and frankly, women are an easy target since most of the work has already been done by previous misogynists.Perhaps these guys would prefer you in a burqa.

  10. Sadpanda says

    Quoting another reply: “Only the r/atheism subreddit is affected because we’re “held to a higher level than other people”. I hate to break her heart, but not all atheists are smart, not all atheists are nice. We’re normal people who realized a simple, important fact about life.”Jen you’ve been spoiled by the good commentators on Blag Hag, who by blog standards are quite above average.On your own reddit submissions best to ignore the crap posts, just downvote and move on, better to just reply to good comments.

  11. says

    I think we need another scientific experiment: Hemant should replace the photo on his blog with one in which he’s wearing a tank top instead of a suit to show off his biceps! That should allow us to compare the ensuing drooling comments ratio… (or something :-))

  12. says

    This one is amusing. If I may be forgiven a reference to post-modernist literary analysis, it should be “unpacked:””STOP TAKING EVERYTHING PERSONALLY” This deflects the blame back to the victim. It’s the verbal equivalent of “if it’s inevitable lie back and enjoy it.” It’s doubtful that a man who takes offense to comments on the interwebs would be told off in all caps this way.”If you don’t want people to make fun of your looks take your picture off your blog.”Fair enough, but it seems the “make fun of” comments weren’t about your nose or teeth or hair style. It was sexist “fun” which is only fun to the perpetrator and irrelevant to the actual image.”No one would ever know you were a woman if you didn’t constantly try to draw attention to your vagina.””No one” is presumed to be male, and the default position on assumptions of posters’ (“you”) genders would be male. So in order to correct the default assumptions of sexist readers, ‘you” set things straight a priori. If you hadn’t they would assume you were male and when the truth was revealed later there’d be a whole ‘nother class of attacks.”Grow up.” Pure psychological projection here.

  13. moralnihilist says

    “Let’s see. You don’t want any comments about your breasts. One way to reduce the chance of that happening would be to have a picture that does not prominently feature your breasts.”*scrolls up**scrolls down**scrolls up**scrolls downYeah…..I’d like to know what the hell this guy is talking about.

  14. moralnihilist says

    As I read most of those comments all I could imagine was some drunken redneck yelling “she was askin’ fer it! Didn’t ya see what she was wearin’?”

  15. bnaji says

    These are the same people who blame women for being raped. Just look at their phrases and put rape in there instead of ‘comments about boobs’.

  16. Sarahviollet says

    Let’s apply the same objectivity to theism and atheism as we do to gender, sexual preference, race, et al. We’re sat here complaining about people judging someone for being a woman, but it’s FIIIIIINE to judge people for religious preferences. Atheist snark is so boring. You don’t believe in God/god. They do. Who gives a fuck? People can suck or not suck – their religious beliefs, sexual preference, job, musical taste, etc, ad infinitum, have nothing to do with how they treat other people.

  17. Epizephyrii says

    Sometimes I feel like I’m in this strange minority in life because frankly, I’ve never cared what gender someone is. To me it’s always been about the content of what is said and the logic behind it. I enjoy reading what you write because it makes sense and it’s well written.It baffles me that someone would think any less of what you write because you are a female. I would say given the short supply of outspoken female atheists it makes me appreciate your blog even more because you bring a new viewpoint to the discussion that many others in my gender seem to lack.But all that said, I think some are just trollish like that to get reactions and they might make comments like that specifically because they think they can get a reaction more easily out of a feminist blogger. It’s Penny Arcade’s Greater Internet Fuckwad theory all over again:

  18. says

    Let’s do a thought experiment: Imagine that there was a blog by a black person. Now imagine that he/she was getting openly racist comments. Now imagine that when he/she pointed them out, people said, “Well, you’re only getting racist comments because people can tell that you’re black.” Would there be anything other than outrage? There is ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE between making (and defending) disparaging comments about gender (and blaming the victim for them) and making (and defending) disparaging comments about race/ethnicity (and blaming the victim for them).

  19. breadbox says

    “You explicitly acknowledged that boobs exist! It’s not our fault that all we can talk about now is boobs! Durp!”

  20. says

    Jesus fucking Christ. “It’s your fault you experience sexism because you don’t hide the fact that you’re a woman.” I wonder how many of these assholes are the same ones who pride themselves on their superior rationality and morality because they’re atheists.And people wonder why women aren’t more active in the atheist community.

  21. says

    If I had to guess, I’d say that when he sees a picture of a woman, he can’t look at anything but her breasts if they’re in the picture. Therefore any headshot of a woman that doesn’t start at the collarbone “prominently features her breasts.”

  22. says

    There is always the possibility that some of this isn’t so much about sexism per se, and is just plain ordinary trolling. Someone can be a completely equal opportunities troll and say whatever is most likely to get a rise out of their target. In your case ‘lol – nice tits’ is going to have a rather more satisfying effect than ‘lol – nice beard’ would on PZ.

  23. Shaw Andrew says

    Have you considered that some of the comments were probably misguided and immature attempts to flirt with you? Trying to eek out an emotional response is likely their perspective on Flirting 101. One way to test this hypothesis is to try out a picture of a cuter girl instead of using your image. You will probably find that if the girl gets hotter, the volume of the “sexist” comments increases. If so, then its more a case of them not learning how to flirt/talk to women.

  24. says

    I “liked” this comment because it’s a good thought experiment, but sadly, there are definitely people who would make the argument that a black blogger who put up their picture and talked about racism in the atheist community was trying to “make it about being black instead of about atheism” or shit like that. There would be outrage, but there would also be a depressing amount of agreement from people saying “I don’t see why we have to bring race into this.”

  25. Nick says

    They’ve never seen a girl on their forum. Now that they got one, they can’t stop talking about boobs, and/or will do whatever to get a reaction out of her. Sexism or plain immaturity? Have you never been to a school?

  26. Realee says

    Not arguing with your point specifically just making a point that I feel has been kind of lost where it seemed to fit. While they may be trolls and the minority, it seems to me this all started as Jen saying she was uncomfortable on this subredit because of sexist comments. She has a right to feel uncomfortable. She shouldn’t have to let it role off her back just because trolls will be trolls. It’s not ok. And it’s all right to want to see more from a subgroup you respect. And what other way can change happen than calling it out? She’s not talking directly to the trolls so much as responding the the community as a whole that seemed just baffled that she could ever make such a claim that she regularly experienced sexism there.

  27. Inthane says…Sadly, this seems to be the rule, and not the exception. Back when I played WoW, whenever I met a female player, I’d make the joke “LIES! THERE ARE NO WOMEN ON TEH INTARWEBS!” and then proceed to NOT give them any crap about being a woman, just treat them with the same respect as any other player. (Another joke in a similar vein: “WoW, where the men are men, the women are men, and the children are FBI agents”)I had quite a few female friends in game, all of whom “outed” themselves to me and were afraid to admit it to other people because of the way they were treated by them. I seem to remember reading a study showing that when the male:female ratio raises too high (as in more men than women) that men will start doing “aggression displays” such as catcalling. It doesn’t increase the attractiveness of those men, but it does reduce the receptiveness of women to advances by other males – and what more “male dominated” area is there but the internet?Don’t forget that a reason to hate burquas for these guys might be that they don’t get to see cleavage any more. :P

  28. Realee says

    … but how does that make it any less sexist or ok? When it makes someone uncomfortable they have a right to say so. If it were a case of not knowing how to flirt… how on earth are they supposed to get any idea of what an appropriate way to respond to another human being is if no one points out how messed up it is?

  29. Nick says

    It can, as long as we find out how to make a distinction. The problem is: one can exist without another

  30. Shaw Andrew says

    By all means point it out, but there will always be a fresh supply of misguided/immature males, coz thats how they come before they learn how to talk to girls. It’s like expecting a lion not to eat you because you are vegetarian.

  31. MadScutter says

    I’ve never even bothered with Reddit, see no reason to start now if this is the expected behavior. (Found my way here from either PZ’s or Hemant’s blog, don’t recall which).

  32. Tegan says

    I like how at least two of the quotes said your pic was showing off your boobs when you can’t really even see cleavage in that picture…

  33. Georgia Sam says

    “[P]rominently feature your breasts”?!?! “[T]its hanging out”?!?! PLEASE! I could easily find pictures on the web that actually fit those descriptions & post links to them so readers could compare & contrast, but I don’t want to be offensive. Goddamn idiots.

  34. U. says

    so your picture shows your upper body (I can’t see “boobs hanging out” but maybe because I am a woman) therefore men are free to comment? Does that mean they have no control over their reptilian brain or are they just cheap and look for excuses? Neither of those makes guys look very good. Come on guys, you can do better than that! (I Know you do!) I don’t comment on guys work with “hey, nice junk” or “hey, you must have a tiny p****”Jen, LOVE your blog!

  35. Shaw Andrew says

    essentially, its not their opinions or personalities that you seek to change. it’s their hormones.

  36. Realee says

    I think that’s kind of my point. Unless you’re arguing that that is a default position in men’s brains without proper exposure to women. That it is not influenced by society, where people pointing out, “Hey dude that wasn’t cool! That is not an okay way to discuss this or approach her,” over and over again wouldn’t result in him looking for other ways to try to reach out. Then wouldn’t technically over time that weed out that population. I’d suggest that society making that an ok “well whatever” state allows it to spring up in populations. It’s like expecting a human being to learn to consider how their statements effect others.

  37. lomifeh says

    The fact that you, being a woman, are not allowed to actually act like a woman or be a woman when online is hilarious. I don’t get that reaction really. I know it’s annoying but ignore em. The trolls love the reaction, the neckbeards are a lost cause.Someone mentioned WoW. WoW has been something unusual in that it’s gender mix is closer to 50/50 and it’s general appeal means it pulls in a more representative audience regarding people in general.

  38. Barbara_K says

    Your analogy between judging people based on gender, sexual orientation, and race on the one hand and based preferences like religious beliefs falls apart pretty quickly – the first three are not preferences. I agree with you that behavior is a good indication of character, but beliefs people choose to hold are open to criticism and debate. Insults to people based on inborn traits are by their nature prejudicial.

  39. Shaw Andrew says

    Good point on the genetic algorithm approach.Thing is, you can sure teach them what to say, but not what they think. Fundamentally, these are boys trying to get a reaction from a girl in an environment with hundreds of potential “suitors”. Breeding ground for demonstrating alpha male behavior no?

  40. Realee says

    I personally seek to change their treatment of others. They can be attracted to a woman. They can even let that influence how they view her words…. though I wish it didn’t. But at a bare minimum they can chose their words in a way that is respectful. So no I’m not trying to change their hormones. Just because someone is male and posters may be female doesn’t make it ok to behave inappropriately. Boys will be boys is an argument that doesn’t cut it. They have higher brain functioning and reasoning skills.

  41. Epizephyrii says

    That’s fair, I think my brain is a bit scattered today :(I completely agree that she has a right to feel uncomfortable. I think to a certain extent my attempt at points were 1) I just don’t get sexism. I honestly have no clue why people think that way, 2) I don’t think all of those making bad comments are necessarily atheists so the problem might not be quite as bad as it seems (though even if only half of them are real, that’s still absurd) and 3) I really appreciate what Jen brings to the atheist/feminist/general blogging community and it’s sad that other people don’t.I agree that it’s good to call people out over crap like this. I just wish it was easier to tell the truly confused from the trolls which shouldn’t be fed as it just makes them worse.

  42. says

    A lot of people talk the talk (women shouldn’t be forced to wear burkas) but don’t walk the walk (treat women like they’re human beings).

  43. says

    “…and anyone who Googles you instantly finds “boobquake” attributed to you.” Yes, they find info on the event organized as a response to the sexism (and anti-scientific stance) of an Iranian cleric. Seems rather ironic that this is something this poster puts out there to show you’re somehow at fault for the sexism you encounter.

  44. Gus Snarp says

    Yeah, whenever I go to the Friendly Atheist or Pharyngula I just see those pictures and all I can think about is their penises. They should really not put their pictures up there.

  45. jose says

    That’s right, they can’t help it because their manly hormones won’t let them, you see, their assholery is biologically determined. Jen’s picture turns male humans essentially into male praying mantis. You could blow our heads off, we’d still fuck the shit out of the computer screen. Yeah.You’re not one of those evopsychos we’ve been talking about recently, are you?

  46. ThiefOfTime (yup, it's me) says

    You really don’t get how Reddit work, and yet you complain.Yes, the advice to remove your face from your post is valid. Not because you are a woman, but because Reddit hate blogs, and posts with faces on them (that aren’t celebrities) are usually posts that link to blogs. Try to go in any other subreddit and count the faces you see.Here, explain this :…See his hignest rated post? Notice the difference between that post and all the other?

  47. Shaw Andrew says

    Ofcourse it dosen’t make it okay. They didn’t troll her because they thought it would be okay. They trolled her because thats how they get a reaction out of her – a response, instead of being drowned out in the crowd. You decide if her reactions encourage them or discourage them. I’m not suggesting she stop acting like a girl, she ought to be herself, but reacting to their catcalls will not discourage them, because the purpose of the catcalls was to get a reaction.

  48. says

    Many of us on the internet have rich social and professional lives as well, but the stereotypical geek who hasn’t spoken to a woman other than his mother in months actually exists, and I think is a source of a lot of this bullcrap. That, and your typical privileged men who don’t realized they’re privileged.Signed, privileged man who realizes he’s privileged.

  49. says

    Really, Jen, I am surprised and disappointed in you. The solutions to your brazen flaunting of your femininity are obvious if you have the guts to implement them. In all pictures you post of yourself henceforth on the intertubes you should:1)Bind your breasts.2)Wear something loose and shapeless that buttons up to your throat. A nice Cultural Revolution-surplus Mao jacket would do the trick.3)Wear a false beard. Or maybe Groucho glasses.You may think me harsh, but you’ll thank me later.(Oooh! Just had a contest idea! Do your best Photoshop of a sexless Jen! Maybe win some Blag Hag Swag. Maybe Jen could make it a fundraiser for something suitably godless and/or feminist.)

  50. jose says

    No one would ever know you were black if you didn’t constantly try to draw attention to your skin color. Grow up.Let’s see. You don’t want any comments about your color. One way to reduce the chance of that happening would be to have a picture that does not prominently feature your black face.You have a picture of yourself on the side. The title of your blog is “Blag Hag”. You have an icon of a black person beside your header. It’s not a fair comparison.I came here looking for a good article and right off the bat… Theres your photo… I didn’t have to click on an about you page or images. ITS RIGHT THERE trying to show something off. What is that, that your a black person? That you have a nice smile? What do you want me to think of how this is setup? Do I stop from the visual que to continue reading or do I get drawn to the pretty colors of the photo?Et cétera.(Should I suppose “que” means “cue”?)

  51. Gus Snarp says

    So the fact that it’s a link to a blog causes people not to ignore the post, but instead to flame it with sexist bullshit? And it has nothing to do with say, I don’t know, sexism?

  52. Gus Snarp says

    It’s not the hormones, it’s how they respond to them. We all have the hormones, but most of us aren’t acting like total fuckwads because of it. If you can’t control yourself when your hormones are raging, then you need medical treatment. This is just a crap ass excuse for lousy behavior. Let’s take this to the ridiculous, but still logical conclusion: if a boy can’t help himself from acting like an asshole on the internet because he sees a modest picture of a reasonably attractive woman and it gets his hormones going, then how can he possibly be expected not to rape every girl he meets in a short skirt? What a low opinion you must have of men to think that we are just our hormones.

  53. Realee says

    Yeah I should have been more careful to say that i was just responding to a larger sentiment I’d seen on the in comments including those I read on the reddit thread (They all kind of blended together into a horrifying mass after a while.) and one tiny aspect that reminded me of that in you post. Not you specifically. I don’t get sexism either. I sure would hope they aren’t all actual atheists… that would be nice. Still a problem though. And I deeply appreciate what Jen brings to the table too.I do think your point is fair. I really wish we could tell trolls digging for reactions from others that actually wholly believe what they are saying. But as much as feeding the trolls sucks. Pointing out when they’re wrong might help prevent others from thinking that since a troll said it it’s actually an okay point to make.

  54. says

    Yeah, Jen, obviously you don’t get how Reddit is supposed to work. The blatant misogyny and sexism are SUPPOSED to be there! It’s part of the system! It’s your fault, Jen, for having a vagina and, subsequently, breasts. No, they weren’t being sexist, they’d react the same way to Hemant’s or PZ’s blog.Shut the fuck up, ThiefOfTime.

  55. says

    I would have loved to respond to this, but unfortunately my brain just exploded from rage. Note: Biodork left a written note on her keyboard that says “If I am dead because of brain explosion it’s because I just read about Jen’s ordeal on reddit. Please type this message into the comments section of blaghag under the “Are these the same people who hate burkas?” Don’t worry though, Biodork has incredible powers of recovery and I anticipate that she’ll heal up just fine after I play some angry chick music to her rotting corpse. I’m queuing up Ani DiFranco now. – Sincerely, Biodork’s blogging power of attorney.

  56. Realee says

    Personally, I feel like the main issue is not just some asshole trolls digging for a reaction. It’s that the community responded with what sexism? Oh that doesn’t count! Etc. When Jen said she was uncomfortable there. While trolls getting a reaction from the target might not discourage them… the community as a whole saying. “Whoa wtf! Never ok here!” might.Guys are perfectly capable of using their brains and I feel it’s perfectly ok to expect them to do so. I know plenty of guys who certainly can. Just because someone didn’t learn how to flirt yet doesn’t mean they can’t get some direction to better avenues. And you just switched from it’s they’re just idiots with hormones trying to flirt… to they’re just trolls. It isn’t okay. Glad we agree there. My point is the community shouldn’t ignore it or belittle her for commenting on her personal experience. Speaking for myself, I care less about the individuals than the bigger picture. Communities influence individuals.

  57. says

    I can’t say I’ve ever noticed you taking offence at people noticing that you’re female. Frustration at people making a big deal out of it, yes… and the behaviour you’ve been decrying recently isn’t even at people stereotyping you, it’s about people being, frankly, dicks. I don’t even know where to start with this…

  58. says

    Once upon a time, a man was walking in the woods and ran into a bear. The bear chased the man into a cave and the man ran to the end of the cave and started to pray. “Please, God. Let this bear be a Christian bear,” prayed the man. As the bear approached, the man heard “Thank you, lord, for this meal I am about to receive…”Moral? Just because someone shares the same beliefs as you doesn’t make them on the same side. XD

  59. says

    I clicked on one of his posts that showed his picture and had over 100 comments. Exactly two of those commented on his face, both in the context of having thought it was a picture of the subject of the post rather than of the poster. Obviously, that line of commenting was dropped very quickly.No comments mentioned any other physical characteristics of the poster, nor did anyone use his appearance as a way to avoid discussing the topic of the post. Nobody said anything sexually inappropriate to or about him.You did make a point with that link, but not the one you thought you were making.

  60. Gus Snarp says

    Wait, so the idea is that men act like assholes so that women think every man around them is an asshole and won’t sleep with any of them? This is why evolutionary psychology is so interesting, even when it’s bullshit. This is a downright fascinating hypothesis.

  61. Kyle Scott says

    I have been reading and lurking for months and I have been wondering what would prompt me, finally, to post. Apparently this is it.It is likely far too easy for me, as a male, to say ignore those worth ignoring and don’t let it bother you. So I will simply offer this: Keep doing what you are doing. I enjoy the topics and I enjoy the writing.As I read your blog on my iPhone through a Reader, I never get to see your boobs anyway, so it remains a non-issue.

  62. Kaoru says

    This is going to seem terrible, but what picture with your tits hanging out? And what sort of avatar is appropriate for a woman? This confuses me.

  63. says

    Hahaha, I see your point about complaints about “bringing race/gender into this.” I guess my comment was really a fancy way of saying that there’s no real difference in shouting “Show us your tits” (for example) at a woman or of shouting “Nigger!” at a black person. But for some reason racism and sexism seem to provoke vastly different levels of outrage vs “that’s just the way people are” justifications. And I’ve never been able to figure out why in FSM’s name this distinction is made.

  64. Anthrodyne says

    Oh Jen, Oh Molls, *long time reader, first time commenter*it is one of the sad facts revealed in my work (anthrodynamics) that the message is usually overshadowed by Pre-signals. Facial signals of emotion, societal signals via skin, clothes, hair etc. Obvious gender characteristics, all impact the reader far more than the information we wish to present. We, as Rational Humans have the option to override this if we want to and can, but it is so much easier to allow our more primitives sleves to take over. YES you have a gender signal in the title of you blog, SO what! I can’t help but recall how often in the case of Sex crimes the “woman was asking for it” bu wearing the wrong clothing, or acting aggressive ( read anything but shy and demure). The arguments made by the Sexists above are the same argument.. That even with good evidence,, important information even critical calls to action are more often filtered thru the older stupider brain. the Author Malcolm Gladwell recently spoke of how his life changed because he grew out his obviously African hair, and how it made him the focus of law enforcement. As we, the hopefully Rational crowd, work to overcome the mental illness of Religion, we must remember that the same factors are at play for many out -moded and pathological belief systems, many of them non-theocratic, and the rational view hs a long way to go.. I write todaay, for the firs time becasue you have been a bright spot in the darkened world, I would have you now that even Andro-Americans like myself are more interested in the content of your Skull rather than the content of your clothing .Keep being that candle in the dark, and know that when you are bashed, it is by the witless , the ignorant, and the closeted. thanks for what you do.

  65. says

    You have a point – to some degree – though I still feel that shock&awe trolling is sometimes a cry for help and evidence of all sorts of unfortunate human psychological traits. There are trolls who will say anything, regardless of their personal thoughts on the subject, just to sit back and watch the drama … so – yes – using sexism might be merely one tool in the toolbox of a professional troll – who in a perfect world would go over to a conservative religious forum and pose as an atheist LGBTQ feminist – on welfare. However, I’m guessing that these trolls are not that highly advanced in their art as to suggest that their comments are merely for entertainment/shock/attempted-chaos value. I think these comments come from people who seriously don’t get sexism. Though I get your point – and not entirely disagreeing – Passing the whole thing off as plain old trolling in the end gives them more credit than they deserve and also eliminates the need for discussion about online and RL sexism that is taken for granted by both genders more often than not. In fact – if the “trolls” meant to create drama for the pure sake of drama – I’m actually glad they give us the opportunity to discuss sexism – because this has given women the opportunity to voice similar stories – or for all genders to think about how easily we ALL succumb to and ignore sexism. .

  66. says

    “their religious beliefs, sexual preference, job, musical taste, etc, ad infinitum, have nothing to do with how they treat other people. “this is the opposite of the truth, not a lie, but a fact 100% wrong. Your quote above should say that these things have EVERYTHING to do with how we treat others. A believer wants to convert you, you may be hit on by someone of the appropriate sexuality , a cop or a Tycoon treats people vastly different from a trash-man or a nurse. If you play Punk at a country bar, you think it will not have effect?we are what we do, and you to will treat others with whatever Biases you have. as to who should “give a fuck’? anyone that might be oppressed by a cultural majority. be happy as a memeber of that majority, and find something constructive to contribute..

  67. says

    I agree with you, Kyle. Keep at it, Jen. I know sometimes you must feel like you have big ol’ target painted to you back, but this stuff is IMPORTANT. Sometimes men really don’t understand why we rail about inequality, they just don’t SEE it. And it’s not always because of arsehole internet anonymity. It’s just naiveté, or lack of awareness. And it’s people like you that are helping to change this. Maybe not a particular person right now, but maybe the next generation. We NEED to keep trying.

  68. AFemaleAtheist says

    I’m a lurker and I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. Just want to say I support you and I find the unintentional irony of the backlash hilarious. Oop, you’re a woman.. don’t post your picture if you don’t want people to comment on your looks! Just like how if you wear anything revealing any skin, it’s your fault when you get raped. DERPPS- I’m a woman.

  69. Noelley B says

    Trust me, you’re not missing much. Jen’s wearing a tanktop under an open flannel shirt. The cleavage is barely hinted, and I never thought about it until this post. The shot is cropped in such a way that if she were completely nude, you STILL wouldn’t see any nipple. You’d have to be pretty obsessed to call that “prominently feature[ing her] breasts.”

  70. Noelley B says

    I think your site and my own facebook page are the only places on the internet where I actually read comments. It’s shocking how horrible people can be. I mean, how do these people behave in real life? Do they look at women and think “What a slut! I can totally see her collarbones!”

  71. says

    I can’t speak for the whole internet, and certainly not for the states, but here in the UK it’s far less socially acceptable to call a person out based on race than it is based on gender (taking a ‘typical’ view – there are areas with huge racism problems, although they’re often more specific than white v not white). In even middle-class behaviour, racist attitudes are surreptitious, while a surprising range of sexist attitudes are quite open – bosses don’t want to hire a woman who they think might have kids in the near-enough future, that’s a really common one, and they will admitthis openly.

  72. Hlkolaya says

    Well what do you expect when your photo shows you naked and spread eagle and menstruating and..! wait.. wait.. *that’s* the picture they’re all upset about? er…..also, I would *love* to see you do a piece on sexism and how it ties into sexism (along with those comments about your weight that you mentioned)

  73. Inthane says

    Yeah, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the men who already had mates were more likely to engage in aggression displays; they’ve already got theirs, so stopping others from mating increases the likelihood of their own genes being promulgated over the genes of other males in the local pool.I find the human race fascinating, in the same way that one might watch a train wreck. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, there goes the water tower into the oil refinery…

  74. moralnihilist says

    Isn’t that the same argument Extremists Muslims use to justify forcing women to wear the burqa? “If she didn’t want to be sexually assaulted on the street by a crowd of men in broad daylight, she shouldn’t have let her wrist show!”

  75. Gelfling73 says

    I think there are some people who are sending you discouraging comments in an attempt to silence you. They don’t like the fact that you do what you do (which is awesome), and so they try to make you go away.Don’t go away!

  76. Azkyroth says

    Wow. That’s certainly a probing and insightful question. And a very clever objection you have there.In fact, NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER MADE THAT OBJECTION BEFORE AND THERE ARE NO FAQ-STYLE ANSWERS POSTED ONLINE YOU MIGHT CONSIDER SEARCHING OUT AND READING. NONE WHATSOEVER.

  77. Realee says

    I’d like to think so but I haven’t shared that experience. Though I don’t put much credence in case studies so won’t bother to give examples unless someone wants to hear them. I’d love to believe that though. I could hope and reason that as males mature they open their minds or don’t have to defend their manhood as much or whatever… but I fear what I hear underneath that statement is, “Eh if we let it go they’ll grow out of it.” I’m personally not comfortable with accepting that.

  78. ThiefOfTime says

    That is not what I have said at all. Did I mention sexism? Did I claim it was acceptable?It is not acceptable, and that is why sexists posts are downvoted. THIS is how Reddit work. Comments aren’t pre-approved, and they are never deleted unless it’s spam. There is 2 Mods for 120k people. The Mods are not there to police people, the people police themselves, and it works.If you want to concentrate on sexism you will find it. The same is true for racists comments, derogatory comments on handicaps, anti-semitism and islamophobia. It is also something that plague ALL of Reddit, it just so happen that her posts never make it out of /r/atheism. If jen was honest, she would look at the comment history of those misogynistic redditors and see that they don’t posts in /r/atheosm only.There is also a large portion of Reddit that is just waiting to criticize all and every posts of /r/atheism (atheists are hated, remember?) and the fact that a posts is made by a woman makes it just easier for them to be assholes.So you know, shut the fuck up and all of this.

  79. says

    Hah, you get fucking SCHOOLED by reddit and this is how you respond? Have fun never coming back to the site, feminist whore, unless you wanna enter downvote city. :)

  80. ThiefOfTime (yup, it's me) says

    Yes. A single post got by. You completely destroyed my argument.Don’t go check the other pages, where *all* of his hignest posts don’t have his face on, concentrate on the single posts that made it with his face to call me a liar.Also, I never said that they would react to *him* like they reacted to her. I said that not using your face is a valid argument for Reddit.If you check her posts, people take a stab at her feminity AND the fact they it’s blogspam. Often, it’s coming from the same people. Those people are idiots who want to put down atheism and grasp at everything they can to do so, not atheists that want to put down woman. This is why they are *always* downvoted.

  81. ThiefOfTime (yup, it's me) says

    It has everything to do with sexism.It has nothing to do with Reddit atheists.We aren’t talking about an obscur blog that is visited by friends of the author here, we are talking about a war zone where atheists are always keeping theists in checks because they want Reddit to become a Ministry. This means casuality, and those casuality are often the lowest denominator : being a woman, blogspam, asserting gnosticism, being non-White Christian, or even not being American.I get told to get the fuck out of /r/Worldnews and /r/Politics every other weeks because I am Canadian and I shouldn’t share my opinions on American politics. I chalk them up as idiots, I don’t condemn the whole of Reddit.

  82. says

    I don’t know if ‘grow out of it’ is the right term… it’s certainly not automatic with other aspects of maturity. But anyway…Men, in my opinion, won’t grow out of it until they realise that it’s a step forward to do so. After that, it’s pretty much automatic. If anyone knows a good way to get people to realise that it’s a step forward, please tell me about it…

  83. says

    I agree completely, this guy is just funny. Of course, my opinion isn’t valid, because my name is Jess and as a feminine name, people are going to know I’m a woman. Maybe I should change it to Dave or Mick?

  84. Kevinbbg says

    I must say that I am completely perplexed by those quotes. I have a picture of myself on my blog, I think it’s a good idea to do that, helps people relate to you better.And I don’t get where boobs are hanging out all over the place.Some people are just weird and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  85. says

    Jen:I’ve wanted to say something nice to counter the negative body-image stuff heaped your way, but I’ve been holding off on it’s-not-like-Jen-needs-to-be-told-she’s-pretty-to-feel-good-about-herself-so-saying-so-would-be-patronizing-and-it-shouldn’t-fucking-matter-in-the-first-place grounds.But beyond a certain point of reading people talk trash about how you look, I figure: Fuck it.So for whatever it might be worth: I agree with Colbert. ^_^

  86. says

    Fuck them Jen. When it comes to the atheists I read, its you and PZ. It has nothing to do with gender, it has everything to do with awesome. Don’t let a bunch of internet losers get under your skin. Have a good one, continue being you.

  87. Epi Ren says

    Blaming you for sexist comments is like blaming me for not dodging the bullet from an assailant. What a bunch of asshats.

  88. says

    Oh, dear! Don’t you realise that by publishing your obviously female name, Jen, that you’re just drawing attention to your femaleness? And that means boobies and vagina. How can I possibly concentrate on your message when you just shove your female name in my face?:^Þ

  89. Johnny Vector says

    Never been to reddit before. Just looked at the link Daniel posted above. Don’t think I’ll be going back there. Yeesh.To paraphrase Frank Zappa, I’m not female, but there’s a hell of a lot of times I wish I could say I wasn’t male.

  90. Holly says

    Hey JenLong time reader, first time commenter.The rage that built up whilst reading those comments made it impossible for me not to say something.Your blog really inspired me to learn more about and become active in the feminist/gender equality movement. It makes me sick to think that there are fuckwits out there who can’t get over the fact that you have female genetalia.Woop de fucking doo.I think you’re bloody fantastic. Keep up the good blogging, and for goodness sake, stop dressing so incredibly slutty! :P

  91. A-M says

    Fingers-crossed it’s just trolls. And if it isn’t, well let’s hope they’re just sad little boys, forever doomed to live lives of no importance or achievement, and jealous of you and your clear success at life. Although clearly none of your achievements could be down to your intellect, determination, hard work or good attitude… I put it down to boobs.

  92. Mal says

    I’m afraid as an atheist and a woman you are almost certain to be a target for hate and contempt. There will probably be another group who will dislike you because you have a brain. Oh yeah and some will be a little jealous of the small measure of celebrity you have had – been on TV – in a magazine – in a book. Actually, on second thoughts, I’m surprised you have any friends!

  93. says

    Okay. So you will have to claim you’re a creationist, a loving mother and housewife, interested in knitting (stitching? wood carving?, too extraordinaire), rename your blog … gee, you will have readers and readers. The only real thing to wish for -HEY GUYS – 1870 IS DEFINITELY OVER. GOT THIS?!

  94. Speffles says

    Awww – the big scary girl went into the man cave! Poor guys. it’s so hard when you know deep down that you’re an great, no nonsense, intellegent man but people will distracting you with their body parts, lack of gender neutrality and opinions. If us girls will keep trying to converse intellegently with members of the opposite sex surely pretending to be a man (or at least pointing our breasts in the opposite direction) is the kindest thing to do. What confuses me most about that little stream of hatred you got back from reddit is that these men obviously consider themselves to be smarter than everyone else. So why go out of their way to defend the tired old stereotype that men can’t think straight when presented with female body parts? That’s not smart, it makes them look stupid and it’s offensive to both genders.

  95. TomP says

    Is there any possibility that the note writer is a Poe? I mean, no one could really be that much of an asshole, right? My college age daughter isn’t putting up with shit like this, is she? Please say no.

  96. Jules says

    But of course it’s different when you have a pic of yourself on your blog, compared to, say, Ben Goldacre or Phil Plait, who also have pics of themselves on their blogs. Because you’re a woman! Duh. You’re like, totally abnormal and should hide it. But sarcasm aside, this just shows that being female is still somehow marked while being male is unmarked. Also: stupid, sexist trolls are stupid and sexist.

  97. Barbara_K says

    Probably not to her face, no. This stuff is usually either said online or behind closed doors, or when mostly in the company of other assholes. But yes, this level of asshole very definitely exists.

  98. Patrick says

    But isn’t the boss being rational, considering that the risk is greater than for a man? Maternity leave costs more than paternity leave due to its length, and both are required by law in the UK, so unfortunately it seems as though the law has (perversely) made it rational to discriminate by sex. This doesn’t explain the pay gap in the US, though, as both sexes get unpaid leave for 12 weeks (if what Wikipedia says at the time of writing is correct).See… for a more detailed comparison by country.

  99. says

    Well, this is why it makes more sense to make it transferable, although the trend will still be, I confidently predict, that women take more such leave. The problem is it isn’t just the leave (which ought to be state-funded, IMO), it’s the costs of replacing staff. Bosses are scared that the staff will leave to raise a family, costing them time, money, and inconvenience. However rational that might seem in a numerical sense, it’s not indicative of a fair society.

  100. says

    I’ve just gotten wind of this whole fiasco due to a post on Daylight Atheism. All I can say is that I’ve never been more annoyed at my own gender. Seriously guys, what the hell.

  101. RichWhiteMale says

    I’m a white male (I am).I make a lot of money. I have to put up with prejudice, name calling, race-baiting and more, ALL THE TIME.Oh, wait.Nevermind.

  102. the_Siliconopolitan says

    Why do people care about this reddit thing? It looks worse than the Internet of the late 90es. No pizazz and no apparent functionality. I wouldn’t say I could write better html (I couldn’t), but it does make 4chan look positively high-class.

  103. Moxiemaria says

    This is the primary reason I try to avoid articles or topics that have anything to do with gender or sexism on Reddit. It’s a perpetual douche-bag factory that makes my brain hurt. I start to get real depressed if I play around certain parts of the web too long; the angry-troll-fan-boy rhetoric is just too much.If I were more resilient I would stick it out, but I find that hard to do when greatly outnumbered. I also have an adverse reaction to being put-down. I just hold my nose, down-vote and move on until I can no longer smell the reek of stale beer and pork rinds. That’s what trolls eat, yes?

  104. pdasilva says

    Lol – The arguments in the post are in the same vein as the ones used by my Serbian mate when we were talking about Servia’s reaction to their gay parade las year…

  105. Derbasementcat says

    I’m a Lesbein, who has a “Thing” for her mostly because she gives me what I call a “brain boner” and I haven;t noticed. And I’m known IRL for trying to look at breasts and things. Blag-hag dresses “normalish” Not revealingly but not very conservitively.  I mean unless there are secret nude pics some where…

  106. Derbasementcat says

    …I was under the impression that prostitutes were more easy to convince to have sex with you if can afford their services?

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