Jason Thibeault says why it’s useful that Rebecca Watson draws the pus of frothing misogyny out into the open where we can see it and then pour bleach on everything in sight.

Maybe not so good for her, but for all of us. These magical superpowers of hers are probably a curse for her own sanity, but they are a boon for our society, for our respective communities. It’s excellent that she can draw so much attention to the problem, and can draw out the people who are, in essence, part of it, where they can make examples of themselves. The “touch of boorishness” that she can draw out of complete strangers just by mentioning this nonsense is exactly the type of attitude we need to cleanse from our systems, to keep from becoming an entrenched part of our culture. We have to draw this venom out of our skeptical communities’ bodies somehow.

If we don’t know about it, we can’t deal with it. I’m not very optimistic that we can deal with it even if we do know about it, but I’m sure we can’t if it’s kept away from the fresh air and sunlight.

More from Jen, John, Ed, PZ.



  1. Fin says

    Well, put bluntly, the more it’s spoken about, either specifically or generally, the more progress that has been made. Being pessimistic is usually the route I take, being a hideous cynic, but as tiresome as it is to go on about it, it is achieving something, as nebulous as that may be.

    I would not have been aware of this issue at all if this hadn’t occurred, and while I disagree with a few of the various positions, the fundamental point is that it has actually made me think about these things, which would not be the case otherwise.

  2. GordonWillis says

    Perhaps I’m more hopeful, Ophelia. Obviously the problems of our animal nature will not simply disappear, but the more we are able to understand, and the more we are able to share without fear, the more we will be able to deal sensibly and humanely with our problems. That is what being rational animals is about. I never expected that misogyny would simply not exist among people aspiring to reason: I think it’s a part of how we are; but I also think that, with mutual help, we can look at ourselves and make honourable choices. All we need is to do our best to foster a world in which such choices are encouraged. Our present world, the world of male tribalism and monotheistic religion — the world of indoctrination, of natal sin and guilt — makes this all but impossible, so we who pretend to reason and humaneness know what our task is. I am wonderfully impressed with Rebecca Watson’s extraordinary resilience and courage (and — maybe — just plain good sense). Without wishing to sound trite, I would like to say that she is a true example to us all.

  3. says

    I agree with both of you. I’m more optimistic today, as a result of discussion among FTB-ers. They’ve convinced me that talking about it does make a difference, because it has.

  4. you_monster says

    Please keep up the airing of this disgustingly dirty shit. Those of us privileged by not having to deal with bigotry directed towards us on a daily basis need to be bluntly exposed to the filth. Continually. Incessantly. Until enough people are outraged enough, nothing will change, and its hard to be outraged without reminders about the harsh reality.

    Talking about these issues has made a difference to me, I am more vocal when I see tired-sexist tropes and hear misogynistic comments. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had my eyes opened to an extent (and they open wider with every post on this topic).

  5. says

    Rebecca Watson draws the pus of frothing misogyny out into the open where we can see it and then pour bleach on everything in sight.

    nah, RKW makes sweeping generalizations and arguments that lack intellectual honesty and rigor.

    it’s only because PZ’s hordes are alerted to it that it gets so much air time…

    she is not talented enough to become a great blogger or spokesperson and relies on PZ for hits.

    there are plenty places to go where rebeccas views are mirrored but het skepchic is not one that is particularly balanced or intelligent

  6. you_monster says

    No way a woman can be an effective voice in the community, eh paulpaulus? There must be a man someone where in the mix, propping her up.

    Do you have any contribution to make to the topic of rampant internet misogyny (specifically, within r/atheism)?

    All you seem concerned about is derailing the topic when it comes up by accusing those calling out the misogynists, and those who sit by and let the assholes go unchallenged, of using “sweeping generalizations” and “blanket statements”.

    Paulpaulus from PZ’s post, “Why do women have trouble being taken seriously in science”.

    Just wanting to add a little fuel to the rape fire here (ad hominists please read the whole post before attacking – I prefer a thorough tongue lashing to a half hearted one):

    Jokes about rape are just that. They are jokes, not rape. You might not find them funny, you may not think they are jokes but that doesn’t make it rape. Waving the rapist flag here only serves to make the wavers look silly. This is an ideal chance to offer a metered exposé of the rotten state of human discourse and gross lack of respect. Try to make it count in our favour instead of wasting it (I’m talking to you, too, RKW).

    What a maroon. You are no friend to feminism. It’s nice having the privilege not to have to take bigoted jokes seriously, isn’t it? Try learning some empathy.

    Seeing as you are clearly part of the problem, I don’t know why you would think anyone would take your concerns seriously?

    This comment was your most asinine of all of your posts across FTB on this topic. No substance, pure spitting on Rebecca Watson (no evidence that the derision is merited). lame.

  7. Rich Woods says

    @paulpaulus #6:

    she is not talented enough to become a great blogger or spokesperson and relies on PZ for hits.

    Thank you for expressing your informed opinion; allow me to express mine.

    You’re a pillock.


  1. […] So in homage to my colleagues, Rebecca started off the critique of the patrislime with this: REDDIT MAKES ME HATE ATHEISTS and she was mad because as you can see it is in all caps. Blag Hag tossed out a short and timely comment. PZ Myers (Pharyngula) was even shorter. Ed Brayton expressed something most of us felt and gave up on his own gender. Johhn Loftus spoke up In Defense of Rebecca Watson. Ophelia Benson went to the hardware store and got some disinfectant. […]

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