A new friend

On a more cheerful note – following a pingback here yesterday led me to one venomous anti-me post which included a link to another venomous anti-me post which included a link to a post by someone with a different take. I will share some of it with you because it is pleasant and it is nice to have pleasant things in among all the venom. Also the author said it’s a message to some people and she wants to get it out there, so I’m helping her get it out there.

Somewhere along the line I found links to some blog posts about the Women in Secularism conference and reading them was just so inspiring.  Since I realised/accepted/announced to myself that I was an atheist, I have had some interest in listening to/chatting to others who feel the same way.  Hence the Atheist Experience.  But the blogs from the WIS conference got me excited to get more involved in a way that nothing else had.  I imagined what it might have been like to have been there.  And after watching some of the talks on YouTube it was reinforced that it would have been a really inspiring environment to be at.  The videos are inspiring enough and have me thinking about how best to make a difference from my little corner of the world. 

See what I mean? That was very pleasant to read, after a week filled with shouting.

So of course I have become aware of this whole discussion on sexual harassment and policies at conferences, etc, etc. And the thing is, I have been really pleased and impressed at the way most of the people I have seen in the community have approached the issue.  Women like Ophelia Benson, Rebecca Watson, Jen McCreight and Greta Christina as well as men like PZ Myers, Jason Thibeault and others, who, from what I can see have done nothing but be up front, thoughtful and honest and, most importantly in my opinion, refused to back away from dealing with the important issues even when others have made, or at least tried to make, things really difficult for them.

Anyway, what really triggered this post was that this was linked on my feed this morning and I guess I really just want all the people at FreeThought Blogs and Skepchick to know that there are people out there, and maybe a lot more than you know, that *do* appreciate you all continuing to push forward on these important issues and that some people, like myself, actually feel more inclined to want to try and attend one of these events some day, or at least begin to participate more in the online community, knowing that there are people out there working hard to make it safe to do so.

So yeah, mainly, thank you for doing what you do and keep doing it.

[waving vigorously] Thanks back, and will do, and welcome to the network.




  1. Brownian says

    It’s nice to know that there are people who know that we’re Freedom Fries-hating Stasi but are grateful nonetheless.

  2. Rabidtreeweasel and her Badger of Honor says

    They mentioned the possibility of staying a virtual unknown. If they keep writing regularly, I’ll keep reading. I liked the other articles.

  3. callistacat says

    I honestly don’t get the vitriol directed at you Ophelia, you seem very down-to-earth and open-minded and just, well, nice. And your blog is one of my favorites. I know you’d be willing to have an open and honest dialogue with people like Paula Kirby and Abbie Smith about your differences, if they were open to it. I would really love to see that happen, it’s sad to see so much infighting. It’s just so unnecessary.

  4. says

    It’s nice to know there are more sane people about. I suspect the time will come when the guardians of the true faith will find themselves seriously outnumbered.

  5. Musical Atheist says

    It’s definitely the way I feel. I’ve stayed out of the discussion, because I’m not a conference attender, but if ever I have the funds, the conferences I will be attending are the ones that have a professional attitude towards speaker/attendee safety and inclusion, and that discuss the ethical goals of a secular movement from philosophical and practical perspectives – social justice, equality, science and environmentalism, scepticism and politics – you know, things that actually matter. I very much appreciate the fact that there are people in the secular movement interested in making that happen. If there weren’t, I wouldn’t think it worthwhile following or participating in the wider discussion at all.

  6. Tony the Parkour Kat [safe and welcome at FtB] says

    bveganfematheist’s post was spot on. Given the crap you’ve been dealing with for a while now, it’s got to be refreshing to hear support like that.

  7. Sgaile-beairt says

    This migth cheer people up too, its a story of harrassment and misbehavior at another con but the response incl from the organizers both at the con and in the commments is way different:

    “Another Con, Another Creep”

    “Readercon: The Bad and the Ugly”

    BUT it has been a process as is shown by the discussions too, from closing ranks and defending ‘poor socially maladept boys’ to no, this is bad and we will not put up with it any more.

  8. bvganfematheist says

    Thanks and hi! I’m glad that you appreciated what I wrote. I wasn’t sure anyone would read it but after reading all the grief you got, and I honestly couldn’t find anything that could come close to justifying it, I felt I had to say something, even if it was only to myself 🙂

    I guess now that I’ve registered here I should start commenting as well as read and learn. And yes, I am a ‘she’ 🙂

  9. bvganfematheist says

    And I tend to use (overuse?) smilies. In my defence I often finish my sentences with a smile in real life too so it does feel kind of ‘right’ 🙂

  10. Jessie says

    Nice to ‘meet’ you, bvganfematheist!

    Thank you to all of you who continue the fight for social justice atheism. An inclusive movement is the best way to fight the threat posed by organised religion. Eventually, those who are on the wrong side of history will realise that.

  11. Lyanna says

    Sgaile-beart: yep, you’re right that those incidents described by Jim Hines and Genevieve Valentine are heartening (in that the response was correct) but also reflect that it’s a process.

    As this post points out: notice the difference between the response to Hines and the response to Valentine!

    As Legionseagle (the poster I linked to) says, there are some responses Hines did not have to put up with. For instance:

    – no-one denied the reality of his experience
    – no-one suggested that it was simply his misinterpretation of flirtatious behaviour gone wrong
    – no-one tried to excuse the woman in question on the basis of her being “non-neurotypical” or “on the Asperger’s spectrum” or “suffering from social awkwardness” or any of the above.

    I’ve heard people make the claim that male victims of harassment are more dismissed and stigmatized than female ones. The responses to Hines and Valentine suggest the opposite.

  12. onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork says

    Yeah, I will absolutely join in the #ILoveFtB. Pharyngula is what spurred me into recognizing that I’m an atheist. Pharyngula’s commenters are the ones who gave me the confidence to be an out atheist. Pharyngula commenters (online and the local group here in person) are also the folks who became a support network for me after my relapse, helping me adjust to my new physical disabilities, supporting me when I was depressed or frustrated about my new limitations.

    All of the FtB folks–you, Ophelia, Stephanie, Jen, Greta, Crommunist, Natalie, Jason, et al–have taught me so much about social justice, atheism, skepticism, racism, and a whole host of other topics.

    CFI’s given me a local base of atheists to hang out with when I need a break from small-town religious conservatives, and fantastic opportunities to hear speakers and participate in other educational activities. WiS is what made me decide to be the coordinator of my local humanist group, and CFI, WiS, and most definitely FtB are what is making me determined to increase the diversity in said local group.

    I can say with absolute sincerity that my life has significantly changed for the better because of all of you.

    …even though now I’m late for work because of you. But I totally forgive you for that. 😉 *runs*

  13. Millicent says

    I will chime in too; I’m trying to be less of a lurker, and to support the FTB bloggers who have done so much to try to make this a humanist movement, concerned not just with minutiae, but with trying to make a better world for everyone. And that means social justice. Thank you for everything you do, Ophelia. 🙂

  14. says

    Welcome to the FTB commentariat. As a female identified human you will automatically be inducted into the Order of Oppressed Sisters. Be aware that this privilege comes with a guaranteed stream of sycophancy from the Approved Male Chorus. Your welcoming gift is on its way.

    Unfortunately… it is bacon.


  15. Sgaile-beairt says

    @Lyanna Yes Jim didnt get the mansplainer or the Chill Girl when he talked about his harrassment experience a little while back. but at least most of the comments to Genevieve ‘s post were supportive & on other blogs a couple guys were ‘naming and shaming’ the offender too not to mention the concom representatives stepping up to say that they were going to work harder to stop it happening in the future… so it does explain a bit about why ConVergence was a better experience for the Skepchicks & others!!

    I think the watershed moment was a few years ago when a very important author (male) publically groped another famous writer (female) who was presenting awards onstage and there was all the Deep Rifts/Old boys & Chill Girls defending you could ever (not) wish for but the aftermath was a ‘not taking this any more” movement that has only snowballed since. but there is a huge distance still to go.

  16. sambarge says

    Add my name to the list of ‘Used to be a Lurker but is Trying to Post More” because I support the bloggers at FtB who are trying to get social justice issues dealt with in a progressive and inclusive way.

    Frankly, as a feminist and a woman, I never felt particularly welcome at atheist sites. I’ve never been personally attacked but I read enough misogyny, racism and heteronormativity/homohobia to stop me from wanting to participate in the discussions.

    So, thanks to Ophelia, et.al. for your focus on this topic and your adherence to social justice principles!

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