Robyn Pennacchia writes about how the non-bros of progressive communities can be just as bad as the dudebros we spot so easily — she’s mainly addressing the alt-lit community and Stephen Tully Dierks, but she mentions the recent paroxysms in the atheist community as well — and she answers the question about how come just about every time I hear about a new and interesting progressive group, it turns out to be in the context of blatant sexism or sexual assault. It’s because it’s harder to police your own than others.
I’m glad that more attention is being drawn to issues of assault, misogyny and sexism in these communities. It’s important. It’s also a lot harder than calling out Rush Limbaugh, because none of us have to live with Rush Limbaugh. I want to make these spaces safer for women, because we have as much right to them as men do.
It’s not just bros and jocks and finance dudes and yuppies and Christians and Republicans who are shitty to women. Being part of a counter-cultural or progressive community does not give you a free pass to be shitty to women without being called out on it. We need to hold our own communities to an even higher standard than we hold those in the opposition, we need to welcome criticism, and we to realize that the ones who call out shitty behavior in these communities are not the threat, but that those who protect it and shield it from criticism are.
Holding ourselves to a standard, rather than raging at outsiders who aren’t as good as us? Whoa, lady, don’t go crazy here. You’re going to wreck all the fun of being holier-than-thou.
It’s also a bit like being a grown-up — it turns out it’s not just all the pop you want to drink and staying up all night playing video games, but that there are also these things called responsibilities that you have to tend to. The Big Atheist Clubhouse isn’t just a place where people tell you how smart and wonderful you are, it’s also a place where you have to seriously try to change the world.